Victorian Hair Love Token Ring with Greek Key Cutouts (Item #V-gkhair)
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Intricate rose gold hollow Victorian ring with braided brown hair visible through Greek Key cutouts, circa 1850-1870, size 6. Ring is 1/4" wide, and the cutout pattern repeats around the entire band. There are detailed engraved designs around the cutouts, with slight wear in spots (particularly near the edges of the ring). Front panel is engraved with fancy script initials that look like GC. Inside the band is engraved: JFH (also in script). The ring is not marked for gold content, but is at least 9ct gold. Since the hair is protected by the design, the ring is quite wearable (though care should be exercised). The hair is tightly braided inside, and is in excellent condition. A hair or two may be protruding ever so slightly (and I'm really nitpicking here). The design is somewhat indented along the circumference in the center, and this was probably intentional.
Jewels made with human hair were popular expressions of sentimentality during the Victorian period. Some were mourning pieces, while others were love tokens. My guess is that this was a love token since this ring has one set of initials on the outside and another set engraved on the inside. Also, the Greek Key motif has been used in wedding bands. Rings are rarer than other forms of hair jewelry as many did not survive intact. This ring is pictured on page 36 of Warman's Jewelry, 3rd Edition, by Christie Romero.