Volupte

While hundreds of compact manufacturers brought goods to market through the years, certain makers rose to more prominence than others. Volupte emerged as market leader in the 1940s and ’50s, producing a range of elegant, functional compacts, vanity cases, and carryalls highly prized by today’s collectors.

Volupte round compact

A round Volupte compact with a floral printed cover. Photo (c) Jenn Waltner 2012.

Cases came in all shapes: square, rectangular, round, butterfly, apple, and oval. In the late 1930s, Volupte introduced “Whisk-er,” a brush-fitted case designed to remove stray powder from the mirror and ensure a clear reflection. Other innovations included musical cases, the Petite Boudoir compact with folding legs, the Swinglok closure bar, and the Golden Gesture hand-shaped series (which will be explored in depth in a future post).

Ads featured the tagline, “Volupte reflects the prettiest faces” and touted availability “wherever fine compacts are sold.” These were upscale cases. A November 1948 ad in Glamourmagazine positions them as collectible. “Now your Volupte compacts serve a double purpose!  You use one each day as a beauty acessory–and you display your entire collection in your home to add new excitement and glamour to your decoration! ‘Collector’s Items’ by Volupte are exquisitely wrought compacts…gleaming examples of the jeweler’s art… each worth saving and cherishing, as fine as a beloved heirloom.” At the top of the ad, actress Dorothy Lamour proclaimed, “I get a thrill out of collecting these compacts!”

Volupte Sophisticase box

The box for a Swinglok Sophisticase: "Palm-size carryall...for evening or the cocktail hour." Photo (c) Jenn Waltner 2010

A line named the Sophisticase reinforced the compacts’ high-end appeal, as did the company’s Fifth Avenue address. Volupte owners possessed unrivaled beauty, polish and poise…and fabulous accessories with lasting glamour and collectible value.

Many Volupte compacts rank among my personal favorites due to their fine craftsmanship and careful attention to detail. From delicate demitasse snuff boxes adorned with birds and ivy to the stunning silk faille-cloaked carryalls, these cases reflect ’40s and ’50s femininity at its finest.

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6 comments

  1. Went to your site hoping to find a logo on a vintage black enamel (?) lg. compact w. purse that was my mother’s. No trademark but nicely made, with beveled mirror even. It has what looks like a Chinese character, or a fancy L, or two Ls on top of each other, in red, in bottom left outside corner. Do you know a website where I might find compact trademarks? Thank you.

    1. I haven’t come across a site with all the trademarks, but I do have several very good books on compacts. If you send me a photo of your mother’s compact, I may be able to help figure out who made it.

  2. I have one of these. It’s not my personal taste and I’d be willing to sell it – any suggestions as to where a good place would be? I want to to go to someone who will appreciate it as I’ve not seen another one like it on the web so far. Etsy or Ebay or is there some other more “specialized” site? Thanks in advance!

  3. I have a Swinglok Sophisticase compact in the original box in good condition that I would like to sell- any ideas on where would be a good place to sell it? l

  4. Received a Golden Gesture with ring compact for helping a lady with 2 broken knees about 48 years ago. Had no clue what sentimentality was and gave it away a few years later. I’d give anything to find it again; it was in excellent condition!! I lived in the LaPuente, California area at the time. If anyone can help, please???

  5. I need help with my Volupte compact please! It is gold tone and round, has a cameo of what looks like a Musketeer? I cannot find any information on it or even any others like it.
    Thank you!

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