Sunday, May 31, 2009

June Birthstone - Pearl

Since the new month is about to start, I'll be discussing the birthstone for June - the pearl. And with the newest run of June weddings coming up, how apt is it that this traditional wedding accessory is also the birthstone for the month?

Pearls are considered the modern gemstone for those born in the month of June. Other charts also show the moonstone and alexandrite, but the pearl is the main stone associated with June, so I will discuss it for this series.

The meaning of pearl is gem of the sea. Pearl is often used as a metaphor for something rare, fine, and admirable. It has been said that the pearl is a symbol of femininity, preciousness, and purity of heart.

The pearls can be of all types - freshwater, saltwater, faux or cultured. Most pearls sold today have been cultured, which means that some sort of material has been inserted into the mollusk to generate the pearl.

Most people think of cream or white when they think pearls, but all sorts of colors are available from gray, through to yellow pink and other pretty colors. A genuine pearl formed in nature takes many years to produce and only a small percentage of mollusks that do produce pearls have the final product the size and shape needed for jewelry.

As with all gemstones, a pearl has metaphysical and folklore tales attached to it. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the hardened tears of joy that the Love Goddess shook from her eyes as she was born from the sea. Old Arabian legends say that pearls were made when oysters were lured from the depths of the ocean by the moon and then swallowed moonlit dew drops.

New age thinkers believe that pearls treat digestive disorders and relieve conditions of bloating as well as increase fertility and eases in the pain of childbirth.

This lovely poem speaks about the beauty of the pearl:

By her who is this month was born
No gem save Pearls shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Let the Voting Begin - Ugly Necklace Finalists have been Named!

Readers of my blog know that I have a love for the quirky necklace contest hosted every year by the Land of Odds website. The designs that some of the competitors come up with range from just plain weird to oddly funky and appealing. This year is no exception.

The website has just announced the semi finalists for this years contest and the online voting is in progress. You can view the finalists and their designs for the ugly necklace contest here. This is also the page for you to vote. The voting ends June 15, so you will need to be quick if you want to vote.

One interesting thing about the contest this year is that each contestant's design is accompanied by a poem which tells a story about the design.

My favorite is shown here. It's a nature styled design by Jolynn Casto from Logan, Ohio and is aptly called "Four Season's Necklace." It is an odd mix of fall colored silk flowers, a funky cross stitched frog pendant leaves and a snake. Somehow it all goes together and works for me.

Her poem reads like this and describes her necklace very well:

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray
Then the snow will fall and freeze the ground away
As the weather warms in spring the snakes and frogs will play

Summer finally comes Is sunshine here to stay?
OH, NO All the leaves are brown
The four seasons go round and round
In my ugly necklace they can all be found.

Here are the all of the semi finalist's designs. My favorite is the first. Which is yours?

Have fun voting, and check back later when I will announce this year's winner.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's in Nicole Kidman's Jewelry Box?

Peeking inside Nicole Kidman's jewelry box is a real treat for a jewelry lover and it tells me one thing - I've finally found a star who really loves jewelry! Red Carpet and promo photos of her all demonstrate this.

The minimalist look certainly isn't for this popular Oscar winner. She loves all types of jewelry, but seems to have a particular fondness for statement necklaces - as well as necklaces in general, something that one doesn't often see in Hollywood recently. She also seem to really like dangle earrings, and all manner of bling.

Nicole Kidman Photo credit

And when I say statement necklaces, I'm not using the word lightly. This lady likes to wow us, as this photo from a the 2008 Oscar's ceremony shows - it fills up her whole chest and then some.

Here are photos of more necklaces since this seems to be Nicole's favorite jewelry accessory:

And finally here is a further look into her jewelry box. What do you think of her choices?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today's Vintage Jewelry Word - Marquis

Today's vintage jewelry word is marquis. The correct pronunciation of the word is "Mar-KEYS" not "Mar-KEY" which is commonly heard. The cut is named for the Marquis de Pompadour - mistress of King Louis XV.

A marquis cut stone or rhinestone is an elongated, faceted oval cut, which tapers to a point. It is similar to a navette cut, but slightly more rounded at the tips and a wider at the center edges. The words marquis and navette are often used interchangeably but they are two quite different styles of stones as is shown in the photos below. (The marquis cut is on the left.)

