New Items at Vintage Jewelry Online.com
This month’s eclectic collection is a representation of some of the best designed and high styled costume items produced by some of my favorite designers as well as some unsigned French pieces. You’ll find a Miriam Haskell lariat; an Unger Bros. sterling scarf pin; a Kenneth Lane enamel figural horse bracelet; a pair of spectacular Vendome green art glass earrings that you would swear were Miriam Haskell; and a special favorite, a 30″ faux pearl and red cabochon French necklace. I’m also updating my fine watch department with a Waltham platinum and diamond Deco watch. The Jewelry Tips section continues exploring the commonly defined jewelry eras with Part 2, covering the Victorian period from 1840- 1860.
To see the newest jewelry listed in a group, click here
The new featured highlights are found on the home page and include:
- an Arts & Crafts Style 800 Silver & Amber Ring #FS-00045
- an Original by Robert’ Painting on Celluloid Pin Necklace #CS-00294
- a WWII Miriam Haskell Pink & Green Lariat Necklace #CS-00320
- a Kenneth Lane Enamel & RS Horse Bracelet #CS-00336
- a French Faux Pearl & Red Cabochon Necklace #CU-00116
- a Waltham Ladies Platinum & Diamond Deco Watch #FG-00046
Jewelry Eras and the History Behind Them Part 2
Last month I provided an overview of the most commonly referenced jewelry eras beginning with the Georgian period. This month we’ll follow the timeline and cover the Early Victorian period.
The more a person understands about jewelry, its background, and the history and fashion influences of the period, the more informed decision she or he will be at amassing their collection. The majority of the reference information comes from Warman’s Jewelry, 3rd Edition by Christie Romero and the 6th Edition Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry by Jeanenne Bell, both of which I highly recommend. (See Vintage Jewelry Unleashed Vol.3 – March 2006)
Commonly Defined Reference Periods
1760 – 1830 Georgian
1840 – 1860 Early Victorian
1861 – 1879 Mid Victorian
1880 – 1902 Late Victorian
1890 – 1920 Edwardian & Art Nouveau
1920 – 1935 Art Deco
1940 – 1965 Post War & Retro Modern
1840 – 1860 Early Victorian
Historical Perspective: 1840-1860
The early Victorian years were filled with tremendous excitement as changes were taking place all over the world. The sewing machine was invented in 1846; Tiffany opened his first store in 1849; gold was discovered in California in 1848 and thousands of people were migrating out west. The railway system exploded as a result of this migration and fortunes were made by many. For the first time the middle class now had leisure time and money to spend on frills and luxuries.
Across the Atlantic Victoria was made Queen, the first woman to rule Britain since 1714. She and Albert had tremendous influence over the styles, motifs and materials for jewelry and fashion of this period. Her reign of rule was called the Romantic period and the jewelry and fashion followed suit with romantic and sentimental symbols throughout.
The Great Exhibition of the Industry of the Nations, was held in England in 1851 and traveled across Europe through 1855 before it settled back in Britain. The designers who participated in these Exhibitions were the most renowned trendsetters of jewelry. And the technology paved the way for them to design and create bold, high fashion pieces using this latest technology.
The Jewelry: 1840-1860 Motifs
Jewelry of this era carried the motifs and designs of sentiment and romance. Motifs that were popular include, serpent jewelry as the serpent symbolizes eternity and wisdom. Flower jewelry was symbolic of sentiment and showed an interest in nature. You will see vines and leaves either as accents or as the basic design of all types of jewelry. Grapes were used extensively and were most commonly found with seed pearls. Hands were another symbolic motif and depending upon its usage, would represent romance, nature, friendship or mourning. Hearts were also tremendously popular and were worn as an entire piece or as a locked charm on a sterling or gold bracelet.
