Autumn / Fall 2016 jewellery picks and colours ..

The nights are getting darker and the leaves are beginning to gently fall from the trees – autumn is approaching fast!  Here are my picks from my shop for gorgeous autumn colours jewellery ..

 

dark red 2 row multi strand opaque glass crystal necklace handmade fashion jewellery
These rich red beads faceted beads are made from opaque glass, and hand woven onto silver ton metal. Buy here.

 

emerald green long statement chunky green glass crystal bead necklace handmade fashion jewellery
Beautiful jewel deep green necklace, very long, and made with BIG solid crystal glass sparkling beads. Pure statement glamour! Buy here.

 

amber topaz brown crystal glass czech bead faceted long chain tassle drop earrings silver tone handmade fashion jewellery
I used to only make these glass earring chain drop design in Ruby Red, but got so many requests I now do various colours. If you can’t see your favourite shade, simply email me and I’ll make some up for you 🙂 Buy here.

 

two tone dark pale light blue opaque crystal glass bead long flapper silver tone necklace handmade fashion jewellery
The perfect transition necklace for summer to autumn, handmade with a mix of dramatic dark and light pale blue glass crystal beads. Buy here.

 

bronze brown freshwater cultured pearl bracelet silver tone handmade fashion jewellery
I was really pleased to be able to source a number of these beautiful chunky bronze freshwater cultured pearls. They look fab set with silver tone metal, as in this handmade bracelet. Buy here.

 

red speckled made in UK England Britain lampwork glass bead silver tone earrings handmade fashion jewellery
Tiny earrings full of speckled personality! These adorable lampwork glass beads are handmade in England, and I’ve set them into silver plated metal earrings. Buy here.

 

handmade copper celtic pattern knotwork chain necklace handmade fashion jewellery
One of my shops all time best sellers is the copper Celtic pattern range of jewellery, including this striking elegant necklace. Buy here.

 

I am based in the United Kingdom, and worldwide shipping is available at low cost rates.

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Cute lampwork glass charm pendants and earrings ..

I love sparkles and crystals and all things glamorous, but often I just want to wear cute things too. In my shop, there’s a growing range of adorable animal, insect and bird costume jewellery and I’ve got a real soft spot for it! 🙂

pig pendant lampwork glass bead cute necklace animal farm charm silver tone jewelry

pink pig lampwork glass earrings unique cute charm silver tone jewellery
ABOVE: Some of my all time best sellers – pig earrings and pig pendant necklace. These beauties are made from glass, and unfortunately they no longer seem to be made! I’ve not got many left in stock, and am desperately trying to find if another supplier has them. Buy here.

 

lampwork bead penguin bird pendant charm silver tone necklace unique cute jewellery
Adorable black and white penguin, complete with an orange glass bobble hat I made for it! (the ‘bobble’ is a sparkling Austrian crystal). Buy here.

 

bumblebee Austrian crystal pendant enamel charm necklace unique cute jewellery
There’s been a real buzzz (sorry!) about these bumblebee earrings and pendant silver tone necklace, made from black and white enamel topped with sparkling Austrian crystals. Buy here.

enamel bee glass bumblebee crystal yellow charm earrings unique cute silver tone jewellery

pug dog Austrian glass crystal yellow and brown bead pendant necklace unique cute silver tone jewellery
Adorable pug charm pendant necklace, complete with brown and beige Austrian crystal details. Buy here.

 

dolphin crystal blue pendant necklace sea nautical unique cute silver tone jewellery
Jumping dolphin silver tone charm pendant necklace, with tiny sparkling sea blue crystal glass detail. Buy here.

 

dove bird crystal pendant necklace unique cute silver tone charm jewellery
Super cute flying bird silver tone charm necklace, with tiny sparkling sky blue Austrian glass crystal. Buy here.

 

uranium glass crystal frog pendant necklace unique cute silver tone charm jewellery
This adorable little green crystal glass frog pendant has a little secret ….

 

uranium glass crystal frog pendant necklace unique cute silver tone charm jewellery
It’s belly is made glows under Ultra Violet light! (for ages I had a bag of vintage 1950s uranium glass beads that I didn’t know what to do with, and when I found this frog charm, I knew they had to go together!). Buy here.

 

ladybird insect glass lampwork earrings crystal unique cute antique bronze charm handmade jewellery
Gorgeous red ladybird glass charm earrings, complete with with green glass crystal detail. Buy here.

 

ladybird insect glass lampwork leaf earrings crystal bracelet cute antique bronze charm handmade jewellery
I love these glass ladybirds so much I can’t stop making jewellery out of them! The leaves are also glass, and the clasp is strong magnetic (with safety chain). Buy here.

