A pretty Victorian hinged hair comb with unusual “folding leaves” articulated arrangement
CONDITION: some minor nibbles to edges of leaves otherwise good vintage condition with accepted wear
SIZE: 2½ ins h x 5½ ins w (6 x 14 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1860s – 1880s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is an unusual hair comb in faux tortoiseshell. It has a heading which is folded down over the tines. The heading comprises three leaf like motifs which are attached to the comb mount by a hinged arrangement. This means that they can be adjusted to different angles as shown in some photographs.
The collage picture shows further examples of such hair accessories with a “folded down” top and the hair styles with which they were worn
This comb is of the type which was particularly designed to be worn in the back of the coiffure. In the mid-Victorian coiffure, masses of false hair were worn in order to construct the elaborate styles. Combs such as these would have been very effective at concealing the addition of these false tresses.
By the late 19th century genuine tortoiseshell had become very expensive. Therefore most of the hair ornaments which appear to be made of shell are, in fact, made from synthetics. These faux tortoise combs can be very pretty and effective since it is unusual to find two with exactly the same markings. Some of them are very convincing and are skillfully treated to imitate the random brown and orange mottling of genuine tortoiseshell. However, examined with a magnifying glass, genuine shell has a three dimensional quality which cannot be duplicated.
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Victorian faux tortoiseshell hair comb with folding leaves hair accessory