A Spanish style faux tortoiseshell hair comb with a distinctive hand painted design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6½ x 3½ ins (16 x 9 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: faux tortoiseshell, rhinestones
Here we have a nicely marked faux tortoiseshell comb of the Spanish style, which probably dates from the early 20th century.
It has five tines and a tall oval heading. There is a decorative solid panel in the centre and an open scroll work border surrounding. The centre panel has a hand painted design executed in dark and lighter blue. It is further embellished with rhinestones in clear and amber.
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb.
Many of the later 19th century the hair ornaments which appear to be made of tortoise are, in fact, made from synthetics. These faux tortoise combs are some of the prettiest to be found at this period, since it is unusual to find two exactly alike. Some of them are very convincing and difficult to distinguish from the genuine material, and are skilfully treated to imitate the brown and orange mottling of genuine tortoiseshell.
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