Here’s a good song to start the week…
Here’s a good song to start the week…
Hello friends, remember my show last February? I didn’t have much time to go around and check out the other booths. But during a lull, I took a quick look around and what immediately caught my eye was a lady in green with a gorgeous vintage Czech glass necklace and a pretty 1920s hat. I just had to go up to her. We got to talking and it turns out that we both share a love for vintage Czech jewelry. It was so interesting talking to her that I spontaneously asked if I talk to her further, maybe even interview her later on. Fortunately she agreed.
Lynn is actually part of a trio of ladies who curate Fashion and the Automobile, a touring exhibit that showcases a unique intersection between fashion and the automobile and the changes wrought in them by popular culture. The exhibit is composed of 10 eras with authentic clothes and accessories to reflect each decade. The automobiles are rendered in fine art paintings, photographs and renderings.
Here are the three ladies decked out in all their finery!
All three ladies share a passion for automobiles. Victoria says that this touring exhibit idea is the fruit of her lifelong fascination with cars and her interest in fashion. Early on she recalls being brought by her mom to look at cars as they whizzed by. Elaine, the third member of this talented trio (who left before I could take her picture!), co-owns with her husband over 20 vintage cars! Lynn supplies the wonderful clothes and jewelry but is herself a lover of cars. She is a proud parent (as she calls herself) of a 1965 Herbie the Love Bug beetle.
What started out as 2 seemingly separate interests for the trio is married beautifully in an exhibit that is rich, varied and interesting. Automobiles and fashion, as with all other objects, exist within a context of its times and this undeniably influences and changes it. One example I could cite — when cars started to be more common and women started to drive more, they couldn’t very well get into these cars in those voluminous clothes of the 18th century. By the time Ford was mass producing his T-Models, women’s clothes had lost most of their bulky underpinings and waistlines were dropped. I’m sure this was a more comfortable way of tooling about in the T-Model.
From its beginnings in the Anton Art Center, the exhibit is a continuously evolving process for the three ladies. They are constantly looking for ways to make it more interesting and rich for its audience, which is a growing one. Now, they have people coming up to them and donating vintage gloves and hats and on one memorable occasion, a beautiful wedding dress from the 30s. Their enthusiasm is contagious and one senses a palpable love for what they do. They genuinely want to share the knowledge they’ve accumulated and its amazing how far they will work with grassroots museums all over the state. They will happily set up the exhibit, give fashion presentations and even do a full on fashion show such as the upcoming Roaring Twenties Fashion Show that will be held on March 30 at the Lorenzo Cultural Center.
Oh and did I mention that there is a book?! Yes, all the years of research is going into a wonderful book that will accompany the exhibit. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.
I’ve taken the liberty of sharing some photos of previous exhibits in order to show you their work.
A gorgeous bias cut 1930s gown with a 1934 Chrysler Airflow series car at the Chrysler Museum
And finally, a sweet 50s red roses sweater and skirt set with a vintage Chrysler also from the 50s.
It was such a blast talking with these ladies! Oh and I haven’t even talked about the jewelry yet! That’s a whole other post which I can’t wait to share with you all soon!
You know how you sometimes get a certain song stuck in your head? Well, today its this song…
Hello friends, I trust your weekend went well? As you may have heard, last night was the Oscars, Hollywood’s biggest night. While the ceremony was a tad long, it was definitely fun checking out the sparkly dresses and even sparklier jewelry. There was no shortage of eye candy last night! To start off the week, I thought I’d share my own list of outstanding jewelry. Photos are courtesy of Vogue and the Guardian.
Most of the stars chose to go the classic route with diamonds with karat figures in the hundreds.
Best actress winner Cate Blanchett’s Armani dress was in a shade only she could pull off but it was her earrings that had me in awe. Now, those are doorknockers! They were by Chopard and is composed of opals, white gold and of course diamonds.
Jennifer Lawrence chose to wear her Art Deco 100 karat diamond necklace by Neil Lane over her back. Now, there’s a casual way of wearing your diamonds. From the front, it looks very simple but its when she turns around that you can see it in its full glory. Not bad, but I was thinking that if she was going to do that, then maybe she should have chosen a longer necklace and that the back of the dress should have shown it more. I like this idea though. No reason why the back of the dress shouldn’t be as adorned as the front!
Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts both wore black and dazzling jewelry. Charlize Theron’s necklace by Harry Winston is a cool 15 Million Dollars! I guess she had security people following her around the whole night?
