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Mesh Purses Facts & Tips


Antique 1900 Mesh Purse with Figural Snake Frame ca. 1900

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This is quite the rare little mesh purse from the approx. 1900 era. I doubt you'll find another like it any time soon and it will arrive in well kept antique condition.

Antique mesh purse with coiled serpent frame jeweled heads vintage early 1900

This rather small purse comes from a private collection of several unique purses. It was tarnished when I acquired it so I gently cleaned and polished it for your enjoyment.



The entire purse is in the silver tones. I have searched diligently for any markings on this mesh bag but have found none so far. The metal is of a nicer quality, I do not think it is just pot metal, it could be German silver or other such alloy, perhaps even a little sterling content but I have not had it tested. Nonetheless, it tarnished like silver and I have given it a bit of a polishing to bring out it's color. If it is silver plated, it shows no wear to the plating. The interior of the bag is divided in two parts by an attached mesh center piece. The interior is unlined. All of the mesh is attached to the framing, at each of the perimeter holes, as it should be. Overall, the mesh is in very good, respectable condition, with very few, if any, detached links.


The silver toned frame is what makes this an unusual and special mesh purse, one that will be rarely seen. The top of the frame has 2 fully coiled serpents, each with a finely carved head, enhanced with plain turquoise blue stones. The stones are fabulous and set well into the top of the heads. The snakes are securely attached to the framing with heavy silver solder in several places, all looking very sound. The carry chain handle is a double strand of slinky chain that keenly resembles snake skin. The use of the serpents on this frame helps to date this purse, as snakes where used regularly in the making of Victorian era jewelry and other fine fashion accessories.


The hinges are rather chunky and support the framing very well. I owned this purse for many, many months before I noticed a very skilled and early repair to one of the hinges. It took an extremely talented silversmith to do a repair like this and it is a very old repair. I suspect the still present original hinge cracked at manufacturing and was repaired immediately, as the metal loop used for the repair matches all the other metal and it is an amazing repair. I'm showing you both hinges so you can compare them and also see that there are no significant issues with the mesh at the hinges. 


These 2 photos show the interior compartments which include both sides of the mesh divider. The mesh is in excellent condition, with little, if any, evident separations. I don't see anything really wrong with this purse, although there could be a link, at the hinges, here and there that might be a slight bit out of place but everything looks great. This antique 1900 mesh purse, with jeweled snakes on the frame, measures a small 4 inches from the top of the heads to the bottom, 4 inches across the hinges and the doubled snake skin chain handle drops 5 inches. If you can forgive that very early professional repair to the hinge, that likely happened at manufacturing, you will have a delightful treasure from the past. From the late Victorian era to the early 1900's, this historically unique mesh bag is fabulous.


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