Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bringing in the New Year with Diamante Jewelry

New Year's Eve...a time for reflection, resolutions and glitz and glamour. Vintage diamante rhinestone jewelry is the perfect accent for this year's holiday outfit.

Collectors of vintage jewelry know that colored rhinestone jewelry is popular and very collectible - often hard to find in great condition, and can be quite expensive. But how about its "not so colorful" cousin - clear rhinestone jewelry, also known as diamante jewelry.

It is perfect for weddings of course, but nothing adds just the right touch to the perfect black dress like clear rhinestone jewelry. And best of all - it is very affordable compared to its colorful cousin.

Here are some perfect choices from my online shops. One of them might be just the piece to jazz up your holiday dress.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Antique and Modern Jewelry on the Auction Block in the UK on January 12, 2010

Those of you who collect antique jewelry are well aware that the UK has a treasure trove of hard to find antique jewelry items that you just can't find here in the US. Are you a collector of this period of jewelry who plans to be in the UK in January of 2010? Fellows & Sons Auctioneers of Birmingham, UK will host a sale of vintage and antique jewelry on January 12 that you may want to include in your trip itinerary.

Fellows is a well known UK auction house that specializes in many types of auctions including Antique & Modern Jewelry. Costume Jewelry, Second Hand Jewelry & Watches, as well as general auctions for Silver, Furniture and toys and dolls.

Their upcoming antique and modern jewelry auction will feature almost 700 wonderful pieces, with many early 20th century beauties, including my favorite - the oval shell cameo brooch shown above which depicts a figure with turban, holding a flagon of wine. It has a shaped frame with floral and scroll design and comes with a fitted case.

Estimates are reasonable for the sale and range from £30 to about £1000

Some other highlights of the auction are shown below. The selection ranges from Georgian fobs through exotic figurals, rings and gorgeous chunky charm bracelets as well as a big range of my favorite - antique cameos. There is a big range of genuine carat gold featured, as well. I have chosen antique pieces for my highlights photos, but there is also a nice range of modern jewelry on the auction block too.

For those of you who won't be in the UK in January, you can do a virtual tour of the auction highlights by viewing Fellows' auction catalogue for the sale. So grab a cup of tea, as the Brits say, and enjoy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Going Green - Recycled Jewelry - Bottle Cap Necklaces

The economy is tanking with break neck speed. One only has to turn on the news, or take a trip to the local grocery store and see the rising prices, to discover this. In times like this, thoughts tend to turn to making things last longer and other forms of a green economy.

I thought it might be interesting to start a new feature on my blog which features various types of jewelry which is made from recyled materials. I touched on this last year a few times, with my recycled bicycle parts jewelry, zipper jewelry, and wisdom teeth jewelry stories. Look for more articles like this over the coming year.

To get started, today's green jewelry is made from bottle caps. I found a cute site called Whitney Tate's Mosaics and Gifts. Whitney has a large range of bottle cap necklaces in a huge variety of styles, colors and designs. The styles range from name and initial designs, through animals, seasonal and other motifs. She even makes them in the funky peace sign designs shown here.

Do you have a special variety of jewelry that you make from items that were previously used in other ways? Drop me an email or mention it in the notes section below. Perhaps your jewelry will be featured in my blog in the next article in the series. Be sure to check back soon for other articles in this series.

Jewelry Artists Success Gallery

Do you ever wonder what the story is behind your favorite jewelry artist? How did they get started? What motivates them? If so, you are not alone. I often wonder what inspires a designer of jewelry, too.

Fire Mountains Gems and Beads has a jewelry artist gallery with just such information. According to the site, each of their featured designer-artists started with a passion for designing jewelry. Now you can read their stories to discover how they turned their passions into thriving successes.

