Tag Archives: vintage

Friday, May 27th

27 May



Tuesday, May 24th

24 May




I purchased this in an antique store in Ohio.

Ball chain wrapped with seed beads strung on a spiral of hard wire (a tiny spring, perhaps?) and finished with cones.


Tuesday, May 17th

17 May


Vintage glass buttons glued into cupped bezels.

Copper jump rings.

Vintage abalone tiles purchased from Elliot Silverstein way back in the long ago.


Fuschia shirt dress.

That’s all.

Friday, May 13th

14 May

This choker-style necklace is made of vintage mother-of-pearl buckles linked together with copper jump rings and glass beads. I made it in 1997 or ’98 as a sample for shows but I wore it almost constantly for a year.

I also sold a lot of buckle chokers.

That was the year I purchased $22,000 dollars of vintage buckles and buttons from a Elliot Silverstein in Manhattan. He was closing a hundred-year-old family business to retire. His pearl buttons had been made in factories in New Jersey but plastic buttons and the closing of the NYC garment factories had shut him down too.

I bought boxes and boxes of buckles, pearl infant shirt buttons and the teeniest pearl lingerie buttons from the 1920’s.

The infant shirt buttons came packaged in boxes of 5,000 buttons. Creamy old cardboard stamped on one end with the name and address of the Brooklyn box manufacturer. The other end had very tidy old handwriting “5,000 pearl, 8 ligne”

Sometimes I wish I still had some of those boxes.

(a ligne is 1/40th of an inch and is how buttons are measured. Most men’s dress shirt buttons are 25-30 ligne)


Sunday, March 20th

21 Mar

A few years ago I happened upon this orangey-red Zodiac stone at a vintage jewelry sale. The gold-enhanced intaglio design features Cancer, the Crab. While I’m not a believer in Zodiac principles, I do often use the signs of family members as symbols for those individuals. My husband has a June birthday and the color of this vintage stone made me happy so I bought it.

The stone lay on my work table for quite a while until one day I decided to pair it with that wire-wrapped crystal rhinestone. The 20″ brass chain is finished in the back with a spring-ring clasp and I wore this necklace for quite a while with only the Cancerian stone and rhinestone ball. One day I stamped small brass discs with my daughter’s names and added them to the necklace.

I’ll miss this necklace a lot this year. I wore it frequently. The combination of meaningful symbols and favored color (and that bit of sparkle!) made it right with so many outfits.

Friday, March 18th

18 Mar

All-white is all right. This necklace is constructed of chalk white Czech glass beads and has matching glass leaves and flowers on the central motif. I purchased this years ago at a flea market (Brimfield? New Albany? Can’t remember…) to copy the construction technique. The necklace has several cracked leaves and so the price was very low. I think i paid $7 for it.

One of the good things about collecting vintage jewelry as design samples is that a chipped bead or missing stone here-or-there is not a problem.

I was going to discuss exactly how this is constructed but after wearing it today I realized I do need to create a piece in a similar manner. Watch for the instructions soon.

Thursday, March 17th

17 Mar

This necklace is very old. I think I made it in 1997 or ’98. It consists of two vintage glass mirrored stones wrapped with copper wire around 42″ of olive-green silk ribbon.

Pretty simple.

These were popular and I sold them to boutiques all around the country. The mirror shape varied, as did the ribbon color.

I haven’t worn or even thought about this necklace in years but I used to wear it with a dark brown dress with medieval-ish sleeves and lace-up Victorian boots. I also wrapped beads on copper wire in my hair when I wore this. And added a sparkly choker made with 1920’s mother-of-pearl buckles and coppery rhinestones.

Wow. That was quite an outfit. I wonder if I have a picture…

And I did wear this today, but I forgot to take the picture before I got into my jammies. I wore this with a white gauzy shirt, Shibori-print sweater, dark jeans and very high-heeled coppery snakeskin sandals.

Yes, my feet hurt now.

Wednesday, March 9th

9 Mar

This sweet necklace was created by Kristen of Mood Swing Studios. The vintage story-book image is soldered between thick glass and has a lovely vintage bead chain to hang from. I wear this necklace a lot, usually, so I will miss it for the next year. Somehow that bright red is just perfect with most of my wardrobe and the kitty makes me smile.

I bought this necklace from Kristen when my daughter, Cleo, was about 2 years old. At that time I had made very little jewelry since her birth and I just needed to buy something for myself. It was a hot spring day and Kristen was exhibiting at the Crafter’s Flea Market (now the Designer’s Downtown Market) on our street. I wandered around and then I saw her booth. I looked at the necklace and almost walked away and then Kristen said ‘did you see the back, it says Catnip!’ and flipped the pendant over.


See more of Kristen’s work here.

Tuesday, March 8th

8 Mar

Today’s necklace is complex, layered and asymmetrical. I created it about six years ago. It is strung on Mastex cording, with chain, shell beads, an Elaine Ray charm or two. The head on the lower right-hand side is a Bakelite Cracker Jack charm from the early part of the 20th century. When you pull the dog’s collar it’s eyes bug out and the tongue wags. That carved ivory elephant was given to me by a Chinese bead vendor I used to work with. He spoke next to no English and we communicated mostly through calculations on an HP calculator he kept in his back pocket. One time when I visited him I told him I was pregnant (with my daughter, Cleo, now eight) by pantomiming a baby and a big belly. He laughed and dug out that elephant for me. “Good luck’ he said. Of course, I bought a big, long strand of the elephants but I saved this one for the necklace.

This necklace is an example of an unfinished object. There are long, loose strings of Mastex cording hanging down the back. There is a button and a hook for a proper closure, but I never trimmed the Mastex. I intended to add counterweight strands on the back, but the necklace isn’t really that heavy. Somehow I still can’t bring myself to trim the strands. I don’t know why. They aren’t especially attractive; actually they cause people to say ‘you have a string on your back’ at least once every time I wear the necklace. I should cut the strands or string them with beads to make the counterweights.

I should.