Many collectors in Europe and the United States consider her the queen of bags. In search of her, they travel city and country, sometimes even far beyond borders; some are dazzled by her brilliance and others are captivated by her intricate handiwork and some are willing to pay a lot of money for her. These enthusiasts and collectors have one thing in common: they have fallen for the radiant splendor, the colorful motifs and the immortal beauty of the beaded bag.Beaded handbags have been popular for quite some time.
In the 1800s women used to knit beaded bags both at home and professionally. It would take the knitter up to two weeks to finish a bag with up to 40,000 beads. The bags were decorated with flowers, temples, harps, weeping willows or hunting scenes.
In the early 20th century beaded day bags were designed with drawstrings. Alternatively, they had fancy handles made of metal, tortoiseshell, ivory or synthetics. Bags with scenic landscapes, castles and ruins from Europe or historic scenes became particularly popular. Additionally, some purses had cubist or Art Deco designs.
In the 1920s cut steel or aluminum beads were also used to produce beaded bags. Originally, the cut steel beads were gold-, silver-, or bronze-colored, though they later came in other colors as well. After the 1930s, beaded bags lost their prominence and beads were then mainly used for evening bags. Boxy purses with multicolored, sparkling caviar beads were all the rage and especially popular with Americans in the 1940’s.