An exquisite late Victorian or Edwardian single prong hair pin or hair sword with silver tone metal embellishment.
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5½ ins h x 1¼ ins w (14 x 3 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s - 1900
This pretty hair accessory is made in faux tortoiseshell celluloid and has a simple sword like shaft coming to an acute point at one end. Many of these ornaments incorporate a series of twists into the shaft to help them stay in the hair. Here the ornament is topped off by a beautiful heading of silver tone metal filigree. The design is a symmetrical one of scroll work and typical of the period.
This pretty hair accessory can be worn with classic hair styles such as a French Twist or chignon and would be ideal for a formal occasion or a late Victorian re-enactor costume.
Sword shaped hair accessories having a single prong were very popular around the turn of the 20th century. Illustration 8 shows a selection of such single pronged “swords” from a contemporary mail order catalog. Such ornaments were placed in the coiffure as shown in the final illustration, picture 9. They were situated in such a way that the fancy heading could be seen from every angle, allowing the beauty of the openwork design to be seen. The illustration is taken from a late 19th century cabinet photo and shows a sitter with a high topped ornament worn in this way.
This “hair sword” (as they were often called) is a beautiful example of the smaller and daintier hair accessories which became fashionable around the turn of the 20th century.
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.
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