Wednesday, November 10, 2010
This Art Deco cigarette case, circa 1920s, is both stylish and functional - doubling as a vanity case. The symmetrical royal blue enamel and diamond design at the center of the piece stands in stark contrast to the softer floral pattern on the sides. In the decades that followed, Arabic and Chinese motifs with more simplified bold cubes and bars came into vogue. Fine cases, like this one, used enamel to add a splash of vibrant color, but its tendency to scratch caused it to be replaced with a more resistant lacquer in less expensive versions.
Cigarette cases were extremely desirable for their style, lavishness and functionality, and were commissioned by the wealthy and top jewelry collectors alike. The owner often worked with the designer to create a custom piece, incorporating their initials or other personalized elements. The wife of legendary composer Cole Porter reportedly commissioned a custom-made Verdura cigarette case to celebrate the opening of each of her husband’s musicals. As the composer himself said, Anything Goes.