I wanted to show this particularly nice vintage beaded clutch that I recently discovered in a thrift shop and have listed in my eBay store. Over the years I have found and sold several beaded purses. This is one of the most elaborate so far. The front is completely encrusted with red-gold colored sequins, each with a tiny gold bead sewn in the center. Over the sequins is sewn a pattern of flowers all in gold beads. The beads are on pale yellow satin. The reverse has a geometric pattern in gold beads.
As you can imagine, all the beading gives this little purse a fairly substantial feel in the hands. Beads are heavy! The interior is more of the yellow satin and there is a small pocket for a mirror. The clutch folds to close and is held with a snap.
The condition is amazing! This bag was likely made in the late 1950s to 1960s. The label reads Richere Bag by Walborg, hand beaded in Hong Kong. Walborg was a company founded by Hilde Weinberg in New York City in the late 1940s. She originally worked as a vice president for a cosmetics manufacturing firm and resigned in 1949 to study the handbag business for eighteen months before establishing her company. Walborg Corp. continued under her ownership until 1971.
Beaded purses were especially popular in the 1950s. Their production was first done in Europe. Manufacturers moved to Asia when labor there was found to be less expensive. The beading was performed in Japan and Hong Kong and later in China. Richere is one of several well known names in this particular style of purse. Small clutches mostly served as evening accessories or were taken to special functions such as weddings and fancy parties. The intensive labor involved in producing such finely detailed work meant the purses were expensive status symbols.
This clutch appears in excellent vintage condition. The beading is intact, somewhat amazing considering the fragile nature. The piece is quite clean, with just a bit of smudging on the satin around the snap. Often these purses are found missing portions of the beading or with serious stains.
Here is another beaded purse currently in my online shop. It is a more modern design, most likely from the 1970s. There is no maker’s label. The pretty pattern on this red satin clutch is two-sided. Another example of how hard some poor beader had to work to earn their wage. I hope these workers considered themselves artists because to me a well-beaded clutch bag is a work of art.