Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Independence Day 2011

Independence Day, the 4th of July, is a truly American Holiday, marking the day we colonists proclaimed our freedom from British rule. Celebrate this special day with joy and exuberance, along with love and consideration of all people. Happy 4th of July!

Remember that Los Gatos celebrates every 4th of July with fun and special events at the Civic Center.
Los Gatos Celebrates the 4th of July 2011
j0422836.jpg Monday, July 4th
11 am - 7 pm
Los Gatos Civic Center
110 E. Main Street

View the Event Details Here!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Collection: Jewelry for the Hair

Here's another interesting collection: Hair combs, peinetas, kanzashi and other ornaments for the well-coifed lady.  Hair combs and ornaments can range from the mundane, every-day comb to elaborate works of art with precious jewels and outlandish designs.

Hair Combs

While hair combs are ostensibly used to keep a lady's hair in place, they needn't be boring. With the inclusion of rhinestones, silver and jewels, these little necessities become little works of art.
Rhinestone studded and silver decorated hair combs.
Pearlized Celluloid Hair Comb with Rhinestones ($35)
 Peinetas and Mantillas

Detail of a faux-tortoise shell celluloid peineta.
One of my favorite genre of hair jewelry is the peineta, that marvelous comb with intricate tall designs that is traditionally worn under a mantilla or other lace that drapes over the head and shoulders. Peinetas, or mantilla combs, are Spanish in origin, dating back to the 15th century. These are part of the traditional dress of ladies in all Spanish speaking countries, from Old World Spain to New World Chile and Mexico and the former Spanish colony the Philippines. Mantilla and peineta are primarily used during special occasions, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals, Holy Week mass and processions, along with  operas, bullfights and traditional performances of flamenco music.

L: Victorian lady with peineta in her hair; R: Ladies in mantilla during a Holy Week procession.
Mantilla can be dramatic, regal or dreamy.
The early peinetas were made out of tortoise shell, mother-of-pearl and even ivory. Today plastics, such as celluloid and acrylic, have replaced these early material.

Various celluloid faux-tortoise peineta. The one on the right is $45.
Early 1900s large art nouveau style celluloid faux-tortoise shell mantilla comb or peineta ($75)
Peinetas and hair combs made from silver are a special category, being as much a decorative art piece as they are functional jewelry.

Beautifully hand chased silver comb or peineta ($225)
Sterling peineta by Taxco Taller Borda silversmith Gabriel Flores ($165)
A great way to display these hair combs is in a frame or shadowbox. They can also be shown off by standing them on a plinth or pedestal. Their intricate designs and wonderful colors a so beautiful to look at, so why hide them in a drawer or tucked away in the back of a collection case.


Kanzashi is a traditional hair ornament that was worn by Japanese women in the Edo and Meiji Periods, i.e., 17th through 19th centuries. A variety of styles developed, from sticks to combs to heavily ornamented pieces of hair jewelry. These kanzashi were part of the high coiffured hairstyles common at the time and were worn mainly by brides and geisha. In more recent times, the well-dressed Japanese business lady has adapted the kanzashi as an ornament to add elegance to their rather staid business suits.

Beautiful silver, coral and jade kanzashi with dangling birra birra (sorry - sold)
Antique seed pearl, jade, tortoise shell and enamel kanzashi (sorry - sold)
Kanzashi are fabricated from a wide range of materials such as lacquered wood, precious metal, ivory, tortoiseshell and silk. 20th century plastic kanzashi are quite common, with early bakelite and celluloid kanzashi being extremely collectible.

Beautiful trembling flower kanzashi with petals and leaves made of genuine tortoise shell ($295)
Carved ivory willow tree kanzashi hair pick ($95)
These long, slender ornaments can be beautifully displayed in frames, standing in a beautiful flower frog or as part of an ikebana flower arrangement.


We posted an article on kanzashi a while back on this blog. Another site with nice photos of kanzashi is this blog post by That Bow. Also, for an excellent discussion and photos of all variety of hair decorations check out these eBay guides.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi

While in Fredericksburg last week, I came across this statue of St. Francis of Assisi in a tiny alley off Caroline Street.  St. Francis was founder of the Franciscan Orders and the patron saint of animals.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We will be on vacation!

Just a note to all of our friends. We will be on vacation for 11 days. The store will be closed starting Friday June 17th and re-opening on Tuesday June 28th. We will check phone messages, emails and orders during that time. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Handcrafted Silver Wire Wrapped Ceramic Fragment Pendants by Susan

Introducing a new line of beautiful one-of-a-kind pendants handcrafted by Susan. These pendants are crafted from ceramic transfer ware fragments that are silver wire wrapped and finished with (lead-free) silver solder and beads. A great way to recycle vintage plates and tiles, as well as old beads and charms.

There is no formula for creating these little pieces of wearable art. Susan lets the ceramic fragment dictate how the piece comes together, with the hard edges of the ceramic softened by the free-flowing form of silver wire and solder.  For some pendants the shape of the fragment defines the design, on others a tiny flower will peak out from behind or within the array of wires, and a few just demand that a bead or two be attached. Each of these pendants is unique.

Ceramic Fragment Pendants are available in our Los Gatos shop, as well as online at both Pretty Ribbons on Etsy and our own Vintages Online Shop. These are priced at $39.95 each, including a necklace length of 5/8" chiffon ribbon and a coordinating organza bag.

Folk Art Robots Hand Crafted from Reclaimed Parts

We now have a new selection of these whimsical folk art robots. They are all created from reclaimed parts -- spice cans, cameras, radios, lamp parts, old toys and such -- and are each one-of-a-kind. Start your collection now! Or just get one to sit on your desk, bookshelf or display case. We have had these from a variety of artists in the past and they never last very long. This is the first time we have offered them online. Check them out.
Here are our Camera Man ($125) and Arnold the Golfer ($95)
These spice can guys are Spicy and Marj ($125 each)
Frenchie is our doggie mascot ($95)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Designs from Janet Ontko Clay Tiles

We just received our latest shipment from Jane Ontko Clay Tiles, so all of our designs are back in stock ... and we have added new designs as well. The latest are a series of "word" tiles, done in the same arts & crafts style Janet is known for. These new tiles retail for $29.95 each. As usual, we can special order any of her tiles for you.
New designs. More words and colors are available, just contact us.
Part of our current stock on hand.
These are the glaze colors that are available.
These clay tiles are wonderful for gifts or included in your own interior and exterior design. They all come with a wire hanger, but could also be embedded into a wall or other tile designs. They also look pretty handsome on a table top or shelf held in a plate rack.
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