A fine Art Deco French ivory bandeau comb with rhinestone trim
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear for age
SIZE: 2 ins h x 4 ins w (5 x 10 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
MATERIALS: French ivory, rhinestones
This attractive hair ornament is made from an early celluloid substance, popularly known as French ivory, because 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.
The comb probably dates from the early 20th century and is simply decorated in the classic Art Deco style. It has a wide scalloped heading which curves around the back of the head. The decoration comprises a border of alternating blue and amber rhinestones let into the top edge.
This ornament is of the type often called a bandeau or shingle comb, because in wear it encircles the back of the head rather like a bandeau. It was characteristically worn above a low chignon if the wearer had long hair. This is a design that was popular in the period 1910-25.
During this period, many women had their hair cut short in the extremely short crop called the “shingle”, but later regretted it. These combs were designed to hold the growing wisps of hair at the nape of a lady who had decided to re-grow her hair, where it was not yet long enough to be gathered into a chignon. The wide part of the comb encircled the back of the head, like a bandeau, and kept these short locks tidily in order. 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 with openwork or set with faceted stones.
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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French ivory hair comb Art Deco bandeau style hair ornament
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