A handsome tiara style Victorian hair comb in steer horn and cut steel
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 4½ ins h x 4 ins w (11 x 10 cms) with heading folded down
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1880s - 1900
MATERIALS: steer horn, metal
Here we have a large and handsome example of a classic hinged mid Victorian tiara style hair comb. The ornament has a comb mount of blonde steer horn with four tines to hold it in place against the hair. This is secured by a rotating hinge to a tiara like heading comprising an open framework of polished brass. Attached to this are faceted studs of polished steel in various shapes and sizes.
The main feature of this type of comb 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. This feature can be seen in the various photographs.
Such combs may be worn either in the back of the hairdressing, within the chignon, or above the forehead as a tiara where they give the effect of a tiara proper.
Cut steel combs and tiaras are characteristically made with headings covered with studs of faceted steel and riveted to a backing plate of white metal. The construction of the comb can be studied in one of the close up photographs. This comb uses different shapes and sizes of steels in the design. This variety of different shapes and sizes is regarded as one of the sure hallmarks of high quality in a piece.
The use of cut steel is very characteristic of the Victorian period. Production of cut-steel goods began in the early 1800s and continued until the end of the century, although the later examples tend to be very crude in comparison with earlier ones.
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