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Necessaire

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Necessaire

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.

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