Since the 18th century, bags began to be embroidered with exclusive materials such as gold or silver. Later on, crystals were added to these embroideries, in the form of small beads of different colors.
Geometric shapes, landscapes, monuments...the result of hundreds of hours of craftsmanship, made each bag a unique piece, a jewel within the reach of very few.
Sometimes, the year of creation of the piece, the name of the owner or a commemorative date were embroidered.
They used to be used as evening bags, where the ladies of the court showed their privileged economic position. They also used to create bags that conveyed a message, as a form of communication and a declaration of intentions.
Later, in the twentieth century, although the decade of the thirties saw hard times, the evening bag continued to captivate women, and few women wore the same bag all day.
Movie stars made a ritual of the act of applying makeup, which became a regular off-screen activity.
In contrast to the turn-of-the-century refusal to "paint" in public, the practice came to be considered elegant, and handbags began to include mirrors and lights to facilitate touch-ups anywhere. Thus they became a portable dressing table.
They tended to be small, with just enough room for lipstick and powder puff.
The materials were similar to the soft silks, satins and crepes of the dresses of the time. Fabrics were often dyed to match the dress and incorporated luxurious details such as rhinestones and beads.
The bags were designed to be carried in the hand or, if they did not have handles, under the arm.
The very wealthy sported handbags made of precious metals, with Asprey, Cartier and Boucheron being the most celebrated jewelers of the era.
Although these bags were not affordable for all pockets, manufacturers for the general public had at their disposal many substitutes for precious stones:
- Marcasite (pyrite): This was a popular alternative to diamonds as it could be cut and set like the real thing.
- Strass (rhinestone): Named after the Strasbourg jeweler G.F. Strass, who invented them in 1730. They were false glass diamonds that could also be colored to imitate other precious stones.
- Crystal: It was another diamond substitute made of glass to which a high percentage of lead oxide was added to increase its refraction.
- Imitation rhinestones: A generic term that encompasses all artificial materials that imitate precious stones.
In ARBONIES we have sought to create a jewel bag where the particularity is the wood and resin sides, that after hours of craftsmanship focused on the details, make each piece unique and different from the others.