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Superb gem set vanity case, cartier, 1925

Om föremålet

The octagonal gold box decorated with white enamel wave motifs, mother-of-pearl inlay, and black enamel, the terminals covered in carved coral flowers, seed pearls, cabochon emeralds, and circular-, single-cut and rose diamonds, each end opening to reveal a powder compartment, the length opening on two sides to reveal a compartment, a lipstick holder and a fold out mirror, dimensions approximately 120 x 45 x 34mm, signed Cartier, numbered, French assay and maker's marks, several mother-of-pearl panels deficient.\nThe boîte-à-rouge-et-à-mouches, created under the reign of Louis XV, King of France (1710-1774), is considered the prototype for today’s vanity case. In the 19th century, wearing lipstick and smoking in public were still considered gauche for a lady. These cases, containing a mirror, a couple compartments and a small brush, were created for use on a woman’s dressing table, not for public use. In 1893, Eulalia, the Spanish Infanta, shocked the world by smoking in public at the Chicago Colombian Exhibition. By 1916, the new vogue became well enough established that the New York Ritz-Carlton Hotel removed their ban on ladies smoking in their public spaces. The use of cosmetics also became common place. The First World War denoted an emancipation for women and it became acceptable not only to wear cosmetics, but to apply them in public. The cosmetics industry boomed as did the fortunes of women who invested in it, including Helena Rubinstein.\nFollowing the creation of men’s cigarette cases, jewellery houses began to design cases for women, and the nécessaire pour dame was born. As per Louis Cartier’s directive, “We must make it our business to build up an inventory that responds to the moral mood of the public by producing articles which have a useful function but which are also decorated in the Cartier style’. Vanity cases became a ‘must have’ accessory for the modern woman. Examples from the early twentieth century include a powder compact, a lipstick holder, a tortoise-shell comb, a mirror and an ivory dance card reminiscent of the former carnet de bal. By 1920, Cartier had developed one of their most sophisticated models, the combined cigarette and vanity case. The design incorporated a cigarette holder with compartments for powder and rouge. This multi-compartment vanity could be carried in lieu of an evening bag.\nOf course in the most sophisticated examples, fashion married function. Chinese and Japanese influences were all the rage in Art Déco objets d’art. From 1924, Louis Cartier systematically collected mother-of-pearl inlay from leading antique dealers for use in his pieces. Since ancient times, Chinese mother-of-pearl was valued for its rose, lavender-blue and shimmering green iridescence, collected from the innermost layers of saltwater and freshwater mussels. These small panels, applied in the lacquer burgauté technique, were often paired with coral, lapis lazuli and onyx, and often embellished with cabochon gemstones.\nThis example combines the very finest elements of Cartier’s production in this period: mother-of-pearl inlay, enamel wave motifs, japonisant coral flowers, and the functionality of a fold-out mirror, a cigarette and lipstick holder, and powder and rouge compartments.


The caption of the Cartier drawing in the print catalogue is incorrectly dated 1926, and should be dated 1925.




Potential bidders who intend to export this lot are advised that certain permits may be required for export. If you are interested in this lot, please contact the Jewellery Department before bidding. The caption of the Cartier drawing in the print catalogue is incorrectly dated 1926, and should be dated 1925. Signed Cartier Paris Londres New York, numbered 0345. French maker's mark. French assay mark for 18 carat gold, mounted in yellow gold. Diamonds bright and lively. A number of mother-of-pearl panels missing. Several minor imperfections on the black enamel and on the coral florets. Coral well-matched in colour, with some growth marks and scratches. Seed pearls with good skin. Cabochon emeralds green of medium strong saturation, with typical inclusions. Little signs of wear to the metal. In good condition. Gross weight approximately 311 grams. Accompanied by a cardboard Cartier case, with extensive damage. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's. We do not guarantee, and are not responsible for any certificate from a gemological laboratory that may accompany the property. We do not guarantee that watches are in working order. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue, in particular to the Notice regarding the treatment and condition of gemstones and to the Notice regarding import of Burmese jadeite and rubies into the US. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."


Cf: Hans Nadelhoffer, Cartier: Jewelers Extraordinary, London, 1984, pgs. 197-206 and plate 50 for the reproduction of the drawing of this vanity case. Cf: Judy Rudoe, Cartier: 1900-1939, London, 1997, pgs. 116-120 and 315 for a reproduction of the original sketch. Cf: Jader Barracca, Gianpiero Negretti, Franco Nencini, Le Temps de Cartier, Fondation Cartier, 1989, p. 138.


Property of a Lady

*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.

*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.