Friday, October 30, 2015

Vintage Jewelry: A Lost Art Form

Oh, la, la.......vintage rhinestone jewelry swoon!

       About ten years ago I joined a local antique mall, Main Street Antiques, as a vendor. They have many antiques and vintage items that they specialize in and sell. I was a vintage seller and rented a small case and bookshelf space. At the time I knew nothing about vintage jewelry, or what some call costume or junk jewelry.  I always liked vintage jewelry from the time I was a kid dressing up at grandma's house with old vintage dresses and clip on earrings. I thought I was the bomb. Little did I know that down the road the vintage collectors from the antique shop would spark a true interest and a new addiction (like I need another one of those). 

     I have always love sparkly things, so it is probably no surprise to my friends and family that, in my book, "Rhinestones are a girls best friend", and much more affordable than diamonds! 
Royal Blue and Emerald Green Prong Set Rhinestone Brooch Set in Gold Tone.
      I researched, bought books, hauled thousands of books home from the library, studied each style, shape, size, uniqueness, and of course signatures. Signatures are not always a literal signature on a piece of jewelry.  Many pieces were unsigned before the 40's and 50's. Sometimes signatures are styles and techniques used by an individual artist or company. Some are the types of materials the jewelry is made from. Before the thousands of hours of studying these I could not tell you one from another. Now I am able to look at a piece and tell you what company the piece may have come from. 

My favorite from the 1950's Hollycraft
      Some of the most sought after costume jewelry is by Eisenberg, Hollycraft, Weiss, Hobe', Alice Caviness, and the very famous Miriam Haskell. They are all quite different and quite unique. It is hard to believe that almost all of these brands were started by ordering them from home parties, like tupperware. 

Miriam Haskell Pearl Baroque Earrings - most sought after vintage jewelry on the market today and also most counterfeited costume jewelry.  

      Miriam Haskell is definitely a favorite of mine. I always keep my eyes open when looking for her jewelry. It fetches a pretty penny for just being costume jewelry. Don't be fooled though if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. Many are cashing in on her name so make sure to study everything from color, size, beading placement, backings and fixtures used. Even her signed pieces are signed a certain way. 

Juliana D&E Demi Parure Rhinestone Prong Set

       Many pieces today are mass produced and not in very good quality. That is the number one reason why I would rather have a good old piece of costume jewelry from the 1940's and 50's any day of the week than twenty pieces made today!


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