A pretty faux tortoiseshell comb or hair pin in a twisty shape with gold pique trim
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5 x 1½ ins (13 x 4 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell, gold inlay
Here we have one of the small two pronged hair pins or picks which date from around the turn of the 20th century. This is an example of the smaller and lighter hair accessories which came in during the later 1890s and were fashionable around the turn of the 20th century. The ornament is made from faux tortoiseshell and a pointed heading which has been formed at the top into a twist. It is decorated in an asymmetrical design with gold pique inlay. The comb is made in beautifully marked faux tortoise shell with well defined mottling of lighter semi transparent patches on a dark opaque ground. It has a broad shallow heading and the eight tines are all in good condition and nicely pointed, not broken or chipped. The collage picture shows examples from contemporary sources of such novel hair accessories, and how they were worn.
Towards the end of the 19th century the fashion in hairdressing changed to a softer more feminine look. The late Victorian and Edwardian styles were simpler and this in turn led to a taste for lighter and more delicate hair accessories. Some of these hair accessories had only one or two tines. They were worn piercing the high chignon in such a manner that the decorative top was visible from all angles.
The top or heading is usually decorated in some fancy manner, with pierced work, gilded metal, or stones. These single pronged hair pins appear in a wide variety of materials such as faux tortoiseshell, horn, or celluloid. The best are decorated with materials such as French Jet or mother of pearl.
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