Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Today's Vintage Bling - Weiss Smoke Gray Brooch

Weiss jewelry is known for their well made designs with great attention to detail and use of lovely stones. They are at the top of the list of vintage jewelry designers for those who collection high end rhinestone costume jewelry.

Today's vintage bling is a lovely Weiss brooch which is subtle in design and which would be perfect for many fashion color choices.

The brooch is set in silver tone metal and features a stunning layered design with prong set smoke gray rhinestones in a rising circle setting. The top layer of stones also features small silver tone leaves which are covered with clear pave rhinestones for a special and very glittering effect.

The brooch has a built in pin back and cartouche with the word Weiss. It is in excellent condition and is available from my Ruby Lane store - The Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry. Priced at $75, it won't last long. You can even make me a reasonable offer.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rosalie Sayyah Talks to Collector's Weekly about Repairing Rhinestone Jewelry

I get emails from viewers on my main website, Vintage Jewelry Lane, almost every week asking me how to repair rhinestone vintage jewelry. The questions range from which type of glue to use, where to find vintage rhinestones, and how to actually go about the process.

So, I was interested to read one of the recent interviews done by my friends at Collector's weekly. The interview is with Rosalie Sayyah, an appraiser on the famous PBS show, Antiques Roadshow and the owner of an interesting store in Seattle, Washington called Rhinestone Rosie.

Photo Courtesy Rhinestone Rosie Website.

In the interview, Rosalie talks about the most common types of costume jewelry repairs, her job as an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, and the history of the use of rhinestones in vintage jewelry. She also discusses the use of Swarovski rhinestones, and some of the most famous designers who used rhinestones in their vintage jewelry designs.

One thing that Rosalie mentions, which I have also found, is that there is a real lack across the United States of people who actually do the type of repairs about which my customers are constantly inquiring. Her store actually specializes in this type of restoration. If you live in Seattle or any other place in the US, she would be willing to have a look at your piece. This wouldn't be feasible if your piece is a low end costume jewelry piece, but if you have a Haskell, Eisenberg or other famous designer piece which needs repair, you might consider giving her an email.

You can view her whole interview on this page of the Collector's Weekly website.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What do you Wear with Turquoise Jewelry

Turquoise is this season's hottest gemstone. It is earthy and has long been a favorite of those who collect Native American jewelry. But right now, turquoise is seen in all the trendy boutiques too.

What do you wear with turquoise jewelry? It is such a dramatic color that it might seem to overpower other colors. But the richness of it fits right in with so many earthy shades. This means that it will translate well with fall colors too, so your purchase of turquoise jewelry today should keep you in style for several seasons.

I've been playing around on Polyvore again. It is such a fun site to get an idea of how to use jewelry (and clothing styles) to their best advantage. The set that I've put together here shows how well turquoise earrings and a single strand of turquoise beads look with tans and browns. It's a real winner.

I have a huge range of genuine turquoise jewelry in my online stores. Most of the styles are brand new, with a few vintage pieces as well. We have items in all price ranges. Here are a few examples to whet your appetite:

Do you love turquoise jewelry too? Grab one today!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mosaic Jewelry Seminar to be held in Chicago

Mosaic jewelry is one of my favorite forms of Italian jewelry (along with cameos of course.) The workmanship and attention to detail is just stunning, and the designs appeal to the romantic in me.

The Chicago Mosaic School is the only non-profit fine art school in the world dedicated to preserving and promoting the mosaic art form through education and community partnerships. The school was formed in early early 2005, and has been committed to providing an inspirational and creative environment that fosters an appreciation and awareness of both classical and contemporary mosaics.

On August 18.2010, the school will hold a hands on seminar where the participants will make two mosaic jewelry projects showcasing the designer's personal, one-of-a-kind sense of fashion. Earrings, pendants, rings, and belt buckles are all styles that one can construct.Rudimentary mosaic techniques, methods, and application will be covered in the seminar. No prior mosaic experience is necessary! All materials and use of tools provided by the school.

For more information on the seminar, you can contact the organizer at info@chicagomosaicschool.com Their website is very information and has some lovely gallery pictures. It's almost like a virtual museum of mosaics of all types.

Vintage Jewelry lane has mosaic jewelry as one of its specialties. We offer many lovely micro mosaic and pietra dura styles at affordable prices.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Collector's Weekly Talks to Native American Jewelry Author Mark Bahti

Our friends at Collector's weekly have a new interview. This time, Mark Bahti, the proprietor of Bahti Indian Arts based in Arizona and New Mexico talks to them about Native American jewelry.

Photo courtesy of Collector's Weekly

Mark graduated from the University of New Mexico and wrote the first popular book on Southwest Indian arts and crafts. In the summer of 1949, his father, Tom Bahti opened a little shop called Ghost Ranch Trading Post in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Later, he moved the shop to Tucson, Arizona. Mark and his wife Emma run the shop in Tucson and also owns another one in Santa Fe, NM.

