You are probably wondering how an aluminum comb could be referred to as rare. A pure form of aluminum was first extracted in 1825, but was expensive to extract, rivaling gold in price. Later in the 19th century, cheaper ways to produce aluminum were developed and the metal was no longer prized. Because of this, items like this one were thrown away, and therefore are seldom found. This comb is 4 1/2 inches long, inlaid with small paste (an early imitation diamond) stones, and probably dates to the 1830s. It would have been inserted into a lady’s elaborate hairdo.

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