Friday, April 29, 2011

Thank you ♡

It is Friday again and every Friday I think to myself, "Wow, I just got to spend another week running Jean Jean Vintage. I am so lucky." Truly truly, I feel very grateful to live in a time and place where online business is possible (yay internets!), folks are interested in investing in vintage and antiques, and there are loads of talented, motivated young business owners to look up to and learn from. I am most grateful, however, for you. Yes, because without your interest and support in my little corner of the world this would all be for naught. Thank you so much. These flowers (from my yard) are for you!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ice cream is good

If you fell out of practice over the winter, this is your official notice that it is time to start eating ice cream/gelato/sorbetto again. Getting ice cream with friends is one of my favorite things to do - way more fun than getting grown up things like lunch and coffee. Luckily, Mr. Jean Jean Vintage loves ice cream more than anyone I know, so I never have to work too hard to persuade him to get a treat with me. My favorite flavor right now? Molasses!

Photos courtesy of the Life Image Archives

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brights and braids

I've got bracelets, braids and bright colors on my mind lately. I can't seem to get enough bracelets, especially 1930s bright plastic or simple gold plated bangles. This time of year, I feel naked without a bracelet. Warm weather is so great for showing off pretty wrist wear! As for braids, I've been *trying* to french braid my hair lately with mixed results (i.e. sometimes my braid is inside out).

sundress || hand-me-down JCrew from Lauren
shoes || vintage Italian leather sandals from No Carnations
bracelets || 1940s laminated bangles, headed to the shop today
ring || 1930s molded plastic and filigree ring with a lady and rhinestone flower

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Royal wedding gifts

Orange blossom brooch, 1839 | white porcelain, gold
Wedding brooch, 1840 | sapphire, diamonds, gold
Eagle brooch, 1840 | silver, turquoise, pearls, diamonds, rubies

The royal wedding is coming up this Friday the 29th. Yes, I am childishly excited for it and yes, I will be awake at 2 AM to watch live coverage.

A royal wedding that I would love to go back in time to see is that of Queen Victoria to her beloved Prince Albert in 1840. They were, to the best of everyone's knowledge, intensely devoted to each other and to their large family. Among other tender gestures, the couple had a habit of gifting jewelry and photographs to each other - beginning at their engagement and continuing through their marriage. Here are two pieces that Albert gave to Victoria to celebrate their engagement and wedding, as well as a brooch he had designed for each of the twelve young women (bridesmaids) who carried Victoria's train at her wedding. You can click on the images to learn more about them.

Photos courtesy of The Royal Collection

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lavender and mint

Minty green and fresh-from-the-field lavender in the shop update today, rounded out with a bit of gold! Did you know that lavender is actually a genus of the mint family?

Speaking of mint, I'm excited to try this recipe for homemade soda very soon. I was also thinking that it would be fun to do a step-by-step post later this summer and show you how to make traditional Moroccan Mint tea (yum!) - what say ye? And as for lavender, I'm crazy about this French Lavender Honey from Provence.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why I like Easter

A wee little Duff with a bunny friend

When I was little, I loved hunting for candy on Easter morning. My dad was an expert candy-hider. He tucked individual jelly beans in between the keys of the piano, carefully perched foil-wrapped eggs on the narrow ledges of the floor boards and left gumdrops on the buttons of the cassette player in the living room. He would leave little piles of candy on the steps and perch a chocolate bunny on top of the toilet paper roll (causing major giggles from my brother and me). My mom says that he started hiding candy as soon as my brother and I went to bed the night before, sometimes working on the task for well over an hour. He did such a good job, that we usually found stray jelly beans around the house well into May! This weekend, I will be remembering my sweet dad and thinking of the hundreds of tiny candies that he lovingly hid for us over the years. I'll see you Monday for a big shop update!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Elegant antennae

Hair ornament by René Lalique, ca. 1900 || gold, silver, steel and diamonds

Insect elegance! This piece is so simple and so purely Art Nouveau. Je l'adore.

