A beautiful Victorian hinged tiara style hair comb with silver embellishement
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 4½ ins h x 5 ins w (11 x 13 cm) decorative part 1 ins h (2.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1880s – 1900
MATERIALS: celluloid, silver
Here we have a classic hinged French comb which probably dates from the Napoleon III period 1850s – 1860s. The ornament has a comb mount of black dyed horn, attached to which is a curved silver heading set with various motifs. These show bell like flowers, with an arrangement of silver metal balls placed between. The balls are graduated in size, with the largest placed in the centre as usual. This centre ball has a small additional sphere placed on the top.
As in most of these hinged combs, the prongs of this large and handsome example are made from horn. The main feature is the heading of silver, 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.
The collage picture includes similar examples of tiara combs taken from contemporary photographic sources and shows the fashionable hair dressing of the day.
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