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  • Catalogue Essay

    The invention of vanity case was a result of the change in status and lifestyle of women after the First World War. Not only were they allowed to put on make-up in public, smoking was also considered a fashionable pastime. Cases (nécessaires) made of precious metal and gemstones incorporating lipstick holder, mirror, comb, powder compact, and sometimes also cigarette holder became the staple accessory. Similar to modern day evening bags, ladies often owned multiple vanity cases of various designs to match their day and evening attires.

  • Artist Biography

    Van Cleef & Arpels


    When Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels fell in love, their marriage paved the way for iconic jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels to become a symbol of unification. With their background in precious stone dealing, the Arpels found their perfect match in the Van Cleefs, a family of expert stonecutters. In 1906, Estelle's brother Charles established the company name with Alfred's help and opened shop in the Place Vendôme in Paris. To this day, this Parisian neighborhood is associated with turn-of-the-century luxury.

    The Van Cleef & Arpels aesthetic has always had its finger on the pulse of worldwide trends: For example, the house took inspiration from Tutankhamen upon the Egyptian king's discovery in the 1920s, which spurred a global phenomenon marrying Egyptian Revival and Art Deco motifs. Over the decades, Van Cleef & Arpels has produced intricate watches, earrings and necklaces with a signature elegance that mirrors contemporary tastes. 

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A Karat Yellow Gold and Sapphire Vanity Case, Van Cleef & Arpels, Circa 1940

Dimension approximately 8.5 x 4.8 x 1.5cm
Gross weight approximately 90 grams

HK$60,000 - 75,000 

Sold for HK$68,750

Contact Specialist
Terry Chu
Head of Jewellery, Asia, Senior Director
+852 2318 2038

Jewels & Jadeite

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2019