Saturday, January 31, 2009

Necklace Sale at Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry - 25% off

Just a quick heads up to all readers of my blog. I'm currently running a sale in my ebay store Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry. I have a large group of necklaces and sets all reduced by 25%. Here are just a few of the items, but you can view the entire collection of necklaces on sale here.

Shop early for best selection. The sale ends on February 15.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Red Jewelry and Hearts for Valentine's Day - Perfect Choice!

It's that time again. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. That is when you go to the grocery store on February 13, and can't buy your groceries because the men are taking all the check out space waiting to pay for flowers and chocolate. Be creative men! Long after the flowers have faded and the chocolates have been devoured, a piece of jewelry will give pleasure to the wearer, and remind her of your throughfulness.

My stores - Vintage Jewelry Lane, Vintage Jewelry Mall, and Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry - all have a great selection of both heart jewelry, and red jewelry. All perfect for your special someone on February 14.

Here are some of my top picks for unique, out of the ordinary, and affordable gifts for the special someone in your life.

Step outside the (candy) box guys. She will love you for it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vintage Costume Jewelry History Designers

I didn't realize Utube would be a place for videos concerning vintage jewelry. Much to my surprise, I discovered this one yesterday. It's a wonderful video about the history of Vintage Costume Jewelry designers, such as Schiaparelli, Hattie Carnegie, Vendome, Miriam Haskell, Marcel Boucher, Hobé, Weiss, Eisenberg, Kenneth Jay Lane, Florenza, Trifari, Mazer, Weiss , Stanley Hagler, Mazer, Coco Chanel, Renoir Matisse, and others.

The video discusses the popularity of costume jewelry after World War I, when precious metals and gemstones became scarce. The video even discusses bakelite jewelry, copper, and jelly belly jewelry. The author of the video, Gail Gupton, talks about most of the major vintage jewelry desginers, and gives some dates and design styles that they used.

It is a great video and well worth taking the time to listen to it.

After you listen to the video, be sure to also visit my website, Vintage Jewelry Lane, for a wide selection of vintage jewelry from most of the designers that the video mentions.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Collecting Vintage Jewelry - Part 6 - Types of Necklace & Bracelet Clasps Used

Today's post will continue our series devoted to various aspects to consider when putting together a vintage jewelry collection. In the last chapter we talked about the creative use of metal settings. Today we will discuss the various types of clasps used on vintage necklaces and bracelets.

It is hard to specifically date a piece of jewelry by the clasp alone, unless it is marked in some with with a designer hallmark. The reason for this is that most of the clasps used on vintage jewelry are also used on modern pieces. Condition of the metal and other design techniques in the piece should be used in conjunction with a clasp to try and narrow down the date.

Vintage jewelry necklaces were made with many styles of clasps. Most notable were spring ring, hook clasp, box clasp, fold over clasp, and fish hook clasp. Others used, but not as commonly, were barrel clasp and toggle clasps. Lobster claw clasps were a later invention, so they are not found on vintage pieces, unless the clasp has been changed at some point.

My favorite type of vintage clasp is the box clasp. It came in a myriad of styles, often with beads, rhinestones or other embellishments which match the rest of the necklace. The were made with a small box which had a tab which was inserted into it. The following photos show why it was so popular. The design ideas are endless. Many box clasp were found on jewelry before 1950.

Spring ring clasps were commonly used. They came in two styles - one with a small tab to open the clasp and the other with just a small lip which can be swung back to create an opening. Spring ring clasps are still used today, but not as often. They have been mostly replaced with lobster claw clasps which are easier to open and close.

Hook clasps were often used on multi strand necklaces from the 1950s and 1960s. They were made of a metal hook which either "grabs" a bead in a dangling strand, or hooks in to a metal chain. The latter is still commonly used, but the former usually dates a piece as a vintage one.

A fish hook clasp is made with a small hook which is inserted into a metal finding, often a pointed oval shape. Good vintage fish hook clasps were often sterling silver. Modern metal ones are lighter in weight and made from goldtone and silvertone metal.

