This unusual hair ornament with its cut steel tremblant butterfly is designed so that the top projection trembles when the piece is subject to any movement. The butterfly is mounted on a metal spring (probably steel). The three prong comb itself is created from a natural material and holds the butterfly from a hinged silver-like top.
Hair ornaments and combs were often designed with the use of cut steel. Although seldom dated, dating is frequently estimated by the design and style. The early pieces were made up of individually faceted pieces that were mounted to a base-plate through closely arranged holes so that tiny rivets protrude from the back. This is the case of the butterfly.
These hair ornaments were especially popular in France at the end of the 18th Century and early 19th Century. Cut steel, as a substitute for diamond jewelry, were often used because they reflect flickering candlelight with every facet.
The overall measurement--end to end - is 7 and 1/4 inches. The comb itself is 4 inches in length. The butterfly measures 2 and 1/2 inches by 2 inches. This is a rare and outstanding antiques in excellent condition and seldom seen in the antique jewelry marketplace.
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