Marquis cuts are used in all sorts of stones from rhinestones through gemstones and to Diamonds. This type of cut is wonderful because the shape of it makes the stone look larger than it actually is, so it's a popular choice for diamond rings.

Here are some photos of vintage jewelry using marquis cut stones. All the jewelry is available for sale at Vintage Jewelry Lane. (just click the photos for more details.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Today's Vintage Jewelry Color - Yellow

One of the hottest fashion trends for summer is the color yellow. So vibrant and fresh, it compliments so many other colors. I had a look through my stores to see what I have in this popular color and found quite a few things to feature today.

The most recent addition is this bright yellow retro lucite bangle bracelet. It's a rich buttercup yellow and is available at my ebay store for only $10.99. I had several of these and they are selling quickly at this price so hurry or they will be all gone!

Here are some other pretty yellow jewelry choices. You can click the pictures to get more details and prices of the individual items. The first pair of earrings are a lovely, yummy butterscotch yellow bakelite design!

These lovely pieces are available at prices from $10.00 to $27. Hurry in to get your hot yellow jewelry piece today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Show your personal style with charm necklaces

Interested in a piece of jewelry that will show your own unique style? Think charm necklaces. Charms are not just for bracelets any longer. The latest rage is large pendant style charms on big chain necklaces.

I've just purchased a large inventory of these fabulous charm necklaces. Each necklace features a large single link goldtone chain with a lobster claw clasp (signed LCI - Liz Claiborne). The necklaces have a wondeful festoon bib design and are just loaded with big chunky charms in a wide variety of themes.

Some of the charms include figurals such as cats, dogs, foxes, dolphins, owls and eagles. Others are religious in nature with crosses or Buddha figures. Some are novelty such as carousel horses, stars, etc. Some even have a Christmas design with Christmas stockings and Christmas trees.

The necklace featured here has horses, teddy bears, buddha, alien figure and more. It's so chunky and retro looking and will really make a statement. These are not tiny charms such as those found on charm bracelets. Many of these charms are 1 1/2" or more in size.

I've got four of them listed now, but I'll be listing the whole collection in my ebay store Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry this week. But don't delay. At only $29.99 and best offer, they won't last long!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Designer - Who Am I?

Time for some fun again. This is another in my ongoing guessing game blog about vintage jewelry designers. I'll give you some clues and pictures and you see if you can guess which designer it is. Ready?

Here are your clues:
  • Dates of operation were 1948 - 1981
  • Company founded in New York by Daniel Kosoff
  • Originally worked for the Speier Jewelry Company as a reward for his honesty with the owner
  • Antiqued old world settings meant to simulate valuable antique jewelry
  • Creative use of novelty glass stones
  • Many designs used genuine shell cameos
  • Undervalued in today's collectible vintage jewelry market

Here are some pictures of my designs:

These four photos credit ebay seller yoyolz.

I am considered a medium end designer and my pieces are starting be very collectible, although not exhorbitantly expensive. For more information and the answer to today's riddle, you can go to this 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): aznerolF

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jewelry Find of the Week - Nolan Miller Pink Pearl Necklace

Nolan Miller is a renowned television costumer designer who is best know for his work on the long running 1980s TV series Dynasty. He has collaborated with Aaron Spelling on many television projects.

The creations he designed for Dynasty became so popular that he started his own line of women's apparel called "They Dynasty Collection." This was a haute couture line worn by Joan Collins, Linda Evans and Diahann Carroll.

I'm not sure whether this necklace is part of the Dynasty series, but it certainly deserves to be so. It is just fabulous and I can really imagine Linda Evans wearing it.

The necklace features three exquisite strands of lustrous hand knotted pale pink glass pearls. It has a fabulous flower and rhinestone box clasp which is just stunning in a three metal combination. The strands of the pearls are opera lengths of 34", 36" and 38" and the necklace will slip over the head without undoing the clasp. Remarkable condition - it appears to never have been worn.

This fabulous find of the week is available at my Ruby Lane Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry shop for only $135. You will feel like an actress on Dynasty wearing it - I promise you!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Today's Jewelry Exhibit - Alexander Calder Jewelry

American born artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is renown for his mobiles, stabiles, paintings and other objets d'art. However, he also designed a large collection of inventive jewelry.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just finished an exhibit of his in March of this year, but not to worry...just hop our virtual jet and fly over to Ireland where his exhibit is currently being shown until June 21 at the Irish Museum of Art.