Fold over slaps were used for many vintage mass produced pieces. The underneath part of the clasp was a great place to put the designer hallmark. They were commonly used on necklaces and bracelets. On a bracelet, a fold over clasp was often used in conjunction with a safety chain to help prevent loss of the bracelet if the clasp open while the piece was being worn. This type of clasp was popular in the 1940s and is still used today.

Finally, barrel clasps and toggle clasp were used. These are often used today, so the metal condition is important to note when trying to date a piece with this type of clasp. Most older ones have developed a sort of brass like patina as they age. If you see shiny goldtone or silvertone barrel clasps or toggle clasps, the piece is likely to be a newer creation.

As with other findings and stones which make up a vintage piece, condition of the clasp is important when you decide whether to purchase the jewelry item. If the metal is worn, the value of the piece is diminished, although clasps are one of the easiest findings to replace.

Have fun checking out your necklaces and bracelets to see what type of clasp that your jewelry has!

Check back soon for the next chapter in this series which will deal with clasp types used on vintage jewelry pins and brooches.

Vintage Jewelry Lane has a wide range of vintage necklaces and vintage bracelets with all of these types of clasps. Be sure to check out the selection sometime soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jewelry at the SAG Awards

The red carpet was lit up once more for the 15th annual Screen Actors Guild awards (jokingly known as the time when actors snub other actors).

Once again there were lots of plunging necklines (with no necklaces - a pet peeve of mine), but with a notable exceptiong this time - bejeweled collars.

Earrings and bracelets were out in force though. None could compare to this pair of giant earrings by Christina Applegate of TV's "Samantha Who?" The diamond hoops, reportedly designed by Lorraine Schwartz would have some muse that there is really no downturn in our economy.

One necklace that caught my eye is this stunner by Eva Longoria - normally one to show off her bare cleavage. Eva wore what looks, at first like a flashy choker necklace, but appears to actually be a part of the top of her dress. Very vintage inspired look.

The bejeweled necklines were somewhat of a trend at the ceremony. Perhaps a shout out to Michelle Obama's bejeweled neck last week at the inaugural ceremony.
Anne Hathaway flashed in vintage Cartier jewels. And January Jones chose a black and gold Andrew Gn dress with an intricately detailed collar. I would have liked to have seen her hair up. The collar demands that, I think. She had on huge earrings to compliment the collar.

It will be interesting to see if this bejeweled collar becomes a new trend, inspired by the first lady.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Creative Use of Jewelry - Jade Necklace

I love to write about the creative uses of jewelry that I personally see, or read about online. I always check out the blogs of note from google to see what the creater of the newest addition like to write about.

Imagine my surprise to find that the blog "Tablescaping," which talks about creatively setting a dinner table, had a jewelry themed blog.
Zoey, the author of the blog, bought this lovely jade and silver necklace, wore it to work on Wednesday and then, on Saturday, she found a creative use for it on her dining room table. She calls this her "Aqua and Black Tablescape."

She put together an interesting table setting with bright colored wild fabric, a neat lamp (upon the base of which she draped the necklace), and dinnner ware that picked up the colors in the tablecloth. The end result is shown below. She has other pictures on her blog showing the step by step process.

The next time you have a dinner party, be sure to check out Zoey's Tablescaping blog for some creative ideas on your table setting.

Michelle Obama's Birthday Earring Swap

Michelle Obama had a birthday on January 17. I don't know what she received this year, but the internet is all abuzz about last year's gift.

According to Michael Sneed, a gossip columnist from the Chicago Sun Times, last year Michelle got a gift she can believe in! Sneed reported in Sunday's Sun Times that, for Michelle's birthday in 2008, Obama purchased his wife diamond earrings for a reported $5,000, which she returned for earrings with bigger diamonds that cost $12,000.
Sneed's source was Sherry Bender, the owner of Goldsmith Ltd., at 900 N. Michigan. I can't imagine why Bender would be so indiscreet. Surely she must know that Michelle is unlikely to frequent the store after this leak. Sneed did contact Michelle Obama's office for details about the birthday gift, but was not able to get a comment about the exchange.

