A pretty sterling silver English Edwardian hair comb with shamrock design by Reynolds & Westwood, Birmingham 1904/05
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 4½ ins h x 1¼ ins w (11 x 3 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1904/5
MATERIALS: sterling silver
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 sterling silver with a formalised openwork design of shamrocks. The surface of the metal is enlivened with machine engraving.
In response to the fashion for smaller lighter hair ornaments around the turn of the 20th century we find many of these sterling silver two pronged and one pronged hair combs being produced. Typically the tines are corkscrew twisted to enable them to grip the hair. The headings, as here, as presented in an openwork design and embellished with a little machine engraving.
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. Sterling silver hair accessories were mass produced for the more popular end of the market around the turn of the 20th century.
These are typically done in a pierced openwork design which bears some resemblance to Art Nouveau interlacement. They have the appearance of being stamped out on a machine which is typically the case. Usually they are further embellished with engraved designs. The nicer ones may be enriched with enamel or set with stones of some kind. Typical motifs are flowers, such as roses, shamrocks and thistles, as well as butterflies and interlaced designs.
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