Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bringing in the New Year with Diamante Jewelry

New Year's Eve...a time for reflection, resolutions and glitz and glamour. Vintage diamante rhinestone jewelry is the perfect accent for this year's holiday outfit.

Collectors of vintage jewelry know that colored rhinestone jewelry is popular and very collectible - often hard to find in great condition, and can be quite expensive. But how about its "not so colorful" cousin - clear rhinestone jewelry, also known as diamante jewelry.

It is perfect for weddings of course, but nothing adds just the right touch to the perfect black dress like clear rhinestone jewelry. And best of all - it is very affordable compared to its colorful cousin.

Here are some perfect choices from my online shops. One of them might be just the piece to jazz up your holiday dress.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jewelry and Astrology - Capricorn

This blog post is another in my series about choosing jewelry suitable for individual star signs. Today's astrological sign is Capricorn , which is the sign for those born between December 21-December 19. The sign is depicted as the goat and it is considered an earth sign.

Zodiac Logo courtesy of

Capricorns are responsible, patient, and ambitious, and are very loyal friends. On the negative side, they are considered to be somewhat selfish and pessimistic and can be very jealous in relationships.

Thinking about buying jewelry for your Capricorn friend and don't know where to start? Let's examine some of these zodiac facts for a bit of inspiration.
  • Their primary colors are deep colors such as brown and black, but their lucky color is red
  • The lucky numbers are 3 and 7
  • The primary gemstone associated with this birth sign is the garnet, but they also love rubies, agate, and onyx
  • Their animal symbol is the goat
  • Flowers and plants that Capricorns love are pansies and ivy.
Let's combine some of these traits and see what we can come up with for gifts that might please your Sagittarian friend.
Trifari has a series of zodiac jewelry which depicts the various sun signs. Perhaps one of these would be perfect for your friend.

This lovely 3 strand deep red glass bracelet? You will capture both a lucky number and color in one!

These pretty onyx earrings in gold filled metal uses another of the Capricorn gemstones as a feature. Perhaps they would be perfect for your capricorn friend.

If you would like to incorporate one of their favorite flowers in a piece of jewelry, this lovely pansy demi parure from my Ruby Lane should should do the trick.

Here is a Georgian poem that captures the Capricorn personality:
Who climbs and schemes for wealth and place,
And mourns his brothers fall from grace-
But takes what's due in any case?
Safe Capricorn!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays to all My Readers

Wishing all of you the most enjoyable of holidays. I hope it is the best season ever for all of you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Word of the Week - What is a Bar Pin?

Today's vintage jewelry word brings up images of something you might wear to a bar on a girl's night out. Alas...this is not to be.

A bar pin a brooch or pin which is very narrow but long - quite similar in shape to a baguette stone. Bar pins are often embellished with gemstones or rhinestones and some popular styles have chain dangles. Some are actually shaped like a safety pin, although these should be correctly referred to as Kilt pins.

Bar pins had a height of popularity during the Victorian period, when many were set in real gold with semi precious or precious stones. These older styles have C clasps and are highly collectible today.The popularity of bar pins waned somewhat during the retro vintage years when larger and more ornate pins were the fashion. The older styles are the most collectible designs.

Many popular vintage jewelry designers made bar pins with Sarah Coventry designing several of them during the time period of the mid 20th century. Bar pins do seem to have had a resurgence lately, and can be found in many contemporary designs.

Here are some examples of bar pins:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last week for online Christmas Shopping

Shopping online is one of my favorite things to do this time of the year. I can surf the web, point, click and pay all from the comfort of my chair without having to deal with the crowds in the stores.

However, one disadvantage of this sort of shopping is that you have to be somewhat organized, since there has to be time for the items to actually be shipped to you. The post office says that December 21 is the last date for priority mail and December 23 is the last date for express mail to get to you by Christmas day.

From my experience, first class mail and even some prioirty packages should really be shipped out this week to guarantee delivery on Christmas. Even some packages shipped the latter part of this week may not arrive on time if shipped first class.

To avoid disappointment, be sure to try and finish up your online shopping early this week. For readers of my blog, I have a special discount. Any orders from Vintage Jewelry Lane, Vintage Jewelry Mall, or my shop at Ruby Lane - The Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry can get a 10% discount if you mention my blog promo code in the notes of your paypal payment. The code is BLOGdec14. I'll refund your paypal account 10% of your payment amount back to your paypal account.

First in best dressed! This code is only valid from December 14 to December 19, 2009.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Designer - Who Am I?

