Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Years Eve Celebration

Celebrating the new year is the oldest of all holidays. The first celebrations were in Spring in  ancient Babylon and after much tinkering January 1 became the first day of the new year when Julius Caesar established the Julian Calender in 46BC.  And there have always been the parties that span the night to early morning of the new year.

It's the perfect time to wear dazzling jewels.                                                                                                                                                                             

Kenneth Jay Lane


An Unsigned Beauty


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Gift of Antique Jewelry

Antique jewelry crafted of precious metals and gemstones can be an affordable luxury. The craftsmanship in the beautifully detailed designs of antique jewelry is becoming a lost art.  The hand work in antique pieces make them unique.  Many of the elements used in these designs are becoming harder to find as well. So, while contemporary jewelry is valued based on the elements used to make up the piece, antique jewelry may cost less but have a greater worth because of the fine workmanship and rare stones and gems.  And, an antique piece will appreciate over time. 


Carved Ivory Chrysanthemum Earrings

                                  Shell Cameo in Sterling Silver Frame

Rare Alexandrite  and Pearl Lavaliere

 Taille d'epargne Bracelet

Amethyst and Pearl Festoon Necklace

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Look What I Found

Every collector has something they search for to complete their collection.  We look for that piece we have seen or read about that makes our heart race.  For every person it is different and for different reasons.  My Holy Grail of jewelry is the elusive Har Cobra.  The cobras are rare and expensive.  I knew that one day I would own one but I thought it would be way in the future.  I can't explain my excitement when I found this treasure in an estate. OK,  I found it.  Can I negotiate a price I can afford?  Happily I did.  Now I want to show him off.  

I'd love to hear your stories about what you collect and what your quest is for.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hull Pottery

I have always loved Hull Pottery.  The color and shapes of the vases are fascinating.  We had many pieces in our home when I was growing up.  A lot of them were wedding gifts to my parents who were married in 1949.
These beautiful vases are also favored by many collectors and there is even a Hull Pottery Association.

The Hull Pottery Company began manufacturing in 1905 in Crooksville, Ohio.  The first items were dishware and utilitarian items.  In 1917 they began making art pottery. The most collectible pieces were made from the 1930's through the 1950's.

The Hull Pottery Company began manufacturing in 1905 in Crooksville, Ohio.  The first items were dishware and utilitarian items.  In 1917 they began making art pottery. The most collectible pieces were made from the 1930's through the 1950's.

The pieces made before 1950 were marked Hull USA and Hull Art USA on the bottom.  They may have paper tags as well.  After 1950 the bottoms were marked Hull in script or block letters.  Every piece is marked with an item number.

Monday, December 13, 2010

For The Birds

Bird figurals are always a popular theme for costume jewelry.  Birds capture our imagination and we envy their  freedom of flight.  They are the perfect pallet for jewelry artist to work their magic.     

This peacock brooch is a Panetta creation.   The quality is exceptional and as with all of their work it has the look of fine jewelry.

                                                         "Kissing Peacocks"
                                                       A Nolan Miller design

Lea Stein, Paris 
Created with her unique layered
 and compressed acetate process.

Hand carved  and hand painted Takahashi      hummingbird. 

Coro Heavenly Swallows Duet and earrings.

         Matisse Renoir copper and enamel stylized bird brooch, "Windsong".

Boucher Peacock

A 1930's or 40's enameled brooch with large paste stones.

BSK enameled peacock

A jeweled and enameled Boucher Hummingbird

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh! Christmas Tree

 It snowing here today.  We're starting to put up our Christmas decorations and I thought I would share some pictures of Christmas jewelry.

This is a pretty DeLillo brooch covered in blue beads to create a stylized modern design Christmas Tree.

 Swoboda uses real turquoise and amethyst stones on this
mosaic like Christmas Tree brooch.

Mylu created a Christmas Tree brooch of enameled poinsettia flowers with rhinestone centers.

An unsigned rhinestone beauty of a Christmas Tree brooch.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Paris Etching Society

These wonderful etchings by Louis Icart hung in my grandparents house during my childhood.  As a little girl I would look at them and imagine the woman in the prints were pictures of my mother before I was born.  I could see a resemblance because my mother had platinum blond hair that she wore in a pin curls.  And, in the deep south, hydrangeas were all around the house, so it made sense to me.  I loved these pictures and years later they were given to me.

I knew Louis Icart was a renowned artist, probably most famous for his erotic etchings but also know for works featuring his wife as model.  I learned that these particular prints were produced by "The Paris Etching Society" in New York in the 1930's and 40's.  They produced fine quality reproductions of French etchings and brought art into the homes of people at all levels of income.


