Dating vintage handbags

Other pocketbooks were embroidered in wool or silk crewels and featured figures, birds, animals and scenes. These scenic and figural pocketbooks reach extremely high prices and are typically only seen in museums. European pocketbooks featured more balanced and professional embroidery, worked in silks, but they often lacked the liveliness of their American counterparts. Morocco leather pocketbooks from Constantinople were imported to Europe and America.

They were embroidered with metal threads and were basically a type of souvenir purse, although some could be custom embroidered with names and dates. Turkey had a thriving export economy, much of it based on textiles. Beadworked pocketbooks are highly desirable, especially the famous sable purses from Paris. Charles Germain de Saint-Aubin created the first sable beadwork workshop in Paris. Saint-Aubin was the chief clothing designer for Louis XV.

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Bead size ranged from and the thread had to be pointed with shellac to string the beads onto the thread. There are graphs available which correlate the bead size with the millimeter size and beads per inch. A bead size of 22 does not mean that there are 22 beads per square inch. Beads over a size 20 are no longer produced and those that are available, are antique. A size 30 bead is reputed to have existed in sable beadwork.

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The workmanship is so fine, and the beads so tiny, that there is no one alive today who can repair these purses once damaged. Designs of nymphs, scrolling Rococo flowers, cherubs, lions, and mythological creatures were depicted. Finding one with all its beadwork still intact is a true find for any collector. Misers from the eighteenth century, while uncommon, can be found.

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  • A History of The Beaded Bag.
  • Finding the Serial Number!

Most of the surviving eighteenth century misers are British, although American examples exist. During this period, they were fairly long in length, 19 to 24 inches. Most were knitted or netted in silks. Made with the vertical slit for accessing coins, they had sliders made from pinchbeck, gilt or steel to close off either end of the purse.

Their ends were finished with silk tassels or metal charms fishes. They were usually solid colored or striped. A few netted examples have been seen, which were embroidered with tiny sprigs. Gilt chatelaines, with numerous appendages, were made in the Rococo Style and are literally works of art. Watches, seals, scent bottles, thimbles, vinaigrettes and scissors hung from chains attached to a hook.

Made from gilt, gold, steel and pinchbeck, they were decorated with mother-of-pearl, enamel and rock crystal. During the early years of the nineteenth century, purse design was at its height. Empress Josephine was a purse aficionado and designers worked overtime to please her and her court. Unique shapes, materials and construction were a hallmark of the period.

Vintage Handbags and Purses | Collectors Weekly

Tortoiseshell, feathers, paper, wax, ivory, wood and straw were all used to create these early nineteenth century treasures. Reticules were still very popular, but it is at this point we see purses mounted on frames coming into their own. Pockets and misers continued to be in use during the nineteenth century but their workmanship after was less fine.

Misers were crocheted rather than knitted and pockets were usually solid pieces of cotton or linen. Although you can still find nice examples of beaded misers from c. Beaded purses mounted on frames were a new fashion accessory. Many fashion historians consider beadwork of the first half of the nineteenth century to be the finest ever produced excepting the sable beadwork. Jewel-like beads were knitted into scenes, figures, flowers and geometric designs. Lined in silks, they have survived in fairly large quantities.

Earlier examples were made from fine gauge knitting, interspersed with beading, rather than being solidly beaded. They were finished with acorn tassels or beaded fringe. They vary in sophistication, complexity and execution, but the figurals and scenics are very desirable from a collecting standpoint. Other types of purses make their appearance during this century as well. Berlin work purses are a classic mid-nineteenth century purse icon. Made from Berlin wool work patterns developed by Phillson in Germany, these purses were needle worked in Merino wools.

They were often trimmed with chenille tassels on the sides. Carpetbags from the mid to late nineteenth century were made from Wilton carpets and needle work.


Primarily used for travel, they are difficult to find in good condition. Chatelaines, made in bag form, were another classic nineteenth century purse form. Souvenir coin purses from the Great Exhibition, Paris, and the Brighton Aquarium were another purse type specific to the nineteenth century.

Small, but precious, they were decorated with painted or lithographed scenes, inset into tortoiseshell or gilt coin purses. They are very prized by collectors and tend to bring strong prices.


Leather handbags from c. Hard-bodied, they looked like smaller versions of the larger luggage pieces from the same period. They were structured and fairly small.

Vintage Handbags and Purses

The extensive permanent collection has three sections containing masterpiece bags that can be observed as historic and cultural statements, each telling an individual story through its material, shape, design, and quality. The bags illustrate the mainstream customs of the days gone by, and also the process of female emancipation, significant art movements, techniques of design, as well as the actual technological and economic developments. From historical highlights from the 16th century to the timeless classics of modern design from the most famous designers.

The final section, named Present: This section is characterized by mobility, practicality, and branding, evident in the leather document cases for going to the office, practical leather bags, and the elegant clutches for special occasions and events. Related story from us: Museum of bags and purses,an impressive collection of over 4, items dating back to the 16th century.

History of Coach Serial Numbers

The first few years of legacy stripe the lining doesn't have black thread, but later versions do. Bonnie was our creative director during the s and into the early s. We also released unlined bonnie designed coach bags. The next tag was the "lozenge" with the official Cartouche. The Chain will say "Bead Chain". This is first "cartouche" stamp placed in the early bags.