A handsome late Victorian or Edwardian back comb with lavish rhinestone decoration
CONDITION: slight wear to gold inlay here and there otherwise good vintage condition with no missing stones
MARKS: Marked 22 kt gold inlay
SIZE: 4 ins h x 4½ ins w (10 x 11 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
Here we have a very beautiful late Victorian or Edwardian back comb which dates from around the turn of the 20th century.
A back comb is a type of hair accessory specifically designed to be worn at the back of the hairdressing above, below or within the chignon. It is usually identified by a deep curve made to fit the skull. These combs are usually wider than they are high and have an elaborate heading or top decorated in some way.
This beautiful and elegant example is made from celluloid faux tortoiseshell which is nicely marked and realistically mimics the genuine material.
It has a complex gilded design of leaves which has first been engraved into the ground material and then in-filled with the gold. Each leaf is set along its length with clear rhinestones. In the centre of the heading is a large oval stone of faceted amethyst glass.
Picture 8 shows a selection of back combs available by mail order from the late 19th to early 20th century. We can see that such combs are typically very elaborate and there was a wide selection on offer. Picture 9 is taken from a French magazine illustration and shows elaborate hair accessories in the Art Nouveau taste. Back combs in the Art Nouveau taste can be particularly elaborate with cabochon stones and baroque pearls combined with enamel in a hand wrought or beaten metal setting.
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