Tuesday 25 May 2010

Jewellery Glossary Part B

Where has this month gone to?

Have spent many hours working on Jewels and Finery Craft website. Just getting the shopping carts in place have been anything but simple. It all takes so much time and I am convinced there should be an extra couple of hours in the day that would help!

So a quick glossary on the letter B. Here are some great beads to get this part started.

BAGUETTES: Gems/ crystals/diamantes cut into narrow rectangles, small baton shapes.

BANDELETTES: Decorative ribbons worn in the hair in the late 1860s

BANGLE: A bracelet which is not flexible

BAROQUE PEARLS: Also can be barrok. Irregular shaped pearls

BASSE-TAILLE: A method of enamelling in which the surface of the metal is hollowed out to receive the enamel. Similar to Champleve

BATON: Stones cut into long narrow rectangle shapes

BEZEL: Originally the part of the ring which holds the stone or other ornament. Now generally used to signify the salient or characteristic part of the ring. E.g the setting including the stone or as in a signet ring - the portion bearing the device.

BIJOUTERIE: The art of working in gold and enamel, as distinct from Joaillerie, the art of mounting precious stones

BLISTER PEARLS: A pearly deposit cut away from an oyster shell; irregularly- shaped and sometimes hollow

BRILLIANT: A form of cutting introduced by Vincenzio Peruzzi at Venice in the late seventeenth century. Nearly all diamonds are now brilliant cut and the word "brilliant" commonly means a diamond cut in this way. In a perfect briliant there are 58 facets above and 25 below the girdle

BRIOLETTES: Oval or drop shaped stones, facetted all over and often pierced at the top

BUGLES: Glass or plastic beads.originally used in dress trimmings. Now days bugles are used in both trimmings clothes, bags and also in costume jewellery

The above jewellery and beads are available at Jewels and Finery and shortly Jewels and Finery Craft

Vintage jewellery added recently

                                                        Vintage brooch Maltese Cross

Saturday 22 May 2010

Jewellery Book Review - Kenneth Jay Lane, Faking It

I have a fast growing collection of books on jewellery from all over the world. To increase my knowledge I read about all sorts of jewellery; antique, fine, costume and trinkets to name just a few topics

On the Jewelry Ring Yahoo Forum, recently a person from the UK unscribed because "didn't realise it was an American group" I felt very sad for this person as they have missed a wonderful opportunity to learn so much from jewellery enthusiasts and specialists from all over the world. There is a large number in the group from the US, but also from Canada, Europe and the UK. The photographs of jewellery in people's collections or for sale I would not have had the opportunity to see unless I spent hours on hours searching the net, but then would not have come any where near.  This book falls into the category of not seeing a great deal of American KLJ jewellery but well worth knowing about.

Kenneth Jay Lane's jewellery is not so well known in the UK as Butler and Wilson but is very much in the same style.

                                                         Snake bracelet from book 1970

I had to send for the book "Faking It" by Kenneth Jay Lane from the USA as it was a lot cheaper (even with postage) than the UK prices.  The book is now out of print but copies can still be purchased from book dealers

Kenneth Jay Lane was born in Detroit, US and started out with a background in art, designing shoes. He began adding rhinestones buckles and before long started experimenting on adding stones to cheap plastic bangles. This was the sixties and from there progressed to designing jewellery worn by former president's wives (Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Regan) film stars (Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn) and Royalty (Princess Margaret, Duchess of Windsor, The Princess of Wales) and many other rich and famous people.

He is renowned for his fantasy jewellery and OTT style. But he has many more demure pieces.
I enjoyed this book as it tells his life story and is illustrated with loads of photographs which explains the pieces and also gives dates. Although I have seen very little KLJ pieces over the years it is a very good book to read, if you want to increase your knowledge on vintage costume jewellery.

     Brooches in shell and snail motif - the snail is an update from the 1960s version, reproduced in 1992
                                                                 Taken from the book. 

Mr Lanes jewellery can still be purchased new from QVC and vintage pieces are available from the jewellery sellers on the net. 

It is a beautiful Saturday morning and this weekend will be spent in the garden. So until next blog bye...

Thursday 20 May 2010

Jewellery Glossary Part A

The past couple of days since my last blog has flown by. Not only getting our other website ready with adding the vintage beads, buttons and other craft material. But the garden has commanded attention. Every thing is growing so quickly at this time of year.

So surrounded by boxes of antique and vintage jewellery, larger boxes of vintage bead and envelopes stuffed full of vintage buttons. (really do need to get some more boxes) I thought just a quick blog today!!

Glossary of antique jewellery and vintage jewellery starting at the A's

AGATE - Quartz with strata of different colours or inclusions which resembles moss or plain coloured. Named for the river Achates

AIGUILLETTE A shoulder knot usually jewelled worn by the Victorians and before on low cut dresses, one on each shoulder matching or just one shoulder similar to a larger brooch

ALBERT A fine gold chain with a bar at one end and a fitting to hold a watch at the other.