The gallery is divided into four sections:
  • Cover Artists - Jewelry Making Catalogue
  • Featured Artists - from Fire Mountains magazine advertisements
  • Beading Contest Artists - competitors in Fire Mountain Beading contests
  • Notable Artists - in the jewelry making community

I had a look through the galleries to find a designer that caught my eye. I wasn't looking long before I found one. I have a passion for cameo jewelry, so this fabulous wire wrapped cameo by Susan Zeleskidovich jumped off the page to me. You can see more of Susan's wire wrapped cameo jewelry on her website, Tuumeke Designs.

You can view the jewelry artist galleries here. Which one is your favorite?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jewelry and Astrology - Capricorn

This blog post is another in my series about choosing jewelry suitable for individual star signs. Today's astrological sign is Capricorn , which is the sign for those born between December 21-December 19. The sign is depicted as the goat and it is considered an earth sign.

Zodiac Logo courtesy of

Capricorns are responsible, patient, and ambitious, and are very loyal friends. On the negative side, they are considered to be somewhat selfish and pessimistic and can be very jealous in relationships.

Thinking about buying jewelry for your Capricorn friend and don't know where to start? Let's examine some of these zodiac facts for a bit of inspiration.
  • Their primary colors are deep colors such as brown and black, but their lucky color is red
  • The lucky numbers are 3 and 7
  • The primary gemstone associated with this birth sign is the garnet, but they also love rubies, agate, and onyx
  • Their animal symbol is the goat
  • Flowers and plants that Capricorns love are pansies and ivy.
Let's combine some of these traits and see what we can come up with for gifts that might please your Sagittarian friend.
Trifari has a series of zodiac jewelry which depicts the various sun signs. Perhaps one of these would be perfect for your friend.

This lovely 3 strand deep red glass bracelet? You will capture both a lucky number and color in one!

These pretty onyx earrings in gold filled metal uses another of the Capricorn gemstones as a feature. Perhaps they would be perfect for your capricorn friend.

If you would like to incorporate one of their favorite flowers in a piece of jewelry, this lovely pansy demi parure from my Ruby Lane should should do the trick.

Here is a Georgian poem that captures the Capricorn personality:
Who climbs and schemes for wealth and place,
And mourns his brothers fall from grace-
But takes what's due in any case?
Safe Capricorn!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fire Mountain Art Clay, Metal Beads, Wire Work and Chains Contest - Deadline for Entries is Soon.

You still have a few days left to enter the Fire Mountain Art Clay®, Metal Beads, Wire Work & Chain Contest At Fire Mountains Gems contest that I wrote about earlier this year.

The deadline for entries is January 12, 2010. If you design in any of these mediums, this might be just the contest for you! Full details of the Art Clay®, Metal Beads, Wire Work & Chain Contest can be found at the Fire Mountain Gems and beads website.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays to all My Readers

Wishing all of you the most enjoyable of holidays. I hope it is the best season ever for all of you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jewelry That Actually Grows!

I thought I had seen most ways to make jewelry, but this is a new one for me. While searching on google for jewelry made from unusual items, I came across a website called Growing Jewelry.

According to the designer, Hafsteinn Juliusson , the jewelry are limited production handmade designs made in Iceland and all pieces are made from silver and moss.

The site only has a couple of designs, but they may be able to do other styles or sizes upon request.

Taking care of the growing jewelry is important, of course, since it has a natural growing material as part of it. For best results water it only once every 5 weeks and be careful not to water to much. The site says that the moss can stay green for up to 8 - 12 months but doesn't guarantee this.

Here are a couple more of their designs:


Looking for a funky jewelry gift for a nature lover? This may just be it!  What do you think of these designs?  Is this something you would wear?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Argentium Silver Jewelry - The Tarnish Free Alternative

Argentium Silver is the most tarnish resistant silver available on the market today. This type of silver is very malleable and can be made almost twice as hard as traditional sterling silver.

Those of you who work with pure silver know that it is too soft for many applications. Generally, copper is added to pure silver to give it hardness and durability. But this addition is what causes the tarnish which develops with silver when it is exposed to moisture.

