A striking Edwardian aluminum hair comb with a distinctive geometric shape.
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 4½ ins h x 3½ ins w (11 x 9 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1900-1910
MATERIALS: aluminum, rhinestones
Here is a beautiful aluminum hair comb which is typical of the hair ornaments in fashion around the turn of the 20th century.
One of the characteristics of hair accessories of this period was their effect of lightness and delicacy, compared with what had gone before. Designs in a pierced filigree effect, or set with light or clear coloured stones were fashionable. Thousands of these attractive aluminum combs set with clear rhinestones were produced at this time.
However the design here is much more unusual than the usual “rococo” look. Here we have an ornament in which the asymmetrical heading is deeply curved and bent over to the left hand side. It is made in a formalised design which contrasts panels of florals and scroll work with a geometric effect in the centre. Notice also that the form of the comb is deeply curved, as though it were intended to be worn on the side of the head. The heading and tines do not lie in a vertical plane. This can be discerned in some of the profile photographs.
Aluminum is an interesting metal. Frenchman Henri Sainte-Claire Deville produced the first useful aluminum in 1854. The metal made its first public appearance the next year, at the 1855 Paris Exposition. Until 1862, it was considered a rare metal, and was used mostly for jewelry, decorative objects and delicate mechanical parts. As technological developments made aluminium more widely available, it came to symbolize modernity, and its malleability was soon appreciated by practitioners of the avant-garde and Art Nouveau. It was later used for much Modernist influenced jewellery and personal ornaments.
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