Archive for Vintage Jewellery
The 1970s are back in fashion with the high street being full of 1970s style clothes this Autumn. AntiquesAvenue offers a range of genuine pieces of vintage jewellery from the 1970s which would be wonderful to wear with 1970s style clothing.
What jewellery was popular in the 1970s? Well like most decades there was a range of jewellery popular at different times. Long strings of tiny glass beads worn with full length skirts, stylish Scandinavian silver, Wedgwood cameo jewellery, Silver ingots with oversize hallmarks. Lots of thin bangles worn together and charm bracelets full of lots and lots of charms.
Heres a few of the 1970s pieces of jewellery which are available from www.antiquesavenue.co.uk
1970s glass neckalces
Here’s five vintage glass necklaces from circa 1970s with all the beads being joined by metal chains. Three strands are 110 cms long, one is 92 cms long and there is one strand at about 72 cms. These glass necklaces were worn with the gypsy / hippie fashions of the 1970s and would suit today’s boho look
1970s silver charm bracelet and charms
Heres a charm bracelet which was originally made in the 1970s with the silver hallmarks dating to 1978. This silver charm bracelet has lots of vintage silver charms attached which include a hedgehog, a dice, a bell, a policeman’s helmet. There is also a pair of love birds on a swing, a bunch of grapes, a wishing well and an opening lobster pot made by Nuvo.
As you can see in the picture there are also two enamel travel shields, a filigree slipper and a shamrock. The charm bracelet has a chain with double links. There is a heart shaped lock and an attached safety chain. This vintage charm bracelet measures about 9.5 cms long
Silver ingot penadant or fob
Here is a silver ingot pendant with huge hallmarks dating it to 1977. These ingot s can be worn as a pendant or a fob. This one measures about 4 cms long
Love jewellery gifts for Valentines day. With Valentines day fast approaching I have added a special section to AntiquesAvenue.co.uk full of sentimental jewellery. Ive called this new section Love Jewellery as its full of lovers gifts and yes we do “Love Jewellery ” too.
Sentimental Love Jewellery has long been popular and you can find love tokens, gifts, lockets, brooches from the Georgian era, through the Victorian times and the 20th century.
Victorian Love Jewellery
Sentimental jewellery was particularly popular in the Victorian times when it was decorated with hearts and flowers and often had hidden meaning in its symbolism. Victorian love tokens could be as simple as a name inscribed onto the back of a coin polished smooth on one side. Hidden compartments concealed locks of hair, miniature paintings or small photos.
The Victorians had their on language of flowers where each flower had a meaning. The forget me knot is self explanatory. The lily stood for purity, Lavender for Devotion and of course just as today the red rose stood for true love. The best place to see this sort of Vicrorian language of flowers is in Victorian silver brooches which are still relatively plentiful.
Acrostic Jewellery is often Love Jewellery too. Acrostic jewellery is set with multiple different gemstone where the first letter of each stone spells out a word such as REGARD or DEAREST. The stones for Dearest would be Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Tourmaline.
Heart Jewellery the heart is a popular symbol in jewellery as are entwined hearts. You can find heart shaped rings, pendants, charms, brooches and lockets. The heart shaped locket is a particularly popular lovers gift given with a picture of each of the lovers inside the doors of the locket. AntiquesAvenue offers a range of heart shaped jewellery ranging throughout the 19th and 20 the centuries. There are gold brooches, crystal heart pendants and hear charms available as well as bracelets with hearts set in.
Other popular motifs for Love Jewellery are cupids and cherubs and two lovers holding hands . Have you seen the vintage spinner charms with the words which spell ” I love you” when the charm is rotated quickly?
Rings as Love Jewellery. Of course the most popular Love Jewellery of all is the vintage ring, engagement ring, wedding ring and eternity ring. Vintage engagement rings are more popular than ever today, perhaps the happy couple are hoping that some of the romance of the part will come with their choice of ring?
The Trilogy ring has three stones set into it. When the trilogy ring is given as an engagement rings the stones stand for ” I love you more today, than I did yesterday and less than I will tomorrow”. Or alternatively “You are my life – my past, my present and my future”. Whichever meaning is taken the three stone trilogy ring is a piece of Love Jewellery which symbolises commitment. The trilogy ring was popular in the Edwardian ear and is again popular today.
