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Entries in jewellery (171)

Thursday
Nov292018

Pearls of Wisdoom

Pearls are one of my favourite precious gems, and unfortunately pearls are fabled to bring tears. They certainly have in my case. I once was horror-stricken when the large Broome pearl fell out of my engagement ring – it was found, but the engagement was broken off (the right decision, it transpired). And now a couple of weeks ago I was devastated when I arrived home one day and discovered the mabé pearl in a favourite ring was smashed off!

Somehow it’s worse to find it half-smashed than lost altogether. In the latter case I might be able to console myself a little that some lucky person was enjoying it. Now, all I can imagine is that the fragments of pearl shell were crushed underfoot by some oblivious passer-by. Ironically, this ring was a gift from the same man, so perhaps it was doomed after all, though it took more than a decade for the day of its reckoning to come.

On Moh’s scale of hardness, pearls rate a 2.5–4.5 out of ten; next time, give me pure carbon, the hardest substance known to man. It just doesn’t have the same ring, though, does it?

Photo: November 2018

Tuesday
Oct302018

Shopping for Robin’s Eggs

It’s no secret to regular readers of this style blog that robin’s egg blue is one of my favourite colours – if not the favourite. It’s a colour I am always drawn to whenever I see it, and so when I saw this necklace in a sale on Facebook from Rosebud Vintage Bazaar that is evocative of actual birds’ eggs, I knew that I absolutely had to have it.

The vintage 1950s feathered hat is an absolute marvel as well – I bought it many years ago on Etsy, and have worn it a few times on special occasions, such as Christmas Day celebrations and going to the theatre. I love it paired with this necklace though!

The only thing that would make this outfit more amazing would be a silk dress featuring a bird’s egg print …

A tall order, you think?

I actually came across such a dress in a thrift store just over a month ago, and was bowled over by the print. I was not, however, bowled over by the price of $80 attached to it. Come on, I thought. Especially when they had not even bothered to present it nicely. It was as wrinkled as though it had just been withdrawn from a bag in which it had been screwed up into a ball and jammed with many other items. No, no, no.

However, I might have accepted the price for the print if it had been cut into anything other than an ugly shirt-dress. I loathe and abominate shirts. Always have. And shirt-dresses are even worse; I don’t find them flattering at all, at least on me. I look like I have just crawled out of bed wearing a man’s shirt. Hideous!

I look like I have just crawled out of bed wearing a man’s shirt. Hideous!

I thought about having the hem tailored to get rid of the shirt slits, but I was too annoyed at the prospect of spending another $30 or so on top of the $80 purchase price. $20 okay, or $30 even, but $80 is just too much in a thrift store for a modern dress that looks like a rag, in my view. I was recently chatting to a thrifting diva from the US, and she was shocked when I quoted her some average prices from Aussie op shops. Many of them are not really ‘opportunity shops’ any longer, unfortunately.

That being said, I am quite willing to pay much more for unique or rare vintage items such as the necklace, or feathered hat, even when I find them in an ‘op shop’.

Photos: September 2018

Monday
Sep242018

Golden Oldies

Have I mentioned anytime, that the 1940s – along with the 30s and 70s – are my favourite eras for fashion? Imagine my joy, diluted over the past year or so, in finding three yellow 1940s dresses! They are all quite different shades of yellow too: pale lemon, rich butter and light chartreuse. Two of them are easy-to-wear day frocks, and one is a full-length evening gown that I have no idea where or when I am going to wear. I feel zero guilt for its purchase however, for all three dresses were extremely inexpensive.

Like the others, this sprigged dress is made from rayon although I’m not sure what the fabric is called (it’s smooth like a dull satin), and like many vintage dresses, it is missing the original belt. I bought it late last year from a thrift store in Bendigo, a country town, when I journeyed there to see the Edith Head fashion exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

I have worn it with a vintage 30s or 40s velvet ribbon as a sash; the 40s hat I have paired with it is also velvet. I do not know what to call its shape – it’s a kind of halo-turban hybrid! The shoes are modern, but I think they stand in quite well for 40s style shoes. I actually wore this dress a few times last summer, although I used a vintage Victorian cream silk ribbon as a sash. (As most of my summer hats and shoes are still in seasonal storage, I accessorised the dress with rather more wintry items than I would normally.)

