Zardozi embroidery is still being stitched in India today. This type of embroidery is defined as ornate metallic embroidery done using metallic bullion threads, French wire or metal sprig thread and embellished with precious stones, pearls, beads and sequins. It originated in Persia and was introduced by the Mughals in India in the early 16th century. It was once only obtained by royals, that is when it was sewn with genuine gold or silver thread. Since it is still widely popular in India and mass produced, it can be quite inexpensive. However, vintage zardozi is another story and I have seen examples of it created by such luxury jewelry designers as Van Clef and Arpels. This bag was sold at the Louise Fontaine boutique which was a "Maroquinier sellier" (leather good saddler) which sold very high end goods to wealthy Belgians in the 1950's-60's. This shop was located in Brussels and was known for its luxury goods (in fact,its vintage alligator skin bags are compared in quality to those of Hermes). It is for this reason that I conclude that this is a high end zardozi clutch since only the best was sold at this shop.
The clutch is covered with a gold silk that has a slight metallic sheen. The back has some striations which may be from age? The front is covered with a floral deign done in the zardozi embroidery. There are five large flowers created in a lime colored thread and outlined in metallic bold thread and beads. The middle of each flower has a large semi precious stone (probably carnelian or tiger's eye) that has rings of gold beads surrounding it. There are mauve colored accents throughout as well as gold and bright turquoise embellishments. All of this has tremendous depth and dimension. Very little of the silk background is seen as most of it is covered with this embroidery. The back of the clutch has a silk wrist strap that is embroidered throughout. The clutch closes with a snap closure. The inside is lined with a gold silk. There is a small open slip pocket and a larger one. The fabric label stating "Louise Fontaine Brexelles" is sewn inside. The inside is in great condition with minuscule signs of use. The clutch measures 7 1/2"w x 5"h x 1-"d. The bag is in good condition. There are some signs of wear and use throughout but nothing really that significant. This bag is a vintage show stopper. It is opulent, glamorous and striking. The Mughals knew a thing or two about beautiful items and that's why this technique has been around for so long. Just one look and you too will understand! Condition: Very Good + VINTAGE Condition
Vintage Zardozi Embroidered Clutch Louise Fontaine