A pretty French ivory hair comb with a rhinestone encrusted design
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3¼ ins h x 4½ ins h (6 x 11 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 19o0s
MATERIALS: French ivory
Here is an attractive back comb decorated with a deep top border of clear rhinestones and small metal dots placed between.
The ornament is made from an early celluloid substance, popularly known as French ivory. It was invented to substitute for the much more expensive elephant ivory which was becoming rare and expensive by the early 20th century. It contains no materials from an endangered species.
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. In this style the hair was fluffed out over pads and the fashionable back combs or large barrettes helped to support the back hair. Combs like this 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.
The collage picture shows similar hair ornaments taken from contemporary illustrative sources and the hair styles with which they were worn.
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Cream celluloid Art Deco hair comb rhinestone border hair accessory
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