A beautiful faux tortoiseshell late Victorian back comb with multi coloured rhinestones
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3 ins h x 4¼ ins w (7.5 x 10.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid, metal, rhinestones
Here is a very beautiful late Victorian back comb which dates from around the last decade the 19th century. It is made from celluloid faux tortoiseshell with the usual wide and narrow heading. To this is affixed a metal framework with a formalised design of leaves and scroll work. The framework is held on by rivets which are sunk into the ground material, not glued. It is prong set with multi coloured rhinestones in clear, green, pink and blue.
The collage picture includes similar examples taken from contemporary photographic sources of the late Victorian period and shows the fashionable hair dressing of the day.
A back comb is a type of hair accessory specifically designed to be worn at the back of the hairdressing either above, below or within the chignon. It is usually identified by a deep curve made to fit the skull. These combs are usually wider than they are high, and have an elaborate heading or top decorated in some way.
Victorian back combs are usually very elaborate and may be decorated in a variety of ways, such as with balls, cameos, openwork or applied materials. Ornaments dating from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods are usually simpler. They tend to have an affixed gilt metal, silver tone or sterling frame which is adorned with prong set rhinestones or faux gems.
Such combs were popular for supporting the puffed out Gibson Girl hairdressing which was fashionable around the turn of the 20th century. They also helped to support the huge hats of the period.
Victorian back combs are usually very elaborate and may be decorated in a variety of ways such as with balls, cameos openwork or applied materials. Ornaments dating from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods are usually simpler. They tend to have an affixed gilt metal, silver tone or sterling frame which is adorned with prong set rhinestones or faux gems. However back combs in the Art Nouveau taste can be particularly elaborate with cabochon stones and baroque pearls combined with enamel in a hand wrought or beaten metal setting.
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