Art Deco amber hair comb sunray style hair ornament vanity item - image 1 of 12

A large classic sunray style amber celluloid Art Deco hair comb

CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear

SIZE: 6 ins h x 6 ins w (15 x 15 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)


MATERIALS: celluloid


Here is a striking Art Deco translucent amber celluloid hair comb made in the iconic fan shape, in which lines or blades radiate out from the base of the heading. This heading design is typical of many combs of the period, with radiating lines or panels resembling sunrays, or perhaps the spokes of a wheel.

One theory about such designs is that the sun rays emerged from the popular vogue for sunbathing which began at this time. Previously ladies had shunned the idea of sunbathing. Another theory is that the spoke like designs reflected the wheel, and the obsession with speed and technology. This was the age of the car and the plane after all!


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.

Such frequently large and fan shaped Spanish style combs became extremely fashionable in Britain and America during the early 20th century. They were worn in a characteristic manner, being placed in the side or back of the hairdressing at an acute angle, and in such a way that the tall heading stood up proud. This enabled the often beautiful openwork decoration or the decorative effect which had been applied to the material, to be viewed from all angles, and for the details to be seen effectively outlined against the light.

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6" (15 cm)
6" (15 cm)
England • English
6 ins h x 6 ins w (15 x 15 cm)

The Spanish Comb

Art Deco amber hair comb sunray style hair ornament vanity item


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