A beautiful late Victorian silver tiara style hair comb with turquoise trim
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3½ ins h x 4 ins w (9 x 10 cm) height at centre front 1 ins (2.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: turquoise, silver (acid tested)
This beautiful tiara style 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 silver with an openwork design and three metal tines on the comb mount beneath. The heading has an openwork lower gallery just above the tines. This is decorated with a design, set with cabochon turquoise placed alternately in circular and lozenge shaped mounts. Raised above this are thirteen cabochon turquoise motifs, each set upon a spike. The smaller are set into a floral motif, alternating with a larger oval one.
The main feature in this type of comb is that the heading is adjustable. The comb is technically sophisticated, being attached to the prongs by a flexible hinge which allows it to rotate through 90 or more degrees. This enables the ornament to be adjusted to various positions within the coiffure. Such combs are of the type which may be worn either in the back of the hairdressing or above the forehead as a tiara. In this latter case the prongs would be concealed among the front hair. For this reason such combs are often called tiara combs, because of their resemblance in wear to the more formal ornament.
Around the turn of the 20th century there were changes in fashionable hairdressing, which favoured a softer and fluffier appearance. This led to a change in hair ornaments which decreased in size. Many of these ornaments are made in openwork of filigree silver or silver gilt, with delicate airy patterns.
Much of the colour disappeared from fashionable jewelry at this period, with a predominance of diamonds or diamond substitutes being used. However pale coloured materials such as coral and turquoise were still sometimes used in these beautiful and delicate hair ornaments.
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