The Jewelry: 1840-1860 Styles
They styles of jewelry that are attributed to this period are also well known and quite coveted. They include cameos with either classical Greek and Roman designs or gothic and medieval designs. Chatelaines became a necessary accessory for the woman. She would wear these on her waist during the day and evening and it was not uncommon to have many chatelaines in ones wardrobe. They were filled with sewing items, scissors, perfumes, watches, coin purses and were worn as much as a decorative item as they were a daily accessory. Garter bracelets also became popular. While men wore garter buckles on the knee, Queen Victoria decided to wear hers as bracelets on her wrist. Mizpah pins with women’s names engraved on them became known as love brooches and were worn by all classes of people.
Queen Victoria loved Scotland and she and Albert purchased a summer home there. She again set style with everything Scottish including the jewelry filled with native stones such as agate, bloodstone cornelian and quartz. The most commonly found items are pins and brooches; bracelets and earrings are more scarce.
The Jewelry: 1840-1860 Materials & Stones
The most prevalent materials included yellow gold; pinchbeck gold which is an alloy; rolled gold; jet; gutta-percha; bog oak; hair; tortoise and ivory. The stones most often used include citrines; amethysts, which were known to bring good luck; bloodstone, which was known to have healing powers; and coral which legend has it, protects against evil and danger. Paste was another popular material. Authentic paste items are difficult to find today in good condition. They bespoke a life of wealth of splendor and were quite distinctive exhibiting tremendous style and often times explicitly showy.
Jewelry and Fashion Trends
Pearls are big and so are necklaces. Whether you like a classic look, similar to what Jackie Onassis wore, a more adventurous fashion motif similar to Madonna or perhaps the exotic titillates your fancy the pearl is this season’s biggest jewel. Kokichi Mikimoto so believed in the healing properties of pearls, legend has it he used to ingest them. So whatever your style, real or faux, wear them with attitude… necklaces, rings, pin and earrings.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Silver Luster White Pearl & Sapphire Gold Pin #FG-00026
- Precious 3 Strand Pearl Gold Bracelet #FG-00008
- Vintage Pierced Pearl & Gold Earrings #FG-00086
- Exquisite & Delicate Victorian Seed Pearl Necklace #VE-00201
If you want to know how to take care of your pearls, refer to Vintage Jewelry Unleashed, April Issue.
Necklaces and chains, were big in the summer and they still have more play for fall. Slinky or bold and combinations of different finishes and sizes create an elaborate showy splash of metallic wonder. Mix them with beads or semi-precious stones and be your groups hottest trend setter.
More necklace favorites:
- Red Faceted Geometric Transparent Bakelite Necklace #CB-00017
- Crystal Rondelle Sparkling Parure Necklace Set #CU-00009
- Dramatic Ivory Lady & Gold 30″ Necklace #FG-00017
Don’t pack away those flower brooches yet. Chanel is bringing them back and they are as showy as they were a few years ago, covered with glitter, sequins and rhinestones. Here are some of ours:
- Reja Ruby Rhinestone Massive Sterling Floral Pin #CS-00023
- Trifari Classy Blue Moonstone & Enamel Pin #CS-00026
- Trifari Alfred Philippe Enamel & Pearl Fur Clip #CS-00033
- Impressive Pink Ruby Rhinestone Orchid Trembler #CS-00315
- Bold & Beautiful Pave Set Emerald & White RS 1940’s Pin #CU-00006
Big is still better and the fall trend continues into spring with emphasis on wide and cuff bracelets. Chanel is showing wide and chunky resin bracelets, (that’s plastic, remember), covered with buttons. And others will follow. Here are some of our top picks:
- Deco Ruby & Paste Massive Theatrical Bracelet #AO-00036
- Geometric Apple Juice Cuff Bracelet & Earrings #CB-00050
- Super Wide & Thick Black Clamper Bracelet #CB-00222
- Masterpiece Cactus Taxco Cuff Bracelet #CE-00014
- Significant Very Wide Glittery RS Link Bracelet #CU-00120