Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Scandinavian Sterling Silver Line at Vintage Jewelry Lane

I love all sterling silver jewelry. I've never been a gold person. I love the look of silver, right down to the patina that it aquires as it ages. I also find a great sense of relaxation when I polish sterling silver.

For the last few months, I have been aquiring Scandinavian Sterling Silver. The modernist designs and quality of the workmanship is superb, and it is very popular and highly collectible.

I finally have enough pieces to open a Scandinavian Silver Jewelry category in my online store Vintage Jewelry Lane. There are just a few pieces right now, but I'm adding more each week and plan to specialize in it for the site, along with damascene jewelry, cameos, rhinestone jewelry, micro mosaic jewelry, and Sarah Coventry Jewelry.

The Scandinavian sterling silver set featured here is by Anton Michelsen. It consists of a brooch and matching pair of clip back earrings in a lovely leaf design. The detail on the pieces is incredible and it is in wonderful condition. I have it listed for $110.50 and the shipping is free!

Right now I have several Scandinavian designers featured. David Andersen is a favorite of mine, but there are many other very popular names featured too, such as Anton Michelsen, Herman Siersbol, Karasjok, and R. Tennesmed. I was also lucky enough to aquire a pretty Solje Norwegian 830s traditional silver costume pin that is very lovely.

Be sure to visit the Scandinavian Silver page soon. And check back often for more additions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May Birthstone - Emerald

Since the new month is about to start, I will be writing today about the gemstone for May - the emerald.

The emerald is considered both the modern and traditional birthstone for May. This pretty stone is also known as a birthstone for the Zodiac signs for Taurus and Cancer. Emerald is the only stone, other than the Topaz, which is listed as in all of the ancient birthstone tables. Finally, the emerald is also suggested as an anniversary gift for both the 20th and 35th anniversaries and can be used as an alternate stone for the 55th wedding anniversary.

Photo courtesy of ebay seller BangkokGemMart

Emeralds are mined from what are called "host rocks." They have been mined in many countries around the world, but the most notable mines are those from Columbia. The best locations of Columbian mines are in Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor. Columbian emeralds are especially fine with a very shining emerald green which has very little bluish tint.

As with all gemstones, emeralds have many metaphysical properties associated with them. They are thought to improve intellect and memory and to help with tired eyes and insomnia. Emeralds supposedly give wearers the power to see into the future and are associated with greatness in business. They act as emotional stabilizers and help to release emotional trauma and help to govern perception of other's emotions. And they are thought to be associated with the heart chakra and open the heart up to love, healing and peace.

I just love the color! It feels so tranquil and peaceful to me. This lovely poem aptly describes this birthstone:

Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet, flower month of May
And wears an Emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and a loving wife.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Creative Use of Jewelry - Bicycle Parts as Necklaces and Earrings

I love to write about the creative uses of jewelry that I find. This blog post is sort of a reversal of that. I found a site that uses recycled bicycle parts to remake into pieces of jewelry. The site is called Re-Cycled Accessories. When I looked at their site, I discovered that they use all sorts of bicycle parts to model their jewelry - from recycled bike chains, spokes, bike cogs, brake and shifter cables, wheel bearings and spoke nipples.

The designs are unsual and modern and would be great gift ideas for that outdoor enthusiast? They would also be perfect items to give as a mountain biker gift or a triathlete gift.

This creative web site makes all sorts of jewelry from the recycled bike parts. I had a look at their designs and found chain bracelets with a clever hidden catches, bicycle chain necklaces, a chain mail choker, bicycle spoke bangles, titanium earrings, and bike cog belt buckles. They even have a category for formal wear!

The necklace featured here is one of five designs in that category. It is a chain maille choker which reuses bicycle chain links and jump rings.

Do you have a story or site about the creative use of jewelry? Let me know and I may feature you in my blog series about this topic.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Star's Jewelry - What's in Julia Roberts' Jewelry Box?

