Monthly Archives: March 2011

Japanese dressing haircombs

Par Creative Museum

La complexité et le raffinement de la culture japonaise se traduit, au niveau de la coiffure, par d’innombrables outils de coiffeur. Nous disons “outil” car le mot “peigne” serait trop restrictif. En effet, pour dresser, draper, nouer les longs cheveux des Japonaises, il faut être coiffeur, mais aussi sculpteur, couturier, parfumeur et décorateur !

Il n’existe pas moins de 200 pièces de bois destinées à cet usage, toutes de formes différentes ; chacune porte un nom particulier et concerne les nombreuses variations des coiffures de geishas, de théâtre kabuki ou même de lutteurs sumo.

Les artisans qui autrefois réalisaient ces peignes, râteaux, fourchettes, égaliseurs, lisseurs, etc, ont maintenant disparu. Les meilleurs d’entre eux ne pouvaient produire plus de trois pièces par jour et le buis qu’ils utilisaient devait sécher au moins deux ans avant d’être travaillé. Cette belle tradition n’a pas survécu à notre monde moderne. Les outils de coiffeur qui subsistent sont donc à conserver précieusement. On est subjugué par la modernité de leurs lignes que ne désavoueraient pas les plus grands créateurs d’aujourd’hui.

On dit qu’un objet est parfait quand on ne peut plus rien lui enlever, ni rien lui rajouter. C’est vraiment le cas ici.

A group of different shape boxwood combs

Two dressing combs with its similar doll combs

Hairdresser doing a traditional Japanese hairstyle

Diamond Thoughts, Old and New

This is a modern replica of a Victorian tiara, made of 5 graduated diamond flowerheads, some have a 2- to 3-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond in the center and 2 or more carats of D flawless white diamonds, which make up the petals. There are also marquise-shaped yellow diamonds on the bandeau. It is part of a parure. This 5-piece set and can either be hooked onto the necklace to make a second tier or worn as the tiara, shown. With earrings, the price estimate is $500,000. It is being auctioned in Dubai on April 20.

But sometimes, artists can have different thoughts about diamonds. Here are graduated diamond studs hooked around rubber to make a bandeau. I have never seen this combination of materials before, and I love it.

Islamic Art

This gilded, enameled turban ornament is from 19th Century Persia. On the front, the central panel depicts foliage and is surrounded by diamonds. The plumed crown has rubies, emeralds, and is bordered in blue enamel, fringed with pearls. The reverse side is enameled in green, blue, pink, and gold, and also fringed with pearls and a flower. Sotheby’s is estimating the price at 40,000 to 60,000 GBP.

This rare ruby and diamond tiara comes from the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, c. 1800. Its openwork frame supports a large diamond floral rosette in the center surrounded by diamond petals and floral sprays. On top, the crown boasts a star and crescent. Estimated price: 30,000 to 40,000 GBP.

Alexandre de Paris: Butterfly Convention

This butterfly tiara is made from acrylic plastic, where one color slumbers into another. A black butterfly outline is put on top to define each shape and mimic plique a jour enamel. I’m afraid to call the New York store and ask what this costs. When the company creates a piece like this, they may make three of them.

Jessica Beauchemin

By the Creative Museum:

She sculpts different woods into hair-comb heaven. Describing her philosophy, Ms. Beauchemin says, “I strive to explore fine woodworking, to develop a personal approach that will enhance the riches and nuances of the matter. I shape solid woods and veneers in symbiosis with other natural materials such as mother-of-pearls, stones, metals and fibres. Hair ornaments are the medium through which I explore. Mythical, symbolical and sensual objects, hair combs and pins offer a vast array of conceptual, aesthetic and technical possibilities. Through my approach, I wish to explore notions such as balance, combination of materials and visual poetry.”

Creative Museum: Crown of Immortality

By the Creative Museum:

The Crown of Immortality is a literary and religious metaphor, which developed visual representations, initially as a laurel wreath, and later as a symbolic circle of stars (often a crown, tiara, halo or aureola). The Crown appears in a number of Baroque iconographic and allegoric works of art, and indicates immortality for the wearer. Sterling silver 925.

La couronne d’immortalité est une métaphore religieuse qui se décline en différentes représentations, notamment la couronne de laurier ou la couronne étoilée. Elle apparaît sur grand nombre de statues de vierges ou de saintes baroques dans les pays de culture hispanique. Argent 925.

Elizabeth Taylor: Tiara Queen

It doesn’t matter that she had La Peregrina, the Taylor-Burton diamond, and the Vera Krupp diamond, Elizabeth Taylor had the royal presence to wear tiaras when all you noticed was her. Alexandre de Paris himself wove strands of pearls through her hair. A queen has died. Bowing my head in reverence, I offer a prayer for her journey into the next world: Sviatoslav Richter playing Ravel’s Pavane pour une Infante Defunte, or in English Pavane for a Dead Princess.


Wood combs in European cultures

Par le Creative Museum (The English translation can be found in the first comment.)

Pour les cultures occidentales, le peigne en bois a souvent été le parent pauvre de l’ornement de coiffure. La plupart du temps, on utilisait le bois pour fabriquer des peignes de toilette, mais on l’oubliait dès qu’il s’agissait de créer un bijou pour les cheveux. On lui préférait alors des matériaux plus nobles comme l’écaille, l’argent, la corne ou même le plastique, enrichi de pierres du Rhin.

On peut trouver cependant des réalisations artisanales qui nous offrent des modèles en bois pleins de charme et il serait vraiment dommage de les ignorer. Les créateurs d’aujourd’hui pourraient bien en faire un matériau privilégié car il offre des possibilités décoratives non négligeables. On peut le sculpter ou garder ses lignes pures, le polir, le peindre, le laquer ou encore l’embellir avec d’autres matières.

Voici quelques exemples qui sont en eux-mêmes un éloge du bois.

American wood comb with silver and pink stones decoration

Buffalo figure carved out of clear wood.

Old black lacquered wood comb with typical East European painting

To see more European wooden combs, you may click here.

Lalique Icy Leaves

c.1904 – 1905. The comb is horn, the brim is gold, the leaves are tortoiseshell, and the diamonds make them look like ice.

There was an excellent doctoral thesis done on Lalique by Fallon Lee Miller of Eastern Michigan University in 2003. Beautifully referenced for scholarly research. I recommend taking the time to read it.

Edwardian Hair Pins

In the late 19th Century, blonde tortoiseshell hair pins with jewels wrapped around them were especially popular. Sotheby’s is selling a set of three with the twisted-rope design. They are decorated with garnet carbuncles, separated by rose diamonds. Price estimate: 4,000 GBP, and we’ll know the price realized on St. Patrick’s Day. The value of a set is almost always higher than that of an individual piece.

For those of us who do not have an extra $8000 hanging around to buy three Edwardian hair pins, Ruby lane is selling a small one with diamonds for $750.