Sterling silver hair slide in Art Nouveau style with engraved detail
CONDITION: good vintage condition with acceptable wear
SIZE: 4 ins h x 3 ins w (10 x 7.5 cm) decorative part 1½ ins h (4 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1901
MATERIALS: sterling silver
Here is a fine brite cut sterling silver hair comb dating from the very beginning of the 20th century. It has four tines and an openwork heading with an interlaced design that is typical of its type. These small silver hair accessories were a response to changes in hair fashions around the turn of the 20th century. The lighter and more feminine styles demanded more delicate and airy hair accessories. We can see some of these contemporary Gibson Girl hair styles in the final picture.
The heading bears the anchor sign for Birmingham (UK) and the date letter for 1901. It was made by silversmiths Pearce and Thompson of Vyse St, Birmingham who were active between 1894 and 1914. They specialised in hair combs, hatpins, pendants and other jewellery.
Small cut out silver combs were in their heyday at this period. The most usual method of adornment was brite-cut, a type of decorative engraving used on metal objects, especially those made of silver. The decorative designs are created by making a series of short cuts into the metal, using a polished engraving tool that causes the exposed surfaces to reflect light and give an impression of brightness.
In response to the fashion for smaller lighter hair ornaments around the turn of the 20th century we find many sterling silver hair combs being produced. Typically the tines are corkscrew twisted to enable them to grip the hair. These are usually done in a pierced openwork design which bears some resemblance to Art Nouveau interlacement. They have the appearance of being stamped out on a machine which is typically the case. Usually they are further embellished with engraved designs. The nicer ones may be enriched with enamel or set with stones of some kind. There are also those made in an asymmetric design shaped like leaves or fern fronds.
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Art Nouveau hair comb sterling silver 1901 hair accessory
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