In the interview, Mark discusses the advent of silversmithing in New Mexico, as well as the importance of the early Native American tribes for the early jewelry styles. The interview is very comprehensive and moves through the very early southwest designs, including a discussion of hallmarks, through to post World War II designs.

Mark also discusses the use of turquoise in Native American designs and the importance of Native American families in the various early jewelry designs.

Bahti is the author of Collecting Southwestern Native American Jewelry, as well as Silver and Stone, in which he interviewed about 50 different jewelry artists.

If you have a fascination with Native American jewelry, as I do, you will find the discussion with Mark very informative. You can view the whole interview on this page of the Collector's Weekly website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

JJ Figural Pins - A Touch of the Whimsical

J.J. is the registered trademark of the Jonette Jewelry Company. It is famous for its quaint figural pins. The designs are very well made - often in pewter or brass, and well above average in quality and detail. Plus they and so whimsical and fun!

Many of their designs are animal based, such as cats and dogs, but by no means are these the only designs featured on the lovely pins. All sorts of figurals are included in their jewelry lines

Here are a few recent additions to my Ruby Plaza shop - Jewelry Lane. Prices are very reasonable - from $12 to $34. Grab one today!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Murano Glass Jewelry Just Added to my Shops

Murano glass is breathtaking to behold and the process of making it is rather complex. Most
Murano art glass is made by using a lampworking technique. The glass itself is made from silica, which is heated to very high temperatures and then becomes liquid.

As the glass changes from this liquid state to solid, there is a time when it is soft and pliable. The glass maker than then shape the silica material into interesting shapes.

Sometimes the glass has layers of contrasting colors, which are formed by dipping the object into the molten glass and the outer most layer, called the casing, is clear. This type of glass will often be seen with swirls of gold through it called adventurine.

Other times the jewelry is made from Murano glass by making glass canes or rods with multi colored patterns which are visible when the ends of the canes are cut and inserted into a jewelry setting. This process is called "millefiori" which means a thousand flowers in Italian, since the finished process does indeed look like tiny flowers.

Here are a few examples. The last photo is millefiori:

I have a nice range of both types of Murano glass in my Ruby Plaza shop - Jewelry Lane, and also at my main webs store - Vintage Jewelry Lane. The jewelry is all new and comes in many colors and styles at very affordable prices.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shell Cameo Vintage Jewelry Care and Cleaning Methods

Women have worn carved shell cameo jewelry as a means of adorning their bodies for many thousands of years. These lovely carved mementos with a feminine flair have cast a spell over the wearers for centuries and continue to be popular today.

There are many forms of cameos, but shell cameos, in particular, are very collectible and often a good investment. But how does one care for these lovely shell beauties, so that they continue to remain in wonderful condition?

All vintage jewelry needs regular cleaning and good storage, and cameos are no exception. For the general cleaning purpose, I use Sunshine polishing cloths, which have a special cleaning agent impregnated in them. These specially treated cloths are especially good for cameos set into sterling silver or genuine gold settings. The cloth will polish the metal, and make it bright and shiny.

The shell cameo itself needs a bit of extra attention to keep it looking in great shape. Since the surface of the cameo is carved and usually raised, it is a real attractor of dirt. To clean the surface of the design, a Q tip or baby toothbrush dipped into a mild detergent and rubbed over it will remove traces of grime. Be sure to use plain water on the Q tip to rinse off after cleaning. Never soak a shell cameo for longer than a few seconds if you decide to dip into a cleaning solution. I don't recommend commercial cleaners - they are much too harsh for a delicate shell cameo.

Cameos have special needs that other styles of vintage jewelry don't have, as well because of the shell material itself. Extreme dryness, general aging and the elements of nature can all discolor or crack a shell cameo. Cameo jewelry should be stored in a clean, dry (but not too dry) place. This will prevent damage and corrosion to the frame. Even gold frames can become tarnished because of the oxidation of the alloys in the metal. Careful storage also helps to prevent the shells from becoming chipped. Be sure to keep the cameo away from other pieces of jewelry which might have sharp edges which could harm the finish of the cameo itself.

Cameos are particularly prone to damage from heat. So, an additional step is needed for keeping your cameos in good condition. Once the cleaning is done, you should use a fine oil, such as a mineral oil or baby oil applied sparingly with a Q tip. Leave this solution on the cameo overnight and then wipe off any excess oil that remains the next day. This process should be performed once or twice a year for best results.

Cameos also love to "breathe." Try not to store them in plastic bags or closed containers. Just sitting normally in a jewelry box is the best place for them, as long as the other jewelry pieces nearby are not sharp. Finally, be very careful of dropping them, since they are delicate and might chip or break. As with all other forms of jewelry, be sure to put make up and perfume on before you add the jewelry, since these products are harmful to all types of jewelry.

Cameo jewelry items are very desirable heirlooms, and are often considered an investment. With a bit of care, you can insure that your cherished piece will be enjoyed for many generations to come. One of the specialties of my main website, Vintage Jewelry Lane, is cameo jewelry. I offer a wide range of cameos of all styles and materials at very affordable prices. Please drop by to have a look soon!