In the Crazy Twenties, women won a new degree of freedom. Wearing make-up and smoking in public became common. For these progressive women, Cartier created Vanity cases called "Nécessaires". They contained one or two compartments for powder or make-up, a comb and sometimes a compartment for cigarettes. These objects also offered a perfect surface for highly elaborate and valuable decoration. The jeweler put all his talent into them and created some dazzling pieces.
PANTHER VANITY CASE
CARTIER PARIS, 1928
Yellow gold, platinum, black enamel, rose- and baguette-cut diamonds, emeralds, rubies, onyx cabochons, green enamel.
The interior fitted with a mirror, a lipstick, a covered powder compartment, and a cigarette compartment with gold openwork retaining clip.
This item is part of a series of cases inspired by Georges Barbier’s drawings of panthers, dogs, and gazelles. Another case decorated with greyhounds belonged to Elma Rumsey, Pierre Cartier’s wife.
10.85 x 5.5 x 1.75 cm
LARGE VANITY CASE
CARTIER LONDON, COMMISSIONED IN 1935
9 karat yellow gold, platinum, round old-cut diamonds, black enamel.
The top with the monogram BG.
Interior fitted with a mirror and four compartments, including a covered compartment for cigarettes.
Commissioned by Countess Granard (1883–1972), daughter of the financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills
15.2 x 8.5 x 2.3 cm
EGG VANITY CASE
CARTIER PARIS, 1958
Yellow gold, platinum, baguette-, brilliant- and single-cut diamonds, tortoiseshell.
The center applied with initial L.
Interior with a powder compartment with Plexiglas®-cover, a cigarette compartment with gold openwork retaining clip and a mirrored cover. Sold to Lady Lydia Deterding.
11.13 x 8.22 x 5.85 cm