1. Home




Georgian nécessaire,containing a sewing kit, pocket knife and pencil, engraved gold, 18th century

--Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry (www.langantiques.com)

Definition: a small object, usually portable, designed to contain an array of even smaller items for daily use ("nécessaire" means "necessary" in French); although some were the size of a large box or a small case and stood on feet, most were hand- or pocket-sized, and may have had a strap or chain to fasten to a belt or watch fob or loop around a wrist (see photo, more images); often made of precious metal or stone and/or adorned with jewels; developed in the early 18th century, the original examples held practical articles, like sewing accessories (needle, scissors), pencils or knives; by the early 20th century, they had often shrunk even further in size and began to function as small handbags, carrying cosmetics, cigarettes or toiletries

Pronunciation: ness-eh-sare

Associated with designers: Fabergé, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier

Example: While turn-of-the-20th-century nécessaires are often shaped like cylinders or cigarette cases, many of those made by Fabergé are fashioned like bejeweled eggs the Russian jeweler is so known for.

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Antiques
  4. Vintage Fashion
  5. Nécessaire - What Is a Necessaire Made by Van Cleef & Arpels, Faberge, Cartier and Other Fine Jewelery Crafters?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.