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Personal & Wardrobe Accessories - Facts & Tips

Hair Combs

As long as women have had long hair, they have been adorning their locks with exquisite hair accessories.  The bronze age brought forth wonderful metal hair jewelry. Japanese women wore spectacular jade and ivory hair ornaments and the romance of the Victorian and Edwardian eras offered celluloid, tortoise shell and sterling silver hair combs.

Bakelite was made popular during the Art Deco period and the hair accessories surviving the generations have captured the interest of serious collectors.

The Chatelaine

The Victorian chatelaine, an ornamental hook that was worn at the waist, was used as a badge of authority for the mistress of the home.  In the 18th & 19th centuries, costly chatelaines were enhanced with precious stones, carved cameos and delicate enamel work.

Chatelaines soon became popular gifts, especially for the bride.


Attached with chains to the hook were numerous implements such as pencils, scent bottles, keys, notebooks, watches,  purses, sewing items, and many other valuables, all dangling conveniently.  Women enjoyed wearing these lavish accessories, which proved useful as well as fashionable.


The Hand Fan

In recent centuries, a lady's hand fan was not just used to cool herself.   More importantly, it was a lavish and extravagant means of flirtatious or deliberate communication, an instrument used to convey unspoken words to the admiring or approaching male.  The language of the fan, although unheard of today, was common and well understood in it's day.  It included a variety of specific expressions.  For example and these are only a few: the lady that rested her fan on her lips was saying, "I don't trust you", resting her fan on her heart, "My love for you is breaking my heart", very slowly fanning herself, "Don't waste your time, I'm not interested in you", and passing her fan from one hand to the other, "I see that you are looking at another woman".

The charm of the hand fan reached far beyond it's language.  The elaborate and extensive styles said a lot about the women that carried them.  There were intricately hand painted Victorian themes, fans with mirrors, jewels and exotic feathers.  Hand fans were an essential accessory, a work of art that expressed a sign of affluence and femininity.

Related Article: Tending To Your Vanity

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