This tortoise shell comb is absolutely exquisite! It is so beautiful it should be in a museum. It dates to the mid to late last century and is all hand carved with ornate flowers and leaves. You can even see the petals of each of the flowers. We bought this comb in Mexico with a grouping of wonderful Spanish tortoise shell combs. This comb, called a Cachirulos in Mexico, is a highly prized heirloom today, passed down for generations. The comb is semicircular in shape and is 7 ¾ inches wide and 6 inches long including a band 2 2/8 inches wide. It is ornately carved and encircles the back of the head beautifully when worn. Families would hang onto these for generations unless they fell into a dire situation and needed money. There are many in museums today that are ornately decorated with a 2-3 inch band of gold.
Mexican women prior to the 1930’s wore their hair long and sadly today, all the women have short hair, their mother’s have short hair, and the combs have been thrown out or set aside! Not only are combs rare, but tortoiseshell combs are extremely rare. No doubt I’m sure the thought went through the wearer’s mind, “why would I want and old brown comb when I can buy a shiny celluloid colorful comb?” Celluloid is a manmade plastic and changed the history of combs. Combs could be made with less expense and in mass quantities. This was good news for the hawksbill turtle as it is now an endangered species. It is against international law to use tortoiseshell as ornaments in jewelry or combs, or anything else!
Tortoise shell comes from the hawksbill turtle and is endangered which makes owning a real tortoise shell comb that much more of a treasure. Tortoise shell varies from mottled brown, yellow, to dark brown. The advantage of using tortoiseshell is that the shell could be made moldable by heating and as the piece cooled, it would harden and take its new shape. The comb has 24 teeth all in excellent condition. There are no chips or cracks on this piece!
This large comb is one of the prettiest combs I’ve ever seen.
The comb measures 7 ¾ inches wide and 6 inches long.
Weight is 3 ounces.