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Judith Leiber Jewelry

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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Creator: Judith Leiber
1990's Vintage Judith Leiber Enamel Butterfly Clip Earrings
By Judith Leiber
Located in West Hollywood, CA
Judith Leiber enamel butterfly ear clips with green wings and rhinestones
Category

1990s American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Gold Tone & Red Enamel Necklace Never worn - 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in Wallkill, NY
Vintage Signed Judith Leiber Enamel Necklace. An American designer known for her elegant handbags. She also created lovely jewelry. Here is new, never worn 1980s iconic choker. Hall...
Category

1980s American Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Enamel, Gilt Metal

Vintage Judith Leiber Gold Horse Belt Circa 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in New York, NY
Vintage Judith Leiber Gold Horse Belt Circa 1980s. These belts were so iconic in the 1980s and you saw them on every supermodel. They were worn on everything from skirts to jackets ...
Category

1980s North American Artist Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Enamel Gold Toucan Brooch in Box
By Judith Leiber
Located in West Hollywood, CA
Judith Leiber enamel gold toucan brooch. Excellent use of multicolor enamels to achieve realistic effect. Red round cabochon eye, shiny rhinestones neck, gold perch and claws. Origin...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Large Silver Cuff Bracelet
By Judith Leiber
Located in Chicago, IL
Circa 1990 Judith Leiber Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelet, Solid and Heavy and having a ribbed design and measuring 1 1/4 inch wide with a 1 inch wide opening and an inside measurement ...
Category

1990s American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Sterling Silver

Judith Leiber Clear and Green Crystal Pumpkin Case
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Designer: Judith Leiber Material: green / clear crystal Weight: 45.15 grams Dimensions: pumpkin measures 50.5 X 48.8mm
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Jewelry

Gilded Mini "Chatelaine" Clutch Pill Case With Swarovski Pavé By Judith Leiber
By Judith Leiber
Located in Los Angeles, CA
- Vintage item - Collectible costume jewelry piece from the '80s - 2" x 1.75" - Gold plated - Swarovski crystal rhinestone pavé - Kiss lock closure - Opens on a hinge - By Jud...
Category

1980s American Modern Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Gold Large Pendant Chain Tassel Necklace, 1970s
By Judith Leiber
Located in Boca Raton, FL
Her name is synonymous with bejeweled minaudières—and for good reason. Judith Leiber has designed thousands of variations on the style, since making a name for herself in 1953 when ...
Category

1970s Byzantine Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Other

Judith Leiber Crystal Egg Locket
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
The incredible 1980s Judith Leiber egg locket! This piece is hard to come by- by the prolific jewelry and handbag designer Judith Leiber! Super unique egg shaped locket made of a cle...
Category

1980s American Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Massive Figural Gilt Metal Pendant Brooch Necklace
By Judith Leiber
Located in University City, MO
Judith Leiber Massive figural gilt metal pendant - brooch necklace c 1970s The Asian theme pendant necklace is designed with a huge Japanese style immortal figure suspended from a h...
Category

Late 20th Century American Artisan Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Gilt Metal

Judith Leiber Hummingbird Bird Brooch and Earrings French Enamel
By Judith Leiber
Located in Wallkill, NY
24K gold plated Judith Leiber Hummingbird brooch in the original box. This glorious bird has riveted construction and has wonderful visual depth. The bird's wings are textured to emu...
Category

1990s American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Gold Plate, Enamel

Judith Leiber Gold Tone Red Crystal Clutch with Coin Purse
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Designer: Judith Leiber Material: gold tone steel / red crystal Weight: 443.69 grams Dimensions: purse measures 5.75” X 2.5”
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Crystal, Steel

Judith Leiber Gold Tone Steel Crystal Cylinder Case
By Judith Leiber
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Designer: Judith Leiber Material: gold tone steel / clear crystal Weight: 51.39 grams Dimensions: case measures 78.5 X 24.5mm
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Crystal, Steel

Judith Leiber Asian Theme Silver Metal Pendant Brooch c 1980
By Judith Leiber
Located in University City, MO
Judith Leiber Asian theme silver metal pendant-brooch c 1980 The unique octagon-shaped brooch is designed with a pierced filigree design depicting a pair of Japanese style warrior fi...
Category