ALEXANDRITE A variety of chrysoberyl (gemstone - this name is no longer used as caused confusion, but used extensively in the Victorian period) which is green by natural and red by artificial light. Named after Alexander 11 of Russia because it first came to light on his birthday.

AMAZONITE Opaque green fieldspar (a rock forming important mineral used extensively in industry)

AMETHYST A violet quartz (thought in ancient times to protect its owner from drunkenness)

ANNEALING Softening metal by heating to remove brittleness

ARTIFICIAL QUARTZ Every natural crystal virtually has an artificial counterpart. It can be very difficult to distinguish one from the other. First manufactured in 1845 but until the 1970s was not used extensively in the jewellery industry. Includes Austrian Crystal     

 Miracle are renowned for producing jewellery using artificial quartz or agate stones
But be warned they also use real pieces mostly in their silver jewellery but some is unmarked
Roman shield brooch by Miracle

AVENTURINE QUARTZ Quartz with glittering flakes of mica (a mineral that has the properties that seem to glitter) inside them.

Quartz or semi precious gemstones are used in costume jewellery. It can be very hard to distinguish between glass and mock stones. Jewels and Finery invested in a gem tester to help identify the components in many pieces of antique and vintage jewellery.

Swarovski crystal is the brand name of cut lead glass. The name crystal derives from the Italian Venetians using the word cristallo to describe rock crystal that the famous Murano glass manufacturers imitated in their glass ware. 

Tuesday 18 May 2010

insects and bugs shaped jewellery - Victorian view

The sunny weather this week has seen us rediscovering the greenhouse. We hacked through bushes and a few tree seedlings and there it was... A bit battered and in need of a good wash, but maybe this year we will have some tomatoes and a few cucumbers?

The poor old garden has been neglected over the last 3 years and I have really missed growing our own vegetables and fruit. But this year has been very different. New treatment has meant I can move a bit easier and help much more. Tomato photographs to follow...

Now to insect jewellery - very apt as the greenhouse was full of them

You either like insect designed jewellery or you do not. My mother heard an antiques expert on TV say that it was a small minority of people that wore spider brooches or butterfly necklaces. I do like insect jewellery especially dragonfly brooches and have a growing collection.

In 1860 Victorians had a passion for wearing all things insect. This description taken from "Victorian Jewellery" by Margaret Flowers (first published in 1951) says it all

"More remarkable was the vogue for insects. Mr William d'Arfey in Curious Relations mentions that in the late sixties 'Bonnets and veils were covered with every kind of beetle; that at least was the beginning of the mode, but it soon extended itself from rose-beetles with their bronze and green carapaces to stag beetles...Parasols were liberally sprinkled with ticks, with grasshoppers, with woodlice. Veils were sown with earwigs, with cockchafers, with hornets. Tulle scarves and veilings sometimes had on them artificial bed bugs...' These insects appeared on necklaces, bracelets and earrings, as well as on veils and parasols. Flies of gold, coloured with enamel, were set under crystal to form jewels. Butterflies, dragonflies and beetles in gems were worn as brooches and shoulder knots. Bees too, were fashionable, some people thought because they were the emblem of young Prince Victor Bonaparte, who was a great favourite in Paris society"

When I first read this paragraph - it just conjured up images of Victorian society. Then thought I really would not recognize half these insect species!

Here are a few insects in jewellery form on Jewels and Finery with bee brooches, ladybird brooches and dragonfly brooches available.

Maybe not on veils today but they look great on bags, jackets and hats. Also can decorate a curtain tie back or in a shadow box. Jewellery does not just have to be worn.


Wednesday 12 May 2010

About Cameo Jewellery & Cameos of Today

This blog is about cameo jewellery and cameos of today information and history. Cameos have been around since ancient times and are still being produced today. They reflect classical history, artistic imagination, literature and fashion of the day amongst many other subjects.

Pendant ornament with cameo, Italian 1550 - 1600
Reproduced by gracious permission of  her Majesty The Queen
Central cameo 13 century or later? Italian. Enamel decoration, precious stones & semi precious onyx. Surround cameos added in the 16th & 18th century.
Royal Windsor Collection 
City of Birmingham Museum and Art gallery Exhibition of gemstones and jewellery catalogue, 1960.

A cameo does not have to be made from shell or a semi precious materials to be a real cameo. In terms any material that is produced with the raised profile or image that projects above the background of the stone is correct and truthfully can be called a cameo.

 Both vintage cameos. Top vintage shell cameo 1940s Below vintage cameo brooch signed Sphinx
cameo brooch we have available on Jewels & Finery UK. 