 

ladybird insect glass lampwork pendant necklace crystal unique cute antique bronze charm handmade jewellery
You can never have enough cute jewellery 🙂

 

I also have in stock pandas, mice, sheep and chickens!

A day in the life of the Jewellery Muse: West Kirby in North West England

I love traveling around searching for the latest bargains, and if I can combine this with a beautiful walk in the outdoors then all the better! Last week I took a trip over to the gorgeous Wirral coast around the Dee Estuary – if you’re a nature lover it’s a must see.  Anyway, not much jewellery was found this particular day, but I did bag the possible bargain book of the year, called ‘7000 Years Of Jewellery’ for the grand price of £3.50 in a second hand shop (that’s my bedtime reading sorted for the next two years!)

Here’s a tip – if you’re planning to go to the Merseyside area then take advantage of the Merseyrail Day Saver ticket – less than a fiver will let you hop on and off trains all day – and yes, in the whole area (which covers Chester up to Southport, all round the Wirral and of course Liverpool. I’ve been known to visit 5 places in one day on that ticket!)

View from the beach to West Kirby Wirrel Merseyside
West Kirby, where I found my fab book. It has some great shopping, friendly atmosphere, a Morrison’s supermarket next to the beach (perfect for alfreso lunch supplies), miles of clean golden sands and beautiful nature walks close by. Love the place! Oh, and some of the best skies and sunsets in the UK.
West Kirby beach
I wasn’t joking when I said it has miles of sandy beach!
sunset west kirby wirrel merseyside (640x561)
I wasn’t joking about the stunning sunsets either 🙂
West Kirby beach, with view towards Hilbre Island Wirrel
Get the timing right with the tides, and you can walk out over the sands to Hilbre Island from West Kirby, which is nature reserve with a fascinating history and a great place to spend a few hours. Great for birdwatching, rock pool exploring, saying hello to the grey seals that live there (seriously!) and if you’re very, very lucky you might even see the odd dolphin or porpoise.
Brent geese birds, Hilbre island, West Kirby, Wirrel
Brent geese enjoying the sun on the beach, and letting everyone know about it (they are noisy dudes!)
Jewellery history book Jewellery Muse
Bargain book of the year 🙂

Top ten no-nonsense tips for vintage jewellery shopping ..

I love shopping for vintage costume jewellery, but looking back I remember being really intimidated by it all when I first started out back in the 1990s. Over the years I’ve found some bargains, made some awful mistakes, and had the chance to discover towns and cities I’d never consider going to if I weren’t for my treasure hunting passion!

So here are my top tips for vintage costume jewellery shopping ..

1. Vintage jewellery is uncommon to find in ‘real life’ shops, unless it’s a specific vintage shop.  Charity and thrift shops do sell it occasionally (I absolutely LOVE charity shopping for vintage and make a day of it), but you have to search them out to find the best places, and even then they’re not consistent; a town bursting with unbelievable retro treasures in January may not produce anything else vintage jewellery-wise for the rest of the year. I actually keep a little calendar log of the towns I’ve visited, and don’t visit the charity shops there more than four times a year – yes, I’m that dedicated about it!

formby sefton coast beach merseyside pine trees free photos images beach sea (50)
When vintage and thrift shopping, always have a fun plan B if it’s one of those days where nothing is showing up. If I go to Merseyside, I make time to go to the lovely sandy beaches there on the Sefton coast (above), or a trip to rural towns normally means a countryside amble too. I  always shop in sturdy shoes, so I’m prepared for those unexpected detours!

2. Not everyone like treasure hunting, so if you want to buy a vintage jewellery without the hours of rummaging through crappy stuff, then a good bet is to head for areas in cities which have a cluster of dedicated vintage shops in one road (often in student areas). A concentration of shops means competition, which often equals better quality goods at lower prices. A single vintage shop in a town or district can sometimes mean higher prices for a more limited range of items.

3. Have some background knowledge to what you want to buy if possible, especially when it comes to dating vintage stuff, or looking out for fakes. Ask your seller questions about an item, and trust your instincts. I’ve written some guides to dating vintage jewellery which can be found on this blog, or ask away here!

4. Quick vintage jewellery dating tips: Any necklace that has a lobster clasp is generally modern.  T-bar hinges on brooches mean very old antique jewellery (yay!). Gloopy pearlized enamel is generally modern. Aurora borealis (also known as ‘AB’) is a special type of rainbow lustre found coated on glass stones and beads, and was invented in the 1950s; therefore it’s never found on art deco nor antique jewellery.