I always called the print that I now know to be titled, 'Symphony in Blue", the hydrangea lady.  I love the way the hydrangeas in the vase spill onto her hydrangea covered dress.  The other is called Girl in Crinoline.  The background is shades of gray while her iconic Parisian frock is soft shades of blue and pink.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Sterling Button Company

One of my favorite necklaces is an unusual piece from the Sterling Button Company.  All I can find out about the company is that they were a part of a large button and textile company that operated from 1904 until 1997 in New York City.  The original company was, Max Turkeltaub and Sons.  Max Turkeltaub was born in 1864 and died in1969 at the age of 105!

I have only seen a few pieces of Sterling Button Company jewelry over the years but the designs are always unique.  Turkeltaub was a Russian immigrant and I can only imagine that his heritage influenced the designs since I have been unable to come up with any information about the company's jewelry.  The metals are marked with ornate stampings and designs and beautiful art glass is featured.  This is the only necklace that I have ever seen by Sterling Button Company.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mysterious and Beautiful Stones

I, first of all, consider myself a dealer of vintage costume jewelry.  That is not to say that I don't love vintage jewelry it's just that I approach it in a way that allows me to let pieces go and bring joy to someone who also loves and appreciates the beauty and craftsmanship of vintage jewels. 

There are pieces that pain me to see go.  Some I hang on to till I'm ready to let them go and there are those that over stay their welcome.  I have decided that those that are around for a while are just waiting for a certain someone and when they go to a new home it makes sense.  Then there are pieces that mean more than beauty. 

I began selling jewelry in earnest when a friend brought me her mothers costume jewelry to sell.  I've been selling jewelry for her for years so from time to time she shows up with a box of treasures that she wants to sell.  I have had the privilege to handle many beautiful and rare pieces that belonged to her mother.  One day she showed up with the most stunning parure.  I had never seen anything like it.  The glass stones had an incredible iridescence and changed color magically in he light.  Then she told me that she wanted to give me her mothers amazing jewelry set.  I was thrilled to have it and even more thrilled that she would give me her mothers jewelry.

Now I have seen this set a few times over the years.  This is the only design that I have seen these stones used in.  None of the pieces are signed but I have seen the necklace with a Schiaparelli hang tag.  The stones are beautiful and mysterious and this is one set that I will not part with.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Love Har Jewelry

I was taken with Har jewelry the first time I laid eyes on a fantastic brooch of a dragon studded with the most incredible assortment of rhinestones and glass I have ever seen.  The unique designs and unusual stones along with the manner in which they are used are the main characteristics of Har jewelry.
The oriental figurals are charming with their smiling faux ivory faces.  Their costumes are beautifully detailed, studded with faux gem stones in a wash of gold or sometimes an enamel whitewash.  Some are full bodies and some are torsos. 

I especially like the little guy on the right because he makes me think of The Buddha.

The brooches and earrings in this line are more common but there are a number of harder to find bracelet designs.                                                                          
The bracelets with the single charm are easier to find and therefore less expensive than the more elaborate and unusual pieces
Without a doubt the Har genie or fortune tellers are by far the best  designs of this kind.  The finish on these pieces is a golden brown that adds to the exotic look.

The turtles have been done with any number of of different materials decorating their shells.

The feathery shapes in the brooch on the right are referred to, for some reason, as dragon tooth.  It is another much sought after design.

This is only a few examples of the wonderfully magical creations of the Har jewelry company.  They were only in business for a short time from the early 1950's to the late 1960's and little is know about the company, the designers or what inspired this fabulous work. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rock N Roll Butler and Wilson

To the poet
baring the soul
give it a kick
rock n roll

Nicky Butler and Simon Wilson began designing jewelry in 1970.  They used Austrian crystals, rhinestones and semi precious stones set in gold and silver plated metals.  Their work was considered global chic and their clientele was the rich and famous.  Parisian designers chose their pieces for accessories to couture clothing. 
This is the 40th anniversary of Butler Wilson Jewelry.  Their designs are cool.  Like these clip earrings in the shape of electric guitars covered with rhinestones.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Egyptian Revival

The Egyptian Revival period probably first began in the late 1700 after Napoleon's campaigns in Egypt and the  occupation by the British. The Europeans were taken with ancient Egyptian designs and began using them to adorn any number of items. Egyptian symbols, scarabs, sphinx, Pharaohs, gryphons and the lotus, often with gilding were used in modern forms to create a style referred to as Egyptian Revival.

The archaeological digs in the 1800's renewed interest in ancient Egyptian culture and the Victorians began using these motifs in jewelry even to the point of using real scarab beetles with gold settings.  When King Tut's tomb was discovered in the 1920's, Egyptian design met with Art Deco.  In the 1970 the treasures of King Tut came to American and the fascination began again, inspiring jewelry designers to create designs such as these.

Here are some of my favorite Pieces of Egyptian Revival Jewelry.