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A striking mid Victorian hinged tiara style hair comb in cut steel
CONDITION: hinge slightly loose otherwise good vintage condition
SIZE: 3¼ ins h x 3¼ ins w (8 x 8 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850s – 1860s
MATERIALS: steer horn, cut steel
Here is a classic cut steel hinged tiara type hair ornament from the mid Victorian period.
The comb mount is made from steer horn with ten tines. As usual in this type of comb, the horn has been painted with chemicals to resemble the more expensive tortoiseshell. Attached to the comb mount by a rotating brass hinge is a crescent shaped piece of white metal whose outer surface is packed with the faceted studs known as cut steel work. The design is an arcaded one, which resembles a miniature coronet.
The interesting thing about the construction of this type of hair accessory is that instead of being upstanding, the heading folds down over the prongs. This is made possible by a rotating hinge which attached the ornamental heading to the comb mount, and allows it to be adjusted to various positions within the coiffure. Hair ornaments such as this could be worn at the back of the dressing, within or beneath the chignon. They could also be placed on top of the head, like a mini tiara. This is why such ornaments are sometimes called tiara combs.
In the mid-Victorian coiffure, masses of false hair were worn in order to construct the elaborate coiffures. Combs such as these would have been very effective at concealing the addition of these false tresses. The collage photograph shows several illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments and how they were placed in the hair styles of the day.
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.
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. This can be seen in several of the photographs.
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Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: silver/brown, Size: 3¼ ins h x 3¼ ins w (8 x 8 cm)
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Victorian hair comb cut steer hinged tiara hair accessory
$180 USD SOLD
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