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 them has the double-headed eagle with a crown in the middle of it. As we learned from the ivory liturgical comb commemorating Sophia Paleologue, this is the mark of the Tsar, which means that these combs were made for the Royal Family.

If you look at the maker’s marks in the back of the larger gold hair pin, you will see Faberge’s name, and what I believe is ES, the mark of work master Eduard W. Shramm, who came to St. Petersburg from Germany and made cigarette cases and other small jeweled pieces.

This is a picture of the original Faberge store on 24 Bolshaya Morskaya in St. Petersburg, ca. 1910.


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

Faberge: Imperial Jeweler

The Comb: Its History and Development

Le Peigne Dans Le Monde

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 and clip fittings allow the earrings to be flexible, as well. Each hair ornament comes with a two-pronged hair pin, but they can also be put together to make a tiara. The parure is set with citrines in gold scroll and floral repoussé work motifs.

If this set were French, I’d expect to see an Empire comb with a citrine tiara attachment. It sold 30,000 GBP at Sotheby’s.


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


Timeless Tiaras


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 Tsar.

He married Sophia Paleologue in 1472, niece of the last Byzantine Emperor at the suggestion of Pope Paul II. The Pope thought this marriage would allow him to consolidate the Roman and Eastern Orthodox faiths under his authority after Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Forensic reconstruction of Sophia done in 1994

But it didn’t happen. Sophia was shrewd, powerful, and loved her family’s Eastern Orthodox faith. She assimilated the elaborate ceremonies of Byzantine Christianity into Moscow’s court, including the double-headed eagle. A religious symbol in ancient Turkey, Byzantine culture placed a crown in the middle of the eagle’s two heads to symbolize the Emperor’s power over the East and West.


is a Russian ivory liturgical comb, c. 1680. It resides at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The text reads “God is one, God is serenity.”

However, I believe the woman on each edge is a left- and right-side profile portrait of the REAL Sophia, not in a burial headdress, but in the tiara she wore while she lived. An oral historian could have described her to the comb’s maker. In the center is her historical legacy: the double-headed eagle with a crown, a national symbol of Russia to this day.


This research was done with the help of Vadim Zaliva.

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

Ivan III and the Unification of Russia
The Eagle Has Two Faces: Journeys Through Byzantine Europe


Crayfish on Japanese Combs

The Creative Museum bought a new Japanese comb. I think it’s Taisho, c. 1915.

Although the comb shape is different from this late Edo example below, the idea is the same. A cambaroides japonicus, or Japanese crayfish is folded over the comb. The Creative Museum’s fish has a golden eye, while the late Edo comb’s fish seems to be molting its carapace, or shell.

This decapod crustacean is native to Hokkaido and Touhoku in Northern Japan, where they live in clean, cool water. (Lobsters live in salt water.)


Subtext: I found the fish! ;-)

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

Las “Falleras” Valencianas

By The Creative Museum. The English translation may be found in the first comment.

Tous les ans, du 14 au 19 mars, à Valencia, a lieu l’une des fêtes les plus réputées d’Espagne : “LAS FALLAS”. Elle attire un nombre considérable de touristes venus de toute l’Europe. C’est LA Fête au sens pur de l’art, de la culture valencienne, du bruit, de la musique, de la lumière et du feu, le tout poussé à l’extrême. Las Fallas, c’est aussi la fête de tous, des plus jeunes aux plus anciens.

Pour les femmes de la ville, c’est l’occasion de revêtir leurs plus beaux atours, selon une tradition vieille de plusieurs siècles. On organise aussi des concours pour désigner la plus belle FALLERA de l’année.

Leur costume est magnifique : une robe brodée d’or et d’argent, un châle de dentelle et des chaussures de satin, mais leur coiffure attire particulièrement l’attention. C’est en soi une œuvre d’art qui nécessite une longue préparation et de nombreux accessoires. La parure complète de “fallera valenciana” comprend un grand peigne en laiton repoussé et deux petits peignes de côté assortis, des épingles pour fixer les macarons de cheveux tressés et deux tiges à double extrémité décorées de strass qui se glissent en travers du chignon.

Cet ensemble est complété par des bijoux assortis : pendants d’oreilles, broche de corsage et collier de perles. (Note de l’éditeur: ce collier de perles du XVIIe siècle en Espagne a été utilisé dans le film Alatriste)

Creative Museum possède d’autres modèles de grands peignes que vous découvrirez dans le Museum.

The teeth are missing on the two small combs

This Spanish instruction document lists each item of a fallera costume. Depending on the fabric of the dress, silk being the most expensive, the complete outfit can cost from 2,000 to 10,000 euros.


For more scholarly research, please examine

How to create the Valencia Hairstyle Professionals who will create the hairstyle for you
Las fallas de Valencia / The Festival of Saint Joseph

Jessica Beauchemin Wins the Prix François-Houdé

Beaming with pride, it is my honor to announce that Jessica Beauchemin

has won the Prix François-Houdé in Montréal, a prize for excellence in new craftsmanship. The contest is a collaboration between the Ville de Montréal and the Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec.

(You may click on these images to see larger versions of them.)