As you can see there is a huge choice and range of Love Jewellery for you to choose this Valentines day or for a special gift for a loved one at any time of the year.
Its traditional at this time of year to round of the last 12 months with lists of happenings during the year. I see lots of vintage jewellery every day but just for a treat for me I thought today Id take a look at my top ten pieces of the year. In no particular order here are my top ten vintage jewels of 2010.
What fun, vintage jewellery does not need to be made of precious materials to be adorable. This vintage brooch is made of wooden beads bright and colourful with lots of movement. This wooden bead brooch is thought to be by Mirriam Haskel although like most pieces of this type it is unsigned. This wooden bead brooch will date from the 1940s and there are two rows of beads dangling down. The brooch measures about 3 cms wide and up to 6.5 cms long. The wooden beads remain bright and clean
Im selecting this lovely lady mermaid as my favourite charm of 2010. Quite rare and beautiful.
Here is a mermaid sitting on a rock with one hand playing with her hair. Her tail is articulated and so this charm will provide a little movement to their bracelet. Have you ever seen this vintage charm before? I haven’t so she is quite well made and detailed. The base of this mermaid is stamped as silver. The mermaid charm measures about 2 cms high plus the O ring and the mermaid is 2.5 cms long. Tis nice piece of vintage silver jewellery would hang from your charm bracelet but could equally well be hung from a chain round your neck
This pendant has such lovely colours in the turquoise and the stying is from one of my favourite jewellery periods in history in the early 1900s .A lovely old necklace made of nine carat gold ( stamped 9ct) and set with two turquoise stones. Necklaces like this are from the early 1900s being popular from circa 1910′s to 1930. . The chain is about 41 cms long with the pendant drop adding a further 4 cms. The clasp is a newer replacement4. Bracelet
Selecting my favourite bracelet of 2010 was easy, infact this could well be my favorite jewel of the year.
This opal and gold vintage bracelet is really beautiful. The opals are solid and sparkle with red and green colours. Each opal measures about 0.8 x 0.5 cms with the bracelet being about 18 cms long in total.
There is a heart shaped padlock to fasten the bracelet and an attached safety chain. The padlock is fully hallmarked for 9 carat gold and can be dated to 1970.
When it comes to lockets I like the unusual shapes like this one. A very pretty piece of antique jewellery. This locket is made of a warm rose coloured gold and set with tiny pearls on the front. The back has a locket compartment which is currently occupied by a picture of a Victorian gentleman but could be replaced by a photo of your own choice. This locket will date from the later 1800 and measures about 1.7 cms
These earrings are made of another of my favourite gemstones Citrines.These vintage earrings are really beautiful. Each earring has a real citrine gemstone set into silver. The citrines are a little over 1 cm diameter and so make quite a bold pair of earrings. These earrings are for pierced ears and they date from the early to mid 1900s
Ive chosen this ring because of the colour of the stone – this will have been created by man but what a super shade of blue:
There is a beautiful Royal blue spinel set into this gold cocktail ring. The gemstone is flanked either side by a floral setting . The ring is fully hallmarked as 9 carat gold.
The spinel measures about 1.1 x 0.8 cms and so is quite chunky although the ring size is for a smaller finger or a pinky ring. This is UK ring size J.5, just over USA size 5
A beautiful piece of antique jewellery which will date from the Edwardian era. This necklace is typical of Edwardian Jewellery which has a much lighter feel to it than Victorian jewellery. There are bows and a dove all set with sparkling paste stones. This necklace will have been made of European grade 800 silver. This necklace measures about 39 cms long plus the pendant drop of about 2.5 cms
My favourite gemstones this year are definitely the subtle moonstone. Look at this excellent bug brooch set with a moonstone.
10. Dress Accessory
Have you seen the detail in these lovely buttons – all hand painted in enamels.
These antique enamel buttons are really beautiful. They are enameled with the centers having a hand painted enamel floral spray. Each button is made of gold tone metal.
