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Learn About Vintage Costume Jewelry

31 Oct

Ever wonder what started the costume jewelry craze? War, that's what. There was a limited amount of metal then, so jewelry designers had to find other alternative materials to make their jewelry. That's just one of many interesting jewelry tid bits and historical information you'll find on this excellent article on Vintage Costume Jewelry History Designers, which I found, where else, but YouTube.com.

This video will be especially interesting to anyone who has a collection, even a small one perhaps, of costume jewelry or maybe if you just dig around in your grandmother's old jewelry box, you'll discover some little costume jewelry artifacts in there as well.

Book on Jewelry Boxes

2 Mar

Book on Jewelry Boxes

I have two jewelry boxes along with a drawer full of jewelry and jewelry pretty much in every nook and corner of my house. I'm still waiting for that wonderful amour my DH keeps promising me. I know I'll get it some day.

While jewelry boxes are as important as jewelry, they are pretty essential. Author Joanne Wiertella obviously agrees, thus her book The Jewel Box Book: The Definitive Guide to American Art Metal Jewelry Boxes 1900-1925. You can find out more about antique jewelry boxes from this press release:

Jewelry boxes for M'Lady were a particularly popular item upon which was expressed these fanciful flowers. On Nouveau jewel boxes one sees the bold beauty of the flower displayed from infinite perspective. In fact, flora of all sorts, flowering and non-, fairly burst forth in three-dimensional glory from the molded metal. However, the artist was not simply expressing admiration for nature by randomly adding a bunch of pretty flowers to a design. The flowers themselves held a special place of symbolic honor during this period and conveyed an importance or significance lost on us today. Each flower type represented a long history of myth and meaning. Today, we still share a common cultural bond with our grandparents and great-grandparent, in that Roses signify love and lilies purity. But do we remember that, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, love was also expressed with Myrtle, Creeping Willow and Ambrosia, as well as with Roses? Do we currently equate, "affection" with Mossy Saxifrage, Pear, and Sorrel? Or know that "marriage" was indicated by Ivy?

Or, go right to her web site for sample pages and more information.

Vintage Jewelry Discovery

17 Feb

Vintage Jewelry Discovery

You never know what you will find when digging through antiques and junk from that attic. Sometimes you find just more junk, but sometimes you can get lucky like Valerie Worthington who innocently started to rearrange a funky looking old silk tree only to discover a stash of vintage jewelry hidden in its base.

From Vintage jewelry found in silk plant:

Valerie Worthington's gardener sensibilities were offended by the unruly appearance of the silk fig tree her boss rescued from the storage warehouse and placed near her desk in the Grand Auction reception area.

Even though the tree wasn't real, she decided Wednesday to tidy up around its base.

She pulled up the ferns, all fake. Pulled up the dried moss, also fake. And there, lying on top of the foam base, she found a black velvet bag. It had the authentic look and feel of riches.

"I immediately thought, 'someone stashed their goodies in there,' " she said.

Worthington ran upstairs to show her boss Dianna Hubert her find. They opened the bag, tipped it onto a desk and out spilled a glittering stash of vintage diamond and pearl jewelry.

"I worked for Birks jewellers for several years," Worthington said. "They all look like authentic pieces."

Included was an art deco ring with delicate silver filigree and sparkling diamonds. A wide gold-cuff bracelet. A three-stone diamond ring. Some lovely mabe pearls, which, for the uninitiated, are large half-spherical pearls grown on the inside shell of a mollusk.

Hubert has not yet had the jewelry appraised. But to her skilled eye, she estimates the value to be anywhere from between $10,000 and $40,000.

She would like to return the jewels, but says she has no way to figure out who the owner might be.

Her North Vancouver auction house has accumulated a lot of silk plants over the years, she said.

From reading the rest of the article it sounds like it might be close to impossible who might have owned the jewelry, but it was nice to read that she is thinking of auctioning it all of for charity.

