This is a very old comb handmade and hand cut in the early to mid 1800’s. The alloy in this gold must have had a high copper content as the color is very dark yet glistens in the light. Much early Mexican gold had a high copper alloy content. It has been tested and it is 14K gold. The comb is centered with a beautifully detailed peacock followed by ornate flowers and leaves on either side. The tortoise shell teeth are thick and have all been hand cut.
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.
This piece is so beautiful it should be in a museum!!!
The gold band is ½ inch wide. The comb itself measures 5 1/8 inches across and is 2 ½ inches long.