Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jean Jean Vintage v. 2.0

This morning we bid adieu to apartment living and moved into our new house. Soren (hubby) is currently busy assembling our bed, hooking up the TV, etc. and I am just about to start unpacking Jean Jean Vintage. I hope to keep the shop operating smoothly during the next few days, but I thank you in advance for your patience if things do slow down a bit. As soon as I have everything set up, I'll post some pictures of the real life shop - version 2.o.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My feathers are ruffled

| I love these old dinner menus from the Holland-America Line. I want more! I also want to know what Crème à la Reina is. |

Monday, September 27, 2010

In production

| Jean Jean Vintage's newest arrivals, on their way to the shop soon |

1. PEWABIC 1940s necklace
2. CLADDAGH HEART 1930s locket

3. PORTHOLE 1930s locket
4. VICTORIAN MOURNING 1890s brooch
5. ROCK IN THE LANE 1940s locket
6. CARTIER STYLE 1940s clip
7. SHOOTING STAR 1940s clip
8. PERCHING PARROT 1940s brooch
9. TOMATILLO 1930s earrings
10. HOPE BROTHERS 1920s lavalier
11. LAST HYACINTH 1910s bracelet

12. TORRONE D'HIVER 1930s necklace

Friday, September 24, 2010

Desirable Information

Desirable indeed! This indispensable information comes from the back cover of a 1920s Tennessee jewelry store mail order catalog I just found. The first line on the inside cover says, This catalog has been sent to you because we think it will interest you. I love it! So simply stated. Just imagine if JCrew had a lead sentence like that! Another funny thing is that they invite you to phone them if you need immediate assistance, but the telephone number is nowhere to be found in the catalog. So I guess I won't be calling about that locket on page five, after all. Finally, you should all know that next year is my bric-a-brac anniversary - I'll expect a celebratory knick-knack or trinket from each and every one of you :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Jean Jean"

As I pack up our apartment in anticipation of our move next week, I'm coming across - and getting totally distracted by - lots of things. Fancy glass salad bowls that I'm pretty sure I haven't seen in seven years, my archaeology textbooks, my basketball card collection from elementary school and most importantly - old photo albums. And that's when I realized that I want you to meet my dad.

His name was Fred. He was born in 1943 in Kansas City, Mo, and he died about five years ago. He had a very interesting life. Among other things, he served as a morse code specialist in Thailand in the mid-60s (my brother and I loved to make him say our names in morse code when we were little - dah dit dit dah . . . ), he got a Ph.D. in elementary education and had a long career as a professor and reading specialist, he enjoyed photography, he played Chopin, he loved Kurt Vonnegut novels and old films, and he had a goofy sense of humor.

One of his names for me was Jean Jean, since my middle name is Jean. When he died, my sweet nickname was lost with him and I've been missing it (and him) terribly ever since. It is kind of always in my head, though, and it surfaced when I was thinking of names for my shop. I think it is perfect. It's a way for me to include my dad in a little way, every day, in this new part of my life. I think he would be pretty excited for me and my new adventure if he were still around.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bumbling love

I've long hoped to find a locket by the R.B. MacDonald company. The company manufactured many different types of gold and sterling jewelry in Attleboro, MA (the jewelry capital of the US) the late 19th/early 20th century, but they were perhaps best known for their Little Beatrice lockets.

The mark on these lockets - which come in a variety of styles - is my absolute favorite. It is a bumble bee with the letters "RBM" on the top and the letters "ATRICE" on the bottom. Read top to bottom, the combination of letters and the image of the bee give you Beatrice. The year of the company's founding, 1874, is also a part of the mark. Adorable!

I just listed this locket in the shop this morning - go and have a look!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bijoux recap ♦ September Week Three

Here are some of the things that I stocked in the shop this week, as well as a few that will go in today. I'm living in fall but feeling a little tugging reminder of spring, thanks to my buddies in the Southern Hemisphere. You'll see a bit of both seasons in the shop for the next few weeks, I think. I've also been struck by acute locket fever and there is now a section in the shop just for lockets!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jewelry and hors d'oeuvres, ca. 1955

The 1950s woman had a lot on her mind heading into the winter party season, including 1. how to coordinate accessories and 2. how to whip up an unforgettable plate of hors d'oeuvres. To solve the first, she kept a few sets of demi parures on hand - a matching brooch, earrings or necklace to dress up any outfit, day or night. To tackle the second, filed a stack of trusty recipes featuring favorites like canned lobster, peanut butter and cream cheese in any number of combinations.

In honor of these mid-century fête time traditions - and to help you prepare for your own holiday season - I'm listing some demis in the shop and also sharing some of the most outrageous hors d'oeuvre recipes I've ever seen. If you wear your jewelry while you make the hors d'oeuvres, you get big points.

Monday, September 13, 2010

♦ Giveaway ♦ (CLOSED)

It's time for another Jean Jean Vintage giveaway! For your consideration is a multi-strand, mid-century simulated pearl necklace. The necklace has one of the loveliest pavé set claps I've ever seen, absolutely beautiful worn at the front or the side. Although the pearls are certainly a bit distressed, I couldn't pass this one up. I hope you like it!

You can have up to four entries! Here is how:
1.) Comment on this post = 1 entry
2.) Comment on the Advice please post (if you already did, I've got you on the list!) = 1 entry
3.) Sign up as a new Jean Jean blog follower between now and September 20th = 1 entry
4.) Tweet about the giveaway (be sure to include @jeanjeanvintage in your message) = 1 entry

The drawing will take place on Monday, September 20th @ 10 PM Michigan time (Eastern). The winner will be announced immediately.

UPDATE: The winner drawn from a whopping 226 entries at 10:06 PM via was STEPHANIE! Thank you so much for playing. Stay tuned for more Jean Jean giveaways!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shape up!

It's going to be a beautiful weekend, so put on your best leotard and stretchiest stirrup pants and get ready to shape up! Whether you are doing a Jane Fonda video with a friend or just running in place at home, this gear is perfect. For best results, try listening to Blue Monday on your walk-man during your workout. Me? I'll head out for a casual jog in that wind suit (with my hair just like that) a little later today.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Your jewelry is a tattle-tale!"

This ad is sheer delight, from the mini-biography of the the "doubly winsome" model, Barbara Dorsey, to the bit about being sophisticated "in a nice way." I'm just warming you up for some lovely demi parure (i.e. partial jewelry sets) coming to the shop soon! You can be just like Barbara! Here is the full text of the ad:

"This is lovely Barbara Dorsey. First year college beauty, doubly winsome with her smart Ledo jewelry! Born and raised in New York. Taking merchandising and interior decoration at Marymount College. Ambition: to be a buyer . . . because she likes people and clothes. Also likes good food. A Walter Thornton model.

Your jewelry is a tattle-tale! Fashion-right, like Ledo's Etruscan, it tells that your taste is impeccable. Tells that you are sophisticated - in a nice way. Rhythmic pattern of bright and antique gold, richly plated, Etruscan shows off a slender wrist . . . the matched earrings are "eye-catchers" for a pretty face. Perfect for all but the most formal moods."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I am bewildered by these examples of fantasy cut or sculptured gemstones. The craftsmen and women who do this kind of work are extremely skilled lapidarists, understanding the unique properties and tendencies of each stone to cleave, refract light, etc. Can you imagine having one of these stones custom set in a ring?! I can - I think it would be mighty nice.

See more images of gemstone carvings by American Bart Curren here. And if you are really interested, you can check out this book about the father of fantasieschliffe and his family, the Munsteiners of Germany.