This is another chapter in my ongoing series about the jewelry preferences of some of the popular stars and starlets. Today, we will peek into Julia Roberts' jewelry box. I seem to be finding somewhat of a pattern here. Most of the stars that I've chosen really don't wear a lot of jewelry at all. Julia Roberts is no exception.

Photo credit:

Recent red carpet photos of this popular star show a fondness for earrings. She has been seen sporting hoops, dangles and studs and she seems to always wear one style or another.

Finding other jewelry styles was a challenge though. She rarely wears bracelets except on the runway and then chooses wide diamond cuff bracelets. The same is true for necklaces - she almost never seen in them.

I've seen one photo of her wearing a lovely brooch that looks vintage. One notable exception to all of these choices is this huge statement necklace. It has an almost Egyptian Revival look and certainly makes her stand out in a crowd!

Here is a little peek into her jewelry box for some of her recent choices:

What do you think of her choices? My favorite the the rhinestone brooch, of course!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Designer - Who am I?

Let's have some fun today. It's time for another chapter in my guessing game about vintage jewelry designers. I'll give you some clues and a few photos and you see if you can figure out who the designer is. (the answer is at the bottom of the blog, reading backwards.)

Here are your clues:
  • Dates of operation are 1943 to approximately 1979
  • Famous for ear cover earrings
  • Introduced their "Diamond Look" and "Golden Look" in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Located in NY
  • Made jewelry for Christian Dior in the 1970s
  • Used very good quality specialty stones
  • Made many top end rhinestone statement necklaces
Here are some of my designs:

I am considered a top end designer and my pieces are highly collectible today, although not exhorbitantly expensive. For more information and the answer to today's riddle, you can go the designer page of the resource library on my website Vintage Jewelry Lane. (answer is also shown reading backwards at the bottom of this blog post.)

I'll be doing more of these riddles over the next weeks and months. Have fun with the series. ANSWER: (read it backwards): remarK

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Raquel Welch Jewelry Line

Raquel Welch has a line of Jewelry which she sold on the Home Shopping Network . Her collection combines 18-karat gold, sterling silver and precious & semi-precious gemstones to create jewelry that has a classic look which has contemporary overtones.

The key pieces in her line include a signature "R" inlaid in 18-karat gold on the back. The collection reflects her "love for elegant designs that women will cherish for a lifetime." Pieces in the line range in price from $99 to $699 and, reflect the elegance and sophistication of Raquel.

I recently aquired a demi parure from her collection which is pictured here. It is a very striking piece, set in raised goldtone metal with alternating areas of white enamel. The set features a very large pendant necklace and matching bracelet. It has the classic Raquel hang tag as a marking. Since her line was discontinued in 2004, the pieces are not easy to find and that makes them more special and desireable.

This lovely Raquel Welch necklace and bracelet set is available from my Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry store for $55. You can even make an offer on the set and perhaps aquire it for a little less.

Her designs are very striking and bold, and this set demonstrates that beautifully.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Michelle Obama wear pearls in her visit with Queen Rania of Jordan

Michelle Obama hosted Queen Rania of Jordan in the Yellow Room at the White House on April 23, 2009. Michelle wore a lovely pleated taupe dress and strands of glass pearl necklaces from designer Erikson Beaman. The pearls are from their "Peace at Last" Collection. He also designs many of her lovely brooches.

Queen Rania is currently visiting the US and, yesterday, she was the keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Global Philanthropy Forum Conference in Washington D.C.

It is fast becoming obvious to me that pearls seem to be Michelle's fashion accessory. I love the way she keeps to her individual style by using unusual colors and designs so that they don't appear to staid and matronly.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wertz Gallery of Gems and Jewelry

The Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburg, PA has opned a new 2,000 square foot addition which is dedicated to gems, crystals and jewelry made of precious stones.

Photo credit Hillman Hall at Carnegie Museum

The gallery is called the Wertz Gallery: Gems and Jewelry and is named in honor of Ronald W. Wertz, who is the longtime president of the Hillman Foundation. The expansion of Hillman Hall allows permanent exhibits instead of the temporary ones they used to have. There are approximately 500 gems, crystals and jewelry ietms on display. The gallery also will host special temporary and traveling exhibits from collectors around the world.