This is another in my ongoing guessing game series about popular 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:
  • The dates of operation of the company are 1927 to the present day.
  • The company was founded in Providence Rhode Island
  • Design Characteristics: Very good enamel designs, fashionable and well priced, good quality jewelry with a nice finish
  • This company was one of the principle suppliers of department stores in the 1940s
  • Considered a medium end designer
  • Their Christmas designs are popular and collectible
  • The company changed hands several times through the years. Owners were General Mills, Crystal Brands, and Liz Claiborne
Here are some pictures of my designs:

I am considered a medium end designer and my pieces are fairly easy to find today. 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) tenoM

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today's Vintage Bling - BSK Diamante Rhinestone Brooch

Today's vintage bling is from mid 20th Century designer BSK, whose pieces are still well undervalued compared to some other designers of similar quality workmanship.

The brooch is a round cut out center design set in textured goldtone metal with a series of upturned and serrated edge leaves arranged in a circular pattern. Each of the leaves has a single, perfectly shaped marquis diamante rhinestone sitting on top of it.

The size is just over 2" and it is signed BSK on the back. This lovely BSK rhinestone brooch is available from Vintage Jewelry Lane for $74.99.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dashing Through the Snow - Christmas Sleigh Pins

I get so nostalgic at Christmas time when I see movies, cards of photographs of snow. I grew up in the Northeast part of the US, and now live in the South, so I miss snow at times.

Christmas sleigh pins remind me of the line from Jingle Bells -
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh

So these pretty Christmas Sleigh pins are right up my alley. You can click any of the photos for more details. The prices range from $8.75 to about $20. Perhaps one will be just right for you too!

Are you a snow lover at Christmas time?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rhinestone Repair - Re-Foiling Rhinestones

Vintage jewelry, by nature, is usually quite old and will often have minor flaws and blemishes. Rhinestone vintage jewelry, in particular, is prone to various stages of wear, since the foil backing of a rhinestone can sometimes be damaged by moisture, or can easily get scratched if the stones are ever replaced.

Some rhinestone pieces are very valuable and worth the effort and cost of the restoration. There are several places that sell vintage rhinestones. One company that I have used and recommend is Matthew Ribarich's site called MrStones.

But what do you do when you have a vintage rhinestone piece that has badly damaged foil, you have searched high and low, and you still can't find a stone which will blend in well with the others?

Rhinestone foil backings such as those used by Swarovski and other rhinestone manufacturers involves a process similar to that used for the silvering of mirrors. The original process involves some tricky chemical processes. Actual silver is applied to the back of a mirror and then a paint-like coating is applied to protect the silver from oxidation and darkening. Re-silvering a mirror is a process often done and the end result is usually very satisfactory.

To duplicate the process with something as small as a rhinestone would take a miniature set up of the same process and would be quite specialized. You could contact a glass seller who resilvers mirros and ask them if they would undertake the job of resilvering your rhinestones. Don't be surprised if you are greeted with widened eyes and a dropped jaw at your request, since you may be the first person to ask them about this.

A curator at a nearby museum might be able to give you some names of those craftsmen that they use for preservation or restoration. These craftsmen who may know of some other techniques that will assist you. Obviously, this step would only be undertaken as a last resort and if the piece is particularly valuable and suitable for the expense of this type of repair.

If you have a piece which you adore which has damaged stones but it doesn't warrant the expensive of a professional repair, there are vintage rhinestone re-foil kits available. I have seen them on ebay, but haven't tried the product, so I can't guarantee that you will like the results.

Quite honestly, I would be surprised if there is a suitable paint easily applied which will blend well enough with the original silvering or golding. If you do decide to use this process, be sure to remove all of the old silver or gold coating first and then tackle the painting job.

If you do purchase this re-foil product and use it, please publish your results in the comments. I'd be interested to see how it works.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Word of the Week - What is Basse-taille?

Today's vintage jewelry word is Basse-taille. This is a French word which means "shallow cut." The term refers to an enameling technique which has chased relief metal which is overlaid with a translucent enamel finish.

During the process, the metal is engraved deeply enough so that the enamel can be held when heated. It also has sides high enough to be sure that the colors of the enamel are kept separate. The addition of the translucent enamel allows light to reflect from the relief and creates a very artistic effect. The end result has a lovely play of light and shade and a brilliance of tone.

The process of basse-taille was first developed in Italy in the 13th century, and was especially popular in Europe during the Gothic and Renaissance periods. This technique was also very popular with mid 20th century Scandinavian silversmiths such as David Andersen, Hroar Prydz and Askel Holmsen. The technique has also been called "translucent enameling."

