Archive for History
Antique Cameo Jewellery often depicts classical scenes including those from Greek and Roman mythology. Before I add cameo jewellery to to my web shop I like to work out who the the characters in the cameo are. Today I found the lovely Goddess Hebe.
Hebe is the Goddess of eternal your and beauty. Zeus was her father and her job was to serve nectar to the Gods. This cameo shows Hebe serving nectar to her father Zeus who has taken the form of an Eagle. Isn’t she lovely?
AntiquesAvenue has a department devoted to Vintage Wedding Jewellery and each time a piece goes off to its new home I think how lovely that the Bride has chosen a genuine piece of Vintage Jewellery to wear on her special day. A piece of vintage wedding jewellery can look better than new, be more individual and cost less than new. Better than all of these is that the piece of Vintage Wedding Jewellery can help fulfill both the old and blue parts of the custom for wearing ” Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe”.
These items in the poem are meant to all bring good luck to the bride who wears them and this custom probably started back in the Victorian Era
Technically most antique or vintage jewellery could fulfill the “Something Old” part of this good luck custom, most brides would prefer something a little bright, white, pretty or sparkling such as pearls, diamante. How about a nice necklace or pair of earrings set with diamante and pearls. This pair of earrings is chandelier type and are very large and glamorous. The “Something Old” is meant to symbolise the past and perhaps a link to the brides family. A piece of Vintage Wedding Jewellery from mum or Grannies Jewelry box would be especially suitable .
Of course not all brides want sparkling white and girly for their wedding day. Some would prefer a Gothic look and so a piece of genuine Victorian Antique Jewellery would be best for ” Something Old”. For a smart wedding where the bride is not wearing the traditional white wedding dress the Bride could still wear something old , a lovely enamel brooch to match the colours of her outfit perhaps.
Vintage wedding Jewellery is not just for the Bride, There are some wonderful pieces available for bridesmaids and the Brides Mother too.
Something Blue“Something Blue”? Why not another colour? I used to think that the colour had been made up to suit the poem however digging in to the history blue does have associations with weddings. The Romans wore blue at their weddings to symbolise Love and Fidelity and it has also been thought to keep bad spirits away. There is a wide range of different blue colours available in Jewellery from pale baby blue ( Glass Jewellery?), sky blue aquamarines too a deep almost black blue found in some Australian Sapphires.
Another idea is to have the something “Old and blue” in your engagement ring and so you will always be wearing your lucky wedding day charms.I am always happy to provide further advice on the Vintage Jewellery from AntiquesAvenue so please do get in touch if you have any questions.
I talk a lot about Vintage Brooches and Antique Brooches but what is the difference between the two? And does it make a difference?
The terms vintage and antique are often blurred around the edges and used inappropriately and interchangeably. Where are the boundaries and what does the difference make to the Jewellery collector?
An antique legally is over 100 years old which would make any brooch dating from the Edwardian era and before an Antique. This would make all Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian Brooches antiques. I believe that we should also include all brooches dating from before 1920 as antiques as they have more in common with antique brooches than they do with vintage brooches. For example brooches from the 1910′s to 1920′s are generally in the same style and made of the same materials as Edwardian brooches. This is most likely die to the first world war and that during this time no real advance in Jewellery manufacture were made
As with all vintage jewellery, Vintage Brooches date from the 1920s onwards. The Art Deco era of the 1920s and 1930s, the retro era of the 1940s, the Space age 1950s and 1960s and the funky 1970s are all vintage nowadays. The 1980s are a grey area, they are rapidly becoming vintage. Perhaps we could say that anything over 25 years old is vintage but there is no legal definition covering this
Second Hand Brooches, Estate Brooches, Nearly New Brooches
These would be brooches dating from between the vintage and new. These are not quite as collectable as Vintage and Antique brooches but can still be very beautiful and excellent for everyday wear. Top name designer brooches can be excellent value second hand as can gold and silver brooches when compared to new.