Photo credit Irish Museum of Art

Calder produced approximately 1,800 pieces of brass, silver, and gold body ornaments, often embellished with found objects such as beach glass, ceramic shards, and wood. Most of the creations were for his family and friends. The jewelry has the same linear and three-dimensional quality that his famous mobiles have, and the parts that comprise each piece are hammered, shaped, and combine in a fashion that echoes the artist’s creation of his sculpture.

If you have an interest in Calder Jewelry, Yale University Press has a hard cover book which features around 300 bracelets, brooches, necklaces, and rings, all of which are exquisitely reproduced in newly commissioned photographs. Also included in the book are examples of Calder's inventory drawings; the boxes he made to store the jewelry; historic photographs of his jewelry worn by notable patrons, and a chronology. The Yale University site shows the book as indefinitely out of print, but I found the Calder Jewelry book on Amazon for $210.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Carry Your Scent with you - Perfume Lockets

I adore lockets of all types. I have several and each of them has either my husband's or my daughter's picture in them (or both!) It feels good to carry them close to my heart.

It appears that others have the same fondness. Lockets are one of my hottest selling items. They just don't seem to last long when I list them.

One type that is particularly popular is a perfume locket. In this type of brooch or necklace, there is an area inside the hinged compartment which will hold a solid perfume. Avon made several styles of them, but many other well known designers did too.

I recently sold a pretty Estee Lauder perfume locket rather quickly. I had questions and offers on it from the day I listed it. But not to fear - I have another locket for sale.

The pretty style shown here is another addition to my eBay store Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry. This Max Factor perfume locket features a very ornate goldtone top on bright blue enamel. Most of the perfume is intact, which isn't usual. By the time I get these in estate lots, the perfume has usually been all, or mostly all, used. The lovely perfume locket is available for $24.99 or you can make me an offer.

Don't wait long though, or you'll lose your chance.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Flower Jewelry Personified!

Flower jewelry is one of my favorite types. I'm a gardener at heart and have had plants in some form in my life ever since I first left college and started out on my own. Right now, my passion is herbs, but flowers are my real love.

I was just browsing online the other day, looking for new jewelry making contests, and came across the most wonderful new site. The website is called "Glass in Bloom" and is the brainchild of artist Debra Dowden-Crockett. Debra was one of the winners of last year's Bead Arts contest with this wonderful creation that she called Watermelon Garden, using Italian and German Glass and Sterling silver.

From Debra's site: she has been designing jewelry for almost 11 years. Each of her pieces is lovingly created by hand in her studio from an inspiration, idea, or thought. Every bead and piece of jewelry she designs and constructs is one-of-a-kind and seems to have its own personality, not only through the creative process, but as a final work of art.

Debra’s work has been featured in many publications on glass art and has been exhibited at prestigious museums, galleries, and various venues around the country. Her gallery is located at Studio 712 at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA, and, of course, her website Glass in Bloom.

Her site appears to be in its infancy. She only has a few pieces on show, but looks as though she will be adding more soon. This stunning necklace is on the main page of her jewelry category and is just stunning.

I'll be following her site to see what she adds and will feature her progress here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Calling all June Brides - Think Vintage Jewelry

It's almost time for this year's batch of June brides to get ready for their big day. When one thinks of jewelry for brides, pearls often come to mind. There are lots of choices in the vintage jewelry line. It could be part of the "something borrowed" phrase, if your mother or grandmother has a lovely set of pearls, or it could be purchased now from our extensive range of pearl jewelry.

This fabulous pearl necklace also features prism cut crystal beads and is strung on silver chain. It would look stunning with so many different styles of wedding gowns. It's available in my Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry store at Ruby Lane for only $40.

But do you need to only think pearls? How about fabulous white ice diamante rhinestones for your special day? Vintage jewelry designers from the 1950s made so many fabulous pins, bracelets, earrings and necklaces in what are sometimes known as "white rhinestones." This fabulous rhinestone bracelet would be just the thing for any summer wedding. It's available at my Vintage Jewelry Lane store for only $45.99.

And don't forget crystals. There are so many lovely necklace and earring designs from this period, and they come in either cut glass or aurora borealis crystals to really sparkle and shine. I have three crystal necklace designs in my Ruby Lane shop - one of each type of glass and one with faux pearls shown above at the beginning of this blog. Here is a look at the cut glass necklace. Imagine how lovely it would look at your neckline.