So cameos produced of shell both hand carved and machine carved, semi precious stones like quartz, malachite, onyx, jasper and lapis lazuli to name a few. Opal and moonstone are relatively new semi precious materials used to produce a cameo. Hard stone was first used in production but other natural made materials include jet, coral, ivory, lava and bone were used in abundance. Glass, ceramic and china is still widely used and also many forms of plastics. Bakelite, galalith and celluloid are early forms of plastic and in their day were seen as cheap options; but now their prices are rising and are very collectible. The Queen has a fabulous collection of cameo jewellery many in precious gems such as diamonds.

Cameo Parure of the Empress Josephine. French.
The parure consisted of a crown, a lesser cornal, ear rings, bracelet, slide and comb. All set with cameos in gold, decorated with blue enamel. Crown, comb and clasp are set with carnelians, the rest with onyx and shell. BC Museum and Art Gallery, Exhibition of gemstones and jewellery catalogue, 1960.      

Cameo were produced firstly by hand carving but when machines became a way to increase production they are were molded, cast, stamped or carved. However hand carved cameo production still continues today. Always view a shell cameo with a lens or magnifier. Hand carved cameos do not have the minute "snow effect" around the edge of the profile where it joins the background, which machine or ultrasonically produced "carved" cameos have. Today fashion cameos used in jewellery, tend to be the one recognizable profile which I have christened  "The Popular Goddess" mass produced in many different forms of fashion or costume jewellery or used as embellishment on shoes, clothes and furnishing.

The Popular Goddess cameo bracelet - pre owned jewellery on Jewels and Finery SOLD

Fashion has seen cameo jewellery raise in popularity in the Victorian era until the fifties and sixties. It waned in fashion in the seventies but has never gone away - as there has always been a minority that love and wear cameos. Which has meant that cameos have continued in production to today.   

Cameo collecting is very much personnel taste, many collect just shell cameo and others jet and lava. But there is a growing number who collect plastic and glass cameos. It does not have to be a collection that has large monetary or investment value of today. Fashion will influence the value of antiques (items over 100 years old) and vintage (any item about 25 years old to a hundred) So what is bought at a high price today may depreciate in value in a few years. And of course the reverse happens - items that are of low value in their times, lava and early plastics for example have in relatively few years command a high value now.

D & E vintage cameo jewellery taken from Juliana Jewelry Reference DeLizza & Elster, identification and value guide by Ann Pitman (previously reviewed on this blog)

Vintage cameo jewellery that is of glass and plastic produced by designer and manufacturers: for example D & E and Sphinx, are commanding quite high prices in today's market. But it could easily be Exquisite, Hollywood or the mass produced cameo The Popular Goddess" in the future Who can predict?

Collecting is up to the individual and should be fun and affordable to each individuals taste.

The Reicharts cameo factory manufacturing a broad range of colours in ultrasonically created cameos.
Cameos Old and New 4th Edition by Anna M Miller (Previously reviewed on this blog) 

Sunday 9 May 2010

Changes To Jewels and Finery May 2010

For a long time now, Mark and I have though that the website Jewels and Finery - selling antique, vintage jewellery, beads, buttons and vintage craft supplies should actually be better as two sites.

So we have now decided to separate the website to antique, vintage and pre owned jewellery and have another website for vintage beads, buttons and findings with vintage craft books and patterns also.This site we also intend in time to have more findings and stones to repair or make jewellery.


Having just opened the website there is little to see at present and you will be unable to purchase for a short while. So we are now busy sorting out the two websites and are really excited about the changes.

For the time being we are only adding jewellery to jewels and finery. So here are a few adds this week

Of course nothing goes right when you have so much to do and the emails are not going out from Jewels and Finery. So trying to get that fixed as soon as possible.Then there is the garden to cosset into some sort of order and of course sitting with daughter when driving - she is fine now and understands my anxieties (helped by the fact her dad said the same thing!)    

Friday 7 May 2010

Rare Mirella Jewellery by W A P Watson

Following an very wet and hail stormed weekend, this week has been one of change.
First our teenage daughter has brought her first car. Her brother is a bit more laid back and is still looking. Thank goodness as I do not think I could cope with both at the same time

She is still a learner driver and will be taking her test soon. So for the last few days she has cleaned, added air fresheners and customized her little black car

Rare Mirella jewellery by WAP Watson.

Well, just a quick look at a piece of vintage jewellery that I brought on eBay a few months ago now. I did not realize that W A P Watson also produced jewellery under the Mirella name as well as Exquisite. The seller had 2 cornflower brooches for sale but someone had already a bid on the one so, I went for the other only.

The second signature says REG.

Very rare jewellery as I have not seen any other jewellery in the last 3 years that I have been actively looking. This is now in my own collection and not for resale. However, I have now seen the same brooch stamped Exquisite on the reverse.

Exquisite jewellery for sale on our website Jewels and Finery

Still to come in this blog: vintage jewellery book reviews, dating vintage jewellery and how to replace stones.
Also an announcement on our website redesign that we are so excited about

About Me

My photo
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.