You can find out more about this permanent exhibit on the Hillman Hall website. The following YouTube video gives more information about some of the exhibits too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jewelry Advertising - Then and Now

I'm interested in all things jewelry. I look for new and interesting looks, trends, and viewpoints all the time. Everytime I watch something on TV or look at magazines, my eyes are drawn first to the jools and then to the content.

I thought it would be fun to compare jewelry ads then and now. Surprisingly, with the abundance of online jewelry stores currently available, I had a hard time finding actual advertisements for modern jewelry to compare.

Coro photo courtesy of Jennifer Lynn's Timeless Jewelry

The two ads I have chosen are different in a myriad of ways. The older ad is a Corocraft ad from 1957 which was featured in Vogue Magazine. Notice how the color of the jewelry is incorporated into the hair and clothing of the model. There is also lots of copy and the designer is prominently displayed.

The modern ad is a Chanel ad. Interestingly, what I thought might be the case is not. The older ad is full of color and the modern ad has none. The newer ad also has no copy but the designer is still obvious.

Other differences include the lack of eye contact in the newer ad and, of course, hair style, makeup and other subtle differences in the overall look.

One major aspect of the two ads that I noticed is that the Corocraft ad is really featuring one piece of jewelry. Even though there is a necklace, earrings and bracelet, the items are a demi parure and designed to be worn as a set.

Contrast this to the huge bundle of bangles, which could each be worn alone. (Although with the current trend of statement jewelry, one might lump them all together for that look.)

Which ad is your favorite?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jewelry and Astrology - Taurus

This blog post is another in my series about choosing jewelry suitable for individual star signs. Taurus is the star sign for those born between April 21 and May 20. Since this is my star sign, it is a special job to help you choose a jewelry gift for your Taurus friend. Today starts the new star season, so this post will help you with some jewelry choices for this star sign.

Zodiac Logo courtesy of

Those born under the sign of the bull are said to be very patient and reliable. They tend to excel in business, are somewhat introverted but social and pay a great deal of attention to detail. On the negative side, they can be stubborn. over indulgent and somewhat self centered.

To get a clue about what sort of Jewelry to choose for your Taurus friend let's have a look at some of these Zodiac facts about the star sign:
  • Their astrological color is green
  • Gemstone is the blue sapphire and diamond
  • Flower is the daisy or rose
  • Symbol is the bull
  • Lucky numbers are 1 and 9
  • Lucky color is blue
  • Best location is someplace quiet.
Combining some of these traits leads me straight to this lovely pair of earrings from Sarah Coventry called "Daisy Time." They have 9 stones, are both green and blue and are daisies. They are just perfect! These earrings are book pieces from the 1970s and are available on my Lane site for only $15.25.

Diamonds may be out of the picture for your price range, but clear rhinestone jewelry might be a perfect replacement for your Taurus friend. They give the same sparkle and fire of diamonds without the hefty price tag. This pretty diamante rhinestone pin combines the look and the lucky number 9 since it has 9 perfectly set clear rhinestones in a domed setting.

This lovely pin has a riveted back construction which dates it to about the 1950s. It's available for only $17.99.

Do you want to combine the favorite location (someplace quiet) and the astrological color into a gift for your Taurus friend? I've met many Tauruses who like to mediatate. This green Oriental bamboo pendant necklace may be just the gift idea.

The styling of it fits right into the meditation mood and the color is perfect. It's also available on Lane for $17.99. It's a big piece measuring 3 3/4" long and has a lovely Oriental inscription on it.

Be sure to check back next month when I will talk about jewelry for the star sign Gemini. Check out my Vintage Jewelry Mall and Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry for a full range of Zodiac jewelry.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Teacher Jewelry - Great Gift Ideas for the End of the School Year

The end of the school year is approaching and it's time to think of things to purchase to give to your child's teacher. You can always give candy, or a coffee cup with the words "world's greatest teacher" on it. But how about something more personal. Think teacher jewelry.