1980s Unknown Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Glass Cabochon Enamel Frog Brooch & Earrings Set c 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in University City, MO
Judith Leiber Charming glass cabochon white enamel frog brooch & earrings set c 1980s The set is designed with a trio of endearing creamy white enamel frogs; embellished with small ...
Category

1980s Unknown Modern Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Enamel, Gilt Metal

JUDITH LEIBER Vintage Lion's Head Brooch Pendant Gold Tone
By Judith Leiber
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This Judith Leiber brooch is composed of a gold hue metal and can be worn as a pendant as well. In great vintage condition, shows some signs of wear and discoloration (see photos; fr...
Category

20th Century American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Avant-Garde White Enamel Mouse Brooch c 1980s
By Judith Leiber
Located in University City, MO
Judith Leiber Avant-garde white enamel mouse brooch c 1980s The whimsical brooch is designed with a pair of mice The mother has her small offspring perched upon her back Their eyes,...
Category

1980s Unknown Artisan Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Enamel, Gilt Metal

Judith Leiber Gold Tone & Black Enamel Necklace Never worn 1990s
By Judith Leiber
Located in Wallkill, NY
Signed Judith Lieber Enamel Necklace. An American designer is known for her elegant handbags. She also created lovely jewelry. Neiman Marcus Price Tag still attached! Hallmarked o...
Category

1990s American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Gilt Metal, Enamel

Vintage Massive JUDITH LEIBER Monkey Necklace
By Judith Leiber
Located in Kingersheim, Alsace
Vintage Massive JUDITH LEIBER Monkey Necklace Measurements: Height: 7.08 inches (18 cm) Width: 3.18 inches (8.1 cm) Wearable Length: 21.06 inches (53.5 cm) Features: - 100% Authent...
Category

20th Century American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Tourmaline Gold Dragon Scale Earrings
By Judith Leiber
Located in Miami Beach, FL
Fabulous Rare Judith Leiber high relief gold earrings featuring a dark pink tourmaline in the center of a dragon scale gold swirl. The back has a post and French clip. !8k yellow g...
Category

20th Century American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Tourmaline, 18k Gold

Judith Leiber Massive Bacchus Medallion Necklace
By Judith Leiber
Located in Carmel by the Sea, CA
Art to wear Judith Leiber necklace features a massive medallion depicting Bachhus, the Roman God of Wine, with dangling bead balls coming out of the mouth and encrusted with flatback...
Category

Late 20th Century American Judith Leiber Jewelry

Judith Leiber Figural Woman Pendant Necklace c 1970s
By Judith Leiber
Located in University City, MO
Judith Leiber Figural woman pendant necklace c 1970s The unique necklace is designed with a female nude figure on a silver tone metal recessed plaque The versatile design can ...
Category

1970s American Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

Materials

Gilt Metal

1980s Judith Leiber Plexi Glass Ring
By Judith Leiber
Located in Toronto, Ontario
Mod look 1980's Judith Leiber ring is unusual setting with multiple loops giving the impression of the plexi orb moving through time and space. Some wear to the plating on the metal....
Category

1980s American Vintage Judith Leiber Jewelry

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Judith Leiber jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs

Find a range of Judith Leiber watches & jewelry available on 1stDibs. These unique items were designed with extraordinary care, often using enamel. While looking for the most stylish antique or vintage Judith Leiber jewelry to pair with your ensemble, you’ll find that Judith Leiber crystal jewelry & watches, from our inventory of 1, can add a particularly distinctive touch to your look. This collection contains 20 pieces as well as a number of other designs by this jeweler. artisan and byzantine are among the most popular styles of Judith Leiber jewelry & watches available on 1stDibs. While this collection reflects work that originated over various time periods, most of these items were designed during the 20th Century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider jewelry & watches by Stanley Hagler, Hattie Carnegie and , Giorgio Armani. Prices for Judith Leiber watches and jewelry can vary depending upon gemstone, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $135 and tops out at $5,000, while pieces like these can sell for $663 on average.

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