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The Roma Mitchell Hair Brooch forms part of a special exhibition of brooches made by female artists to celebrate the lives of one hundred influential Australian women.


Commissioned for Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor - 100 Women 100 Brooches 100 Stories, the brooch pays homage to Dame Roma Mitchell. Australia's first female judge and later in her distinguished career, governor of South Australia.

In a play on the tradition of Victorian hair jewellery, the brooch consists of a coiled plait of silver hair set into blackened sterling silver;  the colour palette recalls legal garb, while the hair alludes to the authority of the judges wig.

"When I explored the life of Dame Roma Mitchell, I thought of the symbolic associations of hair to femininity and traditional female roles within society. In a way, Roma, who never married or had children, exchanged her own hair for the civic sacrifice, leadership and authority of the legal wig."

A proverb is engraved across the back of the brooch, alluding to the faith that underpinned Roma's career, while a miniature gavel as a clasp, secures the pin.


Materials: Oxidised sterling silver, Nylon hair, Stainless steel.

57 h x 57 w x 18 d mm

Photographer: Courtesy of Artisan Publications

July 2011

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