In the 1990s, a silversmith named Peter Johns, of Middlesex University, patented the Argentium formula, which gives silver protection against tarnish and also increases the strength and durability of the finished product. The traditional alloy known as sterling silver is actually 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. With Argentium silver, some of the copper is replaced with a metalloid known as germanium. Argentium silver, when soft, is also easily formed into very complex shapes.

The bracelet shown here is by Cynthia Eid, contemporary jewelry designer and maker. Cynthia has won awards for both creativity and design and has been featured in many publications and exhibits. Her designs are primarily done in Argentium silver and are made through the creative use of hammers and hydraulic presses. She teaches courses all over the USA.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Michelle Obama's Latest Brooch

The first lady, Michelle Obama, was recently in Norway with the president as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. During her time there, she was seen wearing a small pin on the corner of a draped black dress as she signed the guest book of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

The brooch is a flowered style with pavé diamonds. It was custom made by the Italian jewelry company Garavelli and was purchased by the president as an anniversary gift.

For those with keen eyesight, one can also see the same pin, worn in a very different way, in her recent White House Christmas Special interview with Oprah Winfrey. The interview aired on ABC last Sunday, December 13, 2009. Michelle likes to take one design and wear it many ways and, this time, she added it to a double strand set of pearls for a completely different look.

White House Photo by Pete Souza

Which look do you prefer?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Word of the Week - What is a Bar Pin?

Today's vintage jewelry word brings up images of something you might wear to a bar on a girl's night out. Alas...this is not to be.

A bar pin a brooch or pin which is very narrow but long - quite similar in shape to a baguette stone. Bar pins are often embellished with gemstones or rhinestones and some popular styles have chain dangles. Some are actually shaped like a safety pin, although these should be correctly referred to as Kilt pins.

Bar pins had a height of popularity during the Victorian period, when many were set in real gold with semi precious or precious stones. These older styles have C clasps and are highly collectible today.The popularity of bar pins waned somewhat during the retro vintage years when larger and more ornate pins were the fashion. The older styles are the most collectible designs.

Many popular vintage jewelry designers made bar pins with Sarah Coventry designing several of them during the time period of the mid 20th century. Bar pins do seem to have had a resurgence lately, and can be found in many contemporary designs.

Here are some examples of bar pins:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Diamond the Size of a Chicken's Egg Discovered in South Africa

Petra Diamonds Limited, an international diamond mining group, recently recovered a huge 507 carat white diamond at the Cullinan mine in South Africa. The diamond is currently with experts for analysis.

Three other special white stones of similar color and clarity to the diamond were also found on the same site. Even though large in their own right - between 53 and 168 carats, they pale in sale the the 507 carat diamond. The stellar gemstone is considered to be amongst the top 20 largest high quality rough diamonds ever found worldwide.

Photo credit Petra Diamonds

The Cullinan mine is no stranger to large diamond. It is well known as the source of the world's largest diamond ever recovered -the "Cullian" which weighs over 3100 carats in its rough form. It was also the birthplace of the Elizabeth Taylor - Richard Bruton Diamond which was 69 carats polished.

Petra is still trying to decide what to do with the mammoth stone. Diamonds of this size are very rare, and the company is looking at various options before committing to any potential sale. Petra would like to ensure a large price tag but also want to make sure that the diamond's legend will also live on.

Since rough diamonds can lose half their carat weigh when the stone is polished, it is hard to say what the final carat weight will be - or indeed whether it will remain as one large stone, or be cut into smaller (but still immense) diamonds.

One thing is for certain...the price tag will be in the mega millions. Petra has a gallery showing various photos of the diamond, as well as a movie of the discovery of the gemstone. (the latter is a very large file and you may want to download it to your computer if you would like to view it.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last week for online Christmas Shopping

Shopping online is one of my favorite things to do this time of the year. I can surf the web, point, click and pay all from the comfort of my chair without having to deal with the crowds in the stores.

However, one disadvantage of this sort of shopping is that you have to be somewhat organized, since there has to be time for the items to actually be shipped to you. The post office says that December 21 is the last date for priority mail and December 23 is the last date for express mail to get to you by Christmas day.

