Art Deco hair comb French ivory Spanish style hair ornament
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 8 ins h x 4½ ins w (20 x 11 cm) decorative part 5 ins h (13 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here is a tall and handsome comb made from a cream coloured material 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 lovely comb has a tall oval heading with a floral design imposed upon diagonals. The diagonals and the petals of the flowers are further embellished with rhinestones of black glass.
The collage picture shows a selection of illustrations from contemporary sources with similar hair accessories and the hair styles with which they were worn.
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 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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Art Deco French ivory comb with jet stones hair ornament