Death was highly visible in Victorian culture. It was a time for communal feeling, studied response and ritual, with people encouraged to give public expression to their grief. Throughout the Victorian period there were 'hair artists' who specialised in turning locks of hair into jewellery that could be worn as a very physical memorial to someone who had died. Printed catalogues presented customers with a choice of designs and offered discreet guarantees that the locks of hair were not muddled or substituted in the process. The back of this brooch is engraved with the dates of a sixteen-year-old who died in 1842.