The sentimentality of Victorian Mourning was also displayed in both the jewelry and artwork of the era. These decorative tributes to the dead could be made of human hair or jet, a lightweight black material from the coal family that was easily carved. Those of wealth would have special orders of gold brooches, earrings, bracelets or rings made, often engraved with a loved one's name and important dates.
Hair jewelry became just as popular in the United States as it was in Europe. At the time of the Civil War, many wives, mothers and sisters would secure a lock of their soldiers' hair before they left home to fight. If their loved one died, this hair would be made into a piece of memorial jewelry or placed in a locket. According to the Godey's Lady's Book, hair jewelry, including bracelets and brooches could be worn in the second stage of mourning.
After the death of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln summoned a messenger to request a lock pf President Lincoln's hair. Undoubtedly, this keepsake of her husband was kept close to her at all times.
Hair was also used in artwork. Both lasting and delicate, hair would be placed in shadow boxes, used as the wispy branches of a weeping willow tree in sketches, or sculpted into a cross, hearts or other intricate designs and placed under a bell jar for display. Hairwork actually became a popular drawing room pastime along with sewing and other forms of needlework.
During the Civil War hair weaving was less popular due to the fact that it was time consuming. Many women were taking on the chores that their men used to do before going off to fight. Hairwork was not only for mourning, it was also given as a gift of love or friendship to others.