Fun stuff

Making friends with your library

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 🙂


Cool jewellery for hot summers …

Fab jewellery ideas for your hottest summer look ..

 polished agate gemstone stretch bracelet

Metal parts in the heat can feel annoying against the skin – try wearing elasticated jewellery instead. This polished agate gemstone stretch bracelet is a perfect combination of bright colours and a natural cool earthy vibe.

Antique Victorian Edwardian coral gemstone strand necklace jewelry

Coral jewellery oozes fun and summer chic, and is bright enough for lazy summer days, and yet beautifully sophisticated for enough hot summer nights.

Vintage 1970s malachite gemstone green bead graduated necklace jewelry

Want jewellery that may actually keep you cool? Look no further than the gorgeous malachite gemstone. The way it’s chemically made up means that it always feels cold to the touch, and rarely warms up (you can also use this tip for identifying real malachite from imitations – if your ‘malachite’ starts to warm up to your hands temperature when held, it could be a sign that it’s fake – real malachite takes a long time to warm up – it’s a cold gemstone. In fact, many gemstones have this ‘cold’ quality, including some quartz).

Vintage 1960s kitsch green plastic Lucite bead 2 row collar necklace jewelry

Summer means fun, which equals loud and proud statement jewellery, like this in-your-face vintage 1960s green Lucite bead necklace.

Vintage 1980s yellow red mop shimmer Lucite bracelet panel jewelry

Sweet colour combinations in this vintage 1980s Lucite elasticated bangle ..

Vintage 1960s kitsch flower plastic orange yellow white bead necklace jewelry

Haven’t the patience for making a daisy chains? Go for the next best thing with super kitsch vintage plastic flower jewellery from the 1960s – cute, fun and unique to you.

vintage 1960s yellow Lucite plastic bead bib statement necklace jewelry

Nothing sums up summer better than yellow, but it’s a hard colour to pull off, and get it wrong means you could end up looking like a giant walking lemon! Jewellery is a perfect way to inject a flash of the bright stuff, as demonstrated in this fab vintage 1980s statement yellow bead necklace.

Vintage 1990s rave fluorescent oval bangle yellow glow dark jewelry

Summer? Check √ Bangles? Check √ Fluorescent colours? Perfect! ☼

vintage 1970s green and brown plastic chain bead necklace jewelry

Gorgeous green and brown plastic chain bead necklace

Vintage 1980s shell mop mother of pearl panel stretch bracelet jewelry

Shell and mother of pearl jewellery belong to the summer.

Vintage 1980s chunky statement green plastic Lucite pendant and gold tone chain necklace jewelry

If you can’t be without a bit of bling in summer, check out some vintage 1970s and 80s costume chain jewellery. A lot of it was made using a type of metal which was tarnish-proof and incredibly light in weight, so it won’t feel as clogging against your skin.

  Have fun!!!!!☼☼☼☼☼☼ 

Quiz time! Guess the age of this jewellery….

Bit of fun today  – try to guess the age of these seven items of jewellery…..answers at the bottom of page 🙂

Number 1 below:

Guess the age of the vintage jewellery

Red brooch

Number two:

Guess the age of the vintage jewelry

Rhinestone necklace

Number 3:

Guess the age of the vintage jewellery

Yellow bead necklace

Number 4:

Guess the age of the vintage jewellery

Cross pendant


Number 5:

Guess the age of the vintage jewelry

Plastic and rhinestone brooch


Number 6 below:

Guess the age of the vintage jewellery

Black bracelet

Number 7 :

Guess the age of the vintage jewellery

Orange necklace



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.

Vintage uranium glass bead necklace deco jewelry under UV light

* here’s a picture of those yellow uranium glass beads under UV light:

I’ve got a little secret ……

I adore jewellery.

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.

Vintage 1960s bridal wedding glass crystal ab bead necklace aurora borealis jewelry

Shimmering vintage circa 60s crystal glass aurora borealis beads


Vintage milk glass molded pressed bead white and swaovski crystal necklace

Molded white opaque glass interspaced with Swarovski™ beads, which are a type of leaded glass (aka crystal)


Vintage murano venetian speckled glass bead necklace jewelry

Vintage Venetian speckled glass, also known as ‘Scottish agate glass’.

vintage murano venetian lampwork wedding cake glass bead brooch jewelry

Vintage Murano Italian wedding glass beads, so called due to the icing style decoration.

Vintage 1920s 30s art deco Czechoslovakian glass foil green glass bead necklace jewelry bohemian

Circa 1920s Art Deco glass beads, with a gorgeous metallic foil inner sheen. Even though these beads are nearly 100 years old, they have lost none of their iridescent shimmer and glow.

Vintage art deco 1920s 1930s bohemian Czechoslovakian blue crystal glass faceted bead rolled gold links necklace jewelry

Circa 1920s Art Deco blue necklace, with made with Czechoslovakian faceted glass beads.

Vintage 1950s banded agate glass bead necklace jewelry brown cream

For centuries glass has been used in jewellery to imitate gemstones. This circa 1950s necklace uses glass which has been specifically created to mimic banded agate gemstones

vintage orange white swirl end of day glass bead flapper necklace jewelry

Vintage End Of Day glass bead necklace. This type of glass is so called due to glass artisans using the bits of glass left ‘at the end of the working day’ to create objects d’art and jewellery.

French jet black glass pendant facated crystal statement Gothic jewelry necklace

Glass jewellery is still hugely desirable, as shown in this modern French Jet (aka black glass) bead crystal pendant necklace

Lampwork flower glass bead charm bracelet crystal red jewelry

This adorable bracelet is detailed with lampwork glass bead decorated with flowers.

vintage art deco 1920s 1930s pink crystal swirl french jet black glass bead necklace jewelry

Beautiful art deco pink swirl and French Jet necklace. Glass bead jewellery was hugely popular in the 1920s and 30s, and many examples survive in lovely condition today.

Vintage 1950s 2 row carnival glass peacock petrol glass crystal facated nekclace jewelry

Vintage 1950s faceted carnival glass bead necklace.

Vintage 1950s faceted carnival glass bead necklace.

goldstone aventurine glass bead gold sparkle pendant collar necklace jewelry

Contemporary goldstone (aka aventurine glass) beads. Though goldstone looks like a modern technique, it actually dates back hundreds of years to the creative master glass makers of Italy.

vintage art deco 1920s 1930s uranium glass UV glow yellow bead necklace jewelry Czechoslovakina Bohemian

Hold a UV torch to old glass beads and some of them will glow in the dark. This is because they contain tiny traces of real uranium, which was used to intensify coloured glass. The above yellow necklace is made from uranium glass, and below is the same necklace under UV light.

A Uranium glass bead necklace under UV light.

A Uranium glass bead necklace under UV light.

A Uranium glass bead necklace under UV light.

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.

Glass beads article on the Jewellery Muse blog