A pretty sterling silver and steer horn hair comb from the late 19th or early 20th century
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear for age
SIZE: 5 ins h x 1½ ins w (13 x 4 cm) decorative part 1½ ins h (4 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: steer horn, silver
Here is a pretty little two pronged hair comb which dates from the period around the turn of the 20th century. The comb mount is of steer horn which has been clarified to make it semi transparent and the heading is of sterling silver.
In response to the fashion for smaller lighter hair ornaments around the turn of the 20th century we find many of these sterling silver two pronged and one pronged hair combs being produced. The headings, as here, are presented in an openwork design and embellished with a little machine engraving. These are typically done in a pierced openwork design which bears some resemblance to Art Nouveau interlacement. They have the appearance of being stamped out on a machine which is typically the case. Usually they are further embellished with engraved designs.
The final picture illustrates similar hair accessories from contemporary sources and shows the hair styles with which they were used.
This is an excellent example of the smaller and lighter hair accessories which came into vogue in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Changes in the manner of dressing the hair affected the fashions of such ornaments and filigree and pierced effects were very popular.
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 and delicate airy designs. Combs and hairpins in metal and tortoiseshell filigree were especially popular.
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Sterling silver hair comb from the late Victorian period hair accessory