July 28, 2014

Hair Comb History Highlight #6: Rene Lalique

Horn, enamel, gold and glass, c. 1903/1904
The time has come here on Hair Comb History Highlights to talk about the master, Rene Lalique. When it comes to Art Nouveau jewelry, including hair combs, Lalique is number one. Rene Lalique was born in the French countryside town of Ay in 1860. Though his family moved closer to Paris when he was still a child, they continued to spend summers in Ay where Lalique developed a passionate interest in both botany and insects. His natural talent for drawing and painting lead him to apprenticeships under Parisian goldsmiths Henri Vuillert and Louis Aucoc. He went on to study jewelry design at the Sydenham School of art in London before finally setting up his own business back in Paris in 1885.

Tortoiseshell, diamonds and gold, c. 1906-1908
Though trained as a goldsmith, Lalique was known for embracing (and beginning the trend for) what were then viewed as more humble materials like horn, coral, rock crystal, enamel and glass. His jewelry often captured the beauty of the natural world; Lalique combined his favorite flora and fauna with a unique world of Art Nouveau fantasy. He even incorporated the naked female form into his jewelry, shocking some, but the resulting pieces remain the most stunning examples of Art Nouveau jewelry. But enough talk for now, onto the combs!

c. 1904-1905
Horn, enamel, gold and diamonds, c. 1904/1905
I can't find anything about this comb! So beautiful though! Those gorgeous colors!
Ivory, gold and enamel, c. 1900
I would love to have this comb, I need a white/ivory comb so this would be a perfect addition to my collection! if only...
c. 1905, horn and diamond tiara
Okay so this ins't a comb, but Lalique created beautiful tiara's too!
Horn, enamel, etc., c. 1900
Horn, enamel, gold and silver, c. 1900
Bees! people always call me B, so I have started to collect bee jewelry, I would love to own a bee motif comb like this one!
Horn, silver and diamonds, 1902
Gold, ivory, c. 1900
Horn, gold, enamel, moonstones, silver, c. 1903
Ivory, horn, emamel, gold and diamonds, c. 1903/1904
Ivory, horn, enamel, c. 1902
Horn and glass, c. 1903/1904
Horn, gold, enamel, c. 1900
Horn, enamel, and gold, c.1900

Gold, enamel, opal and diamonds
It seems silly to even try and describe these combs, they are just too beautiful! I would love to just see a Lalique comb, their exquisite quality and rarity today means I will never get to own one myself. Again I must muse aloud how much I wish someone would make costume jewelry versions of jewels like these so that mere peasants like myself could afford to have something similar!


  1. So gorgeous! The swallows, the mistletoe (I think?) and the bees are my favourites. I love your hair comb posts! You are definitely instilling in me a great love for them :)

    1. Thanks Tanith! I'm trying to spread my comb obsession to all! I'm glad it's working :)


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