Tips on shopping for vintage fashion costume retro shop jewellery
MAIN: a T-hinge brooch, only found on real antique jewellery
TOP RIGHT: glass beads/ stones coated with Aurora Borealis lustre, which is a guarantee the beads or stones were made after the 1950s.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Gloopy pearlized enamel (as seen on this bracelet) is generally modern.

5. Try not to buy vintage jewelry which is damaged – things like flaking pearls and damaged enamel are not fixable and will only get worse, and definitely avoid metal that has little green patches (called verdigris) which will only get worse no matter how you try and clean it, and it will spread to other jewellery it touches too).

6. You may hear people talking about ‘signed jewellery’. This means that the company which made the piece has had it’s name stamped on the back (eg Trifari, Napier, Hollywood, Exquisite). Unless you specifically collect vintage costume jewellery (which is a big passion for many people, but a subject for a different blog post), I wouldn’t be too concerned about this, and certainly don’t pay over the odds for something your not 100% in love with just because it has a stamped ‘name’ on it. Some of the most stunning vintage jewellery I’ve come across has been ‘unsigned’ (ie, no stamp), and it’s been whole lot cheaper too (WINS all round :))

7. If you fall in love with jewellery which is damaged and you know how fix it (eg, replace missing stones) then have a go at (nicely and respectfully) haggling the price down if you feel it’s too high. While vintage will show signs of light wear (eg, gold tone metal fading, slightly dull rhinestones), don’t fall for some dealers sale speak of damage being a ‘natural’ part of owning a piece of vintage –  it isn’t.  If you want your items to last (or sell on at a later date) then the jewellery should be good condition.

vintage 5 row pearl glass bead necklace repair (2)
This broken vintage faux pearl necklace was on offer for almost the same price as a good condition one. Use common sense, and only buy things which are in good condition (or if your crafty, fixable and at a discounted price).

8. You can find some real bargains at auctioneers – not the famous Internet ones, I mean the real life ones, with humans and hammers and dodgy winks and head shakes. In my experience,  they’re great for buying vintage costume jewellery in bulk, or individual items of vintage fine jewellery (ie gold or gemstones) at a bargain.

9. You never know what lies inside that town or small city your innocently passing through. My best finds have been: a pile of art deco Bohemian glass necklaces in Accrington (£1 each), a huge 1950s rhinestone brooch from Carlisle (£3), an antique Victorian Whitby Jet necklace from Knutsford (£4), a carved 1950s mother of pearl powder compact from Kendal (£5), a carved art deco Bakelite bangle from Chorley (£1), some 1940s reverse carved Lucite jewellery from Altringham (£3 each), and an art deco glass paste bracelet from Caernarfon (£4).  BTW, in the interest of balance and honesty, I usually don’t find one single thing when I’m out on a treasure hunt!

10.  It’s what you’ve been hoping for all blog post – where to shop (ie, outside London, as that’s a blog post for someone who actually knows London well and who isn’t an odd day tripper like me). I’m not going to give away all my favourite places, but here’s a random 5 to get you started. In no particular order:

  • Glasgow: Byres Road area, which is near Glasgow University. A treasure trove of good quality vintage shops at proper prices (hint – don’t forget to investigate the cobbled side streets off it too – some of the best shops are found down there).
  • The cities of York and Chester – different counties but similar in enchanting olde world feel, and both a treasure trove of good quality second hand shops that don’t overcharge. If in Chester and you’ve got time, nip over to Wrexham too.
  • If you want proper couture and luxury designers such as Chanel, then head over to Alderley Edge in Cheshire (apparently the town with the highest concentration of millionaires or something). As seen with my very own eyes when I decided to have a quick nosy in while passing through on other business, the charity shops there are rightly the stuff of legend.
  • Ramsbottom in Lancashire has some great charity shops, and for the full vintage experience you can even catch an old  vintage train there too. It’s also home to the incredible ‘Memories Antiques’ vintage emporium centre, which is bursting at the seams with stalls selling vintage clothes and vintage jewellery from floor to ceiling, all at very reasonable prices too. Even thinking about it brings a warm smile to my face and song to my heart.
  • And last but not least, take a day out along the lovely North Wales coast, from Prestatyn to Colwyn Bay and ending in Llandudno. All three are packed with charity shops and the odd old fashioned antique curiosity shop (the one in Prestatyn is legendary), and what the heck, ambling along these neighbouring seaside towns is just lovely way to spend a day.
views from great orme llandudno wales
Vintage shopping along the North Wales coast, Jewellery Muse style (be sure to pack those walking boots to take in the view from the top of Great Orme!)