Nizam’s Jewels at National Museum

12 Jan

Nizam's Jewels at National Museum

India is well-known for its love of gold and gemstone jewelry. They really have a cultural appreciation for fine jewelry, seeing it more than just as ornamentation but also as an investment.

This appreciation for jewelry will be apparent at the upcoming exhibit at India's National Museum where the Nizam's Jewels collection will take center stage. From Glittering Indian royal jewelry collection to be shown at National Museum:

Sparkling rubies, huge emeralds and one of the world's largest diamonds will be on display at India's National Museum when a royal jewelry collection travels to India's capital next month, the museum's spokesman said Friday.

The "Nizam's Jewels," a collection of the treasures of the Jah family who governed the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh from 1724 until India gained independence from Britain in 1947, is owned by India's government. Nizam is Urdu for governor.

"Yes, of course, we'll be bringing the jewels to Delhi," said museum spokesman R.S.S. Chauhan. He added that he could not give other details of the exhibition citing security reasons.

The Jah family had built up a large jewelry collection that experts have valued at hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.

The collection – currently on display in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state – of more than 170 pieces includes the 184.5 carat Jacob Diamond, believed to be the seventh largest in the world.

Here are some of the pieces I managed to find images of on various places throughout the net.
Gold and silver set with diamonds and emeralds drops; enameled on the reverse
niz-jewel-2.jpg
Gold and silver set with diamonds and emeralds drops; enameled on the reverse
niz-jewel-3.jpg
Gold set with diamonds with braided belt
Images: Hinduonnet; Eastbeads

Discovery of Ancient Beads

7 Nov

Discovery of Ancient Beads

I tend to believe that after finding food and shelter, the next thing ancient man did was find a bead, stick it on a string, and hang it around his/her neck.

And, thus, the first necklace was created.

But sometimes it is still interesting to read about new discoveries like these beads found to be 100,000 years old.

From a FoxNews report: Ancient beads that may represent the oldest attempt by people at self-decoration have been identified from sites in Algeria and Israel.

The beads, made from shells with holes bored into them, date to around 100,000 years ago, some 25,000 years older than similar beads discovered two years ago in South Africa, researchers report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

"Our paper supports the scenario that modern humans in Africa developed behaviors that are considered modern quite early in time, so that in fact these people were probably not just biologically modern but also culturally and cognitively modern, at least to some degree," said study co-author Francesco d'Errico of the National Center for Scientific Research in Talence, France.

In the past some researchers have argued that the ability to use symbolism did not develop until people had migrated to Europe some 35,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Alison Brooks, head of the anthropology department at George Washington University, said the new find reinforces that people developed behaviors gradually.

Ancient Gold Jewelry Discovered

5 Sep

Ancient Gold Jewelry Discovered

Along with jewelry that I make and jewelry that I buy made ready to wear, I have also started a very small collection of ancient jewelry pieces. So far, I just have a few, but I love thinking about how someone actually wore these jewelry pieces at one time. Perhaps she was a rich woman or maybe she was just an everyday house wife, but we still tended to have the same tastes in jewelry.

Here is news of a fascinating jewelry find made recently near the Black Sea:

A 2,200-year-old set of gold jewelry was unearthed from a Thracian burial mound on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, the archaeologist who led the excavations said Monday.

Daniela Agre said her team in late August found dozens of tiny jewelry pieces in the tomb of a woman, most likely a Thracian priestess, near the resort of Sinemorets, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southeast of the capital, Sofia.

The discovery included two earrings, crafted like miniature chariots, as well as parts of gold necklaces, one decorated with a sculpture of a bull's head.

A tiny plaque that appears to be the necklace's fastener bears a Greek inscription, saying "made by Demetrius," Agre said, suggesting this could have been the name the nobleman who ordered the jewelry.

The artifacts were unearthed Aug. 25-27 during urgent recovery works at the Sinemorets mound, which was half destroyed, allegedly by a local hotel owner who thought the pile of earth was an ugly sight for tourists.

