A classic Victorian hinged tiara comb with lavish faux pearl decoration
For the vintage summer bride who likes something different
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 4 ins w x 3 ins h (10 x 7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850s – 1860s
MATERIALS: steer horn, metal, faux pearls
Here is a very beautiful and elaborate hinged Victorian hair comb which probably dates from the period 1850s – 1860s.
The comb mount, with seven sturdy tines, is made from the usual steer horn which has been dyed to resemble tortoiseshell. It is fastened by an articulated hinge of gilded metal to a curved brass heading piece.
Upon the heading are mounted seven large spherical faux pearls, each being placed within a spherical brass “dish”. Surrounding each pearl ball is a border of smaller pearls which are strung upon brass wire. These pearl beads are contained within a narrow channel that surrounds the outer edge of the “dish”.
The collage picture includes examples taken from contemporary Victorian printed and photographic sources. It shows similar items and the fashionable hair dressing of the day.
Victorian hairstyles were very elaborate with most of the interest concentrated on the back of the head. This is apparent in many of the kinds of hair accessories favoured in the mid Victorian period of 1850s – 1870s. Most of these hair accessories are equipped with a hinge which permits the angle of the heading to be adjusted. Therefore they could be placed within the chignon and used to conceal where false hair (essential to these bulky coiffures) may have been added.
As in most of these hinged Victorian combs, the prongs of this large and handsome example are made from horn. The main feature is the heading of gilt ormolu, which is made in a typical arched shape, and is adjustable through a full 180 degrees. The comb is technically sophisticated, being attached to the prongs by a flexible hinge of gilt metal, which allows it to rotate through 90 or more degrees. This enables the comb to be adjusted to various positions within the coiffure. This comb is 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. This is why it is called a tiara comb, because in wear it gives the effect of a much more formal ornament.
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