My Many Interests

Monday, October 24, 2022

Visiting The Edison Exchange inside of The Historic Oaklea Mansion

The Kid and I, while out hitting all of the Winnsboro Autumn Trails events on Saturday, dropped by The Historic Oaklea Mansion. While there we visited Dustin and Gabriel of The Edison Exchange.

The Edison Exchange deals in antique/estate jewelry, Art Deco, and Native American jewelry/art. Beautiful pieces can be found everywhere you turn. One of the more intriguing displays was this exhibit of mourning jewelry.

Per The Gemological Institute of American ~


The tradition of wearing mourning jewelry goes back to at least the Middle Ages, when motifs like skulls and crossbones served as a tangible reminder of death. The exhortation memento mori, which literally translates to remember death, urged the wearer to live a moral life.

The popularity of mourning jewelry reached its peak during the Victorian era (1837-1901). Queen Victoria was deeply in love with her husband, Prince Albert, and when he died in 1861, she fell into a long depression. Queen Victoria spent much of the next four decades wearing black crepe dresses and mourning jewelry. She commissioned portraits, memorials, and busts of Prince Albert and other mementos that were reminders of her deceased spouse.

Hair Jewelry – jewelry that contained locks of a loved one’s hair – was particularly popular during the Victorian era. The Victorians believed that hair had a sacred quality because it contained something of the essence of the person. And because it was somewhat imperishable, it also symbolized immortality.

Many of the items on the tray were made with strands of hair woven into them or the entire piece was composed of braided hair from the deceased.

The Edison Exchange is located inside The Historic Oaklea Mansion at 407 S. Main St. in Winnsboro and is open Wednesday through Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday 11am to 4pm. You can visit their website here or look them up on Facebook.

Photos are of the mourning jewelry and other pieces on display and for sale.