I doubted that my teacup collection would interest you, so instead, it is with a mix of excitement and apprehension I share a peek into some of the vintage bling/jewelry pieces I’ve collected thus far. To me, jewelry and cosmetics are natural bedfellows, especially because they both share histories almost as long as that of the human race. So for a history buff like myself, sharing some of the pieces with you is a fun way to quickly flit into another era. While some of the pieces show their age more than others, the key thing that attracts me to old pieces is the workmanship, the materials and naturally, the narratives attached to the eras they come from.
While there are plenty of phenomenal contemporary jewelry designers around, the tug of the old is one I find hard to resist. Plus, vintage pieces offer the wearer some distance between what’s trending and what has withstood time.
I’ll start with the smallest which is a pair of earrings I strongly suspect are made from jade. The earrings feature double orbs connected by a tiny ring, with the top orb being smaller than the bottom one. Each orb is capped with a small gold finnial and they are very comfortable to wear. Mostly I reach for these in the daytime, especially if it’s the only jewelry I’m wearing above my shoulders.
For a while I had fallen out of love with gold but slowly I’m coming around to wearing it again and so these simple and beautifully designed bangles have so much potential. What makes them unique is the almost undetectable clasp that’s used to expand the band, allowing it to be slipped onto the wrist.
I’m unsure about how common this feature still is as it’s very discreet and easy to miss. Once the bands are on, their clean lines make them a brilliant addition to just about any ensemble.
When I first came across this three strand pearl necklace with the jewelled clasp I was ambivalent about it. Pearls can read very stuffy or grannyish but then when I took a closer look, I found it endearing enough to keep it even though it shows its age and because there are family memories attached to it. While it’s in desperate need of some rehab, I doubt I’ll ever have it looked over and given a face-lift. I’m increasingly finding pearls to be fascinating, plus they take me back to reading The Pearl by John Steinbeck for the first time decades ago, as the book implores one to really think about a pearl’s origin.
This necklace below is clamouring to be worn with a white Helmut Lang tee, no? I surprised myself by falling for this despite the colour, because I kept envisioning it in warm weather against white clothing. It’s a six-strand, flat woven necklace that has the advantage of having a defined v-shape rather than a serpentine one. It also reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw just a bit which to me isn’t a totally bad thing :).
The set below comes from the storied Rhode Island jewellery house Barclay, that got its start in 1947. Regrettably, they ceased operation a decade later around 1957*. It’s one of my absolute favourite pieces for a number of reasons including the fact that green is my favourite colour. The necklace features seven cabochons and a fold-over clasp, plus it sits nice and high on the neck. It’s quite a weighty piece but as it lays flat, it remains comfortable to wear for long periods.
While the matching earrings feature cabochons as well, as they’re clip-on I can only last up to about four hours with them on before the urge to yank them off becomes unbearable. While I wouldn’t dream of wearing the necklace and earrings at the same time, I love wearing the earrings with a nice sweater and a red lip.
I equate vintage jewellery to a kind of gateway. First, you start with a one-off ring or a pair of earrings then before you know it, you’re hip to all the places and all the websites to seek out even more pieces. But if you’re a general jewellery lover and want to delve deeper into the world of vintage and contemporary pieces, check out the very blingy blog gemgossip.com for a closer look. I also recently discovered @theladylucan on Instagram and her collection is a jewelry lover’s fantasy. And speaking of fantasies, if you’re in the market for a new, ‘dewy-done-right’ foundation, see my thoughts about Guerlain’s [newest foundation here].
The older I become, the more I want to keep things streamlined especially clothing, shoes, accessories etc. and even makeup but that’s a work in progress. There’s something about vintage bling/jewelry that offers more opportunities to rotate the same pieces for various occasions, so you cut down on the need for new pieces all the time. I’d love to know what piques your interest when it comes to jewelry, do you like statement pieces or delicate ones? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram and Twitter where I’m @backstorybeauty. Happy Sunday and I hope this helps..
*Barclay info sourced from estatesintime.com