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Which Mesh Purse?
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Mesh purses are just too nice to melt so they are repaired and sold or repurposed. Describing them "enough" for resale seems easy when it's just the standard frame and weave. Come to think of it, how much could there be about one, right?

The hallmarks tell the purity and metal(s) which is important since non-precious metal purses have little value. There may be a manufacturer, country, and year. Signed ones are generally more valuable. While all chainmail purses were hand-assembled until the early 1900s, it seems to add little value aside from its antiquity.

The regular weave is the European 4-in-1 using circular rings and round wire. More elaborate purses have flower and starburst frills woven into them. Sections may attach in a criss-cross manner giving texture and contrast. The mesh may be shaped or expand when laid flat, an important characteristic to note.

Soldered rings are better and stronger than butted rings. Smaller rings and thinner wire make a remarkably supple fabric whose softness and feel defy explanation. Square, profiled, and textured wire have a spectacular visual effect. Shaped or forged links add instant desirability.

Some purses have cast or preformed "links" that become the visible element and give the surface a mesmerizing look (usually held together by jump rings). They range from simple diamond shapes to complex beaded finials. These purses are more costly and less common.

The frame is the most dynamic feature on most purses. Its dimensions? Is it hollow-formed without a backing or solid? How about the shape - some are plain weird with lobes, points, arcs, doodads, etc. How does the mesh and/or liner attach to the frame or other parts: jump rings, spiral wound wire, sewn together? Don't forget the other cool things like repousse, chasing, piercing, etc.

Evening bag, clutch, purse, handbag, hand bag, etui, necessaire, mesh bag, bag, metal bag, chatelaine, wristlet?
Is the clasp a push-button, kisslock, hinge latch, or other mechanism? Gemstone-topped or plain? Most have traditional top-opening hinges. Some have scissor frames that pivot in several places to form a square opening. Then there's the accordion or lattice family, expanding into a circular mouth. Frameless or drawstring bags are uncommon.

Dangles: what do they look like, their dimensions, how many, where are they, how are they fastened, do they form a pattern, WHAT already? Rarely are beads or other bling used - if it's silver or gold it tends to be all metal minus any liners, maybe a gemstone and some enameling now and again.

The whole purse - how long is it when hanging from top of chain to lowest dangle? Is it wider than the frame? Most purses and some (chatelaine) mini-purses have chains. With so many chain designs out there, describe it. Lacking a chain, is there an attachment mechanism or location for one?

Now to advertise it. Is it chainmail, chainmaille, chain mail, chain maille, mail, maille, link, chain link, mesh, tiny rings, mini rings, metal, metal fabric, woven metal thread? Evening bag, clutch, purse, handbag, hand bag, etui, necessaire, mesh bag, bag, metal bag, chatelaine, wristlet?

A buyer is in the lurch if the seller won't describe it, avoids answering questions, and takes fuzzy pictures. One entire description read, "My client used to sell Art Deco items in NY. From a nonsmoking home." OK, what relevance does that have? Another had no description and a bunch of bad photos. Why even bother listing an item with this lazy attitude? Take it somewhere else please.

Posted by M: April 28, 2019

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