Q: I have a gold cross pendant wrapped in braided human hair. A full-blown gold rose is entwined around the cross's vertical post and is attached by a pin in the back. The cross is about 3 1/2 inches tall and 1 7/8 inches across and has a small ring at the top for hanging. Any information you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
A: Jewelry made with human hair was popular during the 19th century. Pendants, lockets, pins, and rings were made incorporating hair from a loved one. Many were made as mourning jewelry, a remembrance of someone who had died, while others were symbols of love for a sweetheart. Some hair jewelry was made by jewelers, but it was also often woven at home and taken to a jeweler or goldsmith to finish. The rose symbolizes love and is frequently used in funeral art to symbolize the length of the deceased person's life. A bud indicates the death of a child, a partly open rose a young person, and a full-blown rose a person in the "fullness of life." Mourning jewelry was made from the hair of the deceased. Not many people like the idea of hair from a dead person (unless it's the hair of a relative). Depending on how much gold is in the rose, your pendent would sell for $75 to $125.