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An article which, as an object of jewelry, is worn by a woman to confine the hair or as a hair ornament.
Such combs are usually slightly curved, with an ornamental upper part above a single row of teeth; they are of varying widths and heights.
Ornamental combs have been made of gold, silver. amber, coral. jet, bone, tortoise shell, ivory, horn, etc., and have been decorated since the time of the Renaissance with gemstones, pearls, cameos or openwork metal designs.
In the 15th century, combs made of gold were crown-shaped, set with gemstones. Those worn in the 19th century were usually made to be seen from the front; the Spanish type (worn with a mantilla) is usually a back comb.
Examples in art nouveau style are usually enamelled.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson