Gorgeous bracelets and bangles
One of my very own – an stunning ultra chunky Lucite bangle which had gorgeous pearlized confetti Lucite pieces encapsulated within. I picked it up in a thrift shop, and have no idea who made it. Anyone any ideas?
Made from a mix of Mother Of Pearl inlay and hard plastic, this vintage harlequin bracelet dates circa 1980s.
Often called Persian Storybook bracelets, these very old antique beauties have individual pictures painted directly onto the exquisite Mother Of Pearl panels. Each painting was done by hand, and then the panels linked together using wire. They date from around the early 20th Century, and vary in quality from quite crude to outstandingly detailed. PURCHASE TIPS: Study the pictures carefully, as the enamel work is very prone to wearing off, and this affects value. Also, the wire work can snap with age (as seen in the photo), so make sure everything is intact (or nicely haggle down the price if you are able to fix it yourself)
Real art deco costume jewellery is actually quite rare – a lot of what is advertised as deco actually dates circa 1960s to 1970s (when there was a big deco revival going on). This beauty dates from that later period, and has a gorgeous and very unusual deco inspired loop design – it’s one of the best 1970s deco revival pieces I’ve seen.
Forecasting future costume jewellery collectables is hard, but I honestly hope that cloisonne jewellery from the 1990s onwards becomes a must have in 30 years time. Why? The workmanship on these pieces is stunning, the colours and textures exquisite, and the subjects are so varied (eg, birds, animals, fish, flowers, insects, even unicorns!). I LOVE cloisonne enamel jewellery, and this bangle has to be one of my favourites 🙂
Eloxil is a type of very lightweight, almost featherlight pot metal, and was a popularly used in 1960s and 1970s jewellery as it contained alloys which didn’t tarnish nor rust. West German jewellery makers of the 1960s and 70s were experts in using it to its best effect, as seen in this gorgeous German vintage bracelet – the panels are Lucite (with a mother of pearl effect), while the sparkling stones aren’t actual marcasites – they are molded Eloxil onto the Eloxil panels.
One from my shop, I handmade this bridal bracelet using a mix of 1950s glass pearls and modern crystals. The focal is pure vintage 1960s, making this bracelet one of a kind. I wish I could find more of those vintage focals as they are sooo beautiful!
Bored of bling?
Fed up with playing it safe?
If it’s amazing character and a touch of the unusual you’re after in your jewellery, then check out these eye-catching stones ..
Citrine is the official name bestowed upon orange to yellow colour quartz gemstone. When it’s this size, and bursts with this much fire, it blows other gems out of the water.
If you want big statement rocks that ooze quality, but are also on budget, then topaz is your best friend! With its huge variety of colours and almost pure water like clarity (even in big stones – few inclusions with this baby!), topaz is the perfect go-to all rounder gemstone.
Is it an opal? Is it a rare rock crystal? Nope, this beauty dates from the 1930s, is made from good old glass.
Though not everyone’s cup of tea, butterfly wing jewellery is made from yep, you’ve guessed it .. the real butterfly wings of the Morpho butterfly. Before recoiling horror too much, the butterflies involved passed away naturally before being collected up and used to create stunning jewelry. There are surprising conservation aspects to this type of jewelry too – areas of South American rainforests have been saved and even re-planted for the sole purpose of encouraging the breeding of Morphos butterflies for jewellery.
Cameos are one of the oldest forms of jewellery in the world. Get a good quality one, and it’ll be a talking point (and heirloom) for years to come.
Pietra Dura jewellery involves placing carefully selected thin slivers of real gemstone such as Malachite and Lapis Lazuli, and setting it into carved out onyx to create stunning pictures. Most examples date from the 1800s, like this exquisite Pietra Dura brooch, which originates from Italy, circa 1870s.
Pools of Light necklaces are made from undrilled and highly polished natural water-clear rock crystal orbs wrapped in patterned sterling silver, and are sought after around the world, both by jewellery collectors and crystal healers. When one these beauties catches the light, you’ll know about it! The necklace shown has the added bonus of being made with an unusual mix of clear rock crystal and black onyx gemstone- some crystal healers believe onyx enhances the effect of any gemstone it is placed with.
Often called the stone of true gem connoisseurs, Alexandrite has a stunning quality which means it changes colour (from emerald green to ruby red) in different light conditions. It is also very rare, and was the favourite gemstone of Russian aristocracy.
Did you know that England has it’s very of internationally sought after gemstone? Deep in the hills of Derbyshire is a gemstone called ‘Blue John’, noted for it’s beautiful blue-purple colour and vivid golden veining.
With its infinite variety of colours and one of a kind range of patterns, the humble yet beautiful agate is found all around the world. This antique Victorian brooch was made in Scotland circa 1870s, and displays the types of agate found around the Scottish coast – agate experts are able to immediately identify the exact part of Scotland each slice came from!
More info about butterfly farming and conservation:
Meet Me On The Bright Side
A blog post I wrote about about butterfly jewellery can be found
The Blue John from Derbyshire, England:
Blue John on Wikipedia – great article
Blue John mine tours can be found
here and here
Here’s a past blog post I wrote about
Stuck for jewellery ideas regarding your Xmas and New Year party outfit? Don’t want to be caught out wearing the same accessories as everyone else? Let this mass of sparkling authentic vintage beauties give you some ideas ..
Sparkling vintage aurora borealis crystal bead necklaces from the 1960s and 70s can be found easily online, and are perfect for adding that pure retro glamour to your party look without too much bling.
The right brooch can change your look from ordinary to extra-ordinary. This vintage art deco pink glass paste brooch is from my own collection. In the past I’ve used it to scrunch up and tighten a dress which was too loose around the waist, hold fly-a-away scarf down, decorate a tired looking evening bag and to secure a side-wrap top in place. The beauty of a brooch like this is that while solving your secret outfit dilemmas, it becomes a gorgeous focal point to your look.
A vintage genuine shell cameo, like this marcasite encrusted chic pendant from the 1960s, oozes elegance, and makes a beautiful, classic statement.
Capes are a beautiful way to finish a glam winter outfit – for the ultimate in chic add a vintage cape/ cardigan clip, like this vintage 1970s glass rhinestone deco revival clip, to hold it in place.
French Jet adds a touch of drama to any look, and this 1970s Victoriana tassel brooch is a stylish mix of prim and party.
Raid your Great Aunties jewellery box for her vintage glass paste necklaces – this beauty from the 1960s is made from dazzling individually faceted glass stones and is bang on trend this season.
Cocktail rings come into their own over the Xmas party season, like his vintage 1970s turquoise-glass and pearl stunner.
If you like your jewellery to be a talking point then go for genuine antique, like this Victorian circa 1880s bracelet made from rare Whitby Jet and pressed horn. Jewellery made before the 20th Century look so striking, and can still be picked up for a reasonable amount. Prices for basic Victorian costume jewellery brooches start from as little as £10 online, though search for proper vintage jewellery dealers so you’re not sold a fake!
Even though I love real vintage jewellery I have no problem mixing and matching old and new. This modern silver glass bead evening purse handbag is a favourite of mine, and looks amazing when teamed with a piece of authentic vintage jewellery.
Statement brooches are not for the faint hearted, though with a little extra effort they can look seriously amazing. This massive vintage 1970s glass diamante snake brooch would need careful experimentation with lots of outfits, but get it right and you’ll stand out from the crown beautifully.
If you’re stuck for a way to accessorize your look, you can’t go wrong with pearls. This elegant 3 row cuff bracelet dates from the 1980s and is made from ivory colour glass pearls, in a exquisitely chic twisted design.
Plum colours are big news this winter, so mix the glamour of glass paste with the shade of the season with these sparkling vintage plum purple rhinestone earrings.
Why not experiment with vintage glass beads? They come in an infinite variety of shapes. styles and colours, while many (like this 1920s art deco Bohemian blue glass bead necklace) are collectors items in there own right.
If your outfit doesn’t leave space for a necklace, then statement wrist-wear is a must, like this ultra chunky red glass stone vintage bracelet, dating from the 1970s.
