“Mourning jewelry has existed as a genre in European decorative arts since the Renaissance. Through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as women assumed more responsibility for the emotional life within bourgeois society, jewelry provided a way to express tender and deep emotions which might be otherwise prohibited or discouraged. Gifts of remembrance, including tiny portraits in ivory or enamel, bracelets woven of hair, and lockets containing intimate inscriptions were as much a part of love as of loss.”
“Greatly influenced by German romanticism, jewelry containing human hair was common amongst bourgeois women. Hair curled in a decorative pattern was given in friendship or worn to signify closeness between women.” “…acts as a memento mori.”
Simon, M, Objects of Remembrance: Contemporary Mourning Jewelry, Metalsmith Vol. 29 no.5, p24-5, North America, viewed on the 3rd of September 2011.