Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Postcards


Happy New Year greetings
No fireworks or hats
Just good wishes and
Postcards from the past.

These postcards date from 1909 to 1922. Times were different then, as can be seen in the images and greetings. Enjoy the cards and see you in the New Year. Bob & Susan








Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthstones


For millennia various cultures have assigned certain powers and blessings to gemstones, often relating them to birthdays, months and zodiac signs. Birthstones were even discussed in the Bible. The list of birthstones can be found in Revelation 21:19-20, where the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem are listed, in the order of the Roman calendar.

Ancient birthstone designations were established in Tibet (the so-called Mystical birthstones) and India (Ayurvedic birthstones). Traditional birthstones have circulated in various societies for a few centuries, and there are a variety of combinations based on their origins. In 1912, the Jewelers of America published a standardized list that endures to today, known as the Modern Birthstone list.
Combined Modern and Traditional Birthstones
During 2011, starting in January, I will be featuring the month's birthstone in our Vintages Featured Product blog. I compiled the above list by combining traditional and modern lists. I think this is an excellent list to use as both traditional and modern stones give a greater variety to choose from and are equally valid as gifts. As far as special powers and blessings go, you are on your own.

A great source of information on gems is Keith Wallis' book Gemstones: Understanding, Identifying,  Buying. I use this book religiously to understand stones in jewelry that we acquire and sell in the shop.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas


Ever wonder how much it would cost to purchase all the gifts in the classic Holiday song The Twelve Days of Christmas? Well the folks over at PNC Wealth Management just released their 27th annual PNC Christmas Price Index, which calculates the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song's verses. This 2010 holiday season, very generous True Loves have to fork over $96,824 for all 364 gifts, an even more eye-popping 10.8 percent increase compared to last year. WOW! I did not realize that a partridge in a pear tree or seven swans a-swimming could cost so much! Check out the the PNC website for the details.
But in reality, the twelve days of Christmas are now upon us. Vintages can assure you that a True Love can get by on much less in our shop ... and get much more relevant and wonderful gifts as well.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me ...
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtledoves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Limoges Porcelain Boxes • Wonderful Miniatures from France


We have always loved miniature boxes. Through the years we have collected little boxes from several countries and made from materials like wood, silver, pottery, glass, and our favorite, porcelain. The hand painted porcelain boxes from Limoges, France, are fascinating. The range of design and intricacy makes it possible to collect these miniatures for a long time and not tire of them. Plus, since they are small, they are easy to display and do not take up a lot of space.
Our personal collection of wine related Limoges boxes.
The Limousin district of France, about 200 miles south of Paris, was known for its intricate enamel work as far back as the 12th century. Pottery production began in the early 1700s, with the manufacture of simple, functional faience pieces. These two industries provided a good base of experience and skill for the introduction of hard-paste porcelain when kaolin clay was discovered in the area around 1770.

Decorated hard-paste porcelain was known to the Chinese as far back as the second century BC, but was not introduced to the Europeans until early in the 16th century. The Chinese guarded their formulas and techniques closely, but in 1712 the German Meissen Factory developed methods to make the high fired, hard-paste porcelain. When the right kaolin clay was discovered near the town of Limoges, the French monarchy helped establish the Limoges porcelain industry. 

Limoges porcelain boxes are completely hand made in the city of Limoges, France. Originally these were designed as snuff boxes, and were a necessary accessory for the well dressed French lady or gentleman in the 18th and 19th centuries. Later these boxes were used as patch boxes and pill boxes. Some are large enough for trinkets, perfume bottles, thimbles and sewing kits, and special treasures.
Contemporary Limoges Boxes in the Traditional Style
The earlier boxes - essentially antique and vintage pieces from before 1950 - were quite traditional and simple in shape and design, reflecting their purpose as a snuff or pill box. After WWII, the industry began to bring our designs that were much more complex and whimsical. These novelty boxes still hold to the high standards of workmanship established over the long history of Limoges porcelain manufacture. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hand Made Christmas Holiday Ornaments

Susan has made these marvelous ornaments for the Holidays. Each is made from a vintage Christmas or Holiday image and sealed inside a pair of 2x3 inch glass slides. The backs have a Holiday message or greeting. The edges are sealed using lead-free silver solder. Each has a bright ribbon for hanging and comes in a white box with a red ribbon and bow!

These sell for $19.95 each and can be customized for a small additional charge. We do not have these in our online shop, but if you see one here that you like, or wish to have Susan make a custom ornament for you, please contact us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Parade & Santa Claus

Los Gatos was very festive these past few days. The Town celebrated the start of the Holiday Season on friday evening with the tree lighting ceremony in the Town Plaza. There was a great turnout. Lots of fun!

Then we had the 54th Annual Children's Holiday Parade on Saturday morning. It was exciting and fun as well. Santa came along at the end of the parade. Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas to all ...
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