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Posts Tagged ‘vintage jewelry’

Fox brooch by Lea Stein.

Today we’re looking at a brooch from of my Lea Stein collection. I find these unique plastic brooches in London, usually at the Monday Antique Market in Covent Garden but they can be found in shops as well. I’m drawn to her pieces for their multi-dimensional quality, unusual textures and … her images make me smile.

Although there’s a bit of mystery surrounding Ms. Stein, we know that she is a French artist who in the 1960s, with her husband, came up with a way to layer and laminate thin sheets of plastic. This layering technique allows Ms. Stein to create texture by adding pieces of material, such as lace or metal, in between the layers. After cooling, the plastic is cut into all kinds of shapes from Art Deco women in hats (an early design) to owls, cats, and dogs. Animals seemed to be favored and today they are among the most collectible.

There are some copycats out there now, but a true Lea Stein is signed on the pinback.

My stylish fox gets a prominent place on the shoulder of a black A-line wool dress I like to wear to afternoon parties or sometimes I place him on the lapel of a coat. He gets a lot of attention whenever I take him out.

Come back tomorrow for the last of the series.

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We’re coming close to the end of The Twelve Days of Brooches and Day Nine is a nod to the writer or pen enthusiast.

This charming brooch popped up while I was searching through a box of buttons at the Alameda Antique Faire. Since I’m a writer, of course it had to be added to my collection. It is black enamel on gold tone and it has a little rhinestone on the nib (tip). As I said, charming.

I wear this on the lapel of a blazer whenever I’m going somewhere for professional writers, like a conference.

Come back tomorrow for Day Ten and another brooch story.

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Mid-century copper brooch.

Hello to Day Eight and a copper brooch. I found this at an outdoor antique market in Philadelphia for $5. It’s not marked but I know from the design and the fact that it’s copper that it dates to the 1950s.

Although sparkly chunky pieces with colored rhinestones are the iconic jewelry look of the 1950s, a more subtle Arts & Crafts style was also popular and copper was the perfect metal for that. There were two companies at the time making copper jewelry – Francisco Rebajes of New York and Jerry Fels, founder of both Renoir of California and Matisse Ltd., based in Southern California. Rebajes sold his pieces out of his store in NYC and Fel sold his work to department stores. Some of Fel’s pieces were enameled, the most recognizable is the painter’s palette. After much success, both companies closed in 1964.

I really like the atomic shape of this brooch as well as the texture. It lives permanently on the lapel of my wool blazer.

It’s January 1, 2023. Here’s to a new year with more opportunities for creativity and growth!

The Twelve Days of Brooches continues tomorrow. Day Nine … what will it be?

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Watch face brooch.

It’s Day Six and we’re looking at a watch face brooch that I made.

When I was in college I had a small business making and selling jewelry (I called it Personal Fixtures). I worked with found objects, mostly vintage buttons and as we see here, watch faces. The watch faces came to me from a friend who collected all kinds of strange odds and ends. He gave me boxes of faces and parts and I made brooches out of them. They were popular with customers, but I had a big problem – adhesive. I just couldn’t find anything that would bind the smooth enamel surfaces or even the metal parts. I had the same issue with buttons. So eventually I gave up my jewelry making business, but I hung on to whatever I had left in stock.

I still love this business card.

I learned a lot running my own little business including the fact that wearing what you make is the best advertisement. I wore these brooches mostly on sweaters and coats. I remember sporting one to a job interview just after I graduated from college. It was a position at a university and the nice woman in HR went crazy for my brooch and ordered one for herself and one for her daughter. Plus, I got the job!

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That’s my Bakelite picture hat (upper left) on top of a page of picture hats in The Bakelite Jewelry Book, by Corinne Davidov (Schiffer Books).

For Day Five of the Twelve Days of Brooches we have a red Bakelite picture hat. Part of my Bakelite collection, this hat was an incredible find.

Bakelite is a type of plastic popular in the 1930s and early 1940s for making jewelry. By the end of WWII other materials replaced Bakelite and it fell out of use. In the 1980s there was a craze for collecting Bakelite and the prices soared into the thousands of dollars for some of the more unique pieces.

I have been collecting Bakelite ever since I first learned about it as a teenager. I found this hat at an antique store in Norman, OK for a mere $15. The hat brooches are very collectable and still hold their value even though in general prices had gone way down.

This piece is large and I wear it alone on the shoulder of a dress or a coat. It packs a punch and gets attention.

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Tweeting vintage bird brooch signed Boucher.

Welcome to Day Four of The Twelve Days of Brooches. Today we have a special vintage piece signed Boucher. As in – French born Marcel Boucher, jewelry designer for Cartier.

Mr. Boucher was moved from Paris to the US by Cartier in the 1930s. He later took a job with another jewelry company and then in 1937 he founded his own company. He created bold pieces of jewelry often of animals and birds. His “fantasy birds” of the 1940s are particularly sought after. Achieving much success, he continued designing and manufacturing until his death in 1965. After that his wife took over the business until she sold the company in 1972.

My charming bird dates sometime after 1955 and I’m not sure where I got him, but a good guess would be that he was a Christmas stocking stuffer from my mother. She continued to give me a Christmas stocking long into my adulthood and often tucked in one or two pieces of vintage jewelry.

Boucher Bird is just the guy to add a little whimsy to a summer tote bag.

