Lady's Purse, ca. 1895
You have a very interesting "you don't know what it is" here.
No, I don't.
Who'd you get it from?
My aunt, who performed at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. She had several significant male friends.
Ah, sounds like she was having fun.
And this was a gift from a paramour. That's all I know about it.
Okay. You had asked me, because it came in a Cartier box, if it was Cartier. It's not signed anywhere. That doesn't mean they couldn't have retailed it, but they were usually very fastidious about putting their name on something even if another company made it for them, so I don't think it's Cartier. But I think it's fabulous. Now, you also asked me, "What does it hold?" When you open it... I know your friends were joking around-- she can take it, you can give it to her, she'll throw her credit cards in there, they'll probably fit-- but it's missing something. You see how this finish is kind of raw and dull in here?
Normally, you wouldn't see that because in here would have been a silk liner, and there would have been two or three compartments, and then you can put some money or something in there. So it was in essence a small purse. Where it's perforated, that's what we call piercing. They would sit down with a saw at the bench and they would pierce out all the holes, and once they were done piercing it, then an engraver would go back in and engrave all that floral design in there. Terribly time consuming. The color's very rich, and I expected it to be 18 karat gold. I did an acid test on it with the slate, and actually, it's 14 karat gold. There's about three ounces of 14 karat gold there. There's about three quarters of a carat in diamonds, and the square stones are sapphires. They're what we call calibrated sapphires because they're cut to tight tolerances. In the sapphires, you have about a carat and a half. A piece like this was probably manufactured around 1890. If it came up at auction—and it would be a good sell, because a lot of people would use it to put credit cards or something in. It's very chic. I think this would sell somewhere in the range of $3,000 to $4,000.
Very nice, thank you.
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