Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style


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Entries in jewellery (179)


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


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; 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; 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.


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



Quite a few years ago I admired this exact necklace on a friend at work. I liked the simplicity of its design and the pleasing mix of textures: earthy wood grain contrasting with polished black.

I did ask her where she had found it, and it was somewhere unexpected like Target, or some inexpensive jewellery boutique. Then years later, I spotted it in an op shop (thrift store)! I pounced on it instantly and purchased it. Although it is inexpensive wood and plastic, it has a substantial weight to it that makes it feel higher quality.

That was delightfully unexpected – it always pays to keep one’s beady eyes peeled! That’s the beauty of op-shops, you never know what treasure you will unearth, or if it might even be something you missed out on purchasing in a retail store.

Incidentally, it’s taken me another two years to actually publish this image – because I never liked how my hair looked – long, and too fluffy. And now it’s even more startling to me since I’ve been wearing my hair short for such a long time. I feel most myself wearing some kind of short bob, as now.

Photo: August 2016


Tassels for a Fine Lady

There’s an old Mother Goose nursery rhyme called ‘Ride a Cockhorse to Banbury Cross’, where the lines go, Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes. … I feel like they did the ‘fine lady’ a disservice by ignoring her ears. May I put forward tassels, with perhaps little tinkling bells on the ends, as a suitable decoration?

One of my favourite pairs of earrings to wear of late are these giant ballerina pink tassels made from seed beads that I bought a few months ago. You might have counted these as frivolous purchase as any fine lady upon a white horse of yore might have made, but amazingly, they seem to go with everything! I think it’s because this pale shade of pink works like a neutral in the same way as does beige, tan or camel.

Another pair, also a recent purchase, are tassel-esque in design but are white rhinestones set in rose-gold metal. They are equally long and swingy. Because they are so blingy, they seem more fitted for evening – I last wore them out for cocktails, celebrating my birthday with friends. (Not that I disapprove of sparkles for day on the right any occasion.)

Both of these sets were bought in the jewellery department of David Jones, an up-market department store here in Australia. The enormous proportions and the sheer fun of tassels make each pair a joy to wear day and night. And I feel quite the fine lady too, I may add!

Photos: May 2018