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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vintage Jewelry as Wedding Reception Gifts - Creative use of Vintage Jewelry

I woke up this morning to some a large sale of many items from my websites. Of course, I sell things from my sites all the time, but the special thing about this sale was the note that the buyer included to me with her order.

Judith from Texas stated that the jewelry was going to be used at an upcoming wedding as wedding reception gifts and favors for women who would be attending the wedding and their daughters. She plans to use the opportunity as a teaching moment about the value, construction and durability of vintage jewelry.
Wedding Cake Photo courtesy of

Her ideas are just fabulous. She told me that she intends to have the items placed on to the place cards at the ladies’ seats. The precious ones, (two stunning Matisse and Renoir Copper and Enamel sets and a few other "special sets") will be in little wicker baskets with bows on top that match the colors of the wedding.

Judith has done this for Baby Showers and Bridal Showers too! When she did this, she had shoes and rice for the Bridal Shower and had little tiny doll shoes with rice in them, with tissue and the jewelry piece sitting inside.

She said that she has also used wonderful vintage jewelry pieces for boy tea parties and Red Hat Society luncheons for the retirement home where her mother lived. Her imagination seems to have no bounds and she has given me all sorts of ideas for my website pages.

What unique and wonderful ideas! And how well the bridal idea goes along with the old saying (but with a twist) "Something old, something new..." I often get customers who email me and ask if I have 10 or 12 or more of a single piece that they can use as wedding favors for their bridesmaids. Since I sell unique vintage jewelry and most often don't have duplicates, I have to deny their request.

But Judith made the purchase of these items so special. Each recipient at the upcoming wedding will have a piece chosen especially for them and no one else at the wedding will have the same gift. How special is that?

Today's purchase showed a fondness for Damascene jewelry, Sarah Coventry named pieces and Siam Sterling Nielloware among other categories. Do you have a wedding coming up? Please consider taking a page from this thoughtful customer's wedding planner and consider vintage jewelry for your guests or wedding party. They will love you for it! Visit Vintage Jewelry Lane today to start making selections for your guest list.

If your taste in bridal gifts tends to run more to the clear rhinestone and crystal or pearl style of jewelry, you can also find unique gifts for your guests or wedding party on my new Vintage Bridal Jewelry Page at Vintage Jewelry Lane. (Judith's message to me was so inspiring that I added a new page to my website!

Do you have an interesting story about your creative use of vintage jewelry, or a special idea for your purchase? Please share with me. You may be featured in my next chapter of the creative uses of vintage jewelry.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Jewelry Find of the Week- Huge Pink Glass Pearl Necklace with Rhinestone Clasp

I love pearls of all types. They appeal to the romantic side of me. Of course, real pearls are out of reach of all except the most wealthy of us, but fashion designers have come up with subsitutes to help our wallets.

There are cultured pearls, which still can be somewhat expensive but not as much as the real deal, and there are all sorts of faux pearls and glass pearls available at every affordable prices.

When buying pearl necklaces, one thing to look for is hand knotting between each pearl. This gives the finished necklace a more authentic look, since real pearl necklaces are hand knotted, and it also gives the advantage of making your pearls stay intact in the event that the silk holding them does eventually break.

Another thing to look for is an interesting clasp. Most pearl necklaces are very simple and a fancy clasp will jazz them up just a touch. Also, don't just settle for white or cream. Pearls come in a wide range of colors and hues.

This stunning pink glass pearl necklace from my Vintage Jewelry Lane store is just exquisite. It features large 20mm pink glass pearls which are hand knotted between each pearl and end in a fancy clasp with clear diamante rhinestones. Perfect for both day and night- it has a very affordable price tag of $59.99 and comes in a lovely white satin lined display case and is perfect for gift giving.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Butterfly Wing Jewelry - Nature as Accessories

Jewelry which is made from insects dates back to ancient times, but one style which has remained popular to today is butterfly wing jewelry. During the British Empire Exhibition of 1924, Thomas Mott's butterfly wing jewelry exhibit is credited with making butterfly jewelry a fashion rage.

Basically, there are three different types of vintage butterfly wing jewelry.
  • The first is jewelry that actually contains a whole butterfly. Jewelry like this is often found in a large pendant and is quite rare.
  • The second type is called "Morpho Butterfly Jewelry." It has scenes reverse painted on the glass or lucite covering the butterfly wing. Common scenes are tropical, western, even people and animals.
  • The third style is Morpho Butterfly jewelry which has not been altered in any way. The wing of the butterfly is set in jewelry so as to showcase it's natural beauty.
In the USA, a company called Hoffman started making butterfly-wing jewelry during the late thirties. They still manufacture today, with new pieces being sold at the Amish Farm & Home Gift Shop in Lancaster, PA. Older Hoffman pieces range from the typical palm tree & sunset motif to the very attractive art deco or arts & crafts style frames. Their newer pieces have an Amish motif.

The bracelet featured in this blog is a Morpho reverse painted Hoffman butterfly wing bracelet. It is available for $32.99 from my Vintage Jewelry Lane butterfly jewelry category.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Monogram Jewelry - Such a Personal Choice!

Monogram jewelry is really personal. It is available in either your full name or just with various initials which relate to the first letter or letters of your name.

Most monogram jewelry is fairly simple. The idea is not to dazzle so much as to just make a little identity statement. And if you choose the initial style, it can work for a variety of different names.

This pretty V pin with a beaded setting would be perfect for anyone called Victoria, Valerie, Vivian, Vera, Violet or Velma. And with the recent popularity of men's brooches, even Vincent or Victor could be seen sporting it on the lapel of his jacket. It is simple, but anything other than ordinary!

My store Vintage Jewelry Mall specializes in all types of thematic jewelry and has a page devoted to just monogram jewelry. Be sure to check soon to see if we are currently featuring your name.