A handsome late Victorian hair comb or hair pin set with Bohemian pyrope garnets
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 4 ins h x 1½ ins w (10 x 4 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1880s 1900
MATERIALS: pyrope garnets, metal
Here is a very beautiful garnet two pronged comb of hair pin which probably dates from the late Victorian period.
The ornament takes the shape of a star, with two long tines to hold it in position. The foundation is of gilded brass and the heading is mounted upon an articulated hinge, which means that it can be adjusted to various angles. The “star” design is built up in a three dimensional manner with stones of various shapes and sizes closely encrusted to cover the background metal.
Garnets are the quintessentially Victorian stones used in ornaments and jewellery throughout the period. The colour of sangria, pyrope garnets look seductive and mysterious, a gem for the night. Victorian jewellers set the small, brilliant-cut stones en masse, clustering scores of garnets in brooches, necklaces, earrings, rings and hair combs. The effect is a deep, shimmery pool of colour that catches the light and transforms it.
In English examples the garnets are set into gilded brass or vermeil (usually gold-plated silver). European examples are usually set in silver. Occasionally the settings are of low-carat gold.
The word garnet is believed to have come from the Latin granatus, for pomegranate. The “Bohemian” aspect derives from the fact the stones had been mined for centuries in what is the Czech Republic today but was Bohemia until 1918. Though there are different colours and kinds of garnets, Bohemians are of the pyrope variety, a deep rich red. Bohemian garnets' popularity peaked from 1860 to about 1890.
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