A handsome matched pair of Victorian mourning hair pins decorated with French jet
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 4½ ins h x 1¾ ins w (11 x 4 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1880s - 1900
MATERIALS: celluloid, French jet
Here is a handsome matched pair of Victorian combs. The ground material is glossy black celluloid with a curved heading. This is decorated with faceted pieced of French jet in various shapes and sizes which are secured in a metal frame. The combs each have two sturdy tines and are in excellent condition’
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts the dress if a widow and similar Victorian mourning ornaments
French jet is a glittering form of black glass which has nothing to do with France, but was produced mainly in Bohemia, now part of modern Czechoslovakia. In the late 19th and early 20th century it was extremely popular for jewellery making.
The importance of Victorian mourning etiquette upon the production of jewellery and personal ornaments was very marked. This etiquette decreed that in deep mourning, the widow and close relative of the deceased must dress in plain dark garments. The only ornaments allowed to be worn at this time were those of jet, which is a natural material found in Whitby, a small town on the East coast of the UK.
In order to extend the supply of jet when it became exhausted, various other materials were employed. One of these was French jet. Many beautiful combs and hairpins are found in this attractive and fragile material.
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