Many of the vintage jewelry designers made teacher brooches, earrings and necklaces. This cute teacher pin by Danecraft features apple, school bus and student charm dangles hanging below a schoolhouse and the words #1 Teacher. It is available at my Mall store for only $13.99.

If you have several children and need to get a few gifts, this large lot of teacher themed jewelry might be just the thing for you. It features 6 different brooches and a cute lapel pin, all with teacher themes. It's available at Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry for only $13.99 for the whole group.

Vintage Jewelry Mall and Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry both have a wide range of thematic jewelry. Be sure to visit both sites for more selections from the teacher jewelry range for your child's teacher.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Find of the Week - Stunning Lucite Flower Brooch

Perfect for spring, this lovely flower brooch is a new addition to my Vintage Jewelry Lane store. It has tapered tear shaped pointed light pink and green translucent lucite petals with a single dog tooth center pale green rivoli rhinestone set in filigree goldtone metal.

This stunning lucite flower pin is a big 2 3/8" in size and would look great on all sorts of summer outfits. I love the layered look of the petals and rivoli rhinestone jewelry is very collectible right now. The price is a steal at $19.99.

If this flowered pin isn't to your liking, be sure to visit the flower jewelry page at Vintage Jewelry Lane. I have a huge selection of flower jewelry right now.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Creative Use of Jewelry - Wisdom Teeth as Earrings

My parents are visiting from Maine for about 10 days or so. We went to Greensboro yesterday to watch a Music concert in which my daughter was performing. They performed the Mozart Mass and it was a lovely day out.

After the concert we went out to dinner at Tripp's and my dad was telling one of his stories. He's a great story teller and loves to comment on all sorts of things. Most of the stories are repeats but we love him a lot and always laugh no matter how often we have heard it. He has a flair for doing repeats and still making them funny.

One of his favorite shows is Jeopardy. We had been talking about my blog and my series about the creative use of jewelry posts that I sometimes do. Well, dad had a "story" that he said I could write about.

On a recent episode of Jeopardy, he said that a female contestant had described how she had her wisdom teeth into a pair of earrings. She was wearing them on the show for "wisdom." (Unfortunatley for her, she lost - so the idea didn't work.) But still, it was creative. My daughter loves the idea. She was disappointed her wisdom teeth were gone!

I had a look on google to see if this was some sort of fad, and found that all sorts of jewelry is being made from wisom teeth. This site called Trend de la Cream has a whole groupd of various jewelry items made from or in the shape of teeth.

If you have an interesting story about the creative use of jewelry, please share it with me and I'll be glad to feature you in a future blog.

Friday, April 17, 2009

SOFA 2009 opens in NY -

Superlative contemporary and modern decorative arts, design and jewelry by internationally recognized museum class artists will be showcased by 55 international dealers from 12 countries at SOFA NEW YORK 2009, which debuts Wednesday, April 15 and runs from the 16 -19 at the Park Avenue Armory.

SOFA is the International Expositions of Sculpture Objects and Functional Arts, and has several exhibitions every year in New York, Santa Fe, and Chicago. The New York Exhibit is the first of three this year.

An overwhelming number of the examples epitomize not only the extraordinary artistry of material-based artworks but also recession proof values in today’s art market. There are some wonderful galleries, but I was especially interested in the jewelry of course.

The SOFA website has a full list of exhibitors, and the Ornamantum Gallery caught my eye with this fantastic glass and horn necklace, aptly called "Matador Necklace," by Philip Sajet.

Many of the exhibits have a very earthy feel to them. Another example from the Ornamentum Gallery is this unusual brooch which features bird eggs and carbon fiber. The brooch was designed by Sergey Jivetin and is called "Accumulus Brooch."

Photos courtesy of SOFA New York 2009

The SOFA site has a full list of exhibitors on this page. Have fun looking over the fantastic pieces. Which designer is your favorite?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's Vintage Jewelry Color - Blue

I live in the Southeast US, and it gets very muggy and humid during the summer months. My favorite time of the year is spring because the sky here is a vivid blue. I woke up today to a lovely blue sky, so have decided to talk about blue jewelry.