From my experience, first class mail and even some prioirty packages should really be shipped out this week to guarantee delivery on Christmas. Even some packages shipped the latter part of this week may not arrive on time if shipped first class.

To avoid disappointment, be sure to try and finish up your online shopping early this week. For readers of my blog, I have a special discount. Any orders from Vintage Jewelry Lane, Vintage Jewelry Mall, or my shop at Ruby Lane - The Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry can get a 10% discount if you mention my blog promo code in the notes of your paypal payment. The code is BLOGdec14. I'll refund your paypal account 10% of your payment amount back to your paypal account.

First in best dressed! This code is only valid from December 14 to December 19, 2009.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Man Charged with Stealing Catwoman's Jewelry

It took a while but, thanks to the good eyesight of Catwoman star Julie Newmar, a man has recently been charged with the theft of her jewelry. Prosecutors say they have charged a man suspected of stealing $25,000 in jewelry from Julie Newmar. The jewels were stolen from her West Los Angeles home between Oct. 25 and Nov. 3, 2008.

Apparently, Newmar was browsing on ebay and noticed three of the pieces being offered for sale on the leading auction site. She alerted the authorities and this led them to charge Robert Ouriel, an aquaintance of Newmar's. with grand theft.

Ouriel was arrested last month and remains free on $50,000 bail. Prosecutors say he allegedly sent the items to an Illinois pawn shop that listed them for sale online.

Newmar is abactress, singer and dancer. Her most famous role is that of Catwoman in the TV series Batman during the 1960s. She was the first Catwoman in the series and played the role for 6 episoded. Other actresses who performed the role are Lee Meriweather and Eartha Kitt.

The moral of the story: Don't mess with Cat Woman!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Designer - Who Am I?

This is another in my ongoing guessing game series about popular vintage jewelry designers. I'll give you some clues and pictures and you see if you can guess which designer it is. Ready?

Here are your clues:
  • The dates of operation of the company are 1927 to the present day.
  • The company was founded in Providence Rhode Island
  • Design Characteristics: Very good enamel designs, fashionable and well priced, good quality jewelry with a nice finish
  • This company was one of the principle suppliers of department stores in the 1940s
  • Considered a medium end designer
  • Their Christmas designs are popular and collectible
  • The company changed hands several times through the years. Owners were General Mills, Crystal Brands, and Liz Claiborne
Here are some pictures of my designs:

I am considered a medium end designer and my pieces are fairly easy to find today. For more information and the answer to today's riddle, you can go to this designer page of the resource library on my website Vintage Jewelry Lane. (answer is also shown reading backwards at the bottom of this blog post.)

I'll be doing more of these riddles over the next weeks and months. Have fun with the series. Answer: (read it backwards) tenoM

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today's Vintage Bling - BSK Diamante Rhinestone Brooch

Today's vintage bling is from mid 20th Century designer BSK, whose pieces are still well undervalued compared to some other designers of similar quality workmanship.

The brooch is a round cut out center design set in textured goldtone metal with a series of upturned and serrated edge leaves arranged in a circular pattern. Each of the leaves has a single, perfectly shaped marquis diamante rhinestone sitting on top of it.

The size is just over 2" and it is signed BSK on the back. This lovely BSK rhinestone brooch is available from Vintage Jewelry Lane for $74.99.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christie's to Auction the Evening Star Diamond on December 10

The Evening Star - a magnificent diamond pendent which weighs approximately 39 carats, will be auctioned today as part of the Magnificent Jewels auction at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The auction is from the collection of a single owner and includes 10 exquisite jewels.

The diamond was mined in India's Golconda mines, which are famous for producting the Hope diamond and Wittelsback Diamond. The fabulous stone received its name from the former owner, who chose to wear it to evening galas fashioned as a pendant.

Christie's is well known for offering some of the rarest and most priceless jewels in its famous auctions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The first lady Michelle Obama made quite the entrance on Sunday, December 6, when the Obamas attended the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. These honors have been given annually, since 1978, to those in the performing arts who have influenced American culture during their lifetimes.

