Category Archives: 1920’s

Auguste Bonaz at the Creative Museum

The Creative Museum just acquired another masterpiece by Auguste Bonaz.

Made c. 1920 in Oyonnax, five medallions of painted leaves and rhinestones rest in the middle of a curved frame. The medallions are held in place by vertical lines.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to peruse some of the Creative Museum’s other Bonaz combs. Here are two combs from his Art Nouveau period, c. 1910.

Two delicately carved and painted peacocks hold a green medallion in a comb shaped for their tails. How lovely it would look when worn with an embroidered dress.

There are gold accents on this dragon’s wings and head, and his eyes are made of yellow paste stones.

In his Art Deco period, c. 1920…

I call this comb “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining.” Tines are used in a uniquely imaginative way, depicting both the rain pouring from the clouds, but also in their usual function at the bottom of the comb.

Black was the favorite color of the Art Deco pallette. In this comb, Bonaz put a turquoise cabachon in the middle, surrounded it with mosaic-like decorations, and lined everything with tiny silver dots.

Bonaz’s mantilla combs are unmatched. In this ivory one, the intricate decoration entrances the eye.

Celluloid was able to be shaped as far as the imagination could go, thanks to the comb-making machines at Oyonnax. In this comb, Bonaz suspends seven balls on an architectural frame.

Please feel free to examine more of the Creative Museum’s Auguste Bonaz collection and their exhibitions From Art Nouveau to Art Deco, Part 1 and Part 2


For more scholarly research, please examine our Resource Library and these books

Christie’s Art Deco

The Best of Bakelite and Other Plastic Jewelry

1933 French B/W Ad Auguste Bonaz Hair Jewelry Art Deco – Original Print Ad

Jen Cruse: Combs from the Miller Comb Museum

The three combs shown here each carry an important provenance – that of the Miller Comb Museum in Homer, Alaska, and date to the first quarter of the 20th century. They are featured in my book on page 79 (published in 2007) and have since come into my collection.

For me they are most interesting as this exquisite, smooth colour of turquoise celluloid (sometimes sky blue) is uniquely of US origin and quite unusual in the European market and in fact probably not used by European manufacturers at that time – dense bright green yes, and the solid colours of red and black.

The colours of the combs perfectly set off the clear paste-stone settings and gold decoration while their imaginative designs demonstrate a truly artistic flair by an inspired craftsman. As with the majority of combs, however, they are not marked or stamped with any identifying name.

For more scholarly research, please examine our Resource Library and Jen’s book:

The Comb: Its History and Development

Bandeaux in The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey

It was a time when no one thought the party would end. The First World War was over, women had gotten the vote, cars replaced horses, Chanel threw away the corset, hemlines rose, and white people discovered jazz.

To bob or not to bob, that was the question. Opera singer Mary Garden said, “I did it because I wanted to. I found it easier to take care of. I felt freer without long, entangling tresses. It typified a progressive step, in keeping with the inner spirit that animates my whole existence.”

Women with bobbed haircuts wore bandeaux across their foreheads, as their short curls underneath completed the look. The jewels were small, making a lightweight headdress that also liberated women from the heavy, large-jeweled, complex tiaras of the 19th Century.

Some women wore them just above their bangs, as in this example of Carey Mulligan wearing a bandeau Tiffany & Co. designed for the 2013 movie version of The Great Gatsby.

Here is the bandeau itself. There is a detachable brooch decorating the side, while ribbons attach it to the hair style.

Alexandre de Paris made a Gatsby-inspired bandeau in acrylics and rhinestones as part of its Christmas collection.

Coco Chanel, of course, designed something original: diamond bangs as a bandeau for women whose bob haircuts didn’t include them. This is the original piece from her famous 1932 jewelry collection, which she presented in her Paris apartment,

…and here is a dress she designed in 1927, which would look fabulous with it.

Seeing this combination moves my thoughts to Lady Rose MacClare of Downton Abbey.
In her bandeaux and Chanel-inspired dresses, she encapsulates the colossal vitality of unlimited expectations.

Here she is in Season 4 wearing the dress for her coming out ball. Accompanying it is a bandeau edged by two aquamarines and a feathered headdress.

I am glad the world had this fleeting decade of happiness in between the two World Wars, with its style and elation eternally preserved.


For more scholarly research, please examine our Resource Library and these items:

Chanel and Her World

Art Deco Hair: Hairstyles of the 1920s and 1930s

Tiffany’s 20th Century: A Portrait of American Style

The Great Gatsby

Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Complete Seasons 1, 2, & 3 DVD Set (Original U.K. Edition)

Downton Abbey “Gilded Age Boxed” Gold-Tone Edwardian Statement Center Baguette Pendant Necklace, 16″