Saturday 28 February 2009

Exquisite Sales Update 1

Just a brief blog today.cAnyway over the last couple of days have been watching two brooches on eBay UK by Exquisite.
The brooches are of single flower similar to the birthday series. Both are very collectable

The first brooch was a poppy with a poppy seed head (1 3/4 x 2 inches). Sold by a seller in Cardiff, Wales. The brooch sold for £51.00
The second brooch was a pansy with an unopened flower, but I may be mistaken and it could be the seed pod just starting to ripen (3 inches). Sold by a seller in Flintshire in Wales. It sold for £13.49

They are the first type of these brooches for sale that I have seen since January 09 and both from Wales.

Friday 27 February 2009

Kitsch Jewelry Making & Vintage Redux by Brenda Schweder

Our family hates waste, I think it is because my husband and I were the product of the late fifties and sixties. Very little was wasted in those days. Being a keen gardener and from at least two generations of keen gardeners. Both my parents and grandparents kept chickens and had most of their garden given over to producing food. We used toilet rolls to plant beans and sweet peas. Kitchen waste and paper turned into rich compost. Carpet covered ground to suppress weeds and warm it up for those early potatoes. Cartoons were used as seed trays and a whole greenhouse, staging and cold frames were produced from off cuts and plastic and glass throw outs.

So it was a natural progression to keep the broken pieces of jewelry and "odd" or kitsch things that were no longer of use or had fallen out of fashion. I have a great imagination on what these pieces can be used for but unfortunately no longer the dexterity to carry out any crafts. Knowing that sometimes the ideas require items that can be difficult to find. We started to list a few kitsch items on our website as part of the beads, buttons and findings. Just as a section to create interest and maybe fire someone's imagination. Vintage marbles to wire for men's jewellery (love the used chipped look, just tumble to smooth the edges), plastic dogs that can be used for a charm bracelet. Gonks or trolls that can be collected or turned into earrings, bracelets, neckleces or phone charms. Scrabble pieces and dominoes can be re-used. For ideas or just to buy finished jewellery have a look at the artists on the website Ruby lane.

Our Kitsch section has been very successful, we have in fact sold over half the items listed and continue to receive visits from many people. So we will still continue to add kitsch items as and when we have sourced them!

When I saw a book just released in November last year that showed you how to use vintage jewellery to make new and interesting "new" jewelry - I was intrigued. At the time the book was only available from the USA. So I sent for it and though had a bit of a wait for delivery, it was certainly worth it.

The book was Vintage Redux by Brenda Schweder.

This is Brenda's second book, her first Junk to Jewelry was published the previous year. If you reuse vintage jewelry in any form of jewelry making, I would recommend this book. Brenda has some fantastic ideas and her refashioned jewelry looks brilliant.
I love bracelets and bangles and her use of brooches on plastic bangles is a great idea. Also using brass stampings to give a vintage appeal and to facelift a plain plastic bangle is something I had never thought of doing. I would have thought to glue stones to the bangle but they would have been fragile, but to wire stampings into the plastic gives a more stable piece of jewelry.

"Great minds think alike" comes to mind when I saw the use of cloisonne thimbles. Having just brought and photographed a pair of thimbles to add to our kitsch section. I can not recommend this book enough and have now just purchased her first book and I am eagily awaiting delivery
The photographs have been taken from the book

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Exquisite Jewellery Part 3 Leaf Series

This blog on Exquisite Jewellery by W A P Watson Ltd continues to create interest across the world. Please view the comment from the USA by Mike Savage, whose mother worked on the Exquisite range in the fifties. Mike the Ring O Bells garage is still there and thank you to all for the comments and emails!

I am still waiting to hear from the company in Shirley but have been busy researching at the local library. Only 3 paper clippings were recorded in the archives. From 1965, 1972 and 1973

In the Solihull news from Saturday 27th February 1965, Exquisite had celebrated its jubilee having been founded in 1915. 14 representatives now cover the country from Glasgow to Christchurch and from Northern Ireland (and Eire) to the East Coast. The business has one section working in Paris, where patterns are constantly being added by a team of designers.

"Inspired by King Tut" was the title in the Solihull News in August 26th 1972. Exquisite was showing a new range of jewellery inspired by the exhibition of King Tutankahmun's treasure in London. Most of the necklaces and bracelets are slightly smaller copies of the actual pieces in the exhibition. While the rings are have been created in a similar design to finish the set. Made in a lightweight gold plated metal they are hand painted in vivid jewel colours. The collection was available in Beatties of Solihull and Leslie's of Station Road in September (1972).
I have researched many styles of Exquisite jewellery and have yet only seen brooches and necklaces in turquoise faux stones and pearl beads, that look quite an Egyptian style; but I am sure that these are not this collection which I have yet to see samples. In the last blog when I wrote this, several appeared for sale on the internet - so maybe next update??

The last newspaper clip was from the Solihull News dated March 10th 1973, on the retirement of employee Harold Goldsworthy after 50 years with W A P Watson. His 200 workmates clubbed together to present him with a transistor radio and the directors gave him a gold watch to mark the occasion.

In the last blog, I had looked at signed jewellery pieces and unsigned pieces. In the Scottish range (which I will discuss the various pieces in another blog) you can find many unsigned pieces. I still believe they were manufactured before Exquisite used their signature. In these two examples from the front, they are very similar, with a more flattened leaf and different coloured glass stones. The back has signs of a different moulding process. The unsigned piece has a flat mould with a riveted clasp. The signed piece has been manufactured using a rounder mould and the pin clasp has been soldered to the brooch.

I would welcome any comments on the unsigned and signed Scottish range.

These are just some of the different ranges of
Exquisite jewellery identified so far:

Birthday range
Scottish range
Mother of pearl/Abalone range
Marcasite & enamel range
Butterfly wing range
Enamel & pearl range
gilt range
silver tone range
Leaf & the tree fruit range
Multi-coloured stone range
faux gemstone range
Turquoise & pearl range
Faux jade range
Cameo range
Painted scene's range
Glass bead range
Figural range
Enamel leaf range
And so many more....

Each of these ranges will be looked at in the blog in the coming year
Today's range is the Enamel Leaf Range

In the Enamel Leaf Range, there are brooches and earrings (clip-on style)
The range has the following leaves depicted:
Horse Chestnut
Mountain Ash

All the range was painted in the greens and brown enamel as near to the natural colour of the individual leaves.

The box list has the leaf range in brooches and earrings only, but there are a few necklaces appearing on the internet for sale. These are mostly unsigned pieces. the vine seems to have been the most popular as there are many available on the market.
There are also some pieces that look to have been hand-painted, so well that the clasp and the back are also painted! However, the leaves were also available in silver-tone, gold-tone and enamelled in many other colours and marcasite etc. The same mould was used across a range of finishes.

About Me

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Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
I preserve the past. Researching family and local history. Finding about mine and other people's ancestors, is just one of my passions. I also love vintage costume jewellery made here in the UK. I write about my finds and like to research.