Category Archives: Victorian Hair Comb

Blonde Tortoiseshell Griffin

The griffin, or eagle-lion, is generally portrayed with wings, a beak, eagle claws and feathered, and pointy ears. Some traditions say that only female griffins have wings. Griffins found themselves on the cross of St. George, Greek mythology, Persian poetry, Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Divine Comedy.

I saw this comb on Ruby Lane. The dealer mentioned that she didn’t know if it was celluloid or shell. Three seconds after I looked at it, an unconscious force led my fingers to the shopping cart. Suddenly, when I regained consciousness, it had been delivered. I’d say this is a griffin on a hair pin hand carved out of one piece of blonde tortoiseshell, England, c. 1880.

Mother of Pearl Hair Combs

The Creative Museum has two stunning mother-of-pearl combs. The first is a masterpiece of mother-of-pearl (mop) cutting and engraving. It depicts a roe deer, which symbolizes wealth and longevity. In Celtic culture, its antlers symbolize heavenly light.

They also have a drop-dead mop comb with a floral motif.

So I have been served. ;-) Here is my mop hair pin with a bird in a cherry tree. All these combs are English, c. 1850.

Photographing Combs

I am working with lights, a friend’s instructions, flashes, oh my God there is so much to think about… :-) Here are four comb pictures from my collection. The first is a Chinese ivory export comb for the Victorian market, c. 1890. The second is a Chinese hair stick with a blonde shell bird on top. Last is a Japanese Meiji ivory set in perfect condition, which depicts flowers blowing in the wind. Enjoy!

Oh My God, This Coral Comb

It’s on sale on E-bay for $2500. In the Victorian Era, coral jewelry was said to promote good health. Seeing this and not being able to buy it promotes agony, so I’m not sure the Victorian theory has transposed well into the 21st Century. ;-) Branch coral on tortoiseshell, c. 1890. It’s a knockout.

Chinese Export Ivory Comb

There are so many EZ barrette wholesale auctions on ebay now, I’m going to go blind. And the same combs are advertised at prices no one will pay, time and time again. I don’t even know why I bother to check anymore. However, masochistically I looked and found this:

The ivory tines at the bottom are worn, but the design on top tells a story. This is a classic Chinese-made ivory comb for export to the Victorian market, c. 1890. It has 6 days to go, and it’s already over $100. This will go. I will not be bidding. However, I’m watching and will list the final price and winner next week. If I didn’t have an ivory comb in my collection, I’d go for this one.

Some combs I like

This late-Edo tortoiseshell comb is held in an open silver frame with a silver mount Fuji behind gold and silver birds. The fruit on the tree are pearls. A similar decoration graces the matching kogai stick. It comes in its original box and is selling for $1400 on Trocadero.

I also liked this carved gilt lacquer comb inlaid with mother of pearl flowers and decorated with flying cranes. With matching kogai stick, the set is signed Sho Rin. It is selling for $1200 on Trocadero.

However,I just bought my second Chinese export comb for the Victorian market, c. 1890, because it had a bird on it, and I don’t have a birdie comb. ;-) The price was $355 on ebay.

“Mine” Seagulls from Finding Nemo ;-)

I just wanted it: a real Victorian 1840s, ivory, Peigne Josephine comb, in perfect condition. There was a reserve. I’m not sure what it was, but the bid below me was $589, and I won it for $650. That’s a big difference in the price between bids on ebay. I have a feeling the seller’s reserve was $650, and I met it. Here is my treasure.