Posts Tagged ‘vintage costume jewelry’

Buying Vintage Jewelry Online

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Jewelry has been around since the early stages of civilization. In the beginning, it was used for magical protection, good luck, and warding off evils, but also for aesthetic purposes – we humans have been vain since the dawn of time! Considering how long jewelry has been around and the popularity it has enjoyed through the centuries, there is plenty of it on the market (although you won’t find any 75,000 year old beads on eBay…).

There are many people who collect vintage jewelry from all eras, and I have to say it is a pretty addictive hobby. For those just starting out (or even just shopping for a single piece), knowing where to begin can be tough. Where do you shop? What should you look for?

The First Steps

Going online to look is a natural first choice for many, and you can get a good start on educating yourself simply by browsing around. Vintage jewelry is hugely popular both among collectors and “regular shoppers” and there are plenty of forums online where you can learn a lot just from reading old threads, and of course also ask questions.

What Am I Looking For?

There are many that sell vintage jewelry on the internet, but the multitude of choices can be overwhelming. I find it helpful to decide on the style, material, designer and maybe even decade I want to focus on to help narrow things down a bit, for example: silver necklaces from the 1940s; Miriam Haskell bracelets; enamel Coro brooches; or maybe March birthstone charms in any material from any era.

Research, Research, ResearchBuying jewelry online: Parure

It always pays to be cautions, no matter where you shop. There are many fakes and “faux vintage” pieces out there, and sometimes not even the seller knows if what they have is the real deal or not. The best way to ensure that you get a true vintage piece is to learn as much about the design / designer / era as you can beforehand. Learn about materials, marks, signed and unsigned pieces, telltale signs, common fakes, etc. And remember that “vintage inspired” and “vintage style” is NOT true vintage.

Read as many books as you can; visit local antique shops and ask questions; surf the net and read up on tips and advice at sites like Vintage Costume Jewels and Collectors Weekly. If you find a piece of jewelry you want to buy but are unsure about when it comes to authenticity, ask in a forum. People are usually more than happy to help and offer advice.

Also check out the rating and reviews of the seller you are considering buying from. Do they offer any sort of proof of authenticity? Do they accept returns? Are the photos on their site clear and crisp, and are there closeups of each part of the piece (including hallmarks)? Contact the seller and ask questions about the item, and to see more photos. If the seller doesn’t get back to you, or doesn’t answer your questions directly, it is best to stay away.

Always pay with a credit card or PayPal. That way you are protected and there is a record of the transaction (and your money can be refunded). If the seller won’t accept either of these payment methods, I would not do business with them.

As long as you do your research and make sure to buy from a reputable seller, buying online is a great way to add to your vintage collection. And if you happen to end up with a fake piece that the seller refuses to take back, consider it a learning experience (as long as you didn’t pay a ton of money for it – in that case I would suggest contacting a lawyer).

And, most of all, have fun with it. It’s important to enjoy the process, and want to learn more, otherwise it’s just another job.


Costume Jewelry Made From Recycled Materials

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Costume jewelry can be so many things; expensive designer as well as very affordable “no-name” pieces. Most often when we hear the term “costume jewelry”, we think of classic designer pieces from the 1920s to 1970s – Chanel, Miriam Haskell, Trifari, etc.

But it can also be new pieces – Merriam Webster defines costume jewellery as “jewelry designed for wear with current fashions and usually made of inexpensive materials“. And what could be more inexpensive than recycled items?

We are all trying to be good about recycling, re-using and upcycling these days, and some designers have taken this to new levels. All this creativity so inspiring! You’ll see that pretty much anything can be turned into wearable art, and once you’re done reading this article, take a look around your house – you will probably find plenty of potential jewelry supplies that you may not have noticed before.

I’m straying a bit here – these are not all charms or charm bracelets, but I just could not resist sharing them. Here are some of my favorite recent discoveries:

Postage
Chicago artist Betsy Treacy creates necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets from colorful vintage postage stamps from all over the world. Each piece is handmade and unique; no two are identical, and they make for great conversation pieces and gifts (how about a pendant made from a Norwegian stamp for your friend from Oslo?)

Photos: Betsy Treacy/Foxglove Accessories

Spoons
The husband and wife artist team behind The Cottage Path Boutique make beautiful bracelets from old silverplate spoons. The spoons are cut and shaped into two halves, and then connected with chain and rings. Some have charms, some don’t. They also make gorgeous pendants, earrings and key rings – all from old spoons.

Photos: The Cottage Path Boutique

Typewriter Keys
Michigan-based Joy of Joy’s Jewels turns old typewriter keys (as well as old cash register and pay phone keys) into bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, watch bands and cufflinks. Sometimes the bracelets spell out something, sometimes not. My favorites are (of course) the bracelets with one single key charm – so cute!

Photos: Joy’s Jewels

Coins
Coins have been used as charms for quite a long time. In the 1800s they were often used as romantic gifts or souvenirs and were known as “love tokens”. People would sand one side down and then carve a name or a message into it. Artisan Jessie Driscoll is taking this old tradition to new fabulous heights. Using vintage US coins, she sands one side, create designs by hammering and forging, and shapes the coin into a dome. Some are used “as is”, and on the altered pieces, you will see the original coin on the back. She creates charm bracelets (both loaded and with just one charm), bracelets without charms, necklaces, earrings, pendants, and key rings. I think they’re beautiful, and I’m not alone – her jewelry has been picked up by celebrities like Fergie, Liz Phair, Donna Karan and Avril Lavigne.

Photos: Jessie Driscoll

Plastic Bottles
These stunning pieces by award-winning Turkish architect Gülnur Özdaglar are made from recycled PET bottles. Gülnur started making jewelry (and home decor items) from PET bottles in 2008, and her aim was to create beautiful objects from discarded products, thereby encouraging others to do the same. If I could create things like these from my old bottles, I’d be thrilled!

Photos: Gülnur Özdaglar