Choose your earrings carefully – all that drinking, dancing and partying can lead to unwanted incidents in the earrings department. Try and source some screw back earrings, like these gorgeous 1960s crystal drop clips. The screws hold the earrings more securely in place than normal clip-ons, and if you do have an accident on the dance floor (I’m thinking tangled hair and arms here) you don’t run the risk of having the posts ripped out of your ears (ouch).
There are things in modern life that are certainties; death, taxes, and of course the autumn/ winter fashion designers rule which states that either army fatigues, the ‘Gothic look’ or head to toe tartan will be the next big thing (oh, and that some colour other than black will be the new ‘black’).
This year it’s tartans turn back on the runways (you can see some stunning Saint Laurent, Mulberry, Givenchy, Versace collections
here). And if you happen to love tartan then why not finish your look with some rather gorgeous pieces of Scottish jewellery? Here are some beauties to wet the apatite…
This Scottish agate brooch is a real genuine antique, and dates from around the 1880s. Jewellery made from agate and quartz gemstones found in Scotland has been around for hundreds of years.
Another antique Scottish agate brooch from around the late 19th to early 20th Century. Old Scottish jewellery has a big following around the world, and many experts can even tell what part of Scotland the agate came from just by looking at at.
An antique Scottish agate axe brooch, circa 1880s. Most antique Scottish agate jewellery was set into either base metals, gilt, un-hallmarked silver, or occasionally gold. A simple ‘925’ stamp on Scottish jewellery is generally only found on post 1950s silver tone pieces.
In times gone by, Scottish agates were used to make brooches, necklaces, bangles and pendants, like this tiny Victorian cross charm.
A collection of old Scottish agate jewellery. From top: a vintage 1970s brooch with huge yellow centre stone, a 1920s silver dirk pin in the shape of a tiny dagger, and a tiny early Victorian cross brooch.
A stunning example of an antique Scottish agate brooch, made from a variety of agates found around Scotland’s coastline. Note the perfectly flush settings – found in only the best examples of the genre.
Scottish jewellery has never gone out of fashion. The real stuff can be expensive, but fear not – there are some gorgeous costume jewellery imitations available. This vintage modernist style brooch was made in the 1970s, and uses a real agate set into base metal.
Even the famous vintage costume jewellery designers of the 1950s and 60s brought out collections that imitated Scottish agate jewellery, including ‘Exquisite’ and ‘Hollywood’. The stones were made from colourful glass, and set into base metal.
A circa 1980s imitation Scottish agate brooch, set into bronze tone metal
Celtic knot work (as seen on this stunning circa 1980s brooch) is a sign that the brooch was made post 1960s – older Scottish agate jewellery was decorated with non-Celtic scroll work and typical Victorian flourishes.
Iona stone from Scotland is a popular choice for Scottish agate lovers (as seen in these lovely earrings)
Real Scottish agate bracelets and bangles are rare and cost hundreds of pounds, so if you’re on a budget why not treat yourself to a costume jewellery imitation? Prices start from about a tenner.
One of the most famous modern makers of Scottish agate jewellery is the ‘Miracle’ company, who make both costume jewellery pieces and high quality fine silver reproductions.
Thistles are the emblem of Scotland, and when seen in jewellery the flower part often made of quartz from the country.
This beautiful Scottish thistle brooch is made by another famous jewellery company called
Heathergems. The stone isn’t a real ‘stone’ at all – learn more here!
Buckle motiffs never date. This fabulous vintage Scottish agate brooch is fully articulated, and was made in the Victorian period circa 1870s. Love it!
9k rose gold triple chain bracelet
Also known as pink gold, rose gold jewellery has made a subtle comeback over the past few years, and it’s popularity is set to soar as people re-discover its breathtaking beauty.
Vintage 1970s rose gold and black enamel chunky chain bracelet
Solid gold is soft yellow metal, so all gold jewellery has to be alloyed (ie, mixed with other metals) to strengthen it for normal use (you can find out more about gold colour alloys
here). Rose gold is made by mixing pure gold with copper; the more copper used, the stronger the pink colour. All colours of gold (even the fancy ones such as green gold, blue gold and purple gold) come in the normal finesse’s – 9k, 14k, 18k and rare 22k gold, which is known as crown gold.
