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Expert in vintage costume jewelry from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s & 1950s

1930s handbag with black & silver beads
Close-up view of silver beaded floral design on front
Back of handbag
Close-up view of silver beaded design on back
View of decorative silver metal frame
Close-up view of frame and clasp
Purse interior, showing pocket on each side

Black & Silver Beaded 1930s Handbag


MAKER: Unsigned

SIZE: 6 1/4" (not including handle) x 7" (at bottom); handle: 5 1/2" from center to top of frame

CONDITION: Excellent

DATE: 1930s?



This 1930s handbag is just gorgeous! It is covered in black beads with a silver bead decoration on the front and back. The top handle is also covered in black beads. Aside from the lovely floral design, what makes this bag extraordinary is the decorative top of the silver metal frame. The fretwork is continued on the clasp, which hangs in the front. The inside has a smooth, shiny fabric lining with a pocket on each side. One holds a two-sided 2 ½” x 1 5/8” mirror with beveled edges. The high-quality of this unusual bag is felt in its weight. I confess that I’m guessing at the date of the purse, but I don’t think that matters. What a lovely and distinctive evening accessory!

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Black & Silver Beaded 1930s Handbag

$295.00 USD
Why Buy Vintage Costume Jewelry?

One reason is that it’s environmentally friendly. Resale fashion and vintage jewelry has become a preferred sustainable and affordable shopping choice by today’s discerning fashion and eco-conscious consumer.

Another major reason is the quality. Although vintage costume jewelry was made for all levels of the marketplace – from dime stores to high-end fashion boutiques and jewelry stores – you will find only the best pieces here. They were well-designed and carefully made to last. The manufacturers represented here used only the finest materials – glass stones and beads from Bohemia, Austria, and France, and faux pearls from France and Japan. Settings were primarily sterling silver, gold-filled, or base metals heavily plated with gold, silver, or rhodium. Stones were hand-set, and pieces were hand-finished.

The northeastern part of the U.S. was the center of the industry, with the largest companies located in Providence, Rhode Island by the end of World War II. During the Depression, the quality of costume pieces climbed to new levels when many jewelers and craftsmen had to switch to this segment of the industry. In addition, it attracted many skilled workers who fled the political situation in Europe for the U.S. For these reasons, designs and manufacturing techniques rivaled those employed in the making of fine jewelry.

A third reason to buy costume jewelry is its uniqueness. Having survived for so many decades in such wonderful condition and having been selected for their aesthetic quality, the pieces you’ll find here are unlikely to be found elsewhere.

True vs Fake - how to shop vintage costume jewelry with confidence

Barbara Schwartz, a noted costume jewelry historian, is the author of "True vs Fake" , an in-depth blog series providing examples of how vintage costume jewelry can be accurately attributed. She also shares tips on how to avoid being duped into buying misidentified vintage costume jewelry.