Two late Victorian back combs in celluloid each embellished with rhinestone trim
CONDITION: good vintage condition with acceptable wear for age
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell, metal, rhinestones
Here are two late Victorian or Edwardian back combs which are similar in style. The larger comb is made in celluloid faux tortoiseshell and decorated with clear rhinestones set into a metal mounting with a scroll design. The smaller ornament is in amber coloured celluloid with a gently scalloped top and three rows of clear rhinestones.
#1 small comb measures 2 ins h x 3½ ins w (5 x 9 cm)
#2 large comb measures 2¾ ins h x 4¼ ins w (7 x 10.5 cm)
A back comb is a type of ornament which is specially designed to be worn at the rear of the head. Such ornaments are usually deeply curved to fit the back of the skull, which makes them unsuitable for wearing anywhere else. Typically they are broader than they are high, and have a top of heading finished off with some kind of decorative edge or border.
Combs such as there reached the apex of their popularity in the years around the turn of the 20th century. They were used to prop up the puffed out Gibson Girl hair dressing and also to support the large hats of the day.
The final picture shows a collection of similar hair accessories from this period taken from contemporary sources, and illustrated the hair styles with which they were worn.
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Two late Victorian hair combs with rhinestone trim hair accessory
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