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Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

American, 1921-2018

When it comes to handbags, no designer can compete with Judith Leiber’s (1921–2018) ability to create magic using opulent crystals and wildly imaginative and playful shapes. The Hungarian-born designer made minaudières (small, decorative handbags, often without handles or a strap) in the form of crystal-covered swans, cupcakes, lipstick, wads of cash, teddy bears and other delightful objects. These dazzling objets d’art have been regularly seen in the hands of First Ladies, movie stars on the red carpet and even in the prestigious collections of institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Like many pathbreaking inventions in the history of design, Leiber’s minaudières were the result of a happy accident. In 1967, she began working on her first metal handbag. The piece in question was named the Chatelaine, and the design was a graceful drop-shaped purse in gold-tinted metal. But when the samples came in, Leiber saw that the bottom of the bag looked greenish and discolored as a result of the plating process. She had the ingenious idea of applying crystal rhinestones to the base to cover up the flaws. The dazzling bag was a huge success and would become her trademark.

Born Judith Peto in Budapest, Leiber overcame many hardships before her breakthrough. At the start of World War II, she was working at the Pessl handbag company in Budapest where she quickly climbed the ranks to become a master craftswoman. When the war escalated, she and her Jewish family were forced by the Nazis to live in a cellar of a ghetto, and several of her relatives were killed in concentration camps. “I designed handbags in my head to get through the misery,” she said. After the liberation of Budapest, she married Gerson “Gus” Leiber, an American GI, and moved to New York. In 1948, she began working for the fashion house Nettie Rosenstein. One of her first major pieces was the handbag embroidered with glittering rhinestones and pearls carried by Mamie Eisenhower at the 1953 inaugural ball. In 1963, she finally set up her own company.

Leiber’s whimsical designs embellished with Swarovski crystals and semiprecious stones defied traditional notions of luxury handbags. She also created striking clutches and bags with leather and fine textiles from around the world. In her 65-year career, she designed over 3,500 bags, which have been worn by First Ladies including Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush, pop icons like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner (who collects Leiber’s handbags). In 2005, the Leiber Collection Museum opened in East Hampton, New York, as a permanent space to showcase her work. The minaudières remain coveted objects celebrated worldwide for their eclectic beauty and glamorous charm.

The value of a good handbag cannot be overstated — find a collection of vintage Judith Leiber handbags and other fashion accessories today on 1stDibs.

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Judith Leiber Lizard Clutch, Shoulder Bag Semi Precious Bezel Set Stones
By Judith Leiber
Located in Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber Lizard clutch in go with everything white! Gold tone hardware features a flip up clasp embellished with multi color semi precious stones, bezel set. A shoulder strap c...
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21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Lizard Corner Clasps Clutch or Shoulder Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber is known world wide for her collectable handbags! This fabulous example in black lizard features two art deco corner clasps with gold tone hardware. Inside find a rou...
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2010s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Yellow & Orange Lizard Clutch
By Judith Leiber
Located in New York, NY
Product details: Vintage yellow and orange lizard clutch by Judith Leiber. Gold-tone hardware. Optional chain-link shoulder strap. Kiss-lock closure at top. 8" length, 6" height, 1.5...
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21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Green and Blue Reptile Leather Clutch Bag, 1986
By Judith Leiber
Located in Boca Raton, FL
Creativity is certainly a defining feature of Judith Leiber bags. From rhinestone encrusted sculptural pieces, to hand-decorated leathers in unconventional color combinations, Judith...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

