A pretty late Victorian hinged hair comb with faceted amber glass balls
CONDITION: slight chip to one side of the central amber piece otherwise good vintage condition
SIZE: 4 ins h x 2½ ins w (10 x 6 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1880s – 1900s
MATERIALS: steer horn, metal, glass
Here we have a handsome example of a classic hinged late Victorian hair comb. The main feature is that the heading is adjustable, being attached to the prongs by a flexible hinge of gilt metal, which allows it to rotate through 90 or more degrees. This enables the ornament to be adjusted to various positions within the coiffure.
The comb mount is of steer horn which has been clarified and tinted a pale amber colour. The heading is of gilded brass, (ormolu) and made in a crescent shape like a coronet. There are a series of five graduated faceted amber coloured glass motifs set upon the curved band in coronet style.
Such combs may be worn either in the back of the hairdressing, within the chignon, or above the forehead as a tiara. In wear the teeth of the comb would be concealed among the hair, giving the effect of a tiara.
In the late 19th century an art movement called the “Aesthetic Movement” gained popularity among intellectuals. In fashion this led to the prevalence of natural softer vegetable dyes which produced half tints of amber gold, indigo, salmon, sage-green and terracotta. Along with these fabrics the jewels of choice were necklaces of large amber beads in clear and cloudy effects. Many hair accessories in this style were produced during the 1880s – 1900 period.
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