Category Archives: Mexican Hair Comb


From the English, we know that different fittings can make an extraordinary piece of jewelry into a practical object. Consider multiple functions for a set of diamond brooches.

I have always felt you can take a brooch to a jeweler and ask him or her to make a barrette fitting in addition to the pinback. This simple act increases your choice of ornaments 100-fold.

Movie stars have made fashion history doing this.

Here are some brooches I would wear in my hair.

J.E. Caldwell was an American jeweler from Philadelphia. He was known for his Art Nouveau and Art Deco pieces and made this platinum-mesh and diamond bow c. 1920.

Boucheron made this feather out of gold, rubies, and diamonds in 1940.

A member of the elite jewelers of Taxco, Antonio Pineda made this brooch c. 1955.

Born in the tenements of NYC’s Lower East Side to immigrant parents, he took the name Seaman because he could see the Seaman’s Savings Bank from his apartment window. From the 1930’s to the 1950’s, Mr. Schepps’s pioneering designs attracted customers such as the Duchess of Windsor and Franklin Roosevelt. He designed this set of opal and diamond butterfly pins, which could easily be worn as two side barrettes, c. 1960.

David Webb made this posy of violets in the 1980’s. The violets are sapphires with emerald centers on jade leaves with diamond stems.

Van Cleef & Arpels made this Christmas rose out of angel-skin coral and diamonds in 2000.

Finally, a hair comb by Georg Jensen himself.


For more scholarly research, please examine these books, which can be found in our Resource Library

Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels: Tiara made for Princess Fwazia Pahlavi of Iran, 1939

Van Cleef and Arpels

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 hair.

After the French Revolution of 1789, Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul, wore combs with three medallions, which held up his shoulder-length hair in a bun. Medallions on the best combs were porcelain cameos. On E-Bay, just such an 18th Century comb from is selling for 3500 Euros. Gold outlines vermeil as well as the three sublime cameos. The decoration sits on tortoiseshell. I have asked the seller for a closeup of the maker’s marks to see if I can find out who the jeweler was.

On Ruby Lane, a beautiful Victorian tortoiseshell comb is selling for $395. The pique work is done by hand in 14K gold, it has a Peigne Josephine influence, beautiful condition, c. 1850. I love it.

These silver kanzashi in perfect condition depict traditional Japanese instruments and are selling on E-Bay for $680. The biwa rests on top of a drum. They are listed as being c. 1930.

I love this antique Mexican silver comb with an amber carving of Maya woman. She is wearing a traditional headdress with earrings that move. The comb was made to hold a mantilla veil. I love the open design paired with the intricacy and accuracy of the carving. It symbolizes imagination and a respect for Indian ancestors in a Spanish world, and is selling for $254 on E-Bay.

This enamel-on-silver Chinese hair pin, c. 1900, is selling for $165 on E-Bay.

From the site 1stdibs, this French Art Nouveau comb c.1905 was first sold at the Galleries LaFayette in Paris and ended up with a dealer in Chicago. The maker is unknown, and it is selling for $650.

Finally, a beautiful blonde tortoiseshell English Victorian comb supports tulip buds in crescent moons on top of a row of seed pearls. It was made by Treacher & Co, is in pristine condition and comes in its original box. Price: $2250. c. 1880. Also found on 1stdibs.


For more scholarly research, please examine

The Riches of the French Empire by the Creative Museum, as well as these books, which can be found in our Resource Library.

The Comb: Its History and Development

Le Peigne Dans Le Monde

Hair Combs: Identification & Values

Ebay: Kingfisher Hair Pin and Margot de Taxco Mexican Hair Comb

This stunning Manchu hair pin with every kingfisher feather in place, superb-quality jade, and coral branches sold for $800 on E-bay, October 28, 2011. The pin was in perfect condition. Look at the back: the intricacy of how each stone and feathered piece is set, as well as long tines, seal the deal.