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There is undeniably an old-fashioned air around brooches, but there are ways of wearing them to look more up-to-date. Wearing with knitwear rather than formal day dress can jazz up a plain jumper, or go big and bold a la Lady Gaga in Schiaparelli at the US inauguration, for a modern take on this most regal of accessories.

Alicia Healey – Former employee of Queen Elizabeth, regular contributor to The Spectator and author of Wardrobe Wisdom From a Royal Lady’s Maid (National Trust).

This quote is from The Art of the Brooch published in The Spectator magazine, July 25, 2022.

A collection of vintage crown brooches from Collectible Costume Jewelry (Collector Books). Wear one of these on a headband or pin it to a fabric handbag.

It does seem that brooches have slipped into obscurity. But not with some of us. I’m a big fan and I like to place my brooches in unexpected places. For example I wear a bee brooch on the cuff of my denim jacket. I have a big black and white butterfly brooch that sits atop a black beret. Any brooch placed on the shoulder of a sweater adds more interest that if worn elsewhere. Also, a collection of small brooches worn together on a lapel will catch the eye. Brooches offer a lot of style and can perk up any outfit. I think the key for a more modern look is to not to take them too seriously and just have fun. Think outside the brooch box.

Collection of whimsical insect brooches pictured in Collectible Costume Jewelry (Collector Books).

Brooches make excellent holiday gifts and interesting vintage brooches can be found at thrift stores for a reasonable price. There’s still time to hit your local thrift store and find a unique gift for some lucky person in your life, or you!

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Fabulous jewelry transformation. Image courtesy of Baribault Jewelers.

I wrote a short story last year in which one of my characters took her engagement ring and had it repurposed into what she called her “disengagement ring.” I was inspired by my mother who did that very same thing years ago after her divorce. Turns out my mother was ahead of her time.

Repurposing jewelry is a trend and we’re not talking just engagement rings – Grandma’s diamond brooch? Mon’s sapphire dinner ring? Dad’s cufflinks? All of these family heirlooms could come out of the dark and live a new life and Baribault Jewelers can make it happen!

Based in Glastonbury, Connecticut, Baribault Jewelers is a family owned business and since 1948 they have been offering their customers quality fine jewelry as well as repair. In 2015 they added Repurposing to their options. “It’s time for people to take those family heirlooms out of the vault and transform them into jewelry they’ll want to wear every day,” said Christina Baribault-Ortiz, co-owner of Baribault Jewelers.  “Whether its rings, bracelets, pins, medals, necklaces or earrings, our team is up for the challenge of taking your most meaningful piece and reimaging it to be meaningfully you.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the East Coast, West Coast or in-between, the staff at Baribault can work with you. Got something sitting in a safe-deposit box? Give it a new life and yourself a piece of jewelry you will wear every day. Set up a time online for Baribault to give you a call and make that transformation!

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Just a reminder for local readers that the Shadelands Ranch Summer Market in Walnut Creek is coming up fast – Sunday, July 31, open from 10am to 3pm.

A few goodies I’ll be selling: This charming summer dress has a 1920s feel and would be a great choice for Gatsby Summer Afternoon! The handbag is a Koret, circa 1960s. One can never have too many summer hats and this straw wide brim is a classic. The colorful scarf on my mannequin is vintage 70s.

Forty vendors will be selling their handmade and vintage wares. The museum will also have for sale items from their archives – vintage and antique clothing, accessories, and home décor items.

I’m offering vintage jewelry, scarves, handkerchiefs, hats, handbags, dolls, collectable perfume bottles, some clothing, and other small goodies. Joining me is Paula Dodd Aiello, costumer and seamstress from Sew Becoming. She will have costumes and accessories, clothing, and items for the home.

There will be food vendors, shade under the trees, and tours of the museum (if you haven’t been inside of the Shadelands mansion, it’s a fun travel back in local history).

Also please note that all the money that I make from sales will go to Brightfocus Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports research for cures for Macular Degeneration. As I have mentioned before my mother suffered with MD, an eye disease that slowly robs people of their vision. The last years of her life she was nearly blind. My donation will be in her memory.

So come out for a sunny Sunday afternoon and please stop by our booth (#53) to say hello.

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The Shadelands Ranch Museum Summer Market in Walnut Creek is back for a second year on Sunday, July 31st, 10am to 3pm. The Market offers vintage and antique goodies as well as handmade items from 40 local vendors and this year I am one of those vendors. Also available will be items from the museum’s archives, including clothing, accessories, and home décor pieces. (Last year there was quite a lot of Edwardian and Art Deco dresses.)

Yes, I will be out there too, sharing a booth with Paula Dodd Aiello from Sew Becoming.

These past few months I have been sorting through my collection and my mother’s collection of vintage jewelry and other small items. I will have vintage earrings, brooches, pendants, silver bracelets, and Bakelite bangles. I have a few vintage clothing pieces, hats, handbags, scarves, handkerchiefs, collectable perfume bottles, and dolls. Beads and buttons, too. Paula will have vintage clothing and costume pieces, as well some cool items for the home.

Vintage jewelry from my collection and my mother’s.

There will be a couple of food vendors, lots of shade under the trees, and the Shadelands Museum will be open for tours. What a lovely Sunday afternoon outing. If you’re in the area, please come by and say hello.

Shadelands Ranch Museum Summer Market, Sunday, July 31st, 10-3. 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek.

NOTE: Our booth number is 53 and is under the name Mom’s Closet. We take cash only.

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