Friday, February 26, 2010

Where they live now

I've been collecting jewelry for a while, but I really started buying last fall. Before I knew it, my little pile of pretty things had grown to dozens of items and I had absolutely no place to store everything. Since half the fun of collecting is being able to see what you have so that you may properly admire, I was left feeling very unsatisfied.

Then I found this box at Lucky Haskins last weekend. It was kinda gross - the compartments were dirty and some even had the mummified remains of those creepy crawly 1000 leg things. But it was made of wood (LOVE), it had compartments (LOVE), it was handmade (LOVE) and it was old. So I bought the box - let's call him Mr. Brown - brought him home and spent about an hour in my driveway scrubbing him out. My intention was not to make him glow, just to make him inhabitable.

Then last night, I moved my jewels in to their new digs. Mr. Brown has three tiers. The bottom is for miscellaneous stuff (my loupe, stinky glue, pretty tape, etc.), the middle layer is currently vacant, and the top level - well, you can see what I did there. It seems to be a good partnership: my treasures seem real comfy in this snaggly old box. I just couldn't bear the thought of putting my pretty things in tupperware uggghhhh . . . and now I don't have to. I guess all along I was just waiting to find Mr. Brown.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February giveth

Here are a few February finds that I am particularly smitten with right now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The most beautiful necklace in the room, depending on the room

I found this stunning choker (1920's or 30's) at a consignment store in town. I love the faceted crystal beads, gradated in size oh so slightly. I love the carnelian beads. But most of all, I love the clasp mechanism. A push clasp, hidden behind the giant bezel-set rhinestone. The rhinestone is worn in the front.

This is the prettiest necklace I own . . . it dazzles me. To me, it is one of a kind. But one visit to my great local antique shop, or a few clicks around Georgian Jewelry or Shihtzuwest, and I realize that there are thousands of necklaces, rings, brooches, etc. like mine (and better) out in the world.

This realization actually comforts me. Greatly. I am just happy to own a very, very, very tiny piece of the vintage-jewelry pie.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"12 photographs and 19 drawings"

I ducked into a used bookstore the other day hoping to find a book or two about antique jewelry. The relevant section turned out to be small but interesting. There was a paperback about collecting men's belt buckles, an eye-watering, huge book about Lalique, several old Christie's auction catalogs and - on the top shelf - a book called Collecting Antique Jewellery. I bought that one. I like it because it has almost no photographs or illustrations and the writing is great - written in such a good-natured tone that it borders on comic. Here are a couple of my favorite passages:

On Georgian earrings: "Dangling" would appear to be the operative adjective for Georgian earrings which were invariably long and free-swinging. Indeed, some were of such extravagant length that they reached the wearer's shoulders.

On how to locate "finds:" The car-driving collector is at a great advantage. For him it is possible to search in little village shops in hidden byways, often a rich source of supply . . . It can be a fascinating summer pursuit in leisurely tour of towns and villages with the ever-present hope of unearthing treasure-trouve en route.