Here are some xxamples of basse-taille jewelry:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to my Readers

Happy Thanksgiving! This year I will be hosting the meal and my husband's nephew is visiting us from England, so he gets to find out, first hand, what an American Thanksgiving is all about. I have a table full of all manner of side dishes, the proverbial turkey and many deserts, and he also brought over an English fruit cake to add to the celebration.

This year, I am most thankful for my health and that of my family and loved ones, and that my daughter is having a great year at university with roles in many of the college drama productions. It is nice to see her so happy and involved.

I hope that you also have much to be thankful for. With all the problems in our economy, it is nice to take the time to think of little things that are good in our lives.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What is Christmas Without a Candy Cane?

Statistics say that most of us gain a few pounds over the Christmas holidays each year. In the next few weeks, many of us will be baking and eating sweets of all sorts, so I thought it would be fun to feature some of my cute candy cane Christmas pins. Perhaps one of them would be just the sweet treat for you - minus the calories of course.

Christmas brooches come in a wide variety of designs and one of the most popular style is the candy cane. These are made in a myriad of designs and materials - with the most popular being enamel and rhinestone designs.

Most of the major vintage jewelry designers included them in their range of designs, and contemporary designers seem to come up with new ideas for the motif each year.

Here are a few for you to choose from. Each of my online stores also has a larger range of styles. One of them is sure to make a cute stocking stuffer or even a present to yourself! You can click the pictures for more details and additional photos. Prices range from $8.99 to $16.99.

Now you can enjoy your Christmas sweet with never a fear of gaining those unwanted holiday pounds!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jewelry and Astrology - Sagittarius

This blog post is another in my series about choosing jewelry suitable for individual star signs. Today's astrological sign is Sagittarius, which is the sign for those born between November 22-December 21. The sign is depicted as the archer and it is considered a fire sign.

Zodiac Logo courtesy of

Thinking about buying jewelry for your Sagittarius friend and don't know where to start? Let's examine some of these zodiac facts for a bit of inspiration.
  • Their special colors are yellow and orange
  • The lucky numbers are 1,3,5, and 9
  • The gemstones associated with this birth sign are Amethyst, and Turquoise
  • Their animal symbol is the horse
  • Flowers that Sagittarians love are pink flowers, carnations and thistles
Let's combine some of these traits and see what we can come up with for gifts that might please your Sagittarian friend. All the pictures can be clicked for more details and descriptions.

This genuine turquoise necklace would be a lovely choice:

And for the horse lover Sagittarian, this lovely Gerry's Christmas horse drawn sleigh pin would be a perfect stocking stuffer:

This wonderful bakelite demi parure which combines yellow and orange into one pretty hue would also make a great choice:

Finally, here is a Georgian poem which depicts the Sagittarius personality well:
Who loves the dim religious light;
Who always keeps a star in sight?
An optimist both happy and bright-

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today's Vintage Bling - Japan Signed Diamante Rhinestone Expansion Bracelet

I thought that it would be appropriate that the piece I choose for this week's vintage bling should be something that might work well for the upcoming holidays and New Year's Eve. This fabulous rhinestone expansion bracelet will do that and then some!

The bracelet is set in silvertone metal and features three rows of clear diamanted rhinestones in prong settings. The bracelet is 1/2" wide and is an expansion style so it should fit most wrist sizes.

It is signed Made in Japan on the inside of the bracelet. The lovely piece is available from my Ruby Lane shop - The Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry for only $25.

Rhinestone expansion bracelets were all the rage between the 1930s and 1950s and they have recently had a resurgence in popularity. This lovely example is in gently used very fine condition with clear and bright rhinestones.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Limited Edition Vintage Jewelry - A Real Collector's Find

Those who collect antique and vintage items are well aquainted with the term limited edition. It is used to refer a design, book, print, or collectible which is limited to a specified number of copies. Numbered limited editions normally give more value to the lower numbers in the total run of pieces.

There were several designers of vintage jewelry who used this term on their products. Some which come to mind are Reed and Barton for their damascene designs, Sarah Coventry for her religious crosses and Birds and Blooms for their pewter nature designs.

Many contemporary designers use the term for their products. Judith Ripka is one popular designer of limited editions, but many modern jewelry artisans use the term for their products too.

