Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Day, 1940

As I was listing this locket tonight, I noticed the date of the engraving. What a sweet Christmas present! I wonder if "C.G." and "E.M." are still around/in love, sixty years later. And do you think that the photo in the locket is "C.G."? I do.

Jewelry Box Tour 5 || Brenna Dougan

1Your name, s’il vous plait Brenna Dougan*

* I met Brenna on the first day of Kindergarten. She was feisty and she had a sweet perm! I thought to myself, "I should stick with this girl!" So we became friends and have been BFF's ever since. The photo of the kids in rollerskates in this post is us! You can read more about us in this post.
 2| Where do you live? Washington, D.C.

3| What do you do during the day and at night? During the day I work on international labor issues. Basically, I monitor the enforcement of labor laws in the countries with which the United States has trade agreements and trade preference programs.

4| What do you look for in a piece of jewelry? What are you drawn to? I like unique, tasteful pieces; something that can be worn to the office or worn out but that is not too flashy or too run-of-the-mill.

5| Tell me about the jewelry you wear the most. Is there something that you never take off? I wear a pair of sterling silver hoop earrings several times a week. They are full hoops and close behind the earlobe with a little bar that slips into place. They are just the right size: not too big, not too small, and the silver is beautiful.

6| What is your jewelry weakness? My weakness is jewelry from places to which I travel. That is, it it's very hard for me to roll into a big-box store and buy jewelry. I want my jewelry to have a connection to a time and a place.


7| What’s the last piece of jewelry you added to your box? My latest piece is a pair of off-white lace earrings from Tree and Kimball that are absolutely to die for and look stunning when paired with a strapless black dress and strappy sandals.

8| Please tell me a great story about a piece or two in your collection: Well, I'm including photos of two things: a necklace made from a bullhorn from Guatemala, which I bargained my butt off to get, and I've never seen another piece like it in Guatemala or anywhere else, and the brooch that was my great-grandmother's and has my initials.

A great story? When I was an undergrad one of my numerous odd-jobs was to drive a shuttle from Iowa State University to the Des Moines airport for conferences. That is, I would work with conference services to find out when conference attendees were to arrive to the airport and I would drive down and pick them up and drive them to their hotel at the university. During one conference, there were two men from China who had a 5:30 AM flight from Des Moines. I had to pick them up at their hotel at 3:00 AM to make sure they made it to the airport on time. They were so appreciative of the fact that I picked them up so early that when I dropped them off they gave me a necklace of delicate, floral-patterned beads, a matching bracelet and two packs of gold-foil-embossed Chinese cigarettes. They told me that the jewelry and cigarettes were 'typical' pieces from China. That was many years ago but I still take the necklace and the beads with me everywhere I move.

9| If price was not an issue, what piece of jewelry would you give to your best friend? I would get her several strands of Coco Chanel's pearls so she could mix and match them with other lovely and classic pieces.

{This is the last interview in the five-part Jewelry Snooping Series! If you commented on each post throughout the month, you are in the running to win a $50 gift certificate to the shop. I'll announce the winner on Monday, December 5th here on the blog. Thank you for reading!}

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Precious shoelaces

I know you've all been waiting to lace up your fall booties with gold and silver shoelaces. Now, thanks to designer Mr. Kennedy you can! His 24K gold shoelaces are going for $19K and the silver versions are $3K. If you order a pair of gold laces, they will be delivered with a security guard and laced for you anywhere in the world.

via Lost at E Minor. Images courtesy of Sneakerfiles

Monday, November 28, 2011

White Tie Update

Have you ever been to a white tie event? Or a black tie event? Me neither, but I imagine some of these pieces would be appropriate for such a fancy evening party. If you like marcasite, onyx and pavé set rhinestones this is the update for you. Happy Monday!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

This time last week

This time last week I was at the Pop Up Shop! Here are a few photos of the Jean Jean Vintage display from that afternoon. A big thank you to all the guys and gals who stopped by. It was really fun to watch people explore the jewelry - touching, trying on, asking questions, etc. And a huge thank you to Lauren of Dear Golden Vintage for readying her beautiful new space for the occasion.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank you

Happy Thanksgiving! It is a busy day at my house today, with family visiting from Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and Texas. The turkey is in the oven, the pies are made and everything else is in the works. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, hands down. I know I will enjoy the day, start to finish - I hope you will, too!

Thank you for your support of my work here on the blog and in the shop. I am truly grateful for it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jewelry Box Tour 4 || Johanna Horn

1Your name, s’il vous plait Johanna Ruth Horn*

* Jo started out as a friend of a friend, and now she is just a friend. I admire her sense of style and her poise. Being around her is kind of like standing in the sun. I wish you could all meet her today!

