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Antique hair comb Victorian French jet mourning hair accessory

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This sale is for a very beautiful French jet mourning comb from the late Victorian period.

SIZE: 5 ins h x 3¼ ins w. (13 x 9 cms)

CONDITION: signs of wear and use are to be expected on pre-owned items. Good vintage condition

MATERIAL: celluloid and French jet rhinestones.

DATE: most hair combs can only be approximately dated to within 10-30 years since they were often made in the same style for decades. This one probably dates from 1880s to 1910.


This ornament is of the type known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles the traditional tortoiseshell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. The production of the opera Carmen led to a fashion for high Spanish style combs in the 1870s. This one is made in black celluloid and dates from the late 19th or early 20th century.

It is made in the classic form on an unfurled fan with a peak at the top of the heading. The design has radiating lines which are set with French jet. These enclose panels of complex openwork suggesting foliage. The material is black celluloid set with French jet rhinestones.


Combs like this were worn in a characteristic manner, being placed such a way that the tall heading stood up proud. This enabled them to be viewed from all angles and for the details to be seen effectively outlined against the light.

This manner of wearing the decorative comb is shown in the final picture. This is taken from a contemporary 19th century photograph and shows an American lady with an upstanding hair comb of similar design worn in this manner.

French jet is a glittering form of black glass which has nothing to do with France, but was produced mainly in Bohemia, now part of modern Czechoslovakia, in the late 19th and early 20th century when it was extremely popular for jewellery making.

Victorian mourning etiquette was strict and decreed that in deep mourning, the widow and close relative of the deceased must dress in plain dark. Only ornaments of dark materials were allowed to be worn at this time. The favourites were those of jet, but various other materials were employed. One of these was French jet.

You will find a list of my downloadable pdf articles on hair accessories of all periods here:-

This list includes articles on vintage hairpins and combs and their history.

Find vintage jewelry and exotic fabrics in our other shop:-

Antique hair comb Victorian French jet mourning hair accessory


  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Materials: celluloid, French jet
  • Ships worldwide from Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • Feedback: 1476 reviews
  • Favorited by: 14 people