Other colors are easy to find in vintage jewelry, since enamels are often used in flower jewelry, but there aren't too many blue flowers, so most blue jewelry tends to be beaded or rhinestone. And meridian blue is one of the favorite coatings for aurora borealis rhinestones, so blue jewelry can be quite plentiful to find.

This stunning Hostess gift set from Sarah Coventry is called "Blue Lagoon," and conjures up visions of tropical ponds and swaying palm trees to me. I was fortunate to aquire two sets of this lovely set for my Vintage Jewelry Lane website. One has already sold but the other is still available for $89.99. It is the most coveted of all the Sarah Coventry demi parures.

I went on a hunt in my stores to see what other pretty blue jewelry is available. Here are some choices for you to admire. They are all available at my Lane site at very affordable prices. Just click the pictures to go to the listings for details:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to Care and Store for Vintage Jewelry - Not all Jewelry Boxes are Equal

You have started shopping and now have a nice collection of vintage or antique jewelry. How do you make sure that the jewelry keeps its condition so that it will continue to increase in value over time? All vintage jewelry needs to be stored and cared for so that it stays that way. This page is devoted to tips for taking care of your precious vintage jewelry.

Photo courtesy of

Here are some general storing tips:

Scratching. Be careful that your jewelry is stored so that the pieces don't rub against each other. If not, you will end up with general scratching, or even loss of stones which will devalue the piece. Leave room between the pieces and, if they are especially treasured, a soft pouch or cloth around them might be considered.

Temperature changes. Guard against any big increases or decreases in temperature. These can affect the glue and also cause stones to fall out.

Moisture This is vintage jewelry's biggest enemy. It can be the breeding ground for Verdigris damage or rust damage, and pitting of metals. Also, rhinestone jewelry is at risk of losing the foil backing of the rhinestones and loss of their luster if moisture comes in contact with them. Make sure that the jewelry is completely dry after any cleaning is done before putting them away.

Household jobs. It is important to remove jewelry when doing household cleaning and other jobs, and particularly when doing any heavier cleaning or yard work or gardening.

Containers. Not all containers are equal when it comes to storing jewelry. Oak cabinets give off fumes that can damage jewelry, so an oak jewelry box may not be the best bet. Many jewelry pieces come in small boxes, designed to store the piece. Even these can cause damage, in time, because they probably contain sulphur, which can damage the metal in gold and silver jewelry, so they should be used for short term storage. Other good choices are metal or plastic containers and zip lock bags. (Zip locks are especially good for rhinestone jewelry...if a stone gets stays in the bag!)

General storing tips. Try to remember to keep the jewelry items separate from each other. Be sure to store beaded jewelry flat, especially if it is strung on silk, because silk stretches over time. Finally, keep jewelry away from sunlight, heat vents, and hot car interiors.

With a bit of common sense and a few easy rules, it will be easy to keep your collection looking great for years to come. Check back soon, when I will be giving some quick tips on cleaning your vintage jewelry.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jewelry Find of the Week - Vintage Bakelite Dress Clips

Bakelite jewelry is so collectible. It is earthy and comes in a variety of colors. But beware, much of the bakelite sold on the internet is neither vintage nor true bakelite. There are lots of articles about how to test for bakelite content, but I find that once you have handled it a few times, it has a "feel" to it that alerts you to test.

Vintage Jewelry Lane has just aquired a couple of dress clips. One is the chocolate leaf shown here. It's a lovely rich shade with a rust colored vein running down the center and nice detailing. This chocolate brown bakelite dress clip is available for only $39.99.

Another find is this pretty apple green bakelite dress clip. I love the translucency of this clip and the pretty flecks of yellow spashed through the bakelite. It has a nice dome and curves down to a point. This pretty clip is available for $45.99.

Both pieces are genuine bakelite. I've tested them with both 409 and Simichrome polish and they test positive in both cases.

Dress clips were popular in the middle of the last century. Try clipping them to the V of your sweater or blouse or onto the lapel of a jacket. If you wear hats, you could clip them on the brim. Be creative. Dress clips are not just for dresses!