Bender told Sneed "Mr. Obama came in himself and picked out a pair of earrings for Michelle, which were sort of long and dramatic, and the diamond dangled at the bottom." A short time, later, Bender continues, "Michelle came in, returned the earrings, looked around and picked out something a little more classic, with bigger stones, that was twice the price. She wanted to check with her husband first -- then Barack came back in and bought what she wanted -- which happened to be what I suggested originally."

Bender, who designed the earrings continued: "It was pretty typical of a married couple. But that was what was cute about it."

I guess this shows that women everywhere aren't alone - even the first lady will exchange a gift from her husband for one more to her liking. Of course, our exchanges don't hit the pages of the Sun Times - lucky for us!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Win a Set of 1928 Bracelets

I love 1928 Jewelry. It is so romantic and feminine. The filigree backs make it easy to spot when one gets a piece which has lost the hangtag. It is a perfect mixture of modern design and vintage flair.

I've just found a site which has a contest for a set of not yet released bracelets from 1928 Jewelry's spring collection. The contest is sponsored by Boutique Flair - an online shopping guide, and is just in time for Valentine's day. The bracelets are pictured here.

The rules are simple. Visit 1928 Jewelry, and find two of your favorite 1928 pieces. Then go to the blog entry at Boutique Flair, and reply to the blog with the names of your two favorite pieces.

Be sure to follow the contest rules to make sure your entry is elibigle:

1. You must be at least 18 years old
2. Only one entry per person. *Include your name & email address on your blog entry
3. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on February 2, 2009.

That's it! I entered today. It was fast and easy. Perhaps one of my lucky readers will be a winner. Be sure to let me know if you are and I'll feature you in a future blog post.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

7th Annual Ugly Necklace Contest - 2009

I have to admit it - I have a weird sense of humor. I find a lot of things funny that others think are just odd. I discovered a new jewelry making contest the other day that really made me laugh.

The contest is called the Annual Ugly Necklace Contest - 2009. The contest is open to both US and International designers. As the site says There are talented Ugly-Necklace Jewelry Designers everywhere!

The first prize winner will receive a $992.93 shopping spree on the Land of Odds web-site ( The runner up will receive a $399.07 shopping spree on the web-site. Deadline for submisssions is March 15, 2009.

You can find rules and application forms for the ugly necklace contest on the Land of Odds Website, as well as link to past winners and photos of winning designs. One of my personal favorites from a past contest is this enormous necklace by Michelle Geschke from Springfield, Oregon, a Semi-Finalist in the 2006 contest.

Hmmm....let's go see what I can find to put together some sort of "creative masterpiece." Check back later for news on this year's finalists and winners.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Auctionbytes Has the Buzz on Vintage Glitz

Anyone who sells on ebay has probably heard about the website Auctionbytes - an independent trade publication for online merchants. The site discusses all things ebay. Michelle Alice, contributing editor, recently had a report on vintage jewelry for sale on ebay.

The report discusses various aspects of costume vintage jewelry for sale - where to find it, why it is so collectible, how important condition is, and some of the wide types of vintage jewelry available on ebay.

She ends the article with a great list of reference books available about vintage jewelry - many which I have in my resource collection, and a separate lists of websites to explore for more information about the subject.

My ebay store - Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry is a great place to start for your ebay vintage jewelry shopping experience. Be sure to visit today for the latest bargains.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is Guilloche?

Guilloché (phonetically pronounced gee-oh-SHAY) is a term used in jewelry manufacturing, but is also used in other types of items too, such as vanity items, decorative items, inlays in furniture, etc. It is named after the French engineer “Guillot”, who invented a machine that would scratch intricate, fine patterns and designs on metallic surfaces.
Many people refer to the pattern as guilloché but the word techinically applies to the process. During the process, translucent enamel or fused glass is applied over a metal surface which has been engraved in some way - very often with a spirograph design. The process is often used with watches.