A really beautiful antique crescent brooch set with real rubies. This brooch is made of yellow metal which tests are high carat gold about 22 carat but is not hallmarked. It is set with 11 nice real ruby gemstones . This antique brooch will date from the Edwardian ear and fastens with a simple c catch. It measures up to 0.4 cm wide and 4 cms long. It is in really excellent condition
Amazing red diamante brooch and earring set dating from circa 1940s. Note the brooch is literally covered in diamante of differing shapes, sizes and colours. The diamante are set into gold coned filigree metal. This set will date from circa 1940s. The brooch measures about 6 cms diameter and the earrings 3.2 cms long. This vintage costume jewellery set is in excellent condition
Vintage costume jewellery history part 6 1950s and diamante
As life returned to normal after the second world war design changed and the 1950s again brought new styles and materials and space age jewellery. Much of the style and fashion of the 1950s was influenced by the Festival of Britain which took place in1951 and was intended to be ” a tonic for the nation” following the second world war. Over 10,000,000 tickets were purchased during the six months of the exhibition which shows how popular it was. Many of the exhibits showed radical new design and space age influence, this spread into all areas of design including costume jewellery. War time rationing and restrictions were lifted and once again crystal diamante from Europe ( Austria) became available to Costume Jewellers as did the base metals for setting these into.
Who were the famous Costume Jewellery designers of the 1950s?
Christian Dior, Miriam Haskell, Henry Schriner. Stangley Hagley and of course Coco Chanel. These designers were producing high quality jewellery which did not necessarily try and imitate the real thing – they were made to follow the clothing fashions of the day. Most of the designer and big names in costume jewellery in the 1950s were from the USA and most of the production was done there too. This is probably why many of the best pieces of 1950s vintage costume jewellery are to be found int hte USA today rather than in the UK. Costume Jewellery by Trifari was worn by Americas first lady Mamie Eisenhower
What style of costume jewellery was popular in the 1950s?
Figural novelty brooches set with diamante and enameled. The ballet dancer remained a popular image and animals such as dogs and cats were given large eye and a cute whimsy appearance. The 1950s saw Cats, Poodles and Cowboys, Birds in flight , artists palates and items from teh cocktail bar decorating brooches, earrings , belts, necklaces, bracelets and all other types of jewellery.
Costume Jewellery innovations of the 1950s.
As with every era in the History of costume Jewellery, the 1950s saw the introduction of techniques and materials which were not available in previous times. Perhaps the most notable 1950s introduction was the Aurora Borelis stone which was produced by Swarovski with design aid from Christian Dior. The Aurora Borealis stone ( often shortened to AB) has an iridescent finish which changes colour tone due to a metallic coating on the glass. These come in all colours, blue/ green, red/orange and clear/pear perhaps being the most common.
1950s costume Jewellery to buy now for the future:
I believe that 1950s prom style necklaces, earrings, brooches and bracelets are very undervalued at the moment. These aer made of silver toned metal and normally set with clear diamante. If you are lucky enough to discover a 1950s diamante piece with coloured stones these are probably even better. These pieces of jewellery can currently be purchased from just a few pounds and are becoming very popular as bridal and party wear nowadays.. Look for the following features:
- are all the stones prong set rather than glued in?
- are all the stones present and bright and clear?
- look at the design of the pieces, the more intricate the design the better and single strand of diamante may be quite pretty but is not as desirable as a more complex piece.
Do you have any pictures of real 1950s costume jewellery, do send them to me and I will add them here.
Vintage Costume Jewellery History , part 5 of AntiquesAvenues guide: The 1940s.
The early part of the 1940s was dominated by the second World War ( 1939-1945). This meant that the materials available to produce Costume Jewellery were limited during this time . Metals were reserved for the war effort and crystal diamante or rhinestones could not be imported from Austria . Just as the raw materials available were limited due to the war so was the effort which could be put into the manufacture of jewellery. Making of new jewellery is a luxury which largely has to be done without at such times. This meant that there was largely a suspension of the production of all kinds of jewellery until 1945 in the UK and Europe.
The USA however was quite different during the early 1940s as they did not enter the war until later. In the USA they still could not obtain high quality crystal stones and some metals were limited but costume jewellery production continued with the use of different materials. Some non-precious materials (including those of natural origin) were cheap and abundant and innovative designers started to use wood, leather, shells, plastics, fur and pottery to create fresh designs.
