A handsome Victorian tortoiseshell hair comb with gold pique decoration
CONDITION: some ball ornaments missing from heading otherwise good vintage condition with expected wear.
SIZE: 4¼ ins h x 5 ins w (10.5 x 13 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1860s – 1880s
MATERIALS: tortoiseshell, gold inlay
Here is a very handsome mid Victorian pique hair comb with slight losses which could easily be restored. The balls in the centre and outer edges are absent. However these could easily be replaced by balls of faceted jet, which are obtained from old necklaces and broken combs of the period. Half drilled ball ornaments are also obtainable from hobby shops and suppliers.
The comb is made in two separate pieces of natural dark brown tortoiseshell. The comb mount has four tines and is riveted to a curved heading piece. However the heading is not hinged, as in many combs of this period.
The heading has a lower gallery with metal studs inset and a gold painted design. This is surmounted by an upper gallery of upstanding elements which are inlaid with tiny gold pique stars. Each element supports a ball which is itself inlaid with pique.
Pique is the decorative treatment of inlaying precious metals into another material, usually tortoiseshell, but occasionally horn or other substances. This technique was extensively used for the decoration of hair combs and other personal adornments during the reign of Victoria. When gently heated, usually by insertion in hot water, natural organic materials soften to permit the inlaying of small pieces of metal or other substance. When cool, the ground material contracts to hold the pieces in tightly in place without the need for adhesive.
If this item includes any CITES Appendix I materials documentation and certificates required by law for commercial sale, import or export, have been obtained for this item and will be included with it at shipment.
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