Tuesday 26 July 2011

Carnival Glass or Iridescent Glass Jewellery

Little is written about the beautiful blue and black jewellery called Carnival or iridescent beads and glass pieces.

Now I call this type of jewellery - carnival. The name came from my mother and her mother, so this is part of my heritage. It is available in blue and black colours mostly and can be found in both antique and vintage necklaces, earrings, brooches, hat pins and bracelets. Also any other jewellery that used beads and glass. Now days the iridescent look is available on plastic beads.

Vintage carnival necklace 42 cm or 18 inches

Samples of "iridescent" jewellery developed from Roman glass that changed colour over time. It is produced by spraying, adding or fuming (a type of smoking pieces) metallic salts onto coloured glass. It then produces an oil on water effect. The colours and intensity depends on the base glass and amount of salts added. It would have looked enchanting by candle light and is still very pretty when reflected by electric lights today

Treble strand vintage carnival or iridescent necklace

It seems to have first come into fashion at the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Probably as a result of the changes in mourning jewellery, when people still wanted a bit of decorum and to retain the black look, but also were starting to crave a bit of colour.

Fenton in the US in around the 1908 period started to use this technique for making pressed glass bowls and glasses. Its popularity increased from the 1900s up to the 1930s, when the cheaply produced decorative bowls, plates, and glasses were prizes at carnivals fairs. Hence where the name "carnival" derived from. The decorative glass was produced in large quantities and in many different colours. The most popular colours for pressed glass were marigold, amethyst and then the much scarcer blue. The popular blue and black glass jewellery was the colours used most and the many other colours are not represented as much. Common sense tells me that it was more expensive to produce the darker colours that light, but I am not a glass making expert?
Then there was a further revival of carnival glass jewellery in the late 1970s to early 1980s and it is still produced today in lesser quantities.

The clear glass jewellery with the "Northern Lights" effect called aurora borealis (AB) was developed in the mid fifties and gained more popularity over the darker carnival jewellery.
Again common sense tells me that aurora borealis was being developed, when the second world war stopped many new innovations. After the war, the trend was for colour - hence the darker and more somber colours were forfeited for the bright cheerful AB effect.

 Aurora borealis clip vintage earrings (Sorry already sold)

The jewellery was produced in Bohemia in the late Victorian era. But it was also produced in the UK, USA, Germany, France and many other countries.

The dating to the jewellery is made by reviewing the original findings, but also by the feel of the glass. Early samples are much heavier than later ones. They also have a better quality look to them.

 Vintage blue long necklace with carnival glass beads

See also Ornate clasp vintage necklace in blue carnival beads on our website.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Costume Jewellery by Judith Miller - a book review

Okay I have gone to to write a review on this book Costume Jewellery by Judith Miller several times, but I am really having difficulty because its one of the worst books on vintage jewellery I have read ever and overall was very disappointing.

Costume jewellery by Judith Miller review

The content is available readily on the Internet about the individual designer and so there was nothing new or refreshing to read. Many vintage costume jewellers and historians have very comprehensive and correct factual information available that is free to view. There were also some glaring errors.  

AURORA BOREALIS rhinestones were first made in about 1955. So any jewellery with this is not 1930s/1940s but would be dated from the late 1950s onwards........

With the title "Costume Jewellery" I expected at least some relevant information on UK's vintage costume jewellery. and especially as its been written by someone from the UK. But no the book is also published with the "Costume Jewelry" title aimed at the US market. There is very little written about UK costume jewellery apart from the newer Butler and Wilson and Vivienne Westwood.  Most of the vintage jewellery shown is only obtainable from the US and most is now quite rare and expensive. You also need to be wary of fakes when buying this type of designer pieces.

Vintage enamel lily flower brooch

This is a lily flower brooch in marcasite and enamel. This vintage brooch is available in a wide range of coloured enamel. They were made from the early part of the twentieth century until the 1970s. One size does not fit all. The earlier ones are of pot metal, not rhodium plated and the clasp is very different C shaped not the rollover clasp. So by just showing the front can be very misleading for dating.

Unbelievably the "Unsigned Gems" chapter contained signed vintage jewellery- not sure what that was all about?? It would have been extremely helpful to show the backs of the jewellery and clasps.