2| Where do you live? Michigan

3| What do you do during the day and at night? I am a Jack [Jill] of many trades. By day, I run a nonprofit foundation that funds cancer research. Once the sun sets, I teach yoga... I also stare lovingly at my dogs, surround myself with many awesome people, play guitar in a band of completely rocking women, and laugh with my husband.

4| What do you look for in a piece of jewelry? What are you drawn to? I am drawn to the oddball or to the elegant. I am not certain there is a rhyme or reason to it.

5| Tell me about the jewelry you wear the most. Is there something that you never take off? Like most of us, I am always mixing vintage with straight up off the shelf. I also have had the privilege of traveling for the last few decades, and have collected beautiful things from all over: Morocco, Guatemala, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bali... As to my habits, I have recently just ended a phase of 'statement piece' wearing which lasted about 3 years... things have moved towards the more subdued and graceful. New stuff: I am wearing lots of wood, like Bettula from Detroit. Old stuff: Lucite!

6| What is your jewelry weakness? see above. Or, just anything off the wall...

7| What’s the last piece of jewelry you added to your box? A brooch! I just got into brooches as well. My mother-in-law had wrapped this classy 1950's gold poinsettia pin around some flowers for my birthday... Once I found it, it joined a frequent rotation.

8| Please tell me a great story about one of the pieces in your jewelry box. One of the most magical moments growing up was standing in front of my Nana's dresser- hands in her 1940's jewelry box which was filled with all sorts of outrageous clip-on earrings. I would entertain myself for hours, and remember being mesmerized by the flash and sparkle of the costume jewelry...I still lean that way sometimes. I, sadly, have none of  her earrings or knickknacks in my jewelry collection, but was recently gifted an entire box of a friend's grandmother's jewels. It was essentially filled with the same magic. Also, one of my husband's grandmothers gave me a 1960's brooch of hers just before we got married. I love it's mid-century look... and also love- being an ocean gal- that it resembles a sea urchin. There is a picture of it somewhere in here...

9| If price was not an issue, what piece of jewelry would you give to your best friend? My best friends aren't jewelry lovers! BUT: I would love to buy for some of the women in my family. What comes to mind most quickly are some delicate and refined Victorian-era lockets for Aunt Julie.. who designs from her amazing collection at Julie Starr Dresner.

{This series will "air" every Wednesday this month, with five interviews in all. You can read details about the series here and check out last week's interview here.} 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving menu

Last Thanksgiving was a hoot. It was our first year in our house and we invited the whole family for the holiday. It was my first experience hosting the big dinner and I had a lot of fun picking out recipes. I am basically making the same menu this Thursday (it's been a year, no one will mind right?) with a couple adjustments. What made the cut? The lemon-stuffed turkey, the swiss chard stuffing, the cranberry conserve (so good on yogurt if you have leftovers) and the parmesan roasted butternut squash, which was my absolute favorite last year. What's changing? Brussels sprouts with pecans in place of roasted vegetables and pumpkin cheesecake in place of pecan pie. Oh, and my mom will be firing up the microwave to make that Midwest classic - Green Bean Casserole.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year? What is the food/tradition that you look forward to the most?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Downton Abbey Update

Today's shop update is inspired by that lovely show called Downton Abbey. I haven't seen the second season yet, have you? I hope to get to it next month. In the meantime, here are some period pieces I've been gathering with Lady Mary, Edith, etc. in mind. Oh and do you notice the rogue bead in the purse photo below? I didn't notice it until I was editing the photos! I think it is pretty funny.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pop Up Shop!

Hi ho! If you are in the area this afternoon/evening Lauren and I would love to see you at the Dear Golden & Jean Jean Vintage Pop Up shop. It's going to be held in the new Dear Golden space (swwooooon!) in Downtown Ypsi. I'm pretty much bringing everything that I have in stock, including hundreds of pieces you've never seen in the shop (a few sneak peeks below). And Lauren has hundreds and hundreds (1000s?) of lovely garments, shoes and accessories. We would love to see you there!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Hey heay! I am the feature sponsor this month over at Sandy à la Mode. We're running a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to the shop. The last day to enter is Tuesday, November 22nd - I'd love for you to be in the running! Check out the details in this post.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

34 weeks and fancy pants

I woke up today and my head was cold so I decided to put in some curlers. Great solution, non? Then I tried on an outfit from my friend Kat, including some dressy maternity pants (so obviously not ironed - sorry!) Then I thought, "Well, I'm all gussied up I might as well take a picture." So me voilà at 34.5 weeks. This bump is for real now.