These buttons will date from the later Victorian era or possibly the early 1900s. Each button measures about 1.5 cms diameter and there are in lovely condition
Its not always easy to find the vintage jewellery you are looking for, even on sites like mine where items are organised into categories such as cameos, vintage brooches or stick pins. The search box provides a useful tool when you are looking arround and with almost 2000 items there is a lot to choose from. Here are the top 30 searches where I dont have a category for the items this year on www.antiquesavenue.co.uk - I have the statistics from Google in case you wondered how I know . Its been fun putting together this top 30 searches so at the end of the year I will compile a top 50 Jewelelry items actually purchased during 2010
No Surprise here
2. Opal Ring
Now it was a surprise to find opal ring at no 2. Opals are beautiful and one of my favourite gemstones but they are quite soft and not the most suitable stone for a ring as the surface wears easily. I personally would prefer and opal bracelet – you can still see the opals whilst you wear the jewellery but they will not get damaged so easily.
Now this is interesting, antique to me means pre 1920s but charm bracelts in the form we know them today were not really common until after this time. Charms were of course made in large quantities but they were not often seen hung in quantity from a silver bracelet.
An all time favourite
The Victorians often worn a matching pair of bracelets, one on each wrist. I think this would look great today too.
A favourite gift. Most of the pearls you see today are either costume jewellery or cultured pearls. A good cultured pearl necklace is probably the best option as a lasting gift or glass costume jewellery pearls to wear occasionally.
The gift of parted lovers – Mizpah : may the Lord watch between me and thee when we are parted one from another.
Popular in the 1960s and 1970s and back in fashion now. Gold charm bracelets can be a great way to build a large piece of gold jewellery over time.
These are often purchased as gifts. I find men buying them for their wives on the birth of their first child .
10. Monet Jewellery
A surprise to me , I didnt know Monet Jewellery was that popular. I must look out for more.
Rose gold has a lovely warm pinky/ red colour created by the addition of copper into the gold . Normally nine carat gold. This type of gold jewellery is often from the early 1900s.
Everyone loves a bargain. AntiquesAvenue has a sale section, not much in it at the moment but watch out in January I have something special planned
For the “old” part of “old, new borrowed and blue”. How about an old and blue piece of jewellery to fill two of these at the same time?
A favourite gift from wives to husbands and also bought by work colleagues for men. I know because my customers tell me so.
15 Fob Spinner
Fashionable this year following vintage Theme films such as Alice and Sherlock Holmes where gents wore waistcoats and pocket watches
Are these sought after because they are cheaper or due to the romance of vintage I wonder?
The popularity of vintage engagement rings has rise in the last few months, since about June this year. Now that Price William has given his bride to be a vintage engagement ring I expect that these will be in greater demand than ever.
A perennial favourite. These are quite collectable, especially antique sentimental brooches such as Name brooches and floral brooches or even silver brooches with locket backs
Now I think this search comes from our friends in the USA. In the UK I see these charms referred to as moving charms rather than articulated. These charms are ones where they are hinged or linked together so that the parts move whilst you are wearing the bracelet.
20 Silver Ingot
The 1970s jewellery icon . A silver ingot with large hallmarks. I remember them from when I was a teenager, wanted one at the time but couldn’t afford it. Now I can afford one I wouldn’t want to wear it – typical.
A smart choice for gentleman to go with a smart suit on a posh evening out.
I am surprised that this search was not much higher as enamel jewellery always seems to sell well. One of my personal favourites.
These are getting harder to find as they should be in pairs and the two have often become separated. Dress clips are meant to be worn on a neckline one on each side .
Now I have written about butterfly wing jewellery before. It ahas a lovely blue iridescent colour. I worry about where the butterflies came from although I am told they live a natural life and are collected after they die. This sort of jewllery is quite fragile and is ruined by a drip of moisture.
Another surprise – why is this not higher? Nearly 50% of the jewellery I sell is vintage silver.
Great fun for a party night or wearing to the office.
Lots to choose from but getting a bit expensive as the price of gold goes up.
