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Several years ago, Phoenix, Arizona based jewelry designer Heidi Abrahamson was asked by another Phoenix local, Kate Benjamin, to design some jewelry for a cat publication to help raise awareness for National Hairball Awareness Day.
National Hairball Awareness day is observed on the last Friday of every April and is listed a Pet Health Awareness event by the American Veterinary Association.
Abrahamson happily consented to help the publication and do her part to raise awareness since she too was a cat lover. However, she never expected her pieced to spark a real interest. Her method was simple. Benjamin supplied Abrahamson with cat hair collected the loose and dead hair from her cats using a cat grooming brush that Abrahamson used to roll large clumps together to form felt-like beads. Abrahamson strung these beads together with sterling silver, and voila, she had hairball jewelry.
The finished product was tasteful for costume jewelry and an instant hit in the cat-loving community. People wanted to purchase the jewelry, and several Etsy shops started offering similar hand man products. Today, you can even send your cat hair to some Etsy or other eCouture shops to have your cat’s hair set in resin shapes for jewelry and trinkets.
The practice of hair crafted jewelry, as strange and grotesque as it may sound to most, was not uncommon in our past. Human and cat hair was both used to craft wearable jewelry in the Middle Ages and even set with gold, silver, and precious gems. However, this practice was most likely to honor another person, such as a passed loved one or as a keepsake of a lover.
While Heidi Abrahamson no longer fashions cat hair jewelry, you can attempt to recreate some of her style with your cat’s hair. Just keep in mind that most people will probably think you’re little nuts.