The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Homemade Jewelry - October, 1983

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1983-2012

Issue: October, 1983

Bertie Lou Ingram of Bassett, Virginia wrote to us about one kind of homemade jewelry in her youth. She wrote:

“We used to make chains of horse hair. The tail of a horse furnished material. Also chinquapins were boiled to soften them, then strung with needle and thread to make a necklace. A silver dime was made into a nice little ring. Maybe someone will give directions for the ring.”

Is there anyone out there who knows how to make a ring from a dime?

I know this isn’t jewelry, but I have heard some other uses for horse hair. I have been told it used to be used for strings on fiddles and my mother used to say that if you could get someone to lie down, you could hold a single horse hair across their face and they couldn’t get up. (I believe her brothers tried this successfully on each other, probably without the willful consent of the one on his back.) I have also heard of horse hair stuffed furniture. Was it real horse hair or just a stiff material used for stuffing? If there are any other old time uses for horse hair you readers know of, write them down and send them to us.