Friday, July 23, 2010

Victorian Jewelry: Cut Steel Buckles & Brooches


Victorian cut steel jewelry is made from faceted and polished steel studs that are riveted to a backing plate.  Originally made in Woodstock, England, these became a fashion in France as a replacement for the fine diamond jewelry the French monarchy confiscated to pay for the Seven Years' War in 1759.  The earliest pieces were made from recycled steel nails machined to have up to 15 facets.  Later production was more mechanized, used less facets and ultimately gave way to stamped pieces embellished with a few actual studs.  The tendency for early steel to corrode or rust has limited the availability of good quality examples today.
Modern marcasite, or pyrite, jewelry are successors to the cut steel jewelry of the 18th and 19th century.  One easy way to distinguish the old from the new is that, while the old cut steel was riveted to the base plates, the marcasites are set into place using either prongs or glue.

Shoe buckles came into fashion during the mid-17th century -- or should I say came back into fashion, as the Romans wore shoe buckles.  The shoe buckles of the mid-1600s were slipped on to a piece of material from the shoe and could be removed, so that they could be put on another shoe, or use different buckles on a pair of shoes to change styles.
We recently procured a nice collection of late 19th century French cut steel jewelry, mainly buckles and a few brooches.   These are available on our antiques shop online.
Belt buckle and brooch.

Example of rusted studs. This is a Haley's Comet brooch.
This is an example of a stamped "cut steel" piece.
Here are a couple of good references with more information and pictures about cut steel jewelry:  Antique Jewelry University & Steel Jewelerry and Toys.

Lots of new stuff in Vintages!


It's mid-summer and Vintages has brought in a whole lot of new items.
We always have loads of paper, ribbons, millinery and vintage doo-dads.  Recently we got in these lovely small chandeliers.  Perfect for that little nook or powder room or child's area.  They only use a small wattage light, but the effect is subtle and casts a nice glow to any corner.

We have seen these fantastic decorated bottles for some time now and we finally found an artist who makes these in truly unique designs.  And she makes them at an affordable price!  Lisa has a real knack for balance, sparkle and just enough bling.  The crowns and crosses play with light and reflections in a marvelous way.  The sea fans, really intricate coral formations, are delicate yet large enough to really make a splash. The antique bottles she uses are all dug up right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Vintage blocks, boxes and cricket cages are wonderful starting points for your imagination to go to work.
Make a stage for these little French ladies .. or surround them with flowers, jewels or ribbons.
WOW!  What else can you say about these folksy guys.  Mario, from the Santa Cruz area puts these together from old lamp and electrical parts, toys and tins.

Vintage tags, letterpress and number plates, old bottles, ledger and music paper, and more ...
Beautiful handcrafted Venetian style glasses and vintage jewelry in all price ranges.  We recently added quite a bit of Victorian jewelry ... more on this later.
And we got in a new selection of the very popular plaques and signs from V. Originals.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Old Paper: Memory Book from 1884


We love all variety of memory books -- autograph books, journals and diaries, scrapbooks and photo albums.  It's hard to say what it is that draws us to these old tomes.  Sometimes its the graphics.  Other times the content is just too precious or important to pass up.  We love some of the poems, drawings and always the fancy penmanship.  Sometimes just the color and texture of the pages are beautiful, even without any writing.  There are so many, many ways to love these little books.  They give us a little glimpse into the personal history and sentiment of days gone by.

This book is an Ideal Album from 1884.  It was a gift from a husband to his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary.  His love poem is wonderful:

Twenty-five short years have fled,
Since you and I, dear wife, were wed;
And as our Silver Stage appears,
It comes to Crown sweet happy years.
But would we call them back? Oh no,
For brighter still our love should glow,
Till in our Father's home above,
We reach the Golden Stage of love.

The book is separated into the twelve months of the year with wonderful Victorian graphic images.  Enjoy the gallery below.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Artful Journey in Los Gatos

The summer session of An Artful Journey is just about here (July 18 - 22).  Cindy O'Leary does a great job organizing these events, and last I checked there were a few spots left.  As usual, we welcome all the attendees to come on over to Vintages while in town.  Vintages will be open late, until 8pm, on Tuesday, July 20th.  Look forward to seeing all of you. Susan & Bob

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Pantalette Doll from the Metropolitan Museum

The Pantalette Doll is a wonderful little story by Patten Beard.  It's about an old trunk from an old attic, two little girls -- Mallory and Jane -- and lovable little rag doll named Minerva Ida Adams.  Filled with wonder and excitement, love and lessons, the story begins with Mallory finding the pantalette doll in the old trunk and ends with Minerva being donated to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  The book is beautifully pictured by Eleanore Mineah Hubbard using a wonderful cross-stitch pattern and lots of animation in both full-color and black-and-white drawings.


Patten Beard also wrote another wonderful little book What Happened After. This book was published in 1931 by Albert Whitman and Company, Chicago, Ill., USA.

There is a note on the copyright page:
The doll, trunk and dinner set in this story are now in the Eudora Collection in The Metropolitan Museum, where anyone who asks may have access to it and see it.
I believe this means the New York Metropolitan Museum, as that is where they went in the story, but I cannot confirm that.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of these items, please let me and the  rest of the readers know.
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