Jamaican Shell Combs and Case, 1688

Similar sets of tortoiseshell H combs were produced in 17th-Century Jamaica. The French produced H combs in the 1400s for religious purposes, then as the Renaissance progressed the H-comb themes became love stories. In Turkmenistan, they still make silver H combs. The comb is made of wood, and the silver is decorated with carnelian and turquoise.

Jamaica was granted arms in 1662, seven years after the British conquered the island in 1655, and eight years before Spain officially recognized Britain’s claim to the island in 1670, the Treaty of Madrid.

As you can see one handle of the H broke off one of the combs, but the carving and its history is beautiful and museum-worthy. This set is estimated at $5,000 – $7,000.

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3 Responses to Jamaican Shell Combs and Case, 1688

  1. anthony uusitalo says:

    i have two similar combs one is double sided the other is single sided and is curved.they both are inlaid with silver and brass dots?the double sided one is 24cm from top to bottom the other is nthony26cm. it would be much appreciated if you could me find out their origins.Anthony Uusitalo

  2. haircombdiva says:

    I’d need to see pictures of them. You may send them to barbara@panix.com, and I’ll take a look. If I don’t know, I know people who would. Thanks for writing in!

  3. Ronnie Butler says:

    I am doing research into Jamacian wig combs made 1671 – 1691 as i have acquired one dated 1688. i am interested in Antony Uusitalo’s post about the comb he has and would like to establish if it is one that is known already or another one to add to the list. Can you help?

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