Matched pair of rhinestone hair ornaments with Art Nouveau styling
CONDITION: good vintage condition with acceptable wear
SIZE: 5 ins h x 2¼ ins w (13 x 6 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell, rhinestones
Here is an attractive pair of rhinestone decorated hair combs with Art Nouveau styling of swirling interlaced lines. The first Art Nouveau ornaments were hand made and carved from clarified horn. These were very expensive and beyond the means of working people. These were quickly followed by mass produced versions made in celluloid and intended for the popular market. These cheaper versions reproduced the typical motifs of the genre, but were produced by machine. Typically they were made in translucent amber or faux tortoiseshell effects with a swirling asymmetric design suggestive of organic forms.
Fashions in hair dressing changed in the last ten tears of the 19th century. The styles were simpler and a softer, fluffier appearance was fashionable. From the 1900s the Gibson Girl coiffure was popular, whereby the hair was fluffed out over pads with wisps often escaping at the back and sides.
Along with these softer and more feminine coiffures hair accessories grew smaller, lighter and more delicate. Airy openwork designs, such as those of filigree were popular. Small combs made from metal of openwork faux tortoiseshell were set at an angle into the high topknot. Where stones are used they are set in lacy openwork metal mountings, or resemble miniature coronets on a rotating hinge.
The collage picture shows a selection of illustrations from contemporary sources with similar hair accessories and the hair styles with which they were worn.
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Matched pair Edwardian rhinestone hair combs faux tortoiseshell hair ornament