Van Cleef & Arpels vanity case, €76,000 (£65,360) at Tajan.

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He went to work, designing what would become known as the vanity case, a must-have for any well-dressed woman on the go. Today, the Art Deco-era vanity cases are highly sought by contemporary collectors, as Tajan (23% buyer’s premium) demonstrated with three exceptional examples offered in Paris on December 5.

The top lot of this Collecting Beauty sale was a 1925 Van Cleef & Arpels enamelled lapis lazuli, rose cut diamond, platinum and 18ct yellow gold vanity case. Signed Van Cleef & Arpels Paris and numbered 27797 and 7050, the case carried a French assay mark and the Strauss, Allard & Meyer maker’s mark. Estimated at €25,000-30,000, it hammered for €76,000 (£65,360).


Cartier vanity case, €67,000 (£57,620) at Tajan.

A 1927 Cartier enamel ruby, lapis lazuli and 18ct gold vanity case performed similarly, selling for €67,000 (£57,620). The case was signed Cartier Londres New York and was numbered 8787 and 6144.

Langlois design


Alfred Langlois vanity case, €45,000 (£38,700) at Tajan.

Headquartered in Paris, Alfred Langlois was an independent maker of vanity and cigarette cases, often for Van Cleef & Arpels. He signed an exclusivity deal in 1932 and eventually took over the firm.

Sold for €45,000 (£38,700) was a 1925 gem set and enamel vanity case carrying Langlois’ mark in the Japonism taste.

Made in platinum and 18ct yellow gold set with panels of lapis-lazuli, the mother of pearl marquetry ‘Branche Fleurie’ decoration was strongly reminiscent of hashira-e woodblock prints.