An unusual French Jet and celluloid hair comb in the form of an arrow.
CONDITION: good vintage condition.
SIZE: 5¼ ins h x 3¼ ins w (13.5 x 8 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s to 1900s
This comb is made from black celluloid with a swivel heading which can be turned to every angle. It features a coil and two arrow shapes, which are further embellished by faceted roundels of French Jet.
This comb may well have been worn for mourning, which was an important social custom in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Etiquette forbade any personal ornaments save those from dull dark colours. The material of choice was Whitby jet, but French jet, dyed horn and black celluloid were also used.
The combs of the mid-Victorian period are often extremely novel and eccentric in their design. All manner of strange weapon-like motifs, such as swords, bows and arrows, swords and daggers are regularly seen in engraved fashion plates of the period. Picture 9 is taken from a photograph of the 1890s and shows an unusual rear view of an attractive young lady with a dagger shaped hairpin thrust through her topknot.
The importance of Victorian mourning etiquette upon the production of jewellery and personal ornaments was very marked. This etiquette decreed that in deep mourning, the widow and close relative of the deceased must dress in plain dark garments with a long veil hanging from the bonnet. The only ornaments allowed to be worn at this time were those of jet, which is a natural material found in Whitby, a small town on the East coast of the UK. In order to extend the supply of jet when it became exhausted, various other materials were employed. One of these was French jet. period.
Item ID: A12-11-014
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