January 19, 2011

Elk Teeth and Human Hair anyone?

Hello there readers!

Amy here, thought this week I'd bring you some antique goodies from the boutique. I share a few 'likes' with Wendy (ancient British TV shows, Green and Blacks peanut chocolate, kitty love....) but perhaps the one thing that Wendy has really shown me a serious appreciation for is Victorian jewelry. I could look at this stuff for hours and there is SO much to look at, each piece is so beautifully detailed, sometimes when you think you've 'seen' a piece you'll pick it up again and find a little swirl or initial you missed, fascinating. We recently re-merchandised some Victorian jewelry so I thought I'd show you a few of my favorites that we have right now, of course these pieces are all in the boutique right now so any queries please email Cerena on store@wendyminkjewelry.com. (Also if vintage jewelry is your thing then do let Cerena know as she can then include new pieces in her newsletters)

First up are these unusual Elk Tooth styles. These are still used today in jewelry making and you can find many modern designs online but these Victorian pieces are really something else. They were popular among men who belonged to the Elk Lodge fraternities (if fraternity is the correct word here!), they came in the form of pendants, pins, as watch fobs etc and usually featured gold settings with engraving and sometimes additional embellishments which you can see here, teeny elks in profile, enamel 'clocks', engraved initials..... Wendy likes to collect these to use on charm necklaces such as the piece here with the green charm, they sit alongside other Victorian pendants very well and make a great little story for when someone notices your necklace and asks you what on earth everything is!

Next up we have something that is an acquired taste...human hair jewelry! What better keepsake than a lock of hair...and woven into a design is surely even better. I just love this jewelry, usually called Mourning Jewelry it was worn by Victorians to remember a loved one, when I did a little search online I found a bunch of people still making hair jewelry, (send them a lock and they will 're-work' it for you)! Anyway that's by the by, these Victorian pieces are stunning and so intricate up close, I imagine weaving human hair is a little like painting a landscape on a grain of rice...difficult. The bow pin above is so precious, it has a beautiful set heart-shaped stone and engraved detail on the setting. the earrings are a wonderful 3 dimensional shape with flower design posts and original 'backs'. Gorgeous. We know another persons hair can be a little creepy (especially in your dinner) but it is also quite special!

Now because we know you like to add to your own collection we would like to offer a lucky reader one of these fabulous bracelets (offered for this week's Must Have), all you have to do is comment below on your feelings towards these Elk Teeth and Mourning Jewelry, would you wear them? which is your favorite? To enter you must be a follower and we would just love you to tweet or Facebook the giveaway too....good luck and we look forward to your feedback about these interesting pieces!

(giveaway winner announced at the close of this coming weekend)


  1. Honestly, the pieces give me the heebie jeebies! However, they would be incredible conversation pieces ... just not sure what kind of conversation they'd spark!

    And you KNOW I love that tassel bracelet and have been fondly daydreaming about it for awhile now. Count me in!

  2. I think these are the most unique pieces I have seen outside of my travels to Asia..I would wear these with a DVF wrap..
    That bracelet is beyond stunning as well

    sultansmom at gmail dot com

  3. I'm honestly a little creeped out. The elk teeth are kind of kitschy and fun and I could see them as part of a charm bracelet. The hair though... I just couldn't hang with wearing another persons hair. However, the mother of a friend of mine from high school used to make the most beautiful flowers out of her daughters hair. They had been doing it for generations and it was neat. I might be able to see that translated to jewelry. :)

  4. These are fascinating! I love the second necklace.
    The hair pieces are a very unique concept-- I think it would be very meaningful to have the hair of a loved one shaped into a jewelry piece (love the earrings).

  5. I am fascinated by these pieces! Considering that fashion often takes inspiration from nature and that designers constantly strive to incorporate unexpected materials in their accessories and clothing to maintain creativity, antique jewelry would not be out of place in our current fashion climate. Also, I study biological anthropology and work with human and faunal bones/ teeth of all ages and species (for the latter anyway), so I love all things anatomy-related. My co-workers and the anthro nerd in me got such a kick out of this post!


  6. I love these pieces, especially the elk teeth brooch (very inspired, if not slightly morbid, way to have teeth resemble birds' eggs!) I would rock it on a blazer lapel, front and center. People tend to keep locks of baby hair in lockets and baby teeth in scrapbooks, so why not wear those very same things around your neck? Pretty brilliant...

    Thanks from Julie A.,

  7. It's funny, but when I saw the post, I thought, "Ewwww!!!" But now that I see the pieces, I think they're pretty cool and certainly UNIQUE. I would go for the earrings made of human hair. We wear extensions, right? So why not??!! (I am a follower-valhoff 3 at yahoo dot com)

  8. I think Victorian jewelry is a fascinating collecting area. The unique components like elk teeth and hair-work are part of the draw. Watch fobs and cuff links made using these materials are really wonderful to wear. Thanks for the great photos.