For bridesmaids, or flower girl gifts, vintage jewelry will make unique and special gifts designed with them in mind. Our shops have design for all tastes and budgets.

All of these styles would be wonderful for your wedding day and would be fantastic keepsakes to keep for your own daughter when her wedding occurs in years to come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jewelry at the Canne's Film Festival - No recession in sight there!

Our country, and the rest of the world, is in a recession right now, but one wouldn't know it from seeing the recent photos of the opening of the 62nd annual Canne's Film festival in the South of France this week. A few celebrities have toned it down a little, but for most, it is business as usual on the jewelry front.

The red carpet photos demonstrated plenty of diamonds and precious gemstones on show. And the fashion police are on alert watching the displays in this festival, known for unmatched elegance.

Both Fendi and Swarovski have declined to lend jewelry this year, due to the economy problems, but this isn't the case with Chopard who designed over 60 pieces of jewelry which were worn by the biggest stars.

Those who read my blog know that I am always looking for big necklaces to write about and I found a stunning one at Cannes. It is the huge collar choker worn by Barbara Mori, which features tons of marquis diamonds. It is accompanied by diamond earrings that match it well.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images has a great photo spread of jewelry at the 2009 Canne's Film Festival with many more photos of the occasion.

The jewelry doesn't belong to the stars, of course. Most of it is on loan from large jewelry companies to promote their designs. But what do you think - should the stars tone it down because many are struggling in this economy, or is it acceptable to you do see lavish displays right now?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hematite and Lodestone - Which is magnetic?

Both of these black or very dark gray minerals look quite similar. They are shiny, similar in color and both made of iron oxide - magnetite. Both have healing properties, although the magnetic effect is associated with lodestone. I will discuss each mineral separately which should give you a good overview of the differences and similarities.

Photo credit

Lodestone is magnetic when found in nature. It was commonly used in the manufacture of compasses, because of these magnetic properties. Hematite, on the other hand, is not magnetic by nature.

What we have come to think of as magnetic hematite is actually a synthetic material called synthetic Hematite or hemalyke. This synthetic material is created with magnetism - thus the confusion between the two types of minerals.

Both minerals have healing and mystical properties. For more information on the two minerals, please visit the hematite article in the resource library at Vintage Jewelry Lane.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jewelry and Astrology - Gemini

This blog post is another in my series about choosing jewelry suitable for individual star signs. Today's astrological sign is Gemini, which is the sign for those born between May 21-June 20. The sign is depicted as Twins or a face with two heads.

Zodiac Logo courtesy of

Those born under the sign of the twins are said to have gained the reputation of being the great talkers of the Zodiac. They are thought to be versatile and adapt to changes easily. They are youthful and energetic and this makes them a delight to be around. On the negative side, a Gemini can have moods that change from moment to moment. Sometimes tjey will argue just for the sake of arguing, and can be somewhat fickle at times.

To get a clue about what sort of Jewelry to choose for your Gemini friend let's have a look at some of these Zodiac facts about the star sign:
  • Their Birthstones are emerald and Agate
  • Their lucky numbers are are 3 and 4
  • Their lucky colors are pink, yellow, light blue, silver and gray
  • Their favorite flowers are orchids and lilacs
Of course, you can always just pick up some jewelry that has the Gemini logo on it, but how about being a bit more creative and using these facts to choose a "Gemini inspired" gift?

One thing that pops to mind with me is the fact that they are the sign of the twins, so reversible jewelry might inspire them, such as a ring which has a setting that revolves like this swivel ring with one side black and one white. It would certainly show the complexity of the character of this star sign well. This pretty glass swivel ring is available at Vintage Jewelry Lane for only $11.25.

The fact that agate is associated with Geminis made this gemstone a logical choice. Here is some lovely agate jewelry that is available in my stores. There are even some in the gemini favorite colors, so you would get two traits for the price of one. The styles are available for prices between $9.99 and $13.25 . Just click the pictures to go to the listing pages.

And if you would like to incorporate the lucky numbers of 3 and 4 into your gift, nothing will fit the bill better than a 3 or 4 multi strand necklace. Here a couple. I have many more multi strand necklaces in all my shops. The set is $28 and the pink glass necklace is $24.

And if you want to use the flowers as part of your gift, I have a lovely orchid demi parure available at Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry for only $11.99.

Now go wow your Gemini friend with the perfect gift!


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