An attractive French Ivory fan shaped hair comb with clear rhinestone embellishment
CONDITION: some rhinestones have darkened but none are missing. Generally good vintage condition
SIZE: 5½ x 6½ ins (approx 14 x 16.5 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1900 – 1920s
The ornament is made from an early celluloid substance, popularly known as French ivory, because it was invented to substitute for the much more expensive elephant ivory which was becoming rare and expensive by the early 20th century.
The design of the fan shaped heading on this lovely French ivory comb features a series of complex radiating lines placed beneath openwork arches. Panels of scrollwork appear between the arches and the design is accentuated by clear rhinestones.
The final illustration, taken from a contemporary coloured postcard, shows a model with a similar fan shaped comb.
This is a variation of the classic spokes or sunray design and a typical motif in Art Deco combs. Some people interpret the spokes as representing the wheel, and thus symbolising the fascination with speed and machinery. Others believe that the rays represent the sun, and indicate the popular fetish for sun bathing and outdoor exercise. Another interpretation is that of the palm leaf, which brings in an "Egyptian" flavour.
You can read more about hair accessories in my articles. They are available as a PDF document from my document archive by clicking the "Favourite Links" tab on the left of this page.
Item ID: W13-01-049
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