Be sure to visit my Vintage Jewelry resource library on Vintage Jewelry Lane. I have written an extensive article on the history of Bakelite and Catalin and how to test for authenticity. There are many tests that you can use and I've spelled them all out in detail for you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Michelle Obama on Display at Madame Tussauds

Only two first ladies before her have had this honor - Jacqueline Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. A wax likeness of Michelle Obama was unveiled on April 7, 2009 at the Washington, DC branch of Madame Tussauds.

Photo credit Madame Tussauds.

The first lady has been modeled into an incredibly lifelike figure which is dressed in a red, sleeveless similar to the the purple dress she wore the night her husband received the Democratic presidential nomination. Her accessories are her signature double strand pearl necklace and she wears simple black heels.

The wax figure was made by studio artists at Merlin Studios in London, England. The artisans began by watching many hours of video and looking at thousands of pictures to capture the spirit of Michelle.

Here are a couple of photos of the work in progress. It seems to have been a very painstaking project.

Photos credit Huffington Post

The wax likeness of Mrs. Obama will join the figure of President Barack Obama, which was unveiled earlier in February at Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. Visitors can learn more about Mrs. Obama in the attraction’s new Presidential gallery, which features biographies of all the First Ladies.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Egg Jewelry By Juliana and Faberge

Happy Easter everyone! Today is a time for religioius celebrations and lighthearted Easter egg hunts. Not exactly the sort of day to bring to mind jewelry discussions, but there are two that do come to my mind: Juliana Easter Egg Jewelry, and magnificent Fabergé eggs,

Easter Egg cabochons are just as you might imagine from a name like this. These stones are very colorful art glass cabochons in all colors of the rainbow, and were normally set in combination with normal rhinestones or aurora borealis stones. These colorful cabochons were used often in the manufacture of Juliana Jewelry, made by the DeLizza and Elster jewelry company.

This lovely brooch uses purple Easter egg stones in combination with pretty bright pink rhinestones and AB rhinestones. Almost good enough for an upscale Easter Egg hunt.

Juliana brooch Photo credit Morning Glory Antiques

And what discussion of Easter Jewelry would be complete without mentioning Fabergé Eggs?

Easter is one of the most joyful celebrations of the Russian Orthodox Faith. After the devout church services, members of the church gather to exchange gifts of decorated Eggs. In 1885, the Czar Alexander III of Russia, commissioned a young jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé, whose beautiful creations had caught the eye of his wife Maria, to create a unique decorated egg for her.

A total of 69 eggs were created between the years 1885 and 1917, mainly to be offered as gifts to the great czars of Russia, as Easter Eggs. These stunning eggs continue to delight today. They are priceless masterpieces, owned by a very few and admired by many.

I must admit that while I have neither of these eggs in my Easter Basket this year, I can still dream.

Here is an interesting YouTube video showing a Faberge egg Exhibit at the R & R Bond Gallery: (please note - it is set to music)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hummingbird Jewelry - Perfect for Spring

Readers of my blog know that I have a fondness for figural jewelry, which is shaped like animals and fun shapes. It comes in all types of jewelry but brooches seem to be the most popular. If the piece features anything from a person to an animal to a clown, it's thought of by lovers of jewelry jewelry to be a figural.

Birds are a popular motif in figurals and nothing heralds spring quite as much as a hummingbird does. With its long beak and pretty colors, these lovely birds hover in mid air as they feed and are the only bird able to fly backwards!

The pretty hummingbird above seems to be doing just that. In vivid blue and green enamel with clear diamante rhinestones, it seems to change purpose. Wear it upright for the back ward flying pose, and shift it just slightly to the lest and it looks as though it is feeding. It's available as the feature piece from Vintage Jewelry Lane for only $49.99.

Hummingbirds come in all sorts of colors and these hummingbird pins are no exception. Here are few more pins and earrings. They range in price from $7.50-$24.99.

All of these styles are available from either Vintage Jewelry Lane or Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry. Just click the pictures to go to the item pages for more details.


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