Here are a few limited edition jewelry pieces that I currently have for sale in my Vintage Jewelry Lane store:
Reed and Barton 1st Limited Edition Christmas angel damascene necklace - $42.99

Sarah Coventry Limited Edition Cathedral multistrand Signed Necklace - $21.99

Birds and Blooms Limited Edition Birdhouse pewter brooch - $12.99

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Elizabeth Taylor for Avon Jewelry

Most of my readers are familiar with the Avon cosmetics company and know that the company has also been designing jewelry since the 1970s. But do you also know that some of the jewelry made by Avon was inspired by notable personalities?

During the 1980s and 1990s many designs were inspired by the likes of Kenneth Lane, José and Maria Barrerra, Louis Ferraud, and Corinne Simpson among others. This has given rise to the high level of collectibility of designs with these additional logos.

Elizabeth Taylor is one such person whose name graces the high end Avon lines. Ms. Taylor oversaw every detail of the design of the jewelry bearing her name. She is featured in Sandra Sturdivant's book "Identifying Avon Jewelry." The fabulous set featured here is described in her book as design with a “softly glowing matte gold rose which rests amidst textured leaves with sparkling crystal dew drops.”

This design is called “Passion Flower Collection”, and includes a brooch and pair of matching clip earrings. No detail has been spared in the design of this set. which helped Avon join the ranks of famous designers and producers of high end jewelry. Inspired by the star's passion for rose, the goldtone rose has sparkling rhinestone accents which look a lot like dew drops.

The pieces are marked Elizabeth Taylor - Avon, and is also inscribed with an “E” in a lovely script selected by Elizabeth herself. This fabulous Elizabeth Taylor Avon rhinestone rose flower Demi Parure is available from my Vintage jewelry Lane shop for $125.99.

If you are a fan of Elizabeth Taylor, you may be interested in the book Elizabeth Taylor’s Personal Jewelry Collection – My love affair with Jewelry. Known for her beauty, her seven marriages, and her stunning jewelry collection, screen star Elizabeth Taylor treats us to a first look at her jewelry, in gorgeous actual-size photos and in personal photos-some never before seen publicly-of herself wearing them. This book showcases many of the pieces from her collection with 125 stunning photographs.
Since the Elizabeth Taylor line of Avon jewelry was discontinued in 1997, it is becoming increasingly hard to find and is now very collectable.

Here is another example from her Avon jewelry line. The design is called "Love Blooms" and is from 1995. Also available from Vintage Jewelry Lane for $27.50

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ring in the Holiday Season with Christmas Bell Pins

Christmas is just around the corner and rhinestone Xmas pins are some of my best sellers this time of the year. I've purchased a large warehouse buy out of some lovely designs. I'll be showcasing the various designs of Christmas jewelry over the next few weeks.

The first style which is very popular is the Christmas bell pin. Whether covered in rhinestones, or done up in colorful enamel, this design of Christmas pin is very festive.

If you are looking for a stocking stuffer or Christmas gifts, these designs may appeal to you. Here are a few designs which will let you ring in the holidays in style: (you can click any of the pictures for more details and additional photos)

Nordstrom Rhinestone Christmas Double Bell pin - $24.99 (original retail $42!)

Gerry's Vintage Enamel Christmas Bell Pin - $11.99:

Colorful Red and Green Rhinestone Christmas Bell Pin - $8.75:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Find of the Week - D. David Aurora Borealis Rhinestone Leaf Demi Parure

This week's vintage jewelry find is by Mid 20th Century designer B. David. This designer produced high end jewelry with an abundance of aurora borealis rhinestones.

The set featured here is just perfect for fall. It consists of a pretty maple leaf design with meridian blue prong set aurora borealis rhinestones. There is a brooch and matching pair of clip back earrings included in the set. Stunningly plated in rhodium, this set is pure high end design.

For more details and close up photos of this pretty B. David rhinestone set, please visit my store at Vintage Jewelry Lane. Priced at $95.99, it would make someone a lovely Christmas gift.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Today's Vintage Bling - Basse-Taille Pink Enamel and Rhinestone Brooch

Today's vintage bling is a lovely little layered brooch with a flower design.

This pretty pin is just adorable! It is set in goldtone metal and has a 1950s riveted back setting and great depth and detail.

The petals are made of prong set dark pink rhinestones and the top layer of leaves has a translucent basse-taille enamel coating in light pink. The lower layer of leaves are also very nicely detailed.

There are no markings on this beauty, but the design and weight of the piece reminds me very much of Austrian jewelry from this same period. Priced at only $26.99, this piece would make a great gift for someone who loves pink jewelry. For more details on this pretty pink rhinestone flower brooch, you can visit my Vintage Jewelry Lane online store.