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A wonderful Regency or late Georgian period faux pearl tiara in perfect condition
Ideal for a vintage bride!
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 7 ins w x 1½ ins h at centre front (19 x 4 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1800-1830s
MATERIALS: gilded metal, steer horn, faux pearls
This is a lovely late Georgian or Regency period tiara comb in filigree made from fire gilded brass. It is in excellent condition and still has its original pearls. At a later period, probably in the Victorian era, this ornament was adapted to make it more wearable by the addition of a hinged steer horn comb.
The tiara comprises a curved openwork gallery with a design of square elements, each having a foliate design. Set above this on a row of spikes is a row of faux pearl balls. The comb mount which was added later is of steer horn which has been clarified and tinted deep amber. It is connected to the heading by a fully articulated gilded metal hinge.
The heading of this ornament may originally have been part of a set, consisting of a matching comb and tiara in a fitted case. The usual metal for them was silver, or silver gilt, (which is sterling silver which has been over-gilded), or as in this case, fire-gilt brass. This is nowadays usually given the name Pinchbeck. This metal gives the appearance of gold because it does not tarnish, although in fact it contains no gold at all.
Tiara mounts such as this, also called frontlets, were often purchased as part of a set which may contain a number of frontlets in different materials. The final picture is a compilation of some of the various designs which may be found in pearl tiara combs of this period, and is taken from contemporary portraits.
A form of hair comb which appeared in the early 19th century was what we now call a tiara comb. This is an ornament in which the teeth or prongs are set at a 90 degree angle to the decorative heading. When the object is worn the backwards projecting teeth are concealed beneath the front hair, and the upstanding front piece gives the appearance of a tiara proper.
In France, where most of these decorative tiara combs were produced, it was possible to secure matching sets. The ornamental headings, which were called frontlets, were secured to a detachable set of teeth by a small clip or screw fitting at either end or in the centre. A set might therefore contain a set of plain brass teeth, and two or three frontlets in different materials which could be changed to suit the occasion. Faux pearls, coral and various collared semi precious gemstones or pastes were the favourite modes of decoration.
Fire-gilding or mercury-gilding is a process by which an amalgam of gold is applied to metallic surfaces, the mercury being subsequently volatilized, leaving a film of gold. By this method, its color is further improved and brought nearer to that of gold, probably by removing any particles of copper that may have been on the gilt surface. This process, when skilfully carried out, produces gilding of great solidity and beauty, but owing to the exposure of the workmen to mercurial fumes, it is very unhealthy.
This method of gilding metallic objects was formerly widespread, but fell into disuse as the dangers of mercury toxicity became known. The process was generally supplanted by the electroplating of gold over a nickel substrate, which is more economical and less dangerous.
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Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: gold/pearl, Size: 7 ins w x 1½ ins h at centre front (19 x 4 cm)
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Regency pearl bridal tiara hair comb hair ornament headdress
$1,400 $1,200 USD SALE PENDING
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