Also on E-bay is a beautiful pair of hair combs and matching bracelet by Margot de Taxco. She was an American, Margot Van Voorhies Carr, who came to Taxco, Mexico, in 1937 and married Antonio Castillo of Los Castillo. In 1948, she divorced and set up her own workshop. These pieces feature gold-washed half balls surrounded by silver scrolls, are marked, and are in superb condition.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Chinese and Japanese Hair Ornaments by The Creative Museum

Margot Van Voorhies: The Art of Mexican Enameled Jewelry

Matilde Poulat: Taxco Artist, Mexican Silver Comb

Born in Mexico City and better known as Matl, Maestra Matilde Poulat started making jewelry in 1934. She became one of the most famous artists of the Mexican Silver Renaissance. Detailing and texture gave her art a delicacy and intricacy few achieved during the the Taxco era. She decorated her pieces with coral and turquoise jewels. This Poulat hair comb also has an amethyst cabechon, the fertility sign of two birds facing each other, a tortoiseshell comb, and I made a deal with the seller at a reduced price to buy it over time, within my means. This is my pick to add to my collection.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Heritage Fine Silver & Vertu Auction #5016

William Spratling and the Mexican Silver Renaissance: Maestros de Plata

Mexican Horn Comb

Although the silver mines of Taxco are the most famous region for Mexican jewelry, illustrations of modern life were also inked on horn combs.

This piece was made in the 1970’s. Mairin Bulldozer Connor identified the bird as a Tricolored Heron catching a bass on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. What I love about it is that both predator and prey express emotion. From The Creative Museum:

From real life


For more scholarly research, please examine

A Bird Finding Guide to Mexico

William Spratling and the Mexican Silver Renaissance: Maestros de Plata

Mexican Silver: Modern Handwrought Jewelry & Metalwork (Schiffer Book for Collectors)

Frida Kahlo

In 1946, Frida gave this miniature self-portrait to her lover Jose Bartoli, signing it “Para Bartoli con amor.” However, scholars believe she painted it in 1938. Young and serene, the poppies in her hair are her heart, her blood, her soul, and her intimate femininity. The portrait measures 2″ by 1 5/8″ and has an estimated value of $1.2 million. Sothebys will sell it on May 25th.

Frieda Khalo

When women have creative power so strong it borders on madness, their lives are full of sadness and pain — especially from the way the men who shape them, treat them.  Consider Suzanne Farrell-Balanchine; Maria Callas-Onassis; Camille Claudel-Rodin; Freida Khalo-Diego Rivera. But Frieda Khalo grabs you with her eyes. Her hair is original, beautiful, in reality and art, and I love her.

This is the Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.

The Mexican Silver Renaissance

As the Mexican Revolution brought social upheaval to the country from 1910 to 1921, Mexicans were struggling not only to bring economic justice to the poor, but to cast off a European cultural identity in favor of an indigenous one. They began to study pre-Columbian folk art, looking to treasures found in archeological ruins for inspiration.

A Tulane University architecture professor named William Spratling went to a sleepy silver-mining town called Taxco and wondered if he could bring it back to life by producing silver jewelry designed with a pre-Columbian aesthetic. His vision worked.

By 1940, he employed over 300 craftsmen, and mentored great silversmith-artists. Hundreds of tallers and artisans opened shops in Taxco to create beautiful silver jewelry. Like every other arts-and-crafts movement in the world, there were also hair combs. :-)

This extremely rare pair of Hubert Harmon Atomic Bomb hair ornaments, in brass, c. 1945, might have been made as a reaction to Hiroshima. They are on sale on Trocadero for $2800.

Matilde Poulat, whose designs are distinctly native, opened her shop in 1934. This comb has Aztec motifs, and is also listed on Trocadero, but you have to inquire for a price.

On May 20, this beautiful pair of sterling silver combs by Ana Brilanti went for $224.50 on ebay. She opened her shop, Victoria, in the 1940s and was one of Spratling’s proteges. She even designed a piece for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.