Thursday, October 31, 2013

Little Jean Jean Smurf

The first costume I remember wearing for Halloween was my Smurf costume. Do kids even know who the Smurfs are anymore? I found almost the exact costume on Etsy today (and here is my little mask!) and I laughed because the packaging looks ancient! Ahhhh, remember the days when a "costume" meant a plastic mask and a wee smock? That was all you needed to feel totally decked out for Halloween. Now it seems that kids don't dare leave the house without a wig, some light-activated wands or swords and a full-body suit! I also giggle when I remember how low-tech everyone's decorations were back then. Maybe folks would throw a fake cobweb over the door and put one of those pumpkin trash bags full of leaves on the lawn. Now there are gravestones, moving zombie arms, spooky music playing from speakers, special Halloween lights . . . the works. Just imagine what Halloween festivities will be like in another 30 years!

What is the first costume you remember wearing? Or how about your favorite costume as a kid? Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"most attractive ever created"

The Art Deco rhinestone necklace and earrings I just listed in the shop are part of a trend of "brilliant set," American costume jewels from the early 1930s. Women of that era lusted after the platinum and diamond creations of the great jewelry houses like Cartier (don't we still!?) which were inaccessible to most of the population. It didn't take long for jewelry manufacturers to draft costume versions of these highly desired styles to meet the demand of fashionable ladies.

For the price of $7.50 in 1932 (about $130 today) you could purchase an "exact copy of an expensive French creation" from stores like Montgomery Ward. The jewelry was always done in silver, either sterling or plated with rhodium, and always pavé set with clear rhinestones - usually chatons or baguettes. The necklaces always featured a drop portion and the earrings were usually chandelier style.

The craftsmanship on these pieces is always excellent and they are right on the line of Edwardian and Art Deco styling . . . dripping with jewels and delicate with lacy piercings but also non-figural and often geometric in design. Hands down, one of my favorite styles from the era. As the copy in one of my catalogs says about this jewelry, "As a gift for any occasion, nothing could be more acceptable."Agreed! Although I think these things would be especially lovely for a bride.

Images scanned from my copies of the 1932 Fort Dearborn Gift Book & Catalog, Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry, 1840-1950, 7th Edition (C. Jeanenne Bell, G.G.), and Warman's Vintage Jewelry, Identification and Price Guide (Leigh Leshner)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

They like coffee, too

I don't think I could manage the spider cup, but I wouldn't mind seeing that sweet little otter face at the bottom of my morning Americano. I love that this Etsy shop includes the animal as a "material" in the listing. For example, the otter cup lists: ceramics, ceramic, cup, otter.

Images courtesy of Creature Cups

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A new dress ≍ Myrtle

I recently bought this Mary Meyer dress from Myrtle, an LA shop that carries pieces from independent female designers. The shop owner, Whitney, sent the nicest note along with the dress (thank you, Whitney!) The clothes in the shop are gorgeous, smart and designed to flatter women of all shapes and sizes, which is pretty goddam refreshing. Got curves? Great. Small tatas? Great. Ample bum? Great. Somehow it all works out with these clothes. Myrtle is also one of my favorite follows on Instagram, where Whitney shares some snaps from the showroom. It is sort of like getting to see your friends come out of the dressing room and prance around in pretty things. This is where you want to go to shop Myrtle online. Oh! And I paired the dress with a satiny 1940s celluloid trumpet flower necklace, which I trot out a couple times a year.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A forest box

A couple days ago, Mr. Jean Jean put on his slippers at 6:30 AM and announced that he was going to make Severen a forest box. I thought that sounded pretty awesome. So I sipped my coffee and waited to see what would happen next. Ten minutes later, we were on the porch playing and having a great time. The easiest things are often the best, for kids and grown ups alike eh? Severen loves this "toy" right now because he is obsessed with his little animal figurines. He carries them around, brings them to me and tells me that they need breakfast, takes them to the park to play, gives them baths at the sink, etc. He really tries to take care of them. And they take care of him, too. The other day he got a bump on his head and he had the tiny raccoon "kiss" it and then he said, "Mr. Raccoon made it feel alllll better." The box is also nice because we can change it up, bringing in leaves and sticks that we collect on wagon rides for example. Such fun.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I shall never tire

These snake rings push all my buttons. And just look at how warm and scuffed up the gold is. Like a perfectly worn in pair of jeans that you want to wear for twenty years in a row. If I put one of these on I dare say it would never come off. All of these come from Paris Hotel Boutique, a San Francisco based shop that sells (among other things) jewelry, vintage hotel silver (and copper pots from the Waldorf Astoria!) and art. I found this vintage French parade flag in their "sold" files and almost lost my marbles. And this 4' tall brass candleabra well, I really want to figure out a way to wear it. Could I fit in there somewhere among the brass foliage?

Images courtesy of Paris Hotel Boutique

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Four bracelets, four decades

There are four new bracelets in the shop, each from a different decade. Top to bottom: 1970s, 1910s, 1950s, 1940s. Check out all of the Jean Jean bracelets in the bracelet drawer of the shop! And as always, if you are looking for something that you don't see, get in touch with me and I bet I can find it for you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jadeite at auction

These are just a few of the hundreds of extraordinary pieces showing later this month at Sotheby's "Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite" auction in Hong Kong (all images linked to full listings). Did you know that in addition to the most recognizable apple green, jadeite can be found in a variety of other colors? Lavender, black, yellow, red and even white are highly desirable and rare color variations for the mineral. I had no idea! Jadeite is one of two types of the gemstone jade (the other is called nephrite) and has been found in only about a dozen places worldwide. The most desirable, translucent jadeite specimens are only found in Central America and Burma.

Images courtesy of Sotheby's