The technique as it pertains to jewelry making involves carving a design into a base metal. After this carving, the guilloche pattern is then sometimes filled with different colors and opacities of enamel paint. After enameling, decorative accents such as hand-painted roses may be added to an item.

Many different designs are used but the most common one involves flowers, often a multi color roses on a colored spirograph guilloché background. One most often seen is a pink rose on white.

I think it is very romantic looking, don't you?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Can You Make a Pair of Earrings in 30 Minutes or Less?

Lark Books has a contest which ends soon. Top designers are being challenged to create a pair of earrings that can be made in just 30 minutes! Proposals are due January 26, 2009, so you only have a few days to get ready!

The winning jeweler will be paid to contribute their talent and the end results are sure to reveal amazing creativity and technical skills. The company will showcase 50 designers with their step by step creations.

Accept the challenge! Download an entry form here.

More details here: 30-Minute Earrings (scroll down the page)

Sounds like a fun contest. Be sure to heck back later to see the winning designs!

Michelle Obama's Inauguration Look Surprises Many in the Fashion World

Fashion Critics were expecting Michelle Obama to show up in colorful and edgy designs for yesterday's inauguration and last nights inaugural ball, but she surprised everyone.

Her inauguration outfit was touted by some as being a little too flashy for daytime, but overall opinion seems favorable of the Isabel Toledo lemongrass dress and coat which she teemed up with Jimmy Choo leather pumps and matching J Crew gloves.

Of special interest to my blog is her bejeweled vintage brooch at the neckline. It is so large that it looks like necklace but it is, indeed, a brooch - which we know that Michelle loves to wear.
The history on this vintage brooch is that it was sold by Carole Tanenbaum, a North Toronto vintage jewelry dealer, who sold it to a Chicago boutique that helps to dress the first lady. It looks great with the dress, but I suspect it is what the critics were talking about when they said it's too dressy for daytime. I say..."bring back the vintage!"

For the inauguration balls, most were expecting her to show up in a trendy style filled with color. She proved the predictions wrong again, though. Her choice for the evening events was a one shouldered, white full length gown by Jason Wu. The critics seem divided on their opinion of the dress, but many think it was too "debutante" in look and not sassy enough for Michelle. Regardless of whether your personal taste or your view of her "look", she did present quite a picture as she posed for this full length view.

The one shouldered style has a fitted bodice, floral appliques and sparkly beading. According to tradition, the gown is going to be donated to the Smithsonian Institution after all 10 inaugural balls. The Smithsonian has a special series of exhibitions to commemorate Barack Obama's inauguration and this dress will make a nice exhibit.

The evening jewelry was lovely. This neckline had no glitz - not really room for it in a one shouldered look. Readers of my blog know that I don't like a bare neckline with a formal gown, but, this time, Michelle seemed to pull it off.

She sported stunning chandelier earrings, which complimented the dress beautifully. They had one long row of diamonds ending in a V shaped dangle that ended just about at the one shoulder of her dress and were just stunning.

Her hand and arm was adorned with a cluster of bangles on her wrist. This has been a popular look for a while, and the bangles were simple, classy and not overstated.

The finishing touch to the jewelry was a huge cocktail ring with a large amber-yellow center stone and surrounding diamonds. She wore on her middle finger and the ring was a knockout draped over Barack Obama's shoulder at last night's ball. The signet ring is from designer Loree Rodkin who is known as the Hollywood designer to the stars. Loree has also designed pieces for Madonna, Sir Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Elizabeth Taylor, Cher and Rihanna. It appears that Michelle is in upscale company.

Like the looks or not, Michelle seems to have confirmed one of the colors predicted to be hot now - yellow. It remains to be seen whether the frilly, and feminine evening look will catch on with those who want to emulate her.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Healing Powers of Jewelry - Copper and Arthritis

I have a fascination for all things metaphysical. I read my horoscope, enjoy a tarot reading, meditate every day. Some of my interests are for fun, and some are part of my spirituality.

I have a strong conviction that the mind is capable of healing all sorts of diseases and ailments. I have used various healing techiques with success on more than one occasion in my life. So, when I started my jewelry blog, it was natural for me to start researching the healing qualities associated with various gemstones and jewelry.

