Arts & Antiques by Dr. Lori – Valentines from the Head and Heart
Dr. Lori Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. Dr. Lori is the star appraiser on Discovery Channel’s Auction Kings, History Channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Fox Business’ Strange Inheritance. Visit www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori, or call (888) 431-1010.
By Lori Verderame
Victorian Era Gifts Made Of Hair Were Given In Love
Valentine’s Day falls on Feb. 14 and along with the Roman Goddess of Marriage, Juno, the holiday honors the Christian martyr, St. Valentine. Persecuted by the Roman Emperor in 273 AD, St. Valentine enjoys a legacy that has been carried on by lovers, young and old, for centuries. St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated by gifting flowers, sharing symbols of love and sending romantic cards. While St. Valentine presented the flowers from his garden to young lovers in an effort to promote the Catholic sacrament of matrimony during his lifetime, the February holiday that bears his name has sparked the exchange of various artisan works.
During the Victorian era of the late 19th century, Valentine traditions existed that prompted loved ones to share homemade baked goods and handcrafted keepsakes. Since the way to someone’s heart is really via the stomach, Victorians on Valentine’s Day showed loved by giving items that were useful in the kitchen, such as decorative ceramic rolling pins, pie plates and hand-painted china.
From Heart to Hair
Although the Valentine card remains the most recognizable of the lover’s offerings, Victorian gifts from the heart — and the head — were the most desirable.
One such gift was an item that would assist in making handicrafts: the hair receiver, which today range in value from $15 to $500 for specialty examples. In the Victorian era, a hair receiver – a small ceramic bowl with a hole in its top – was a common dresser accessory. Women saved their hair in it. After accumulating a good amount of locks over time, the hair would be used to make objects such as pictures, bracelets, lockets, chains and watch fobs. Today, these popular hair crafts are hard to find.
Intricately woven hair crafts became love gifts from circa 1850 to 1910. Hair jewelry was most commonly used for sentimental remembrances and as gifts. On Valentine’s Day, women believed that giving their beloved a hair bracelet or hair watch fob would serve as a love charm and ensure a long and happy relationship. Many Civil War soldiers had such items, and many are found by relatives alongside of military memorabilia.
Blonde or Brunette?
One of the most beloved Valentine antiques is the coveted hair picture, a devotional object coveted by families for generations. Accompanied by a handwritten inscription, hair pictures are fascinating mementos. Some of the most common Victorian Valentines featured the symbolic lover’s rose or a bouquet of forget-me-not flowers to remember the dead made from the hair locks of one’s beloved.
With values in the $1,000 to $5,000 range, framed Victorian hair pictures grew from loving pictures to fine memorials. Images made of hair related to the lover’s lifestyle, his or her occupation, military service, or hobbies. Hair pictures made of woven hair depicted intricate landscapes, family homesteads, military symbols like rifles or sea anchors, bicycles and still lifes of favorite fruits or flowers documenting the bounty of a couple’s love or a life well lived.
If you are looking to collect a hair receiver, hair picture or piece of woven hair jewelry in the form of a watch fob or locket, look for pieces that are in period frames and in very good condition.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Meet Dr. Lori Feb. 18-19 At The Berry Center
The 9th annual Cy-Fair Home & Garden Show welcomes the return of the always popular Dr. Lori Verderame. Dr. Lori will be on-hand both days of the show to provide one free appraisal – complete with her comedic twist – to each of those in attendance who bring an item for her identification and valuation. Come and find out the true value of that vase or painting or jewelry item you’ve always wondered about!
The show will be held Feb. 18-19 at the Berry Center, 8877 Barker-Cypress Road, Cypress, Texas. Show admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free for children 12 and younger. For more show information, call 832-274-2944 or visit cyfairhomeandgarden.com, where a downloadable discount coupon for $2 off admission is available.