Image from Imperishable Beauty: Art Nouveau Jewelry

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Annie Hall cool

Some days, I just want to look like Diane Keaton from Annie Hall. Yesterday was one of those days. I felt really, really great! Then I walked Mr. Jean Jean to his office and as I was crossing campus right at lunchtime, I suddenly felt really, really old. All those skinny-ankled kids with their à la minute fashion trends! By the time I got home, the coolness I felt taking these glamour shots in the morning had preetttty much worn off. C'est la vie! Oh, and sorry about the creepy double-wrist pictures, I know it looks like I am giving myself a fist-bump. But I assure you, I don't do that - even when I am feeling très cool in my driveway.

shoes/jeans/silk shirt/vest || hand-me-downs from Lauren  (I know! I would probably be naked without her.)
hat || antique mall
locket || 1910s Little Beatrice locket with photos and original chain, available in the shop
bracelet || 1930s expandable locket bracelet, antique shop
watch || 1940s Avalon watch, antique shop (and it works!)
ring || my mom's high school ring

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dancing purse

1930s photograph via Vintage Warehouse

Thanks to Christie from 72Studios for sending me a link to this great vintage photograph! The girl and the dress are sweet indeed, but the little beaded purse is what caught my eye (and hers, too). At first I thought it was a Czech glass bead dancing purse, but I think it is too big for that. It is probably a Belgian beaded clutch, sort of like this one in the shop. I bet the color of the beads on her purse matched the floral print on her dress, what do you think?

vintage IN BRUGES 1930s beaded clutch

Monday, April 18, 2011

Candy coated

With Easter coming up this Sunday, I've got candy colors on my mind. I picked out these bright pieces for the shop today - I hope you enjoy them! I have great memories of Easter from when I was a little tot (more about that on Friday) and I am seriously considering buying myself a bag of jelly beans just for old time's sake. What's your favorite jelly bean color/flavor?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sweet tooth

Tartlets at Once Upon a Tart, NYC
I've had a crazy sweet tooth this entire week. It kicked off with a visit to Tartine Bakery last Saturday, where my friends and I bought enough pastries to cater a corporate business brunch and proceeded to devour them methodically, just the four of us. Then my buddy Kathleen gifted me a wonderful box of assorted chocolates and caramels from Fran's Chocolates in Seattle, which Mr. Jean Jean and I have been diligently working our way through after dinner (thanks Kathleen!)

I hope that you treated yourself to something sweet this week - preferably a buttery pastry, a chocolate bonbon or a cup of cool tea. If you forgot to, please make sure to play catch up this weekend! You deserve it. Bon weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A little game

One of my favorite parts of having Jean Jean Vintage is all of the jewelry research I get to do. I've got two big piles of reference books (almost two dozen now!) next to my desk and I love trying to figure out the mystery of a jeweler's mark, the dating of a transitional piece, or the name for a particular type of faceting. It fulfills the graduate student in me.

Sometimes, though, there are things that you can't find in books. Like the symbols on this bracelet I found last week. I had fun figuring out what they mean and I thought you might, too. If you want to play this sleuthing game, here are the rules: Send me a note via the Say Hello tab on this blog properly identifying the six enamel charms on the bracelet and you'll be entered to win a coupon for 15% off your next order in the shop. The game lasts 24 hours. I'll announce the winner in this post!

Update ||  These charms are European road signs, probably ca. 1940s-1950s,  counter clockwise: Parking, No Parking, Dangerous bend/curve, Gated level crossing/railroad, Crossroads, No waiting/parking. Everyone did a great job but the official winner is Anneke! Thank you for playing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Swiss and stripes

I love stripes, probably because they make me feel French and lord knows I long to be a Frenchie. I picked up this soft, thin, wrinkly shirt last week and I have been wearing it a lot lately with jeans and sandals. Yesterday, I couldn't resist accessorizing with some pretty antique blue glass. This ring and necklace (headed to the shop this morning!) both feature simulated lapis lazuli, also called Czech lapis. Another Lapis Lazuli substitute that you sometimes see in antique jewelry is called Swiss lapis, which is actually another stone (jasper, quartz) that is dyed dark blue.

shirt || Comfy USA (purchased at Persimmon, for you East Bay gals)
jeans || hand-me-downs
sandals || thrifted
ring || 1930s filigree cocktail and Czech lapis ring
necklace || 1930s Czechoslovakian lapis glass bead collar

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh Faye

I re-watched Bonnie and Clyde the other night and was absolutely transfixed by Faye Dunaway. And by this I mean, truly, I almost cut my own hair at midnight to look like Bonnie Parker. The movie (1967) follows the Barrow Gang through several states and dozens of crimes to the much publicized shoot out and death of the country's favorite public enemy couple in 1934. Ms. Dunaway's clothes in the movie are simple and stylish and she has this bewitching sun-kissed look through the whole film. The little curl she has on the side of her head in the first scenes just kills me.

Images courtesy of