An unusual confetti Lucite hair comb from the late Art Deco period
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6½ x 4½ (16 x 11 cm) decorative part 3½ ins (9 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s – 1940s
MATERIALS: confetti Lucite
This very pretty and unusual Spanish style comb is probably made from one of the newer synthetics, such as Lucite, which allowed a number of exotic decorative effects. In this case the openwork design on the heading has been made with tiny gold metallic fragments which are suspended in the plastic. Combs like this seem to have originated in the USA and are generally known as “glitter” or sometimes “goldstone” effect combs, in imitation of the mineral known as goldstone which has glittering iron pyrites in it. Trade names for such effects were Tinseloid, Goldstone or Goldaleur.
The effect of these glittering fragments suspended in the ground material is generally known as confetti Lucite.
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb.
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments, showing how they were placed in the hair styles of the day.
Lucite (polymethyal methacralite) is an acrylic product, which because of its composition, can be formed into a variety of shapes and sizes. Two ingredients are mixed to produce Lucite, one an acrylic resin powder and the other a crystal clear liquid called a monomer. The combination results in a thick, opaque liquid, which is hand poured into moulds and allowed to partially set. After the Lucite has hardened, the moulds are placed in an oven for several hours where heat hardens the piece and pressure forces out air bubbles. The heat process changes the Lucite from an opaque white to a clear state.
Although clear in its original state, Lucite can be tinted virtually any colour, in ranges from transparent to opaque, with a few interesting variations along the way. One of these is so-called Confetti Lucite. This is basically a transparent form of Lucite with chips or glitter resembling metallics, mother of pearl or even rhinestones encased so that they appear to float in the material.
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