1980s Judith Leiber Brown Stamped Leather Bag with Tigers Eye Cabochons
By Judith Leiber
Located in Toronto, Ontario
Stunning 1980s Judith Leiber shoulder bag. Brown stamped leather with gold tone hardware, tigers eye cabochons and tiny orange glass bead details. Beautiful seaming on front and back...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Gold Frame Tiger Eye Lizard Clutch Shoulder Bag 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber gold frame, tiger eye stone clasp pale taupe lizard clutch or shoulder bag from the 1980s. Hidden gold flat chain strap, the bag is lined in gold faille. Interior zippe...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Embellished Patchwork Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Elevate your look with this amazing Leiber! Circa 1970s, this bag features a gorgeous patchwork motif with colorful rhinestone embellishing, a removable black rope shoulder strap, an...
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1970s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Floral Patchwork Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Elevate your look with this amazing Leiber! Circa 1970s, this bag features a gorgeous floral patchwork motif with colorful rhinestone embellishing with a black rhinestoned top closur...
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1970s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Chinese Dragon Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Elevate your look with this amazing Leiber! Circa 1970s, this red satin bag features a gorgeous rhinestoned Chinese dragon motif, gold hardware, dual top handles with red rhinestones...
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1970s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Rhinestoned Chevron Evening Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Take on the evening with this stunning Judith Leiber evening bag! Circa 1970s, this bag features a beautiful metallic gold, orange, white and black chevron motif finished with glitte...
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1970s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Asian Motif Silk Clutch
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Take on the evening with this stunning Judith Leiber clutch! Circa 1970s, this clutch features a beautiful Asian motif finished with glittering multi-colored rhinestones, two exterio...
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1970s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Pink Python Shoulder Bag With Jeweled Clasp
By Judith Leiber
Located in Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber Pink Python Shoulder Bag With Jeweled Clasp proves that Judith Leiber is much more than the "Queen of Minaudieres"! Bag features ulta-luxurious python in shades of pin...
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Late 20th Century Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Couture Collectible Multicolored Embroidered & Bedazzled Handbag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Brand: Judith Leiber Couture Bag ( Collectible ) Judith Leiber black evening bag multicolored embroidered and bedazzled handbag is made with a top frame and snap clasp. This bag is m...
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20th Century Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

1980s Judith Leiber Luxe Patchwork Clutch
By Judith Leiber
Located in Toronto, Ontario
Known for her exquisite use of exotic skins, this 1980s patchwork multi-skin brown and black geometric over-sized clutch with punch clasp by Leiber is a must have. The clutch has a f...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Glass Stone Blue Suede Clutch - Shoulder Bag c 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in Santa Barbara, CA
Judith Leiber Glass elegant stone blue suede clutch - shoulder bag c 1980s The stylish handbag is covered with pale muted blue suede covering designed with sinuous floral motfis thro...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Ivory Lizard Compartment Purse with Gold Chain Handles, 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in Tucson, AZ
"And though she be but little, she is fierce," said Shakespeare. With a whopping seven interior compartments AND a matching coin purse in an 8" package, this handbag might have been ...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber 1980s Green Snake Skin Clutch
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Elevate your bag collection with this amazing Judith Leiber clutch! Circa 1980s, this bag is crafted from green and black snake skin and features gold hardware, a chain shoulder stra...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Silver Karung Leather Gold Clasp Evening Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber siver karung leather evening bag shoulder bag, with all the accessories. This beautiful bag has a long silver shoulder straps with tassels. the bag closes with two gold...
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21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Lizard Leather Evening Bag Handbag Clutch - Semi - Precious Stones
By Judith Leiber
Located in Wallkill, NY
Judith Leiber Evening Bag. Finely crafted from beige genuine lizard and tonal top stitching. Features multiple semi-precious stones including onyx, amethyst, jade, garnet, lapis, ros...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber White Karung Convertible Clutch With Semi Precious Jewels
By Judith Leiber
Located in Wallkill, NY
Wonderful Judith Leiber clutch! Totally surrounded by semi-precious stones. Converts from a clutch to a shoulder bag. Gently, gently used. Mirror in bag. Measures 7.25 in x 5 in. x 2...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Red Snake Skin Clutch Handbag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Wallkill, NY
Lovely petite red 1980's snakeskin clutch shoulder bag by JUDITH LEIBER! Wonderful supple skins with shiny gold-tone frame and snakeskin flip-top clasp. Shoulder chain strap folds in...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Crystal Encrusted Monogram evening clutch
By Judith Leiber
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber crystal encrusted monogram evening clutch or shoulder bag. This beautiful bag in monogrammed LMJ, in crystal rhinestones set against black rhinestones. The bag frame is...
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21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Multicolored Snakskin Beach Ball Shoulder Bag, 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in Boca Raton, FL
Judith Leiber is internationally acclaimed for her glammed-up, kitschy accessories. Never dull, Leiber’s creations employ deep color combinations and sculpture forms that often refle...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Brown Leather Compartment Bag with Coin Purse, 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in Tucson, AZ
Like Bonnie Cashin’s revolutionary “Cashin Carry” bags of the 1960s, this ingenious purse seems to defy physics with the amount of room it offers. Essentially a series of expandable ...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Natural Grey Python Snakeskin Shoulder Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Philadelphia, PA
GORGEOUS Judith Leiber Natural Grey Python Snakeskin Shoulder Bag in excellent condition. Natural grey python snakeskin exterior trimmed with gunmetal hardware, maroon stones and pe...
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21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

