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Judith Leiber Exquisite Crystal Encrusted Figural Woman Minaudière circa 1980s



Judith Leiber Exquisite crystal encrusted figural woman minaudiere' The opulent gilt metal figural evening bag is designed with an elegant woman's head. Encrusted with contiguous rows of intricate tiny handset Swarovski crystals The opulent crystal jeweled woman's face is concealed underneath a mysterious black crystal mask; that reveals her piercing mint green glittering crystal eyes Her face is encrusted with intricate rows of brilliant golden handset crystals that cover the contours of her facial features. The jet black crystal mask has a Venetian style influence The chic woman is adorned with a crystal jeweled turban headpiece with an elaborate design that emulates a turtle shell Comprised of a myriad of sparkling glass crystals in amethyst, mint green & jet black colors The woman's face is framed with a sinuous band of impressed gilt metal that emulates her hair. A pair of ruby red color glass cabochons are embedded in her ears replicating earrings The jet black crystal clasp knob is embellished with a tiny wreath of black crystals. The jeweled clasp is inserted inward to open & reveal the gold metallic foil lined compact size interior The versatile minaudiere' can be carried as a chic clutch; it too transitions into a beautiful shoulder bag carried with the gilt metal shoulder strap chain Makes a stunning, exquisite accessory that truly is a piece of magnificent art & design The interior is inscribed Judith Leiber on a gilt metal plaque The compact size interior will accomodate a few small size articles Measurements The length across the furthest section of the woman's face ear to ear measures 3.75 inches The height from the center of the woman's head to the base of the evening bag measures 4.25 inches The drop length from top of the chain strap to the base of the evening bag measures 23 inches Amazing vintage condition; appears to have been carefully stored & seldom carried


  • Designer
  • Dimensions
    Height: 4.25 in. (10.8 cm)Length: 3.75 in. (9.53 cm)
  • Style
    Opulent (In the Style Of)
  • Place of Origin
    United States
  • Period
  • Material Notes
    The figural gilt metal minaudiere evening bag is designed in the shape of a woman's head encrusted with elaborate handset Swarovski crystals. Can be carried as a clutch or shoulder bag
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. In wonderful vintage condition appears to have been carefully stored and seldom carried.
  • Seller Location
    University City, MO
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU7366785472

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Free Shipping: Standard Parcel Shipping
    to United States 0, arrives in 5-7 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: University City, MO
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About the Designer

Judith Leiber

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.

About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in University City, MO
Vetted Seller
These experienced sellers undergo a comprehensive evaluation by our team of in-house experts.
Established in 1994
1stDibs seller since 2014
1,074 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 2 hours
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