Archive for Jewellery
Sorry about the title , I just couldnt resist . Today Id like to show you a few vintage pendants. Pendants are very attractive pieces of jewellery which are very versatile. The word pendant is taken from French and means “hanging” , in other words a pendant is a piece of jewellery which hangs. Depending on its size you can wear a pendant round your neck, attached to a bracelet or brooch or if you have a matching pair ( or mismatched even ) as earrings. I believe that during the Renaissance some pendants were worn fastened to a sleeve. Mostly though when we think of pendants we are looking at items of jewellery to hang round your neck.
When hanging a piece of vintage jewellery such as a pendant round your neck you can use a chain, string of beads, cord or ribbon to suspend the pendant on. It is possible to wear multiple pendants on the chain, or cord at the same time which gives a vintage look.
There are some special types of pendant including the Lavalier, locket, cross, amulet. Smaller pendants are usually known as charms.
The lavalier was popular in the early 1900s but the term probably originates from Madame L Valliere who was a mistress of Louis XIV. The lavalier has a substantial drop and will normally have at least one gemstone in it.Locket as a pendant
The locket containing a photograph, a lock of hair or small memento is a popular form of pendant. You can find lockets which display the contents at the front or reverse or more usual lockets have covered compartments which you see one the locket is opened.
The cross is usually worn as a Christian religious symbol as a pendant round the neck. Crosses can be plain or ornamental. They can be made of all sorts of materials but are most popular made of gold.
Jet is a black material which was popular during the Victorian era for making jewellery. Jet is a actually a form of coal which has been formed many thousands of years ago from ancient trees.
The most sought after form of jet vintage jewellery is Whitby jet which is made from jet found near Whitby in Yorkshire. Whitby was the countries main center of the jet jewellery industry in the 1800s until about 1875 when jet jewellery became less fashionable.
Jet was popular because its dark black colour made it suitable for mourning jewellery , it could be carved and polished into quite intricate designs and because it is light weight large pieces were not too heavy to wear.
All sorts of pieces of jewellery were made from jet including lockets, necklace, earrings, bracelets, rings, alberts and albertinas,pendants, brooches and beads.
There are several jet imitations which are black in colour but not as highly collectible as Whitby jet. These include French jet ( black glass) and bog oak.
There are several ways of distinguishing Whitby jet from its imitations. Personally I do not recommend you try this as you may ruin the jewellery but you can insert a hot needle into the piece – real jet will smell like burning coal. Bog oak , gutta percha and vulcanite are not as shiny as jet also they tend to be slightly brownish in colour where as jet is normally a true black in normal light. French jet will often have minute chips along the facets when you look as it under a jewellers loop. Also french jet is colder to the touch than Whitby jet.
Care of Jet Jewellery
This applies to jet and not to other materials which have been used to make the jewellery. Where other materials such as metal and necklace cord exist please ensure you dont get these damp.
You can carefully wipe over your jet with a damp cloth perhaps with a little washing up liquid in the water. You should wipe off all traces of the washing up liquid with clean water and then pat dry with a soft cloth. Make sure that your jewellery is dry before storingeach piece separately. Each individual piece can be wrapped in acid free tissue paper to prevent it being chipped in your jewellery box.
Jet beads have often been strung on corn which is now long past its besst. I reccomend that such necklaces and bracelets are re-strung to prevent loss if you intend to wear your jet jewellery.
Buy Jet Jewellery
As jet is frequently imitated it is necessary to buy jet jewellery from a reliable source unless you are very sure you know how to tell the various materials apart. I suggest that you buy from a reputable jeweller in this case or at least a dealer who is prepared to accept returns if you are not happy with your purchase. AntiquesAvenue usually offers one or two pieces of genuine Whitby Jet jewellery however I am finding it increasingly difficult to source and pieces do sell out quickly.
As regular readers here know I love going to auctions and thats where I buy much of my vintage jewellery. At a recent auction I acquired a parcel of jewellery which had this unusual antique penannular cloak pin in it and Id like to find out more about this piece.
