A pretty filigree faux tortoiseshell late Victorian or Edwardian hair comb
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6 ins h x 2 ins w (15 x 5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: faux tortoiseshell celluloid
This beautiful comb is an excellent example of the smaller and daintier hair accessories which were worn at the end of the Victorian period. It is made in celluloid faux tortoiseshell with two tines and a delicate lacy pattern to the heading.
Fashions in hair dressing changed in the last ten tears of the 19th century. The styles were simpler and a softer, fluffier appearance was fashionable. From the 1900s the Gibson Girl coiffure was popular, whereby the hair was fluffed out over pads with wisps often escaping at the back and sides.
Along with these softer and more feminine coiffures hair accessories grew smaller, lighter and more delicate. Airy openwork designs, such as those of filigree were popular. Where stones are used they are set in lacy openwork mountings, or resemble miniature coronets on a rotating hinge.
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.
The surface of the material in this hair ornament is beautifully marked with the typical “tortoise” style mottling and is a very faithful imitation of genuine shell. Many of the later 19th century the hair ornaments which appear to be made of tortoise are, in fact, made from synthetics. These faux tortoise combs are some of the prettiest to be found at this period, since it is unusual to find two exactly alike. Some of them are very convincing and difficult to distinguish from the genuine material, and are skilfully treated to imitate the brown and orange mottling of genuine tortoiseshell.
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