A handsome late Victorian back comb decorated with cameos and glass stones
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear for age
SIZE: 3 ins h x 4½ ins w (7.5 x 11 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid, metal, glass stones
Here is one of those beautiful and elaborate back combs which date from the period around the turn of the 20th century.
The base material is celluloid faux tortoiseshell which has been overlaid by a panel of “crinkled” gold tone metal. This is further embellished with three cameos and two lozenge shaped pink glass stones. The metal panel is attached to the heading by brass rivets which can be seen on the rear.
A back comb is a type of hair ornament which is specifically designed to be worn on the rear of the dressing. It is deeply curved on the horizontal plane to fit comfortably against the curve of the skull. Such combs are usually wider than they are high, their primary purpose being to support and ornament an up do. They are usually finished along the top of the heading with some form of decoration such as a metal application or rhinestones.
Combs like this were immensely popular in the period around the turn of the 20th century when they helped support the puffed out Gibson Girl hair dressing and the huge hats of the period. They are often found in sets of three in fitted cases with a larger and more elaborate comb to fit the back of the head and smaller ones for the sides.
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Victorian hair comb cameo embellished faux tortoiseshell hair accessory