JUDITH LEIBER Nude to Brown Ombre Lizard Skin Purse Gold Straps
By Judith Leiber
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This Judith Leiber purse is composed of a nude to brown ombre lizard skin. Features an interior gold frame with two side pockets. There is an interior pocket and two slide pockets. C...
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20th Century Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Vintage Black Alligator Shoulder Bag Clutch
By Judith Leiber
Located in Philadelphia, PA
STUNNING Judith Leiber Vintage Black Alligator Shoulder Bag Clutch in excellent condition. Black alligator leather exterior trimmed with a front black and gold sliding latch closure ...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Snakeskin Rhinestone Butterfly Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
The most adorable little Judith Leiber snakeskin handbag bag! Constructed of a unique spotted gold snakeskin in a structured rectangular silhouette. Thin shoulder straps crafted from...
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1990s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Large Vintage Black Ostrich Handbag With Gold Studs
By Judith Leiber
Located in Atlanta, GA
This fabulous Judith Leiber black ostrich handbag is both uncharacteristically large and a little edgy for the designer. The body of the handbag measures 14.5" tall x 11.5" wide x 4...
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Late 20th Century Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Cream Off White Snakeskin Hobo with Multi Metal Two Tone Chain
By Judith Leiber
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This is a gorgeous Judith Leiber purse. The handbag is composed of a striking off white snakeskin and features a two tone chain. There is a one interior zipper compartment and a snap...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Black Suede Rhinestone Evening Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber Black Suede Rhinestone Evening Bag. This beautiful piece mixes new with vintage trends. It is in fair vintage condition with some wear to the suede and rhinestones on t...
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1990s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Textured Coco-Brown Silk Evening Bag with Gold hradware
By Judith Leiber
Located in New York, NY
Judith Leiber wonderfully whimsical yet elegant textured coco-brown silk evening shoulder bag is accented with vermeil-finished gold hardware. The fully lined interior is pai...
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1980s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber black leather & snakeskin shoulder bag 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Judith Leiber black leather & snakeskin shoulder bag 1980s...Half moon shaped bag has panels of patent leather, glazed python, black lizard and mate black leather...The bag closes wi...
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Late 20th Century Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Early Judith Leiber Pave Owl Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in Riverdale, NY
Early and unusual Judith Leiber Pave Shoulder Bag in silver kid leather with applied 3-D bombe, pave owl heads. Unusual design with charming figural accents. 1960's USA. 7" x 7" x 2...
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1960s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags

Judith Leiber Detailed Top-Stitched Off-White Calfskin "Duckie" Hardware Bag
By Judith Leiber
Located in New York, NY
A rare, early Judith Leiber for Saks Fifth Avenue off-white calfskin round shoulder bag is highlighted with detailed stop-stitching throughout the bag, and accented with a gilded gol...
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1970s Judith Leiber Shoulder Bags