While rose gold has never completely disappeared from the fine jewellery world, it does have a habit of coming into fashion and then falling out again. It was at its most popular during the Victorian era (where it was sometimes known as Russian Gold due to the influential Russian aristocracies love of it), but then was gradually replaced with a trend of white gold/ white precious metals by the 1920s. Though produced throughout the 20th century, rose gold never seemed to catch on in quite the same way again.A look at the latest fine jewelers collections reveals interesting amounts of rose gold in their creations. It began with rose gold accents in watches a few years ago, and seems to have gradually filtered into the rest of the jewelers designs. Will it be a fad? Or is rose gold back to stay?
Russian style tri-colour bangle, made with white, yellow and pink gold tone metal.
Vintage rose gold clip on chain drop earrings
If you are new to vintage jewellery, where do you start?
Treat yourself to a vintage brooch to begin with – they’re so pretty and can be worn in a variety of ways:
Brighten up old jackets and coats with a brooch which suits the occasion – daytime wear looks fab with kitsch 1940s vintage reverse carved Lucite brooches, while a sparkling 1960s vintage rhinestone brooch will get people talking for all the right reasons when pinned to your jacket.
Vintage 60s rhinestone glass paste brooch
Tartan and tweed makes another return this season, and what better way to cleverly kook up your outfit and pin together your cape/ scarf than with a fantastic Scottish agate brooch. For those on a tight budget look out for Miracle jewellery, who make superb Scottish style jewellery using glass instead of real agates. If you want the real thing then prices start at around £70 for a standard vintage Scottish agate brooch, with the finer antique brooches going selling in the £100s.
Antique Victorian Scottish agate brooch
An antique Victorian circa 1880s ivy brooch, made from Vulcanite
If you’re loving the Gothic trends at the moment then why not decorate yourself with genuine jewellery from the Victorian era – much of it looks as brilliant today as it did when it was first made. Modern plastic cameo jewellery compliments the look, though if you’ve not already done so then you should treat yourself to a real handmade one-of-a-kind cameo! Seriously, once you own your first proper cameo, and see what jaw-dropping beautiful works of art they really are, you’ll never go back to cheap high street one’s.
Vintage hand carved shell cameo brooch
Remember, vintage brooches don’t always belong on the lapel or shoulder. Try pinning them onto purses and handbags for a touch of 1950s starlet glamour. A vintage brooch look stunning when holding your scarf, cardigan or cape in place, while all types of hat can be utterly transformed with a cute brooch You can also buy brooch ‘transformers’, handy little removable gadgets which clip onto your brooch pin and turn then into a pendant without damaging them. If you’re a dab hand at crafts, you can wrap wire around vintage rhinestone brooches and tie them to plain hair slides, turning them into fabulous hair clips and tiaras.
Vintage 1970s huge snake rhinestone glass brooch
This adorable vintage circa 1940s brooch is perfect for everyday wear, and is made from reverse carved Lucite (a type of plastic).
This stunning old art deco brooch dates from around the 1930s, and though it looks old and well loved it still oozes glamour (and makes a fab talking point too).
This lovely brooch is perfect for adding a truly Gothic edge to lace, and dates from the 19th Century Victorian era. It’s made from hand carved Whitby Jet – a highly sought after gemstone. Whitby Jet items never go out of style and can be very dramatic, though they can also hurt those purse strings as it demand a high prices due to its rarity. Why not do what the Victorian fashionistas did (yes, they existed back then too) and buy imitation Whitby Jet, made from black glass (a.k.a French Jet). It’s much cheaper, and looks just as gorgeous.
A 19th Century Victorian French Jet (ie black glass) brooch – a cheaper alternative to Whitby Jet.
For those who love kitsch then vintage Siam Silver jewellery is perfect. It comes in lots of colours (though black is the most common) and the images on the enamel work vary from piece to piece. This brooch shows Mekkalah, the Goddess of Lightening, who in Eastern and Thai mythology beat Ramasoon (the God of Thunder) using lightening after he got a little too aggressive with her for spurning his affections
Vintage 1970s glass micro mosaic brooches are so cute and lots of fun. Most depict kitsch flowers and are perfect for everyday wear.