Top || Isabella Oliver  Pants || Gap Maternity 
Necklace || 1940s brass multi-strand  Earrings || 1920s faux pearl chandelier drops
Bracelet || 1910s multi strand brass, glass and faux pearls

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jewelry box tour 3 || Amy Sacksteder

1Your name, s’il vous plait Amy Sacksteder

*  I met Amy a few years ago through Lauren of Dear Golden Vintage. That was a happy day. Although I don't see her nearly as much as I would like to, when I do see her she is always wearing an outfit that I covet (often paired with great boots that I also covet). And the girl knows how to accessorize in a no-fuss way with the perfect combination of tough/modern and delicate vintage pieces. An admirable skill, for sure. You can check out Amy's lovely blog here.

2| Where do you live? Scenic Michigan, U.S.A.

3| What do you do during the day and at night?
Day: artist/ art professor
Other days/night: reading: Murakami-ish magical realism, biographies, social action, historical fiction, art books; gardening; traveling; collecting vinyl LP’s and enjoying them with friends and drinks; running and yoga; playing around in the kitchen making great vegan food with my partner in crime, Mark; eating amazing food and seeking out wonderful restaurants in different cities; organizing, rearranging, scheming, planning and general better-making.

4| What do you look for in a piece of jewelry? What are you drawn to? I have a hard time putting my finger on it.  I hate to say I know it when I see it, but it’s true. Common qualities seem to be: vintage, tassels/dangly elements, stackablity (for rings), uniqueness, something that resonates with a rich past; that connects me to the woma(e)n who once wore it (or man; I like a good man’s watch). But sometimes I’m a sucker for a new, innovative handmade piece as well, or a small treasure I bring home from a trip that can bring me to back that time and place whenever I wear it.

5| Tell me about the jewelry you wear the most. Is there something that you never take off? Well, I never really take off my antique engagement ring or my grandma’s thin gold wedding ring given to me by my mom.  I tend to wear the same earrings for long stretches and switch out necklaces or rings to suit my mood.  Even with those, I still go through infatuation phases where I’ll wear the same gold necklace with my mom’s little gold pendants from the 70’s or a carved plastic (or bone?) rose necklace for weeks, for example.  For earrings, I’m lately partial to my mom’s old gold hoops because I barely know they’re there and a pair of black lava rock studs I got in Iceland when I was there for an artist residency last year. I also always keep the same brooch on specific jackets or coats. They seem to want each other, and who am I to deny them that?


6| What is your jewelry weakness? Although I only have one piece in each of these categories, I swoon for gutta percha Victorian mourning jewelry and antique English and American (Hoffman) butterfly wing jewelry. I love sleek, black jett and obsidian antique pieces. I am also always on the lookout for early plastics such as Bakelite and Lucite. Aaaand just when you thought you were getting to know me, I’m also going to tell you that I love to wear pieces that have a bit of rock n’ roll fierceness to them like large, bulky rings or ostentatiously long / large necklaces. 

7| What’s the last piece of jewelry you added to your box? Since first writing this interview, my grandfather passed away and I thus inherited a gorgeous ring from my grandmother, who passed away in April (that's the lovely turquoise and jelly opal ring on the right above). Also, my grandmother had given me her 1942 class ring when I was eleven or so. The emblem/class crest had come off and I kept the ring for years with the solder on the top, not wanting to wear it. Then this fall, I had the idea to have a diamond from my wedding ring (which had lost one and had two remaining) set into the surface of the ring which connects me to it/her even more. I cherish both rings and wear them a great deal.

8| Please tell me a great story about one of the pieces in your jewelry box. Many of my most cherished pieces were inherited or given to me as gifts. One of the strangest and most interesting objects I own is a large, black, fringed neckpiece made out of a thrifted black t-shirt and plastic, wood and metal beads made by an Icelandic artist. My friend Una wore it to the group exhibition opening that marked the end of my November residency in Reykjavik. I told her how much I loved it and inquired about the artist. She immediately took it off and placed it over my head and declared “It’s yours!  It looks better on you anyway.”  She wouldn’t take no for an answer. I received a steady stream of compliments the rest of the long, celebratory night.

9| If price was not an issue, what piece of jewelry would you give to your best friend? I would give Duff a certain 1920s Egyptian Revival necklace with a tiny sarcophagus and a pale blue enamel chain (hi Duff!).  I would buy Lauren this super fancy bejeweled wildcat ring she wanted ages ago, for a surprise. 

{This jewelry box series will "air" every Wednesday this month, with five interviews in all. You can read details about the series and check out last week's interview here.}

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

String Theory Scarves


These scarves from String Theory are perfection. The materials, the colors, the designs - how beautiful! The company also makes shawls and throws. Aie yaie yaie!