The range of materials available to the makers of costume jewellery during the 1940s may have been limited but that did not stop changes in style. The art deco style of the 1920s and 1930s still had an influence on the style of the 1940s but in the 1940s bold costume jewellery was the in thing for evening wear . The cocktail party was THE way to entertain at this time and hence the jewellery made to be worn at these parties became know as cocktail jewellery. Cocktail jewellery is big and showy, designed to be noticed. The lines are softer than the strict geometrical ones of art deco, move feminine and curvy . Figural shapes such as animals, clowns, scarecrows and ballerinas were popular as were bows and knots. Fabric folded to give an illusion of movement as well as scrolls and pleats. 1940s jewellery is also know as “Retro” or “Retro Modern” Style.
What types of costume jewellery were worn during the 1940s? Bracelets of all types and especially those with watches on. Matching sets of jewellery ( known as Parures, from the French word for adornment) were popular as they add high glamour with earrings, necklaces, brooches, rings and bracelets all matching.
Colours were bright to match the boldness of the shapes of 1940s costume jewellery . Gold tone and Gemstone colours – Emerald green, Ruby red , Diamond white and Sapphire blue.
The Style icons of the 1940s were movie stars think Greta Garbo. Many of the Duchess of Windsors famous jewels were made during the 1940s with the big cat and flamingo brooches being of special note. The most notable designers of the 1940s are Christian Dior, Boucher, Coro, Mazer and Eisenberg all for costume Jewellery.
The next part of this mini History of Vintage costume jewellery takes a look at the 1950s and the space age era. Do you have any nice example of vintage jewellery from the 1940s or 1950s? If so do send me a pici in ,jpg format and I will add it here.
Art Deco Costume Jewellery, part 4 of AntiquesAvenue’s guide to Costume Jewellery History.
In the 1920s and 193os Costume Jewellery was epitomised by the bold colours design and new materials which followed from the difficult times of the first world war.
The 1920′s saw a revolution in design, fashions changed dramatically after the first world war. Women had become far more independent, they had worked during the war and wanted clothing and fashion which supported their new lifestyle rather than keeping them in the past. As fashions in clothing changed so did fashions in costume jewellery, the style of the jewellery needed to match the style of the clothes. Shorter hair ( the bob) needed longer earrings. Short sleeves allowed bangles and bracelets to be seen. The flapper necklace which is very long went well with the straight dresses and dropped hemlines.
1920s shapes were angular, cubic, geometric and colours were bold shades of red, black, white, green and blue. Mixed in with this were style trends such as the Egyptian revival which followed the finding of King Tutankamens tomb in 1922 -scarabs, pyramids, palm trees were all popular – look at this original 1920s charm to see how the colours and angles of art deco mixed with Egyptian style.
Coco Chanel was possible The main designer of the 1920s – she added faux pearl necklaces by the yard to her designer outfits. Other costume jewellery designers started up in business during the 1920s include Miriam Haskell ( New York) and Monet
Materials from 1920s costume jewellery include glass, brass, plastics and faux pearls,
Massive technological and economic change during the 1920s led to an explosion of costume jewellery in the 1930s both in terms of the quantities available to be purchased, the design, manufacturing methods and materials used. As usual the costume jewellery introduced also followed the dress fashions of the day – the dress clip is a 1930s invention. These can be worn as a brooch or unclipped and worn either side of a square necklace ( more pictures of how this works at end of this blog entry):
Brooches and bracelets were worn more widely in the 1930s . Brooches were often figural in shape ( flowers or animals) and studded with diamante ( also known as Rhinestones in the USA). Fashion as in previous eras was still influenced by Royalty with Wallis Simpson ( the Duchess of Windsor) being one of the fashion icons of the day. The 1930s saw movie stars influencing fashion more and more – Think Joan Crawford.
Materials used in 1930s costume jewellery include bakelite ( still in the art deco geometric shapes and colours), marcasites, enamel and various non precious metals. “Pot Metal” is a silver tone metal which was widely used for setting with clear diamante.
Famous costume Jewellery designers starting in the 1930s include : Eisenberg, Joseff of Hollywood, Rebajes and De Rosa.
Next in this series on costume jewellery history is the 1940s and 1950s.