Parisian elegance

Glamorous ruby-set powder compact with interior mirror, Paris circa 1940

After it had long been frowned upon to wear conspicuous makeup, lipstick and mascara became not only socially acceptable in the 1920s, but a must for the modern woman. This development accompanied the increasingly self-determined image of women of the time: hair was worn short, the mouth was made up darkly, and the first women ventured out onto the street in a suit; an act that had still been punishable in the 19th century. Fashions changed, the suit disappeared again from feminine wardrobes, but the make-up remained. Red lipstick was also indispensable for the femme fatale of film noir, embodied by actresses such as Lauren Bacall. In the 1940s, for example, the Parisian jewellery house Boucheron created powder compacts and lipstick tubes made of gold-plated silver with ruby trim, on which the present compact was modelled. Decorated on the outside with a floral design engraved in reddish gold plate, on which glowing ruby cabochons rise vividly, the box reveals a mirror and a compartment for powder or cheek rouge on the inside. Hallmarks confirm that it was made in Paris. We were able to discover it in Monaco, where it must have once travelled in the luggage of a glamorous lady. Even today, powder can easily be poured back into the small art object (see "Learn more").

To fill powder or cheek rouge into old compacts, you can crush an existing solid powder with a spatula, mix it with high-proof alcohol (from the drugstore) and brush it into the compact to be filled, press it firmly and let it dry open.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.