Most of the more than 160 finds, including gold and silver accessories and pottery, were badly damaged because the woman's body had been cremated, an unusual practice for this region, Agre said.

4th of July Jewelry

4 Jul

4th of July Jewelry

What better way to salute such an important national holiday – at least for those of us in the United States – than to wear a piece of red, white, and blue jewelry.

I found this pieces on Etsy.com – a great place to shop if you are looking for unique one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.

The necklace pictures was created by Katz with Hatz.

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

Ancient Shell Jewelry

27 Jun

Ancient Shell Jewelry

Man (and woman for that matter) has been adorning themselves with beads for centuries.

Shells, in particular, are one type of naturally occurring beadwork. I occasionally make my way to the ocean and love to gather shells for future jewelry and craft related projects.

Surprisingly, a huge number of shells I find have holes already in them. Add them to a chain or some twin and you are almost good to go. Seems like ancient man had the same idea.

From Ancient shells found in Israel may be humanity's oldest jewelry:

Ancient beads that may represent the oldest attempt by people at self-decoration have been identified from sites in Israel and Algeria, according to a report published in a scientific journal Friday.

The beads, made from shells with holes bored into them, date to around 100,000 years ago, some 25,000 years older than similar beads discovered two years ago in South Africa, researchers report in the journal Science.

"Our paper supports the scenario that modern humans in Africa developed behaviors that are considered modern quite early in time, so that in fact these people were probably not just biologically modern but also culturally and cognitively modern, at least to some degree," said study co-author Francesco d'Errico of the National Center for Scientific Research in Talence, France.

The new find involves just three shells, two from Skhul in northern Israel, which the researchers said were about 100,000 years old and one from Oued Djebbana, Algeria, estimated to be 90,000 years old. The researchers said the shells were found many miles from the sea, indicating they were brought to those locations deliberately, most likely for beadworking.

Wile and Woolly Jewelry

6 Jun

Wile and Woolly Jewelry

Now, I'm not advocating using ivory for jewelry here. Not only is that illegal in most countries, well, it's just down right wrong. But what about prehistoric ivory, the kind from a woolly mammoth? If nothing else, this is an interesting use of natural materials.

From CBS4 Denver: Anchorage, Alaska (AP) In Anchorage's downtown ivory shops, alongside whale baleen baskets and walrus tusk statuettes, are souvenirs made from the fossils of shaggy Ice Age beasts that died on the tundra thousands of years ago.

The bones, teeth and giant curving tusks of woolly mammoths can be found in abundance in Alaska, and the fossils of the elephant-like beasts are routinely if not always legally turned into jewelry and other curios.

Pictured is a brooch from The Import Specialist.

Leonardo DiCaprio Film and Diamond Controversy

30 May

Leonardo DiCaprio Film and Diamond Controversy

Many fictional films are based on fact, and such is the case with the new movie The Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Of course, leaders in today's diamond industry would like viewers to believe that blood diamonds no longer exist. And, that is where the controversy concerning this movie begins.

From Jewelers nervous about 'Blood Diamond' film:

The U.S. jewelry industry is gearing up to counter any negative effects from the upcoming film "The Blood Diamond," which shows how illicit gem trade fuelled bloody civil wars, a trade group said.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a South African mercenary jailed for smuggling in Sierra Leone, ravaged during a brutal civil war lasting until 2002 that killed 50,000 people.

The picture started filming in February, but Warner Brothers has not said when it will be released.

And from Jewelry Industry Nervous about The Blood Diamond: The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a South African mercenary jailed for smuggling in Sierra Leone circa 1999, a time when the nation was in the midst of a terrible civil war. DiCaprio's character specializes in the sale of "blood diamonds" which are used to finance rebellions and terrorists. Apparently the chairman of the Kimberley Process, an international certification program, wrote to the producers of The Blood Diamond asking that it include an epilogue explaining the measures taken to stem the illicit diamond trade.