A striking mid Victorian vulcanite mourning hair comb
CONDITION: the comb does show some discolouration as a result of age.
SIZE: 5½ ins h x 3½ ins w (14 x 9 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1880s - 1900
Here is an unusual high topped mourning comb made from vulcanite with an elaborately moulded openwork heading.
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 vulcanite
Also known as Ebonite natural rubber is in the form of latex obtained from certain tropical trees. It was introduced commercially in the 1840s and was adopted by comb manufacturers because it had several advantages over horn and tortoiseshell. These substances were limited by the size, grain and thickness of the natural material. Being cheap to produce it was readily adaptable to comb manufacture. It was mostly used for dressing combs but ornamental combs with simple moulded designs are also found.
The final illustration is a compilation of pictures of sitters in mourning from contemporary sources.
6 other shoppers have this item in their Cart or Wish List
Antique and Vintage Hair Combs and Accessories from Around the World
Exciting new items arrive regularly so do check back often!