This year's honorees include Mel Brooks, jazz musician Dave Brubeck, mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, actor Robert De Niro, and singer Bruce Springsteen. The event will air live on December 29, 2009 on CBS.

Ms. Obama wore an interesting pleaded purple chiffon gown designed by Peter Soronen. My eyes, of course, were drawn to the fabulous Tom Binns asymmetrical festoon statement necklace which set off the dress beautifully. The necklace is from the Mutiny of Splendor collection. She rounded out the look with her penchant for piles of bangles on her wrist.

What do you think of her look?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dashing Through the Snow - Christmas Sleigh Pins

I get so nostalgic at Christmas time when I see movies, cards of photographs of snow. I grew up in the Northeast part of the US, and now live in the South, so I miss snow at times.

Christmas sleigh pins remind me of the line from Jingle Bells -
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh

So these pretty Christmas Sleigh pins are right up my alley. You can click any of the photos for more details. The prices range from $8.75 to about $20. Perhaps one will be just right for you too!

Are you a snow lover at Christmas time?

Metal Inclinations 2 - Jewelry Design Contest now Accepting Submissions

Hauser and Miller Company has been a major supporter of the Society for Midwest Metalsmith's, exhibitions and programs since 1999. The company is currently accepting submissions for the jewelry category.

METAL Inclinations 2 opened on the Internet October 31, 2010 - and will remain online until October 31, 2011
The exhibition for 2010-11 will include selections of the most exemplary fine metal art jewelry created by metalsmiths, silversmiths, goldsmiths and jewelers all over the world. The Society for Midwest Metalsmiths is a not-for-profit organization.

If you are a jewelry designer and would like to enter the program, you can download an entry form here. The exhibition will done completely online. The deadline is June 30, 2010.

There are several cash prizes for the winners, and these individuals will also have their jewelry showcased in gallery web pages on the Exhibition Web Site. The site also has a gallery from last year's metal work's exhibition.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sotheby's to Auction The Magnificent Jewels Collection

On Wednesday, December 9, 2009, Sotheby's of New York will have an auction called Magnificent Jewels. The auction is unique in that it reveals the collections of three fabulous women and the jewels that they wore - Lucia Moreira Salles, Linda Porter and Princess Nathalie Paley.

The jewels of the late Brazilian fashion model and philanthropist Lucia Moreira Salles are featured among a superb collection of natural pearls, precious stones. It includes timeless pieces Salles wore from Van Cleef & Arpels, Verdura, Cartier and Boucheron. Salles was Coco Chanel's exclusive house model in the 1960s.

One of the jewels from the collection of Linda Porter (Mrs. Cole Porter) is this fabulous turquoise and lapis lazuli belt buckle commissioned to Cartier and then gifted to her friend Princess Nathalie Paley.
Sotheby's has a wonderful video which discusses the history behind the jewels in this Magnificent Jewels collection. It is well worth the time to view and shows some photos of the jewels included in the upcoming auction.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Most Collectible of all Christmas Jewelry - Vintage Christmas Tree Pins

Browsing through offerings of vintage Christmas pins in various online shops begs the question: How many different ways can metal and stones be combined to form the shape of a Christmas tree? There appears to be no limit to this creative endeavor.

Not only are there endless designs from vintage designers, each year contemporary designers come up with another idea not yet thought of.

Christmas tree pins are, without doubt, the most collectible of all forms of Christmas jewelry. True vintage Christmas tree pins are not always that easy to find and are copied by modern designers, so the buyer should be somewhat cautios when purchasing. As usual, be sure to purchase from a reliable source.

My online stores all have a wonderful selection of both vintage and contemporary Christmas tree pins. Here are a few selections to whet your appetite. You can click the pictures for more details. Prices of my trees range from about $10 to approximately $50.

Do you have room in your Christmas tree pin collection for another new design this year?


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