Julia Robert’s choice was more interesting. Her earrings featured baguette and round cut diamonds and emeralds. Plus she had a fabulous vintage Bulgari bangle from 1955. I loved the bangle!
And finally there was Amy Adams, who was one of the rare stars to go with something other than diamonds. Well, her earrings by Tiffany did have diamonds but it also had some gorgeous Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise and even Rhodocrosite. Her gorgeous ring was a fire opal. I thought it was cool that some other gemstones were on show last night. Totally proves the point that they could dress up an outfit just as well as diamonds!
Hello friends, for today’s Throwback Thursday post, I thought I’d write about a recent antique show we visited. I was pretty happy with the show as it was a very good show full of nice furniture, interesting curios and some beautiful jewelry. As always my main focus is jewelry but I have to admit that some pieces of furniture caught my eye. One dealer had this cool vintage red piece (pictured above) that was actually used to store hardware tools. It was really nice and for awhile there, I could see it as a new home for my beads. But did I really need another piece of furniture for my beads?
Another dealer was himself a cabinet maker and restaurer of old furniture. He salvages old glass window frames and builds new cabinets and bookshelves around them. One example is the bookshelf pictured below. I love the idea of being able to save these glass frames and doing something completely different with them!
Of course, I lingered longest over the stands with the most interesting jewelry and curios. One stand had a gorgeous collection of buckles from the Victorian times,
as well as pretty miniature frames.
Another person had gorgeous Victorian era bangles and my favorites were the ones with the unusual black enameling. Aren’t they pretty?
But my favorite was this complete children’s tea set from the James W. Tufts company from Boston. I love tea sets and this set of 6 teacups came complete with all the little tea spoons along with the teapot, creamer and sugar bowl. The Tufts company was founded in 1875 in Boston where it quickly became a successful business in silver plated tableware. This set is quite rare because of it is still complete and is in fine condition. I still can’t believe that this tea set was made for children!
It was such a nice afternoon spent among lovely things. Hopefully with the arrival of spring (though winter seems to be lingering given the below freezing temperatures we are still experiencing!) there will be other equally interesting antique shows!
Hello friends, I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I thought I’d start the week off with the second part of my great bead adventure! This time, I wanted to tell you all about my favorite part of the trip–the collectible beads!
Before setting out for Tucson, a friend told me to set a budget and to stick to it.
When I saw the collectible beads, I realized what wise counsel that was and how utterly impossible to follow. There were beads there that I’ve only ever seen in books or museums! There were strands of the rare and beautiful, the old and uncommon to the more ordinary beads. Mixed in with all the collectibles were the newly made beads and there were heaps of those. I quickly learned that the most special strands were kept in glass boxes. These were the strands that cost a small fortune. Some dealers kept what they called “pocket pieces” or loose beads sold separately and these ranged in price to 10$ a bead to 140 a bead. And I’m not even talking about the ancient stone beads!
It was really cool to see so many different varieties and to be able to hold them and see up close all the ways they are different from each other. And I realized that this is the best way to learn how to tell whether a bead is really old or merely a reproduction. Because there such a demand for collectible beads, there are some unscrupulous people who would take advantage and pass off reproductions as old. Or there are some who simply don’t know what they’re selling. So this was an invaluable learning experience for me.
Here are a few photos of the more memorable strands and beads. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!!
This first strand that caught my eye was also one of the most expensive ones at 4000 dollars. It has a several 6 layer Chevron beads, a huge German marble bead, rare Prosser chevron beads, a few older barrel trade beads.
One strand we looked at had a broken bead with writing on it.. the entire set consisted of three beads with the writing J Walker Co. Very rare to see one of them and the rest of the tabular beads were pretty too..
This is a collection of unusual Millefioris including 2 stands of Moretti beads… price range of these beads from 500 to 1200+ dolla
The pink strand was one of my absolute favorites–pink feather beads, pink eye beads and the pineapples. I’ve never seen the blue and white with aventurine stripes in the second strand pictured here. 1400 for each of these strands.
A beautiful collection of Viking era beads, the real deal as opposed to the Indonesian made replicas.
And last but not the least, several strands of etched ancient carnelians, price range 3000 to 7000 dollars a strand.. Very special treat to see these authentic strands as there are so many reproductions available today.
Now you see my this was my favorite part of the whole trip!