What I know about this Cloak pin
This cloak pin is huge compared with most you see from the Victorian era and I am thinking it is much older than that. This cloak pin is penannular in design with the fastening ring not being a complete circle having ends with do not quite join up but just touch. It measures about 16 cms long and is almost 7.5 cms wide maximum. This pin weighs about 44 grams. Due to this larger size it could have been worn on heavier fabrics or as a status symbol.
This penannular pin is made of silver ( Ive tested it there are no hallmarks). It has been handmade by a craftsman, clearly not a mass produced piece of jewellery. There is evidence that this pin has been worn for many years indicating that it is antique, pins like this are not unusually worn regularly these days. The design is interesting with a wriggle design on the penannular ring and a two birds in tree design on the triangular end.
What I would like to find out
Can anyone help me find out more? How old is this silver brooch and where would it have been made? The bird in tree decoration , I presume it is Celtic or Norse ? Does this decoration have any specific meaning ? Does the wriggle work on the ring help with dating this silver pin?
Please do get in touch if you can help and I will add all information received here.
Jade is a lovely gemstone which is not as appreciated here in the west as it is in China and other Asian countries.
Jade is a very hard stone and comes in shades of green ranging from emerald green to quite a pale colour. Other colours are occasionally seen including lavender, orange, pink, black, and blue. Many of the colours you see these days are a pale jade enhanced chemically by man. The stone is hard enough to have been used in the past for weapons but most often these days we see it in jewellery.
There are two forms of Jade, the most sought after jade is called Jadite , this is harder than the other form of Jade which is also known as Nephrite. The most valuable form of Jadite is a bright emerald green often known as Imperial Jade.
Jade can be polished into beads or cabochons or it can be shaped into ornaments and amulets. During the art deco era strings of jade beads were very popular as it matched the colour palate of the time. Look out for vintage jewellery strings of jade beads.
Jade can be imitated by several other materials including glass, plastics, serpentine and chalcedony. Jade is harder than all of these imitations and so with a gemstone testing machine it is quite easy to distinguish real Jade from its imitations.
If you are looking to buy jade jewellery you can find new Nephrite pieces form just a few pounds. If you are looking for antique or vintage imperial jade you will need to pay a hundred pounds or more.
AntiquesAvenue has a selection of Jade jewellery in shades of green and lavender.
Ive just realised its been quite sometime since I updated you on the vintage cameo jewellery available on AntiquesAvenue. I have a great selection including earrings, brooches, stick pins and rings. Here are a few pieces that you might care to view. The thress cameo brooches here are all made of different materials but have all been hand carved. The first is shell, the second marble and the third is a lava cameo brooch.
Cameo brooch lady with flower corsageThis pretty lady cameo brooch has been hand carved from shell and mounted into a gold toned metal frame. The lady is wearing a floral corsage . The brooch measures about 4 cms long and is in very wearable excellent
Victorian carved white marble cameo brooch
Here is a very unusual cameo brooch dating from the Victorian era. It is in the form of a classical lady who has been hand carved out of white marble. This is set into a heavy gold plated frame which fastens with a simple C catch.
The antique brooch measures about 3.3 cms wide
Here is a lava cameo brooch dating from the Victorian era. This has been carved from volcanic lava in Italy and will date from the mid Victorian era. The brooch measures about 2.2 cms long.
The cameo is in excellent condition, there is a little wear to the frame but is is still very wearable as a brooch . Lava cameos are much rarer than shell cameos and are now becoming quite sought after.
Sale: This brooch has been reduced from £12
If you want to read more about cameo jewellery please do take a look at this post I wrote last year about cameo jewellery
Everyone loves a bargain but how can you spot a real bargain when looking for vintage jewellery? Heres a few tips for seeking out a real piece of jewellery from the past at a special price. Spotting a genuine bargain does not mean looking for the cheapest piece available. A cheap old brooch can be purchased for no more than £5 but that does not mean its a bargain if it will never be worth any more.
