A Kind of Magic: Art Deco Vanity Cases

Author(s): Sarah Hue-Williams

New Antiques

After 1918, post-war euphoria spread across Europe and America. Technology was changing the pace of life and aeroplanes, motorcars and ocean liners were making the world a smaller place with improved communications. Some were making their fortunes, and for those who could afford it, it was an exciting time of cocktail parties, nightclubs and jazz. Fashion was Paris, elegance, the Paris Expo of 1925 and Art Deco with the lure of the avant-garde; but much of the wealth was in America, represented by the jazz age, glamour, The Great Gatsby and Hollywood. And the emancipated, wealthy, fashionable woman of means wanted newly-designed jewellery and accessories decorated with contemporary motifs to reflect her new status. The vanity case, the ultimate jewelled fashion accessory, was designed and made mostly in Paris by the skilled designers and craftsmen who understood that the fashionable modern woman needed a practical solution to containing her lipstick, powder compact, cigarettes, lighter, theatre tickets, keys and all the other small paraphernalia about her person.
Made of precious metals including platinum and gold, with inlays of lacquer, gemstones, mother of pearl, jade, or enamel, these 'reticules' took hundreds of hours of patient craftsmanship to complete and were very, very expensive. Objects of desire to be passed round and shown off at gatherings of the super-rich, they became miniature status symbols to be seen with at the opera or restaurant.


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Product Information

Sarah Hue-Williams is a freelance gemmologist, jewellery historian and lecturer. Winner of the Anderson Medal for Gemmology, she is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and author of Christie's Guide to Jewellery and, with Raymond Sancroft-Baker, Hidden Gems, Jewellery Stories from the Saleroom. Peter Edwards is London's leading dealer in fine Art Deco and 20th-century jewellery.

General Fields

  • : 9781910787816
  • : Unicorn Publishing Group
  • : Unicorn Publishing Group
  • : October 2017
  • : 269mm X 224mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : October 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sarah Hue-Williams
  • : Hardback
  • : 2018
  • : 739.2
  • : 192
  • : 80 colour and 40 black & white