Copper has long been associated with various healing qualities, particularly in the treatment of arthritis. The legends of using copper as a form of pain relief dates back some 10,000 years. Copper is a wonderful conductor of electricity and heat, so many believe in copper's power to heal the mind and body, based on these energy conducting properties. The metal also lends itself to spectacular jewelry design techniques such as this stuning Mohawk Trail Native American copper bracelet design.

During the 1970s, the use of copper as a healing agent began to increase in the US. In addition to the relief of pain from arthritis, copper is also thought to promote the smooth function of the glands, to alleviate cramps, reduce inflammation, aid in blood circulation, and to ensure that the joints remain in good condition.

Notable early designers of vintage copper jewelry are Rebajes, Matisse and Renoir. Both have resource books devoted to their designs. One particular book on my wish list at is Copper Art Jewelry: A Different Luster.

My website Vintage Jewelry Lane has a whole page devoted to vintage copper jewelry. My latest acquisition is this lovely copper leaf set by Matisse. This pretty set is an outstanding example of the enamel on copper jewelry produced during the 1960s. It is a book piece featured in both Copper Art Jewelry and Julia Carroll's book Collecting Cosutme Jewelry 101. All pieces are signed and it is in wonderful condition with very little wear. You can add this to your vintage jewelry copper collection for $110.00.

What will Michelle Obama wear for the Inauguration?

The online world is all a twitter with predictions for Michelle Obama's attire tomorrow. Today's article from the living section of today's Chicago Tribune is no exception.

Given the present economy, Michelle must walk a fine line between "presidential pomp and economic circumstance," but I'm sure every one will agree that no one expects her to show up in mass market attire.

If the past is any indication of the future, brooches may play a part in the jewelry part of her inauguration day look. We'll know more tomorrow, so check back for the actual views in a few days.

You can read the full Chicago Tribune article here to see what they predict.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Collecting Vintage Jewelry - Part 5 - Metal Settings

Today's post will continue our series devoted to various aspects to consider when putting together a vintage jewelry collection. In the last chapter we talked about the creative use of stones. Today we will discuss the various types of settings used.

At the top of the list is a rhodium plated setting. It was extensively used by the better jewelry designers. Rhodium is a hard metal in the platinum group and it wears extremely well. Two well known designers who used platinum settings often are B. David, and Sarah Coventry. As you can see from the picture to the right, a rhodium setting is smooth and every even. It has a luster to it that normal silvertone settings doesn't have and it doesn't tarnish over time and is very corrosion resistant.

Open back settings for rhinestone jewelry are also found on better vintage jewelry pieces. The most famous designer of this type of setting is DeLizza and Elster who made the famous Juliana Jewelry. (you can view some verified Juliana jewelry pieces at The DeLizza & Elster Jewelry Education Site. Most open back settings also use high quality unfoiled glass rhinestones, although I have seen foiled pieces in openback settings too.

Riveted back settings were used extensively during the 1950s -1960s. In this setting, a small rivet is visible on the back of each of the cups that hold the rhinestones. Many designers used this setting, but pieces from Austria are often made with this design technique.

V Clasps were also another design technique often used during the 1950s. The back of this early vintage brooch uses both the riveted back setting and an early V Clasp.

There is a special type of rhinestone setting that I particularly like. It is found on many pieces from Austria. This special cup setting has crimped edges which are somewhat flayed around the edges. A version of this is called the pie crust setting for the similarity to a pie crust in baking.

Filigree settings were very popular with many vintage jewelry designers. They have had a resurgence with some newer designers such as 1928, but the older settings are notable because the beads and pearls were often wired onto these filigree settings. Japan and Germany used filigree settings often, but the most notable designer who used them extensively is Miriam Haskell. The quality of a Haskell piece is unmistakable and a staple of any top quality vintage jewelry collection.

Previous blog posts in this series:

Check back soon for the next chapter in this series which will deal with clasp types used on vintage jewelry.


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