Gold and silver jewellery is very expensive at the moment compared to the past due to the high price of the metals involved but if you hunt carefully there are still pieces of vintage jewellery about which are real bargains . These are pieces which are not high fashion at the moment but may become so in the future. I have several ideas about pieces which are undervalued at the moment and so are real bargains. This article will be looking at bargain vintage brooches.
The gold bar brooch
Bar brooches are not as fashionable as other brooches. Todays fashion would be for figural brooches in the shape of an animal , bunch of flowers or a stylish geometric art deco brooch. The bar brooch is long and thin and is usually set with a central decorative piece such as a gemstone. These brooches original from the early 1900s and are normally found made of gold or silver. It is gold bar brooches that I think should be snapped up. They have little weight for their large size as they are long and thin. Due to the lighter weight the gold bar brooch is cheaper than a circular or figural piece. Imagine a real gold antique brooch for less than £40, they are about if you know where to look.
Here is just one example of a gold bar brooch you can find in AntiquesAvenue’s Victorian brooches section:
This antique brooch is made of 9 carat gold and set with a central amethyst glass stone. This is a very smart piece of Jewellery which would look good on a business suit or similar, I include a picture of what it would look like on emerald green as an example.
This is a genuine antique brooch dating from the Edwardian era in the early 1900s. It fastens with a simple C catch and measures about 4 cms long. What a bargain for a genuine piece of antique gold jewellery.
Vintage brooches in bulk
As with most things in life you can get bargains if you buy in larger quantities. I do occasionally offer collections of vintage brooches which are at a bargain price per brooch. Another option is to go to auction and buy a whole lot of brooches, each one will be much cheaper than if you buy it individually. Another way is to ask the dealer for a discount if you buy several at once. For example my prices are fixed for just buying one or two items but ask nicely and buy more than three pieces at once and I would normally be able to offer you a small discount.
A third are to look for bargain vintage brooches is crfatsman made pieces. Jewellery. These are pieces of vintage jewellery which have been lovingly hand crafted and have taken many hours to make. Originally these pieces would have been quite expensive when purchesed new . Now they have become vintage and have passed between several owners their original value and cost has been forgotten.
It is possible to spot craftsman made pieces buy looking carfefully for the signs of handmade piece. Here are a two clues to look for:
- signed on the reverse even if you done recognise the signature. Here si do meqan signed rather than with a mass proiduced manufacturers mark.
- Made from silver or enamel, these tend to be the craftsmans materials of choice
Goldstone is a vintage jewellery material seen mainly in brooches of the later Victorian and Edwardian eras but seems to fade from popularity by 1920 – it surprises me that Goldstone was not used for longer as it really does sparkle wonderfully. It is actually a type of glass made with thousands of tiny copper inclusions.
Here’s an unusual piece of goldstone jewellery its a pendant and the goldstone shows on both sides. This can be worn as a pendant on a chain or a charm on a bracelet.
AntiquesAvenue tries to fins piece of vintage goldstone jewellery for you. They are quite rare these days but do turn up now and then.
You can search AntiquesAvenue for goldstone jewellery to buy by pressing the search button below:
AntiquesAvenue has a fresh selection of vintage charms for you, mainly silver charms dating from the 1960s and 1970s including some by the famous maker Nuvo. The selection includes articulated and opening charms as well.
Included in this fresh selection of vintage charms is an opening handbag charm, an opening baby in pram charm ( Nuvo), an articulated cat on dustbin charm and a Nuvo market stall with colourful crystals.
One of the most unusual charms I have just added is a silver church set with a stanhope ( also known as a peep). A stanhope is a magnifying lens which covers a tiny picture or in this case the Lords prayer. You look into the stanhope and then can read the prayer.
The cow jumped over the moon is a line from the Nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle. I have the cow jumping over the man in the moon immortalized as a silver charm.
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat played the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon,
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the Spoon
What fun it would be to have a whole charm bracelet made of charms representing nursery rhymes. By the way I also have a cat playing the fiddle available so these would make a great start for the collection.
Ive also added some fresh silver vintage charm bracelets over the last few days . More unusual vintage silver and gold charms coming soon.