When I was a child, my grandparents displayed several family artifacts in the den. An intricately woven watch chain made of human hair was both fascinating and a bit frightening to me. When my 2nd great grandfather Harry was in jail for polygamy, his wife Ruth sent him some of her hair and he made the watch chain.
Hair ornaments and jewelry were quite common in the 1800s, especially as mourning jewelry. Learn more about how ideas about death and mourning changed through the centuries and view some incredible mourning jewelry. The Massachusetts Historical Society in downtown Boston has an exhibit on the history of mourning jewelry covering the 1600s to the 1800s. This exhibit is open to the public and runs through January 31st. See here for more information.