Note to self – buy more of these , not something I often have in stock
29 Large brooch
Oh yes, a statement piece of jewellery. Something to provide a talking point or to liven up a dull out fit.
Dating from the 1830s to 1901. There is such a huge range of Victorian Jewellery available at reasonable prices. Antique jewellery from the Victorian era can be found from about £30 to many thousands of pounds. AntiquesAvenue has an antique jewellery section with lots of Victorian Jewellery.
Evaluating jewellery every day I am often faced with deciding if a piece is silver or not and how to describe the metal the jewellery is made of on my web shop. Over the years I have come up with a few tricks to help me with this which I though I would share here with you today.
1. British Silver Hallmarks
The first thing I look for on a piece of vintage jewellery is hallmarks. A set of silver hallmarks is a positive identification of silver and usually help me to date the piece of jewellery accurately as well. Silver hallmarks have changed many times over the years since they were first introduced and I use books of silver hallmarks to help me translate these strange markings into a description for you.
2. Other Marks on Silver
There are lots of other marks other than British Silver Hallmarks you can find on silver. These include the .925 stamp, the words ” Sterling” or ”Silver” or Hallmarks from other countries. European hallmarks are complicated and again have to be looked up in hallmark tables, you can really spend hours just trying to find one Continental European Hallmark.
Sometimes silver is stamped as .800. This grade of silver was not used or legal in the UK until recently but jewellery was widely made from this grade in Europe and so it suggests a European origin for the piece of jewellery. .800 silver jewellery was widely made in France, Germany, Austria as well as other countries.
As well as hallmarks you can find makers initials on silver jewellery. Often these are smaller makers but finding a well know maker or simply being able to identify the craftsman is always fun.
3. Silver testing
In the complete absence of hallmarks a piece of jewellery can be tested to determine if it is silver. Look at the piece of jewellery under 10x magnification, it is especially useful to look at joints or points which are most likely to wear easily. If there is a golden or brassy colour beneath the silver showing at points of wear then it is plated or silver toned metal. If the piece is attracted by a magnet is is also not silver.
You can acid test for silver. This is done by making a very tiny scratch in the surface at a point where the mark will not show. A tiny spot a silver testing acid is then applied to the scratch and you observe the reaction. This observation takes skill and practice. The best way to learn is to carry out the testing on pieces you already know are silver eg hallmarked as sterling. Observe the chemical reactions you get with pieces you know and then compare the reaction you get when testing pieces of metal jewellery you know are definitely not silver. Try the reactions on pieces of jewellery stamped as silver plate or on pieces you know to be silver toned costume jewellery.
Silver test kits are available for home use but please do be careful with them as the acid is strong and burns – take the safety instructions seriously.
4. White Metal
Have you seen pieces describes as “white metal”. This term is often used by auctioneers who have pieces of silver coloured metal which is not hallmarked. They find it easiest and safest for themselves to simply describe the piece as “white metal” rather than to risk being wrong or illegal. (see .5 on staying Legal). Often these pieces of “white metal” are silver but you have to use your judgement during the auciton viewing process as you cant actually test them until you have them bought and taken home. Its a great way to buy a bargain if your judgement is correct.
5. Staying Legal
Silver is a metal where the use of the name has clear legal implications in the UK. Here is a guide to those implications but please contact your local hallmarking office if in any doubt ( eg do not hold me to this its just to help you make a decision not a definitive legal guide).
- The piece has full silver hallmarks or convention hallmarks for imported pieces
- The piece is not hallmarked and has silver content of less than 7.8 grams then if you are certain it is silver then the term can be used.
- It is a piece of silver antique jewellery which was legally silver at the time it was made and dates from before 1975. EG it weighs over 7.8 grams and is stamped as silver and is a genuine antique it could well still be legally described as silver today.
- There are many more exceptions to the hallmarking law, these can be found on the assay offices websites.
