Martin Van Schaak: Handbag Jewelry

The corner stone of the fabulous vintage designs by Martin Van Schaak is a sizable, 24K gold-plated ornament encrusted with sparkling crystal rhinestones, glass gems, or colorful enamel. Whimsical and artful, they usually depict various animals—such as tigers or elephants—as well as birds, fish, and dolphins. Their uniqueness lies in their over-sized proportions and highly artistic designs. They are never static, but rather fluid and expressive, conveying motion and movement in progress.

Bold and modern in spirit, his handbag jewelry doesn’t just blend or complement, but stands out and works in contrast with the traditionally quiet styling of his handbags. Used purely as decoration on some of the pieces, on others such jeweled ornaments play a functional role, especially while incorporated into a handle’s design. Each ornament is attached to the body of the bag by means of special “holders” before sewing its sides together.

So distinct and glamorous, the Van Schaak handbags are always practical and spacious. Daytime satchels and totes come in a roomy 11-inch size, sometimes with adjustable shoulder straps. Evening models are conveniently small, less than 9-inches wide.

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