Category Archives: Russian Hair Comb

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, below, has a ruby on it. Compared to the Russian crown jewels, this comb is intimate. I imagine one of Nicholas and Alexandra’s daughters wearing it to tea.

The octagonal shagreen box has acanthus-leaf scrolling. In the middle is the Romanov crest with a ruby in the center.

A garland of enameled daises with faux citrines is hinged to a horn comb in this example. This modestly sized comb was made for a chignon at the back of the head, c. 1860.

The metal tiara is hinged to a horn comb, painted with dark blue and green enamel, and decorated with turquoise cabochons in this Art Nouveau comb. c. 1900.

A curved gilt silver band surrounded by small crystals is attached to a metal structure, which was engineered to hold 10 crystal spheres in place. The decoration sits atop a tortoiseshell comb. The piece comes in its original box with the retailer’s name, Cockburn and MacDonald, Edinburgh. c. 1860.

This is a beautiful Peigne d’Alger. A gilt silver tiara has openwork in the middle and holds three seed-pearl circles. Hanging on the bottom are two interlocking chains and three faux pearl pendants. The decoration is hinged to a horn comb. c. 1880.

This is a Huasheng (花胜), or floral hair ornament. It is worn in a chignon above the middle of the forehead. A lotus flower is the central subject. Stories about Huasheng go back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE). The Book of Han, Vol 2, includes a biography of the Chinese poet Sima Xiangru, who wrote, “She lives in a cave, wearing Huasheng in her snow-white hair.” On Hunan Day, women give Huasheng as gifts, as scholars climb to elevations to compose poems. This kingfisher comb was made in the 19th Century, Qing Dynasty. The only comb I have ever seen of this quality was in 2009.

Thank you Frances and Terry for sharing these with us.


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

The Comb: Its History and Development

Le Peigne Dans Le Monde

Combs and Hair Accessories

Comb at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The description the museum gives is Date: 1700 – 1938 Culture: American or European Medium: Bone. In 1705, Tsar Peter the Great wanted to rid Russia of its technological backwardness and import Western style and ideas. He looked to France and founded St. Petersburg by the Neva River, east of the Gulf of Finland because…Continue Reading

Faberge Hair Pins on E-Bay

This is an exquisite set of three Faberge 18K gold, diamond and tortoiseshell hair pins. The geometric mesh is a distinctly Russian design. The combs also have an Imperial-style border and come in their original box. They are selling for $12,000. Sewn into the original box are the gold letters of Faberge. The crest over…Continue Reading

The Real Sophia, wife of Ivan the Great, on a Russian Orthodox Comb

In 1237, Genghis’s grandson Batu-Khan invaded Kievan Rus and burned all its cities to the ground. Ivan III Vasilyevich — the Great (1440-1505) defeated the Mongols and took the land back. He also rebuilt the Kremlin, which was then a fortress of churches and palaces, and established The Grand Duchy of Moscow, becoming the first…Continue Reading

Russian Tortoiseshell Parure

This parure highlights hand-inlaid gold and silver on tortoiseshell. Each cameo has a complex floral pattern in a geometric frame. The balls on top of the comb show the influence of Napoleon’s Josephine. The cultural exchange between Russia and France occurred during the Napoleonic Wars. Educated Russians traveled to Europe and wanted to implement liberal…Continue Reading

Ebay: Russian Comb by Faberge Workmaster Erik Kollin

A tortoiseshell comb with an 18K gold bar decorated with rose- and white-gold sculpted flowers is selling for $1650 on Ebay France. It comes in its original box, with the maker’s name. EK: Erik August Kollin, Fabergé’s Finnish head workmaster until 1886. The first Faberge egg is also attributed to him. कंघी For more scholarly…Continue Reading

Diamond and Aquamarine Tiara

Topped by a pear-shaped aquamarine, this tiara was owned by Princess Olga Valerianovna Paley. She was born Olga Karnovitsch on Dec. 2, 1865, married Erich Gerhard von Pistohlkors in 1884, had an affair with Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia, married him without the Tsar’s approval, but then got his blessing and became a Princess.…Continue Reading

More Faberge Brooches for the Hair

This silver brooch is a character in another Russian fairy tale. A knight tries to find the magic garden, wherein resides the water of life. He flies on winged horses. This horse is made of silver, white, and yellow gold. His wings are jeweled with white, blue, and pink diamonds. One of the water kings…Continue Reading

Brooches for the Hair

Many times, a brooch had two fittings. One to enable the woman to wear it as a pin, and another to permit the brooch to be worn as a comb. I had a call from Geneva, Switzerland, today offering me access to the modern Faberge jewelry site. Breathtakingly designed brooches, which could easily accompany a…Continue Reading

Tlingit Comb

The Tlingit were a matrilineal society, who lived on the Southeastern Alaska Coast. Their religion was mostly Russian Orthodox. Tlingit Shamans wore combs and hairpins during ceremonies, as well as when they were not practicing tribal medicine. This wooden comb is polychrome, which means it is made with many colors, and it is decorated with…Continue Reading