Modern culture blossomed in this era. Exquisite designs that defied stereotypes, with many compacts made of expensive materials akin to works of fine art, being created. The discovery of the Egyptian and Aztec civilizations was not only just a big news, but also reflected in the design. These bejeweled compacts are all characterized by beautiful craftsmanship.
Sun Rays Cartier
Among the pieces of work decorated with sunray motifs, this example is particularly gentle in its expression, and the lines in a radial pattern originating from the diamond decoration gracefully ripple as the viewing angle changes. This is a superb eighteen-carat-gold compact with a complement of sparkling diamonds created by Jacques Cartier, a talented designer and a grandson of Louis Cartier, the founder of the Cartier house.
Sun Rays Tiffany
This elegant sterling silver compact was made by Tiffany and features Art Deco-styled sunrays. The pattern was created while interest in the Aztec civilization was at its height, and this compact symbolizes the idea of their sun worship. The clasp on the lid is made of gold and rubies.
Rose Flower Basket
This beautiful vanity compact presents a combination of rose pink – an eternally feminine color – with soft glossy silver materials and a flower basket.
There are many vanity compacts with a similar design, perhaps reflecting their widespread popularity, and the Kanebo Collection has some pieces. This vanity compact is characterized by its highly refractive surface, which exudes various expressions of light.
Aqua Flower Basket
This exquisite enamel vanity compact is meticulously made in Austria. The silver flower basket relief in the center and the transparent enamel coating on the engine-turn pattern are the results of careful craftsmanship. This rare two-tone compact features light, brisk, aqua blue enamel accentuated by the solid black enamel around it. This special vanity compact was sold by jewelers and upscale department stores.
Grape Flower Basket
This is another enamel vanity compact meticulously crafted in Austria, and is covered with a unique wine-colored enamel. This valuable piece is almost entirely covered with enamel, including the front, back, and near the edge.
Emerald Flower Basket
This vivid vanity compact has transparent emerald blue enamel that conjures up images of a tropical sea. The swirling engine-turn pattern appears like flowing water. The center has a silver flower basket decoration. The flower basket marks the beginning of the Art Deco period, and was a popular motif at the Paris Expo.
Black Flower Basket
This solid black vanity compact is impressive for the contrast between its glossy black enamel and silver form. This compact was created for the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts (Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes) held in Paris in 1925. Its design seems to express women who are independent and actively participate in society. Under the theme “Les Arts Decos,” a basket of flowers and a garland were adopted.
This impressive Irish vanity compact is decorated with clear yellow enamel. Enamel is also applied on the side using high-level basse-taille technique. The edge is also delicately carved, making it shimmer differently from all angles. A simple yet unique design from the beautiful Emerald Isle.
A beautiful compact with a hint of Art Nouveau that exhibits a butterfly through its graceful curved lines and is decorated with cobalt blue enamel, which is notoriously difficult to create, expressing the nervures (folds of the wings created when transforming into a butterfly within a cocoon).
Two blue birds, which appear to be phoenixes, have been painted onto this vanity compact together with the use of beautiful blue enameling around the periphery.
Adding this beautiful blue hue to the enamel is considered perhaps the most technically difficult. This piece of work could almost only be made in Austria, which is renowned for its superb enamel workmanship.
The camels heading towards the pyramids are delicately painted on the ornate case, edged with yellow French enamel, almost bringing the undulating sand dunes in the desert to life. Opening the compact, one discovers lip color with loose powder on one side, and blush on the other. This double compact combines both beauty and function.
The excavation of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 had a significant influence on European art, as it sparked renewed interest in ancient Egypt. Possibly created for all those ladies who dreamed of journeying to the wondrous pyramids.
This compact was created for those with a yearning for the Far East with an ink and wash painted scenery of a beautiful Chinese landscape.
It also incorporates the basse-taille technique. An excellent and sophisticated Chinoiserie piece with gold and red enameling on a chic gray base.
The trees arranged symmetrically on either side of the fountain are mirror images of one another, and the use of white and red for the foliage adds to the stylized appeal of the design. The Art Deco features are very notable. This compact is created using the cloisonné process, in which enamels of different colors are applied by hand to sterling silver filigree. Another feature is the powder sifter, which can be slid to adjust the amount of powder.
A very rare compact encased in valuable real tortoiseshell. This piece of work is accented with a silver charm, a palm tree and elephant design, set atop the warm tortoiseshell. This compact comes with a delightful history of having been given to a British woman living in Malaysia by a girl who was visiting from the same homeland.
Oriental Feather Brush
A rare retractable feather brush.
Powder is inserted at the bottom of the handle and ingeniously pushed out through the feather brush.
This oriental design of black, gold, and red reflects an era when Chinoiserie first became popular.
Flower Feather Brush
A uniquely designed retractable pink feather brush.
Face powder is inserted at the bottom of the handle, and as the feathers are pushed out, the powder is gently dispersed among them.
These pink feathers not only made the reapplication of make-up smoother, but must also have made the whole experience more enjoyable.
An octagonal box-like compact with a stack of three compartments for powder, blush and lip rouge, and a lid holding the powder puff inside embellished with an oriental motif. Fitted with a nickel chain and a ring at the bottom that, if pulled, enables the compartments to be opened up into steps, this exquisitely tooled compact was featured in the July issue of a magazine called “Not Just Compacts,” and accordingly contains summer colors.
This is a luxurious vanity compact shimmering with gold and garnets. Although originally based on an oriental pillbox motif, the delicate decorations are reminiscent of a gothic church. Golden tufting is attached to hide the lipstick. This two-sided compact is equipped with face powder and rouge for the cheeks.
A compact with a design heavily influenced by the Baroque art that swept France and Spain between the 16th and 18th centuries. The imposing opulence of the openwork, embellished in the center with an imitation amber-colored gemstone, is reminiscent of a cathedral dome as viewed from beneath. Imposing though it is, this compact is also cute, with a rounded base that sits cozily in the palm.