When it comes to learning and researching vintage jewellery, don’t forget to use a library!
I found an edition of the ultra rare Elizabeth Taylor book ‘My Love Affair with Jewelry’ in my little local town library (and yes, the book is totally amazing), and have recently had a day out to lovely Liverpool, including a visit to the newly refurbished Central library ( three words – wow wow wow!). And remember, any library will order books in for you too.
Much as I love sitting in my house and hugging my laptop, I realize I’ve been a slave to the internet far too much. Seriously, take a trip to a library – it’s like re-discovering a fabulous old friend 🙂
Bit of fun today – try to guess the age of these seven items of jewellery…..answers at the bottom of page 🙂
Number 1 below:
Number 6 below:
Number 7 :
Number 1 Red Buckle Brooch: This is a typical vintage Scottish agate buckle brooch, which dates from the antique Victorian period, circa 1880s.
Number 2 Glass diamante swag necklace: Although it looks vintage, this necklace is a lovely modern reproduction. How can we tell? The clasp is a modern ‘lobster’ clasp with typical post 1990s long extender chain. Also, the spacing between the stones is longer than on vintage necklace.
Number 3 Yellow bead necklace: The rounded patterned barrel clasp indicates that this necklace is art deco and dates from the 1920s. Another give-away is if you shine a UV black light torch on the glass beads, they’ll glow in the dark*; early 20th century and art deco glass was sometimes had minute amounts of real uranium added to them intensify the colour.
Number 4 Cross pendant: This kitsch looking item is decorated with glass tiles and is properly known as micro mosaic jewellery, a distinct looking type of jewelry which has been made in Italy for hundreds of years. This Italian religious pendant is modern and dates from the year 2000 – it was made to commemorate Christs 2000th birthday and is dated on the back.
Number 5 plastic and rhinestone brooch: Although it screams art deco period, this brooch actually dates from the 1970s (there was a big art deco revival during this decade). The biggest give-away is the pin at the back, which has standard modern roll-over clasp.
Number 6 Black bracelet: Believe it or not, this bracelet is over 120 years old. It dates from the Victorian period and is made from Whitby Jet, a type of gemstone mined in the east coast of England, which is now rare. Antique Victorian jewellery was so well made that a lot still survives in excellent and perfectly wearable condition today.
Number 7 Orange necklace: This double strand kitsch looking necklace is made from real coral gemstone, and dates from the Victorian / early Edwardian period, circa 1900s. Coral was worn by superstitious Victorians as they believed it enhanced their health, and protected them from other people’s jealousy.
Whether a fabulous vintage brooch, a gold diamond ring or a new artisan charm bracelet, if it’s well made and has that sparkle of thought and creation you can guarantee it’ll give me goose pimples
But I have a naughty little secret to share with you. I know I’m an all round jewellery enthusiast, but………..I have a favourite type of jewellery.
I can’t help it. I’m in love, and it’s my first love at that. Oh, other jewellery comes and goes. I’ll get a desire for a certain genre of period. I’ll go crazy for a coloured gemstone, a well carved cameo or antique Scottish agate. But time and again, I’ll go back to my first little crush.
The glass bead.
Of all the jewellery in the world that I come across, the humble glass bead continues to be my firm favourite.
Because glass beads can be made into some of the most creative, expressive, accessible and beautiful jewellery. The sheer variety of beads is breathtaking. From the rainbow lustre’s of aurora borealis crystals, shimmering carnival glass, glowing Uranium glass and bold millefiori beads, to the beautiful creations of Murano, and hand made artisan lampwork beads which have been made to your own specifications, glass beads design and manufacture has almost infinite possibilities.
Nothing feels the same as wearing a glass bead necklace. I can’t put my finger on it – glass just feels wonderful when worn…..almost like you can sense the quality and workmanship without even having to look at it – you just feel it.
So there you have it – I love glass beads. And I’ll share with you one final secret; jewellery should always be about what you like. Not what society says you should aspire to own, or some jeweller (or sales-person) says is a good investment.
Jewelry is about you, and that is what makes it truly special.