Victorian Boxed Hair Comb Faux Tortoiseshell with Rhinestones and Faux Pearls

An exquisite late Victorian boxed hair comb in faux tortoiseshell with rhinestone and pearl embellishment

CONDITION: good vintage condition

SIZE: 4½ ins h x 1¼ ins w (11 x 3 cms) box 5 x 2 ins (13 x 5 cms)

APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890 – 1900s


Here we have a beautiful example of the smaller and daintier hair accessories which became fashionable around the turn of the 20th century.

One of the features of jewellery at this time was that much of the colour disappeared and only the paler stones like diamonds and pearls, or their substitutes, were used in fashionable jewellery.

Along with moonstones and pearls, clear rhinestones were among the paler materials which appear in these small and exquisite combs. This one has a tortoiseshell comb mount with a curved top and two long tines. The arched heading is deeply set with a band of clear rhinestones in silver tone metal above a fleur de Lys shaped motif. Surmounting the top of the comb is a series of silver tone spikes surmounted by spherical faux pearls. In the centre is a trefoil motif with three large clear rhinestones.

This lovely comb comes complete in its own original case which is lined with cream coloured velvet and white silk. The silk lining of the lid has a split but is otherwise in good condition for its age. The outside of the case is covered in cream plush and is in good condition with light soiling commensurate with age.


Towards the end of the 19th century the fashion in hairdressing changed. Less false hair was used, and styles became simpler and closer to the head. Along with this fashion for closer hair styles came a vogue for ornaments that were smaller and simpler in designs that were delicate and airy. Filigree and openwork metal were popular for the headings of such combs.

Such ornaments were worn piercing the top knot or high chignon in such as way as to be visible from all angles. Picture 9 is taken from a contemporary late Victorian portrait of the 1890s and shows a sitter with a small delicate hair comb worn in this fashion.

Item ID: C13-06-011

Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: mauve/pearl, Size: 4½ ins h x 1¼ ins w (11 x 3 cms)


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The Spanish Comb

Norma Lammont, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK   

Antique and Vintage Hair Combs and Costume Accessories from Around the World

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