Daniel Webster mourning brooch
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Daniel Webster, the highly regarded orator, congressman, and secretary of state, died on October 24, 1852. The mourning of Webster’s death also manifested in jewelry such as the brooch shown here. The brooch contains two locks of Webster’s hair: one he gave to cousin-in-law Eliza Buckminster Lee in 1818; the other he sent to her “a day or two before his death . . . with his good-bye.” Her husband, Thomas Lee, commissioned the memorial item. The brooch is a heavy gold slightly-octagonal shaped with central faceted crystal covering a braid of gray hair surmounted by a lock of brown hair. The crystal is surrounded by 18 pearls in pie-crust settings. Back engraved “D.W. / 1818 / Aged 36 yrs. / 1852 / Aged 70 yrs.” With original C-clasp and pin.