6. Silver and White Metal Descriptions on AntiquesAvenue
When you are looking at a piece of silver of white metal jewellery on AntiquesAvenue web shop how can you be sure if it is silver or not. I is the following terms:
- Hallmarked silver or Hallmarked sterling . This will have a set of British hallmarks unless I qualify the term with eg Continental Hallmarks, or Scandinavian silver hallmarks
- Stamped as “Sterling ” or ” “sil” or “silver” . I will only call these silver if they were made at a time when these terms were legal for silver
- stamped as .925 . I call this silver if the item is under the legal silver weight of 7.8 grams.
- All other items I will test and if my observations lead me to believe they are silver and unmarked silver items were legal at the time the piece was made I will say something like “ This item tests the same as silver”.
- Silver toned metal is a term I normally reserve for vitnage costume jewellery.
- Silver plated is definitely not silver it just has a silver layer over base metal
- Silver gilt is normally silver with a light gold toned wash over the top to give a golden appearance.
I hoe this helps when you are searching out vitnage jewllery
Looking again at what makes a piece of Vintage Jewellery unusual or rare, today focusing on the size. Small pieces of jewellery are relatively common compared to very large and chunky pieces.
Most Vintage Brooches are 2 to 5 cms in size and so anything measuring about 1 cm long would be unusual as is anything of over 6 or 7 cms long. The smallest brooches we see today are often referred to as pins . Many Antique Georgian brooches or pins are quite small as are lapel pins worn by Men.
This Antique Wedgwood brooch is unusually large measuring a massive 7.5 cms longRings
Have you ever seen a ring with ahead as wide as this one – it actually crosses three fingers wide although it is worn just on one:
A large necklace can either be a chunky one or a very long one. Very long necklaces were popular in the 1920s – we know them as flapper necklaces these days. In the Victorian era very long chains were know as Muff chains ( for holding your muff on) or guard chains . Some bead necklaces have multiple strands. Two and three strands bead necklaces are quite common but if you look long enough you can find 5 strand necklaces – or more?
Now heres a piece of jewellery which some people like to wear large – Chandelier earrings can reach down to the shoulders . These Chandelier earrings are something you need to practice wearing as they are heavy and uncomfortable at first. Chandelier earrings were popular with the Victorians, at times through the 20th century and I hear they are back in fashion for this year too.
I’ve been taking a look at all the fashions, glamour and style for this Autumn. There seem to be a lot of Vintage Jewellery being worn again this year so we can happily dig though our Grandma’s jewellery boxes and be right in style.
Taking a look around there seem to be several themes we can choose. Apparently chandelier earrings are back (eeeek, these are so heavy and catch on your clothes so perhpas best kept for glitzy occasions?)
Pearls and Cameos.
Lace and creamy colours are bang up to the minute this season. What could be better for wearing with these materials than Cameos and Pearls. Edwardian ladies worn lots of lace in creamy colours and they layered them with strands of pearls and the traditional shell cameo is just the right colour to tone well.
Red and Black
There’s lots of red and black jewellery about. So how about a red diamante brooch or some french jet glass beads. Or both? There are loads of options with red and black jewellery and you can either choose to wear one of the colours or both together. Here are some lovely old red glass beads from AntiquesAvenue, genuine vintage so added cachet for that too:
Lots of gold toned chains were big in the 1980s ( along with the hairdos if I remember rightly). Now these have been out of fashion for some time but they are now back. The good thing about this is vintage gold toned chains are cheap and abundant if you hunt around. I’ll be getting some soon for you to buy too. For years I haven’t bothered stocking these as no one wanted them , you will find this is the same with most vintage jewellery dealers – now is the time to buy before the prices creep up.
I hope you find this interesting – I’ll try a brief round up of vintage jewellery fashions each season from now on.
Busy adding loads of Vintage Brooches to my Vintage Jewellery shop at the moment. As regular readers know antique and vintage brooches are one of my favourite forms of vintage jewellery, their shapes, forms, colours and materials are probably more varied than any other piece of jewellery.
The brooches I have at the moment are mainly from the 1950s and before and include dragons, peacocks , Czechoslovakian pieces and of course lots of flowers. Adding this week and next is vintage costume jewellery brooches . There are glass and poured glass brooches, filigree with colourful glass stones and some bright enamels too. Here are a few group photos to feast your eyes on:
Here is where to find vintage brooches on antiquesavenue: