Long time no blog! I always start every blog post with this line which is probably a bad thing. Today's post is on the topic of caviar Dianas and more specifically on the two design differences.
I love collecting these little gems and I recently blogged about my updated small caviar Diana here. This has been an expensive bad habit since 2019 although back then the caviar Dianas were no where near as expensive as they are now. I’ve shared before that I collect multiples of the same color but in different series all in the name of research - now that knowledge has finally been put into good use!
Previously I shared my findings on two very different lambskin Diana designs but did you know there are also two different caviar leather designs too?
Below is a picture of two black small caviar Dianas. They're both black caviar Dianas but one is slightly more square/rectangular and the other is “rounder”. You may recognise the top one as Henry - he’s my first caviar Diana and he’s from the 3 series. The bottom one is Vitaly and is from the early 2 series. The older design caviar designs span from the 1 series to the early 2 series and caviar Dianas are typically found between late 2 series all the way up to 5 series, with the bulk of the newer designs in the 3 series. I've long had my suspicions that there were different versions out there but having now owned multiple versions of both designs, I feel more comfortable with publicly sharing my (hopefully correct!) findings.
The newer designs are the ones you see most often on the market - this is true for both the lambskin and caviar. The lambskin ones we sell are usually of the newer design (i.e. late 2 series to 5 series). The caviar Dianas I own and sell are also mostly from the 3 series. [Full disclosure - I am now a professional dealer and we sell these Dianas in lambskin on an almost daily basis.]
When you put the two caviar Dianas side by side, you can see just how stark the difference is. Henry and Vitaly are of comparable condition so the difference between them cannot simply be attributed to difference in condition. The caviar Diana doesn't really have great puff height to begin with but the older design Caviar Dianas seem to be slightly puffier than the newer designed ones.
See below, one has a much pointier top and one is obviously more spread out.
Below is a picture of the tab border area. This is one of the biggest differences in design if you ask me. The tab border itself is puffy in the older design whereas the newer design is very much flat.
Taking a much closer look now at the design differences for the caviar Dianas - I would say that the newer designs are generally heavier and more rectangular aka wider. Weightier and heftier in both manufacturing and feel of the bag.
In terms of construction, the leather used for the newer designs - lambskin and caviar - tend to be very thick and sturdy. Structure is usually much better as well. You can see below that there is some difference in thickness although this may not be perceptible to the naked eye.
The older designs, tend to be taller as well. The folds on the two sides are generally deeper. This could be due to the thinner leather that is being used in the older design so that makes it easier to actually create the folds. A lot of the newer caviar Dianas don't have great fold integrity in the two sides (case in point is my Henry as well as Sheryl (the beige Diana featured here).
Perhaps that is a design element that designers wished to change in the latest rendition of the Diana design? Who knows.
For myself, you can see that most of my small caviar Dianas are actually of the newer design - they’re all wider and more rectangular. Certainly the bulk of my colored ones are from the 3 series. I have yet to find the same colors in the older caviar Diana design (but that is not to say they don’t exist!). Just that these colors were likely not produced during that period/not as popular. All the caviar Dianas I own in the older design are black and they’re also in the small size.
Unlike the lambskin versions of the two designs, the internal compartment doesn't differ that greatly, which is probably why it is hard to spot whether you have a newer caviar Diana or an older caviar Diana. The difference isn't as stark!
If you're familiar with the silhouette, you can probably take one look and notice something is a bit off but may not be able to say what it is. If you go even further back in the design of the caviar Diana, you can see the very old caviar versions look like an even flatter and taller version of Vitaly.
Is one design worth more than the other? I would say that barring differences in condition, any price difference between them is probably negligible since the designs are equally rare and coveted. This piece of information is just a nerdy tidbit that vintage nerds like myself like to chomp at.
Do I prefer one design over the other? If I had to pick, I would say I prefer Vitaly, i.e. the older design. If you read some of my older blog posts you'll know that I count the weight of the caviar Diana to be a great con in the design. The older design caviar Diana actually uses thinner leather all throughout the bag so Vitaly is actually lighter than Henry. This makes for a more comfortable user experience!
Let me know in the comments below which Diana caviar you have or if you can corroborate my findings!
May you and your bags continue to be in good health.