She won it with her new series, Bestiaire,

Bestiaire I - Dasyatis sephen

Bestiaire I – Dasyatis sephen, 2011
Medium: Black Ebony, Movingui Veneer, Stingray polished and non polished
Finish: Linseed Oil and Beeswax
Techniques: Bending, Sculpture, Marquetry
Dimensions: 26 x 10.5 x 3 cm
Photographer: Nicolas Chentrier

She told us how adopting a personal sense of time was essential to being an artist. In Jessica Beauchemin: Collection Bestiaire and A Sense of Time, she allowed us to look inside her creative process, “À une époque où le temps est calculé en efficacité et en rentabilité, mon travail de création, axé sur le détail, la précision et la minutie, se veut un éloge du temps.”

English translation:
“In an era where efficiency and profitability define its value, my creative work eulogizes an older calculation of time, when its purpose focused on applying thorough accuracy to minute details.”

This allowed her achieve harmony as she mastered marquetry with stingray, feathers, and mother of pearl. The masterpiece hair combs she created in the silence of her convictions were recognized by the real world this year.

Congratulations to the Prix François-Houdé lauréate, the sublime Jessica Beauchemin.

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 political ideas in Russia. When Napoleon was defeated in 1815, Tzar Alexander I bought Josephine’s art collection. Indeed, the language of the Russian court was French. Nicholas I took over in 1825. The parure resides in the Hermitage, c. 1830 – 1850.

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

Jewels of the Romanovs: Family & Court

Jewels of the Tsars: The Romanovs and Imperial Russia

Tiaras – A History of Splendour

Creative Museum: Ancient Jade Chinese Combs

After rebellions crushed a united China under the Han Dynasty in 220 AD, a turbulent period began where power moved from North to South. During the Six Dynasties (220 – 589 AD), especially the Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589), Confucianism was challenged, as Buddhism and Taoism took hold. It was a period of great political turbulence and artistic creation, especially in poetry.

These two magnificent jade combs, just acquired by The Creative Museum, might have been made in the Southern Dynasty period 420 – 589 because of the decorative carvings’ relationship to Xu Ling’s famous poetic anthology, “New Songs from the Jade Terrace.”

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In his book, he gathered the poems of anonymous authors, who wrote about life in a luxurious palace, as well as sex, relationships, love, and beauty. Scholars believe the poems were written by women.

Religiously, Buddhism was traveling from its Hindu origins in India to Chinese culture. As Buddhist characters entered into Chinese mythology, the Creative Museum’s combs might portray Jiālóuluó, a celestial music master in the form of a man with an eagle’s head and wings, and a ram, who was a sun god.

Then there is the myth of the archer Yi and the Sun. As the story goes, the Sun God’s children were having fun riding in chariots together, but their collective heat was causing crop havoc on earth. Concerned, their father Dijun sent the great archer Yi to frighten his children into behaving. When Yi realized this wouldn’t work, he started killing them. After he finished, only one sun was left, the one we see today.

This could be the meaning of the other carvings on these two exquisite jade combs. Please notice that in each carving, the man wears his hair in a top knot.

I’m going to make a guess. The carvings on these combs represent the life of Chinese Buddhist mythological character Yi in love and in war.


For more scholarly research, please examine the dating and identification page of The Creative Museum, and these books, which can be found in our Resource Library.

New Songs from a Jade Terrace: An Anthology of Early Chinese Love Poetry

Chinese Aesthetics: The Ordering of Literature, the Arts, and the Universe in the Six Dynasties

Fine Chinese Jade Carvings

Some Lovely Things on Ebay

I guess Ebay is having a cycle. Sometimes it’s dead for what seems like years, as in, “If I see this comb listed for way too much money one more time I’m going to scream.” Other times, beautiful pieces come on the market.

This week, a white-gold hair pin with diamond stems and pink mother-of-pearl flower buds is selling for $1439.99 in a Buy It Now. It was made in the 1960’s. The hair pin shape with two curved prongs surrounding a straight one imitates French style in the late 19th Century. You may refer to auction 130649801556.

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The comb in this ad

sold for $102 on Ebay France, a pittance. Hand-drawn geishas wearing kanzashi grace a French ivory comb, as they are framed by floral kanzashi ornaments. One of our authors wanted it, but lost by a snipe bid from an unknown account. My guess is the person who put the picture of this ad in the Bonaz section of her store got the prized, rare Bonaz.

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An 18th Century silver hair ornament with rubies and a bird in the center is selling for $700. It has the original patina, is in excellent condition, and was part of the traditional decoration worn by classical Bharata-natyam dancers in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. You may refer to auction 190153693139.

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The same dealer is also selling a superb Yao hair pin. The Yao people originated in the hills of China and settled in the Golden Triangle, which overlaps the mountain ranges of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. It is the second-largest opium-producing area in the world next to Afghanistan. This ceremonial pin has real hair and wool on the back and was made c. 1900. Price: $1550.

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This Chinese ivory export comb with three floral stems over an intricate lacy background sold for $643.78. It came in its original box. Sellers who list antique ivory combs on ebay describe them as “ox bone” because too many people have tried to sell modern poached ivory, which is a crime and should be prosecuted.

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Our last item is a beautiful pair of French Art Nouveau hair pins with painted pink flowers. The seller believes they are blonde tortoiseshell. I would have to hold them in my hand, but tradition dictates the material could also be clarified horn. The auction has one day to go, there are no bids, and the starting price is $331.52. You may refer to auction 200716111321.

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For more research, please examine

How to Buy, Sell, and Profit on eBay

How to Sell on Ebay for the Computer Shy – 2nd Edition

Estate Sale Prospecting for Fun and Profit with craigslist and eBay