Minaudières : French chic

Van Cleef & Arpels

Real performance combining technicality and aesthetics, the minaudière is a «jewel bag» born during the "Roaring Twenties". Described as a «chic nightclub» by the newspaper Le Monde a few years ago, we rediscover it thanks to old models created in the 40s.

Minaudière Boucheron

Minaudière Boucheron circa 1940, signed and numbered, sold 23845€ on last December 31, 2018 in Cannes by Besch Cannes Auction

Designed in 1933, the story tells that this day and evening bag was inspired to Charles Arpels (from Van Cleef & Arpels) by Florence Jay Gould, wife of the American businessman Frank Jay Gould. When he saw her stowing away in a cigarette box the essential feminine accessories – powder box, lipstick, lighter – he had the idea of creating a luxurious box with an ingenious storage system.

Archives VCA

Drawing of a Minaudière, circa 1935. Van Cleef & Arpels Archives

Alfred Van Cleef then named it "Minaudière" in homage to his wife Esther Arpels, who, it is said, "minauded" willingly. If we refer to the Larousse (Definition of the term Minauder : Making mines, taking affected ways to make ourselves pleasant), the term chosen is very unpopular for a bag quickly elevated to the rank of a real work of miniature art, often made of precious metal and adorned with diamonds, precious stones, mother-of-pearl, pearls or gold.

In 1934, the jeweller filed the patent and the name «Minaudière» quickly became a classic evening bag. Useful, clever and precious, the Minaudière embodies French elegance.

Minaudière VCA

Minaudière Van Cleef & Arpels circa 1940 estimated 3000/5000€

At our next jewelry auction on August 16 in Cannes, we will be offering a rare minaudière signed Van Cleef & Arpels in black lacquer and gilded metal dated from the 1940s. Signed and accompanied by its black satin bag, it includes a powder magazine, a mirror, a lighter and a shell comb. An opportunity to remember the days when we used to make up in public and dance up to the end of the night…

Edouard DE GARO, Director - Expert of the Jewellery Department of Besch Cannes Auction

Mail : edouard@de-garo.com / Tel : 00.33.(0)

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