Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Specialties Just for Mom

Mother's Day is almost upon us and we have many wonderful special items for Mom. From bird's nests and bird houses to jewelry and scarves to hand crafted art and potpourri and candles. Come on in!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fantastic Spanish Colonial Silver from Peru

Peru has a long and proud heritage of artisan hand work. Pottery from the Chulacanas region has been very popular in the past decade and the superb silver items from Peru ... decorative items, jewelry, utensils and artistic renderings ... are truly world-class.

Known in Spanish colonial times as El Opulento, Peru’s Cerro de Pasco shared with Potosí (now situated in neighboring Bolivia) the credit of being one of the greatest silver producing districts in the world. The area around Pasco had begun producing silver in the late sixteenth century, and by the 1690s three important mineral zones in Peru were in production. While the mineral deposits were of low grade, they were shallow and easily exploitable, so large fortunes were made as a result. However, mining in the New World was carried out in regions that brought numerous engineering and logistical difficulties. Many mines were deep in the ground and flooding and draining were ever-present problems. The mines of Potosí were worked at over 16,000 feet above sea level, high in the mountains creating a different set of problems.

Supplying these remote Andean mines posed logistical problems, since thousands of llamas and mules were required to carry food and provisions, timber, ore and mercury through difficult terrain over trails that were often narrow and precipitous. By the late eighteenth century mining output in many parts of the New World was suffering from the exhaustion of accessible deposits and from financial and technical difficulties incurred in attempting to reach deeper lodes. Political instability in the aftermath of the fall of Napoleon and an increased desire for freedom from Iberian rule in Latin America compounded these problems.

Intricate Repousse Silverwork
Improved mining technology and methods were “imported” from Europe by the late-eighteenth century and production improved. Today, Peruvian mines produce a significant amount of silver and other metals, with Peru being in the top three countries in the world for silver production.

Early Peruvian silversmiths made large amounts of items, most of which were targeted toward the needs and desires of the Andean peoples. But by the end of the nineteenth century, Peru was solidly on the map for creating beautiful silver items in both the traditional design motifs and the Colonial motifs geared toward the tastes of customers from the Old World.

We recently acquired several old Colonial silver items from Peru. Beautiful frames and mirrors made from thin sheets of silver, hand hammered into geometric and curvilinear repousse designs. We also have some more modern mixed metal items as well.
Colonial Peruvian Silver Frames (Large $165 & Medium $125)

A Variety of Peruvian Silver Vanity Items ... Tray ($165), Letter Opener $195) and Box $125)

This Box is hand carved from one piece of wood and the silver mounted lid has an ancient Chancay animal figural textile fragment under glass ($125)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Have you checked out our Antiques site yet?

Vintages had had a site for selling antiques for many years. Have you checked it out lately? We have added quite a few items recently. Silver from Peru, wedding photographs from yesteryear, miniature books and vintage jewelry. Have a look!

We also have a blog that just features antiques ... not just photos and selling, but a bit of history and discussion about the items.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Vintage Wedding Photographs

Weddings are such a happy event. From the first availability of commercial photography, couples have been commemorating their special day with photographs. Early photos, tintypes or cabinet cards, were almost always posed portraits due to the length of exposure times, but also because that was the custom of the day. By the mid-1900s photos showing the happy couple walking down the aisle, skipping down the stairs, or rushing off to the chariot to speed away on their honeymoon became more common. However, the posed photographs of the couple and of the whole wedding party continue to this day ... with both still and video images.

Over the years we have stocked a nice selection of these old photographs. I love them because they tell a story. The wedding gown. The hair. The flowers. The jewelry. They all tell something about the bride and her times. Some even have the photographer's information embossed on the photo. Others have the names of the happy couple on the back. Take a look at some the photos in our selection.

This 1890s image shows the customary pose of the time ... one of the couple seated with the other standing. The painted backdrop and staged seating are clearly of the period. The Victorian wicker chair is wonderful. The bride's high-neck dress has gorgeous lace work and puffy sleeves and she is wearing a long strand of pearls. The elaborate floral bouquet is beautiful. (Cabinet Card c1890 - $12.00)
Similar to the photo above, this image is from around 1902. The painted backdrop and staged seating are again clearly of the period. The groom sits in another wonderful Victorian wicker chair. The bride's dress has gorgeous lace work and she is wearing a cameo on the high-neck collar. The elaborate floral bouquet is beautiful. (Cabinet Card c1902 - $15.00)
This image is from the turn of the last century. The painted backdrop and staged seating are again clearly of the period. The groom sits in Victorian corner chair and there is a wicker table off to the right. The bride's dress heavily layered and her hairdo is topped with what look like a wax flower wreath. The floral bouquet, though less elaborate, is still beautiful. (Cabinet Card c1900 - $15.00)
This image has a gorgeous warm brown tone to it. Clearly a late-Victorian photograph sporting all the features of the above cabinet cards. The bride's layered dress and lace hat look quite conservative, but here flower bouquet is extremely elaborate. While the bride shows no obvious jewelry, the groom has a fancy lapel pin and a watch chain on his vest. (4-1/4 x 7-1/2 Photograph c1900 - $12.00)
The groom in this turn-of-the-century wedding photo looks a bit stiff! The bride however looks quite relaxed sitting a lovely chair with simple turned wood legs. She is wearing a fashionable hat, a long strand of pearls and a wonderful pleated skirt. Again, the flower bouquet is very elaborate. (6x8 Photograph c1900 - $12.00)

The groom is seated in a simple wooden chair in this turn-of-the-century wedding photo. The bride standing next to him is wearing a fashionable hat, a simple necklace with a pendant and a gorgeous dress with sensational ribbon work. The flower bouquet is a nice spray of roses. (7x9 Photograph c1900 - $12.00)
The bride and groom in this early-1920s photo both look whistfully outward. She is wearing a fashionable flapper hat, a simple strand of pearls and holds a traditional flower bouquet. (6x8 Photograph c1920 - $12.00)
Lovely wedding photograph in a fancy Art Deco cardboard presentation frame. The bride is wearing a stylish floral hat and a triple strand of pearls. The floral bouquet is all roses. Note the simple Art Deco backdrop. (8x10 Photograph in Presentation Frame c1925 - $24)
This must have been a summer wedding, as this 1950s groom is wearing a white tux dinner jacket. The bride is wearing a full satin dress and a strand of pearls. Very much of the period. (8x10 Photograph c1960s - $18.00)
Military wedding photos are a great collectible. In this 1950s image the groom is in full dress uniform. The bride, while beautiful, is wearing a somewhat understated gown and holds a bouquet of simple flowers with long flowing ribbons. (8x10 Photograph c1960s - $18.00)

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