This spectacular antique European evening bag has been a star of my personal collection for several decades. I don't open the private vault often, but this bag deserves to go out on the town regularly and, now that I'm back in New Mexico, gala occasions are rare.
Here you see a really marvelous example of Edwardian metalwork -- the loveliest clasps and purse frames in history -- combined with geometric decoration that anticipates Art Deco. The ornately formed and richly gilded filigree on this bag is among the most beautiful I've ever seen, and the beading is truly remarkable. Both the teensy round beads that trace out the edges of the bag and its strap and the much larger square beads lavished all over like starlight appear to be of silver-finished celluloid. The square ones gleam softly like mother-of-pearl, while the smaller ones seem to be glass until you touch them. Also of early plastic is the massive faceted clear stone that crowns the top of the clasp. This bag is an amazing mix of Edwardian elegance and Deco innovation, which could have been fashioned only when the former was phasing out as the latter phased in. A bag this chic almost certainly was made in France.
Its condition is as marvelous as when I acquired in England, since I've used it rarely. You have to search very hard to notice the few bead losses and it takes high magnification to note any surface wear (mainly at the corners of some of the square beads). Even the silk interior is pristine, still equipped with a mirror that was probably original.
Large enough to be useful, the bag measures about 6 inches by 6 3/4 inches and has a 3 3/4-inch carrying strap, the ideal length to suspend from a sash or belt for dancing.
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