A pretty French ivory hair comb in Spanish mantilla design
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 6 ins h x 3 ins w (15 x 7.5 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: French ivory
Here is an attractive Spanish style hair comb with a tall oval shaped heading. The openwork design incorporates scroll work and lozenges.
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.
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb. Such combs are worn placed high on the head in order to allow the beauty of their ornamental cresting to be admired.
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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