Mrs. Lieber is best known for her minaudières, which came about by sheer accident in 1967.
The accident is known as the famous “chatelaine bag” made from gold-plated brass. When it arrived from Italy there were green spots on it from poor plating and she needed a way to disguise them.
She covered the spots with a crystal design, which served to both hide and enhance. The minaudière was born and has remained a trademark of Judith Lieber bags ever since.
The evening bags for which Judith Lieber is particularly renowned begin their journey in an artisan workshop in Italy.
They are sculpted in wax, then stamped in brass, gold plated, and lined with lambskin. A unique design is then painted on the outside of the bag, indicating the color of each section to be adorned with crystals.
A minaudières can have anywhere from 7,000 to 13,000 crystals as well as semi-precious stones like a tiger’s eye.
The beading is done by hand with jeweler's tweezers dipped into an adhesive and each crystal is individually glued onto the bag.
It can take over 120 hours to bead just one minaudière.