An attractive Edwardian or late Victorian hair comb in aluminium with clear rhinestone trim
CONDITION: good vintage condition with accepted wear
SIZE: 4¼ ins h x 2 ins w (10.5 x 5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1900 - 1910
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell, aluminium, rhinestones
Here is a pretty aluminium hair comb whose light and delicate appearance is typical of the hair accessories which appeared around the turn of the 20th century. It has two tines of celluloid faux tortoiseshell and the scalloped heading is set with clear rhinestones.
Changes in the manner of dressing the hair in the late 1800s led to a taste for smaller and lighter hair accessories than those which had been fashionable for the previous 20 years. The fashionable style was now the “Gibson Girl” look, where hair was dressed out over pads in a fluffy and feminine style with wisps escaping at the sides. With these softer styles the taste was for smaller ornaments, especially those with a light, openwork appearance. Aluminum was a popular metal on account of its delicate silvery appearance.
Aluminium is an interesting metal. Frenchman Henri Sainte-Claire Deville produced the first useful aluminium 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 jewellery, 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.