Beaded Purses Copied
New glass beaded purses were made in India and sold by several mail order catalogs for $95-$115. If original, such pieces sell for $200-$300+. There are several ways to detect the reproductions.
Virtually all original pre-1940 beaded purses have die stamped metal frames. The new purses have cast metal frames. Die stamping almost always leaves the same design on the reverse side of the frame as on the front. Cast frames have a design on the front only and nearly always have a rough surface and at least some grinding marks.
The beads of original pre-1940 purses, although varying in size, are generally much smaller than those on the new purses. Old beads are seldom much bigger than twice the diameter of a pin head. New beads are 2-5 times that size. Virtually all clasps and loops for handles on original beaded purses are made separately and soldered to the frame. Clasps and loops on the new frames are cast as part of the frame. A ribbon generally concealed where the lining is attached to the frame in original purses; it is missing in the new.
Fig. 1 This new beaded purse was made in India. It is 6½" wide, 9" high; includes shoulder length chain.
Fig. 2 (New) Design side of brass frame on new beaded purse. The new frame is made by casting.
Fig. 3 (New) Back side of new cast frame. Note coarse rough surface, grinding marks (arrow) and absence of pattern.
Fig. 4 (Old) Design side die stamped original frame
Fig. 5 (Old) Back side of original die stamped frame
Fig. 6 (Old) Back side of original cast purse frame
Figs. 4-6 The majority, but not all, pre-1940 beaded purse frames were die stamped not cast. Design side of original die stamped brass frame (purse missing) shown in Fig. 4 above. In original die stamped frames, the design from the front appears in mirror image on the back side of the frame as seen in Fig. 5, above right. The relatively few pre-1940 beaded purse frames made by casting have smooth surfaces and are nicely finished. Compare the finished smooth back of an original pre-1940 cast frame in Fig. 6, to the back of a rough surfaced new cast frame in Fig. 3.
Fig. 7 (New) The twist catch on new frames is cast as part of the frame. Frame and catch are cast as one piece.
Fig. 8 (Old) Catches on die stamped and cast original frames, are made separately and soldered to the frame
Fig. 9 The new beads are much larger than original beads. Although old beads vary in size, the new beads are from 2-5 times the size of originals. New bead on left, old on right. Shown about actual size.
Fig. 10 New bead (white) placed over beads in original purse. New bead in this case is about 3-4 times the size of originals. Shown about twice actual size.
Fig. 11 (Old) A strip of ribbon usually concealed the areas where original linings were attached to the frame.
Fig. 12 (New) Oval cloth label inside new beaded purse. This name has no connection with pre-1940 purses.