I came across my very first vintage powder compact when I was wandering around in a well known Paris flea market during Christmas time 2013. Sitting quietly at the corner of an old glass wooden box, a gold tone brass compact attached with lipstick and engraved with flowers and birds, immediately caught my eye. In my knowledge, the cosmetic compacts I’d seen so far were all made of dull and cheap plastics, either rectangular or round, plain tops, nothing interesting at all. But this little fellow was so different, I was fascinated with how pretty it was crafted. Without much thought, I decided to buy it as my souvenir. Being a big fan of handicrafts, many things found in vintage markets deeply impressed me for their exquisite craftsmanship.
Back to Hong Kong, I started searching online for vintage goods and suddenly realized that there’s such a huge market out there! Soon I found myself crazy eBaying, but I still managed to put my focus on powder compacts. In less than 6 months, the number of my compacts quickly exceeded 100. I decided to create my private collection and called it “Little Box Collection”, with powder compacts as mainstream, along with other collectibles such as enamelware and ceramics. The collection now diversifies in various vanity goods including powder compacts, boxes, perfume and talcum tins, and it continues to grow as I find something stimulates my heart. To many collecting might be a business, and so do I (some of my compacts are for sale), but undeniably it’s fun above all. I do consider the condition, rarity, as well as cost when hunting down vintage compacts, the primary principle, however, always remains the same – stick to something excites me most.
By establishing the online gallery, I display my collections to people all around the world, and hope they would enjoy them as much as I do. I can’t agree more with the words of Madeleine Marsh in her book,
“The main thrust of my own ‘passion’ is everyday beauty accessories used by women of the past, and I display them on shelves of my study, where they can be enjoyed, everyday, by a woman of the present.”¹
I categorize my collections according to their points of interests, therefore some of them might not be mutually exclusive. Items can also be searched by their brand names, just select from “Maker” on the right hand column. For each item, its top, bottom and inside images are displayed. Information (if known) such as date, size, country of origin, patent number…etc. is also included. I try my best to search for the history and dating my compacts from books, journals, online articles and all other available sources, and update the site constantly. If you find any error, or you can provide me more information about the items, please feel free to leave me feedbacks, your help and comments are highly appreciated. Last but not least, don’t forget to LIKE the items that impress you, and share the joy of vintage vanity!
¹ Madeleine Marsh, 2014, Compacts and Cosmetics: Beauty From Victorian Time to the Present Day, Pen and Sword History,UK.