When I spotted it in the vintage bazaar, I pounced … completely forgetting that I already had a yellow floral 40s dress!

The second dress also has little puffed and cuffed sleeves, but the buttery yellow top layer is made from chiffon. The splashy floral is very different from the first dress, which is all to the good. When I spotted it in the vintage bazaar, I pounced, overcome with delight in the colour, and completely forgetting that I already had a yellow floral 40s dress! I’m not sure of its age, but the vintage necklace is pressed glass, while the white clip-on earrings are chunky plastic, and probably 40s or 50s. (The shoes are basic neutral stilettos, but come summer I won’t wear them with this dress.)

The most recent purchase is the evening gown, and I was so excited to find it. It is made from a brocade in an unusual combination of white and pale chartreuse. (I must apologise the high speed setting I inadvertently used during this photoshoot has made the pictures overly grainy.) I adore the draped neckline on both the front and back.

It also demanded to be worn with vintage 40s rhinestone jewellery and opera-length gloves! Which, fortuitously, I happen to own. This is not a true parure; I found all the pieces on separate occasions. Both the tiara and necklace need minor repairs, for which a jeweller and their soldering iron will be required.

It also demanded to be worn with vintage 40s rhinestone jewellery and opera-length gloves!

I was very lucky the gown fit me perfectly. I had tried on at the same time a 50s satin brocade ballgown – ALSO in a rich golden yellow! – which lamentably was too small across the back. Tragic.

Still, this is not a bad collection of yellow dresses, is it? And, would you believe, it’s not yet the end of my yellow bonanza – stay tuned for more!

Photos: August 2018

Monday
Aug132018

Jade Rainbow

Many people are surprised to learn that jade comes in a rainbow of colours: lavender, red, orange, yellow, brown, white, black, and gray. After green, lavender is the most valuable, and black and red (as long as it has no brownish overtones) are also popular.

Jadeite, to give it its proper name, is a sodium and aluminium rich pyroxene, while the similarly coloured nephrite is a mineral of calcium, magnesium and iron. Nephrite is the native stone of China, with more than 5000 years of history in that culture, while jadeite was not introduced to China until the 1800s, by Burmese traders.

Nephrite jadeHow cute are these tiny jade figurines?Red jade is not considered as valuable as the prized green ‘imperial jade’, which is a vibrant emerald colour and almost transparent. Once, the royal court of China had a standing order for all imperial jade, and it is amongst the world’s most expensive gems.

Red jade: bangle from annaandjade.com; bowl from icollector.comTransparency is also highly valued, with the least desirable being completely opaque. I must be very contrary, because I deem the green common (you see so much of it, real and artificial), and I like opaque the best. Red is also one of my favourite colours.

When I was in Hong Kong many years ago, a carved jade bangle was on my wishlist, and accordingly I scoured the jewellers in one of the biggest markets for them. I was immediately drawn to this red bangle, attracted by its strong colour and weightiness. This type of jewellery cut from a single piece of rough stone is called a hololith, and results in a great deal of weight loss. For this reason hololiths cost more than several pieces joined together by precious-metal hinges.

Lavender jade: stone from soaprocks.com.au; carved jade and diamond bangle from katybriscoe.comIt is carved with dragons and flowers, and certainly was expensive! I didn’t dither too long making a decision however, as I knew I would be unlikely to find another, and certainly not a cheaper one. The bangle did not have a ring that matched exactly, but the one I purchased is carved with ornamental swirls. I don’t wear them all the time – scared that I’ll smash them! – but as on last Friday when I wore them last, I always enjoy them when I do.

Tuesday
Jul172018

Pennies for Tears

I don’t go looking for vintage jewellery (I’m usually hunting hats) – but vintage jewellery usually somehow manages to find me. The reason I’m not shopping for jewellery is because I have so much already (hmm – no idea how that state of affairs might have come about!) but I seem to have a positive knack of discovering something irresistible.

That was the case with these vintage 60s copper teardrop earrings. They are so shiny and rosy and swingy. I also like to imagine that someone illegally melted down some 1-and-2-cent pieces to make them.

For when one enters an op shop or thrift store, one never knows what treasure one might unearth, such as these beaten copper tears that might have cost someone a few cents to make. Those coins don’t exist anymore, so that makes these earrings priceless! (They cost me three bucks.)

Photo: May 2018