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Victorian Hair Pins

Whether the hairstyle was divided into three or more parts, some short, others long; or, the hair was complexly braided at the back, Victorian women adorned their chignons with tortoiseshell combs and pins. On top of the pins were fantastic gold creations of griffins with ruby eyes, silver so delicately woven it looked like lace,…

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More Treasures from The Frances Wright Collection

Frances has been generous enough to share more of her treasures with us. The photographs were taken by her husband, Terry Wright. This is a Romanov comb, the real thing. Faint now. It is tortoiseshell, with a gold, silver, and pearl heading and the mark of one of Faberge’s most famous designers. The original box,…

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Tortoiseshell Hair Combs from Different Worlds

The Bruce Frank Primitive Art Gallery has a beautiful 19th-Century tortoiseshell- and buffalo-horn comb for sale. Price on request. If you don’t have a tribal comb, have no idea of how to buy one correctly, but would like a top-class piece, I have no problem putting my name on a recommendation to buy this one….

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English Citrine Parure at Sotheby’s

Although this magnificent gold and citrine parure came from a Spanish collection, I believe its origin is English, c. 1830. This is because there is a special pouch in the original box for different fittings, which allow pieces to be worn in different ways. The bracelet clasps can be removed and worn as brooches. Post…

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BarbaraAnne’s Hair Comb Buying Guide

Here are my picks from around the web. This masterpiece was brought to my attention by The Creative Museum. Merci, Monsieur Touzinaud. The most magnificent cameos are those where the artist gives the natural coloration in the stone a purpose in his carved figure. In these stunning examples, the color defines flowers in the women’s…

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Jen Cruse: Garnets Adorning Hair Combs in the 19th Century

Garnets are semi-precious gemstones of the silicate (quartz) group of minerals, found in metamorphic rock in a variety of colours. They have been known since the Bronze Age not only as gemstones but also for their abrasive qualities. The gemstone variety has a rich transparent lustre while opaque garnets are used to this day as…

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Jen Cruse: Mid-19th Century Elegance: Hinged Comb with Bejeweled Heading

This gilt brass comb has a hinged decorative heading composed of pink, yellow and white golds and set with small garnets, emeralds and turquoises. The intricate crafting of the heading depicts leaves and flowers springing from two vases, placed on either side of a framed central malachite cabochon. The backward leaning teeth allow a tiara…

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Jen Cruse: Tortoiseshell versus Horn

For much of the nineteenth century, tortoiseshell was a luxury material that commanded high prices, whereas horn was a readily available material and inexpensive by comparison. By around 1830, the horn craftsmen found a method of clarifying and staining horn in imitation of tortoiseshell and, over succeeding decades, made combs, hairpins and other small items…