Ciro Pearl vintage clip earrings

Vintage clip-on earrings by Ciro Pearls

The only thing I can say without being terribly rude - is that if you like to look at pretty pictures of jewellery only - then buy this book. But if you are a complete novice and want to actually learn about costume jewellery -  then there are many other good quality books and informative books available., Ones that are well researched and contain excellent information that is correct - the Warman's Series is an excellent place to start.  

Purple vintage bead necklace long

 Purple vintage long necklaces

Thursday 21 July 2011

Vintage Wedding Jewellery in clear and white

Today its is very fashionable to wear vintage jewellery on your wedding day. But this is not a new idea. Many moons ago when I married this saying was a popular tradition to follow "Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue"
So vintage wedding jewellery was an easy option to choose for the "something old".

Now days, beautiful vintage style wedding hair pieces can be created out of brooches and necklaces. This replaces the tiaras of Victorian and Edwardian times that were made to break down into smaller pieces of a brooch and a necklace - to wear after the wedding. So you no longer have to have bucket loads of money to add that something special to your wedding.

Another growing idea is to adore your wedding bouquet with brooches and other finery to make it extra special. I love this idea as you can be so creative. It can also be something for the bridesmaids to keep afterwards. Some brides often collect vintage brooches to give as wedding favors to their family and friends. Though I would not recommend buying brooches with missing rhinestones, as its not that easy to replace them. In fact it is something of an art and from memory there just isn't enough time in the day to prepare as it is.

White weddings became popular in Victorian and Edwardian times (due to Queen Victoria herself) and have remained so to today. But many other cultures use more vibrant decoration on their wedding day such as in this blog on Indian wedding jewellery wrote last year.

Not forgetting the groom:)

This is just a small sample of the vintage jewellery available on Jewels and Finery.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Sarah Coventry Vintage Jewelry P12 - 1976

Continuing with the 1976 Spring brochure from Sarah Coventry. This is part 12. Ideal for helping to name and date Sarah Coventry vintage jewelry and to see what else was available in that series.

Page 38 

A = Complete necklace minus tassel from the Emberwood range.
B = Short necklace (20") and tassel.
C = Short necklace and bracelet.
Earrings have a removable dangle and for pierced ears.

Page 39

A = Taste of Honey earrings for pierced ears.
B = Taste of Honey necklace.
C = Taste of Honey earrings (clip)
D = Applause necklace in 28", 35 - 63"

This week we have started to divide the signed vintage jewellery category to different companies, signatures and designers to make viewing easier.

So here are a few of the latest pieces of vintage jewellery added to Jewels and Finery.

Moonflower vintage brooch signed Sarah Coventry

Silvery Sunburst vintage brooch 1960s - 1970s.

And just a couple of old favorites.

Sarah Coventry cufflinks and tie pin in green signed also GB

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Cool Jewellery For The Summer

Summer is definitely here in the UK, with tropical sunny days and just a little rain. On Sunday I came to put on my vintage jewellery and as the day promised to be very hot, ended up choosing a cool gemstone necklace. Best choice as even when I felt hot, the necklace remained cool.

Here are just a few to consider:)

Bloodstone jewellery has always been popular.

Amber is not cool to the touch, it has a warm waxy feel. But there are quartz crystals in this modern necklace in a cream and amber flecked colour to cool you down. Short length of 40 cm or 16 inches. 

Agates now come in all sizes and colours. Many are dyed vivid colours. But they are also still available in their natural state and transformed into beads. Cool to the touch. This necklace has moss agate beads and is vintage with a screw fastening. Short length of 16 inches or 40 cm. 

A mix of two natural materials. Mother of pearl and hematite. Both cool to the touch. Pretty dainty two piece jewellery set. With an added bonus as hematite is said to protect against all harm!

When we first held this necklace it was like a heavy metal bead piece but the beads are in fact spinels and probably Picotite. Rare brown beads with black gemstone beads combined. Long necklace of 80 cm or 32 inches. Very cool to the touch and very natural in style.

Contemporary rose quartz and hematite necklace

Moonstone orange & hematite necklace

Two hematite necklaces combined with gemstones of rose quartz and beautiful orange moonstone beads. Hematite I feel is underrated. It has a "Cleopatra" or Egyptian style when in these fringe designed necklaces.
Wear with a white top or dress for an exotic contrasting look.   