For about three weeks in February, the town of Tucson, Arizona is taken over by jewelry, beads, rocks and minerals thanks to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. The name itself is a bit misleading as there are, at last count, 38 shows during the show. It is the biggest fair of its kind in the US. Over 55,000 people come from all over the world to gather with other like minded afficionados. For someone with an interest in gems, minerals, beads and jewelry, this is the place to be. Nowhere else in the world would you see such variety and the sheer number of things on display is staggering.
The show that began it all, the Tucson Gem and Mineral show, started out, humbly enough in 1955, when a group of mineral and rock collectors from the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society decided to hold a free exhibit at a local school. It was such a success that they decided to hold another one the year after. Now, this Gem Show has moved to the Tucson Convention Center and a host of different shows have sprung up in various locations in town. It has gotten so big that even such institutions like the Smithsonian and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History have booths showing a portion of their collection.
I first heard about Tucson more than 10 years ago when I bought my first strand of sugilites from a dealer who came from Tucson. He had a dazzling array of stones, some of which I’d never seen before. And he told me that Tucson was where I could go and find everything and anything I could possibly want in gems. Fast forward to present times and I found out that even my beloved trade beads could be found in Tucson. Now I really wanted to go. Miraculously enough, a way was found, a few days carved out of daily life’s routines and I could spend a few days being in bead heaven.
What I found far exceeded any of my expectations. One thing I learned fast was that its impossible to see everything. And I wanted to see everything!! A friend who has done the show at least twice and has been to all the shows, put it in perspective “you can see all the shows, but it doesn’t mean you can see every booth there is.” There’s just so much to see. There were 38 shows when I went but each show had numerous sellers and booths, with the bigger shows hosting easily 100 vendors, maybe more. The trick is to decide on your priority and to stick to it. I wanted to see antique beads and gems so I duly limited myself to the shows carrying the best selection. All told I went to about 10 shows. Not bad for a first timer I thought.
Even by limiting myself, it was so easy to get overwhelmed by the shows I did get to visit. I found myself gawking at everything. There were huge mammoth tusks and fossils from all over the world. And tubs and tubs of every kind of gem and mineral that could possibly be mined from the earth.
And while there were plenty of rough gems and minerals, there was no shortage of the finely cut, high end gemstones as well. I had the pleasure of meeting John Dyer, who has received numerous awards for his work in cutting gemstones and the selection he had on display was magnificent.
I love gems in the pink spectrum and he had the biggest morganite I ever did see. The morganite is the pink stone in the middle and the the spinel (the big read one next to it) was not too shabby either–22 karats big and a whooping 269,000$! I got nervous holding on to their cases!!!
Just thinking about them makes me weak in the knees. Whew!
So far I’ve talked about gems and minerals, but I haven’t yet told you about the beads. That’s another story altogether. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment….
I’ve had this vintage charm for a few years now. I remember finding it at a small brocante in Paris and thinking to myself how pretty it was amongst the table full of charms. It’s on the older side of vintage, probably dates back to the late 30s and it must have formed part of a festoon style necklace. Alas, when I chanced upon it, the rest of the whatever necklace it was part of, was long gone.
So it’s been sitting in my charm box, never forgotten because I love it, but I didn’t quite know what to do with it. It seems like such a singular piece and not easy to match with other beads.
Today, I decided to take it out of the box and it occurred to me that I might make my own festoon style necklace. I’ve already put the chains in but it’s missing something more. It’s back to the bead box I go!
Hello friends! I’m happy to report that my first show for 2014 went extremely well. I have to confess that getting up that morning was a bit hard. Its been awhile since the last show and it took some time for me to get moving. But once I arrived and started to see all the beautiful things, I got all excited. As a concession to Valentines Day, I decided that my stand could do with a touch of red and pink.
It was my first time to do an all jewelry show and I was uncertain how it would turn out. Fortunately, it proved something I’ve always thought which is that there’s jewelry for everyone’s taste. So long as it was beautifully made, there’s someone with a taste for the different artists creations. And there certainly was all manner and kind of jewelry at the show —-from polymer clay bead jewelry from Woodland Caravan to Victorian inspired baubles from Victorian Rose Boutique, to repurposed vintage jewelry from Calendar Girl, who it must be said also makes fantastically ornamented frames, bags and jewelry boxes! It was a blast being surrounded by beautiful things and hanging out with such talented people.
And while it was mostly jewelry, I have to tell you about one lady who was there with something else entirely. Bird Brain Accessories by Jesska Christie is a line of whimsical and pretty hair accessories featuring birds and flowers. I’m sure that wearing one of her creations will brighten up any dull day of the week!
All in all, a great start to the 2014 show season!!