A pretty late Victorian single prong hair comb set with turquoise
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5 ins h x 1 ins w (13 x 2.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: faux tortoiseshell, metal, turquoise
Here we have one of those pretty single pronged hair accessories or hair picks which became fashionable around the turn of the twentieth century.
This ornament is more elaborate than the usual run of “hair daggers” which tend to be made from plain faux tortoiseshell. The heading is here decorated with an applied floral motif in silver tone metal, and is set with turquoise cabochons.
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 looking hair accessories. Some of these hair accessories had only one or two tines.
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments and how they were placed in the hair styles of the day.
Towards the end of the 19th century the fashion changed, less false hair was used, and styles became simpler. Along with this fashion for closer hair styles came a vogue for ornaments in all manner of eccentric forms. As well as all kinds of birds, animals and even insects we find hair ornaments in the form of fearsome looking weapons. So the fashionable lady’s topknot might be pierced by swords, daggers, arrows, axes or, as in this case, a halberd. It is as though no object was too odd or unusual to decorate milady’s coiffure.
Alongside the daggers and swords was a vogue for single pronged ornaments which we would now term hair picks or hair sticks. Typically they have a long pointed shaft which pierces the hair. 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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