Necklaces of small beads or chips are so versatile as they can be used as necklaces or wrap around your wrist as a bracelet. they can also be pinned to a hat as a hat band. Wear one on its own or more than one in contrasting colours. Here are two with real turquoise and jade. Many pieces of turquoise now is not the actual stone but a coloured look a like, so be careful when buying it.  

A 1990s not quite vintage necklace and pair of earrings. This set has pearls with white opaque jade and quartz of rose, amethyst and a pale blue. Very pretty jewellery set. the earrings are clip on with a screw for extra comfort. I have just brought a set that has screw on earrings that I would not wear a I like pierced ones. So I have matched up some earring findings and will change then to become pierced earrings as soon as the findings arrive. Remember that some necklaces can be made longer with an additional extender chain.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Sixties Heart Name Brooches

Anyone else remember having a heart shaped opaque white vintage brooch with your name on. Produced in the sixties and marketed at children or the young at heart!
They were painted with different flowers and the name was in gold lettering. Safety fastening to the back in silver tone metal. Every child wanted one and over the last few years have come across a few - now they are of course classed as vintage jewellery.
This was me aged about 5. The brooch long lost and I would like to find another with my own name on.

A year ago, we brought and subsequently resold one, from a lady who wore one to work most of the time. She worked in a canteen and used it as a name badge.

These plastic vintage name brooches are now quite rare. Here are just 2 in the names Karen and Lily.

Karen named heart shaped vintage brooch

Lucite white vintage brooch named Lily

Named brooches and other initial jewellery has been popular down the decades. I also remember in the 1970s wearing a choker necklace. Very popular amongst teenagers at the time. It was in a silver coloured metal wire with a pendant initial on. Then more recently shaped brooches that is still available, of brightly coloured enamel with names on - again for children.

When did you last wear a named brooch or piece of jewellery?

Tuesday 5 July 2011

On Bone China Brooches, Earrings and Pendants

Summer special sale of some of our vintage jewellery. Today its reductions across the whole range of vintage bone china brooches, earrings and pendants. Names like Denton, Artone and Bilston. As well as many unsigned beauties.
Summer flowers in pretty colours of yellow, pink, green and blue, from the Staffordshire Potteries. Many now no longer in existence. Ideal to pin to summer hats and bags. Or to wear in the day or evening.

Our sale is now over - bute here are a few fabulous pictures of bone china pieces available.

 So see the special offers from our home page at Jewels and Finery.

Monday 4 July 2011

More Rings From Sarah Coventry P11 - 1976 Spring Brochure

More rings from the 1976 Spring brochure produced by Sarah Coventry. Now part 11 and showing pages 36 and 37. Vintage jewellery produced in this year and displayed in the brochure; not only helps with identification, but with the actual name and description. It will also show if there was other pieces of jewellery that you can obtain to complete a set.

Page 36

A = Venetian Treasure.
B = Mixer in silver tone.
C = Finesse.
D = Angel Fish
E = Mixer gold tone.
F = Nosegay (adjust 4 - 6)
G = Day-Glo
H = Sundown.
I = My Valentine.
J = Sport (adjustable 4 - 6 & 6 1/2 - 9)
K = Moon Cloud
L = Avante
M = Frenchie
N = New Lustre
O = Cotillion
P = Serenity Cross - silver plate
Q = Harbor Lites
R = Sweet Briar
S = Serenity Cross - gold plate
T = Spanish Lites

Page 37

A = Zuni
B = Frosted Flower
C = Deco.
D = Starbright
E = Caged Pearl (simulated pearls and adjustable 4 - 6 in gold plate.
F Caged Pearl in silver plate.
G = Blue Rose
H = Evening Sky
I = Rome
J = Cher (adjustable 6 1/2 - 9)
K = Cameo Portrait
L = Silver Bubbles
M = Alexandria
N = Harvest (adjust 4 - 6 & 6 1/2 - 9)

We do not have many Sarah Coventry rings on Jewels and Finery at the moment. But do have a couple waiting to be photographed. So in the mean time some - other vintage rings to covert.

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.