Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's Time for Brides and Grooms!

Look at what we have at Vintages for weddings and brides. Check us out for special favors, gifts and accessories ...
... Wedding cake toppers
... Bridal jewelry
... Special and distinctive gifts 
... Hand crafted specialties
... Customized gifts for the Bridal Party
Luscious Sterling Silver Serving pieces, Napkin Rings and more
A Great Selection of Sterling and Crystal Vanity Jars and Perfume Bottles
Limoges Porcelain Boxes ... new and vintage
Special Gifts for the New Home
Candles, Picture Frames and Accessories
Vintage Diamond Solitaires, Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands
Bridal Jewelry in many price ranges ...
Religious Items from Rosaries to Medals to Little Books
Wedding Cake Toppers

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cuff Links ... French Cuffs ... Elegant Menswear

French cuffs have had a roller coaster reputation over the past century. While they have always been the cuff of choice for formal wear and the elite, the popularity of French cuffs in cocktail party attire and business dress has waned over the past decades. There was a time in the 60s, 70s and 80s that men dressed up for all kinds of occasions. Then "casual Fridays" led to every day "business casual" to compulsive "dressing down" in jeans, shorts and T-shirts. I for one like the elegance of suits, ties and, yes, French cuffs.

Many centuries ago, men's shirts were considered "underwear" and were not worn as an outer garment. That changed by the 16th century. Cuffs on shirts appeared by then and the oldest known cufflinks were supposedly worn by Charles II in the late-1600s.

French cuffs have been worn by royalty ... presidents ... celebrities ... and important people like the rest of us. 

Prince Charles giving the "Royal Wave" with his French cuff showing ... and Kate Middleton with Prince William also in his French cuffs.
Frank Sinatra --The Chaiman of the Board -- almost always wore cuffs and links.
Both presidents FDR (Franklin Roosevelt) and JFK (John Kennedy) are shown here sporting their French cuffed dress shirts.
The Princes and Beckham ... dressed to kill!

They are a wonderful way for men (and women today!) to accessorize their outfit with something more than wingtips and silk ties. Gosh, if it's good enough for James Bond, why not for the rest of us?

Sean Connery ... the best Bond ever.
Ahem ... Are my cuffs straight?
Ladies have gotten into the French cuff groove too!
We have a wonderful selection of cufflinks ... tie pins (tie tacks), tie bars (clasps) and shirt studs as well ... ranging from formal to novelty ... from Swank and Hikok to sterling silver and 14K gold. We even have a number of sets from "new old stock" salvaged from a Central Valley jewelry store that went out of business in 1927!

Some of the wide variety of cufflinks available at Vintages
We also have a few sets ... cufflinks and tie bars or tacks
Novelty cufflinks are fun as well
These wonderful men's ... and women's ... accessories are available in our Los Gatos shop ... and many are also available in our online antique site.

These are a couple of the old Victorian era cufflinks with fancy monograms
These are 14K gold cufflinks from "new old stock" from c1925 ... ready for monograms if you wish

At Vintages we have cufflinks in a variety of materials from gold and platinum to sterling silver to copper and enamel to mother-of-pearl and strait costume ones too
These are the last two wedding cufflinks we have!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inlaid Wood Money Clips and Card Holders

Special for Dads and Grads! These superbly crafted money clips and business card holders are made in a New England studio. We love the warmth and smooth texture of finely crafted hardwood pieces. Priced at $49.95 each, these are perfect for the man in your life ... or just get one for yourself! Why not? As Susan's old boss had on his license plate: "IOIT2ME"!

The artists maintain a studio in a small Rhode Island town. Working out of a nineteenth century mill overlooking Dorset Mill Pond, they utilize the beauty of their surroundings to create objects that are simple yet elegant in design. Their woodcrafts are both serviceable and handsome. With minimal care, they can be appreciated for years to come. The hallmark of their work is its combination of artistic expression and utilitarian design.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Vintage Letterpress Blocks ... DIY in 3D

Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing using a printing press, a process by which many copies are produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper.

Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century until the 19th century and remained in wide use for books and other uses until the second half of the 20th century. Letterpress printing remained the primary way to print and distribute information until the twentieth century, when offset printing was developed, which largely supplanted its role in printing books and newspapers.

Today the use of letterpress type printing is on the decline, being replaced with faster and more efficient printing presses. However, there is a small but thriving business in using old letterpress techniques to make cards, signs and tags in the art printing market.

How letterpress works: Letterpress printing exerts variable amounts of pressure on the substrate dependent on the size and image elements in the printing. The amount of pressure per square inch or "squeeze" is greater on some highlight dots than it is on larger shadow dots. Adjustments must be made throughout the press run to make sure the impression pressure is just right.

Letterpress printing uses type that is raised above (relief) the non-printing areas. In traditional letterpress work, letters were assembled into copy, explanatory cuts were placed nearby, line drawings were etched or engraved into plates, and all these were placed (or composed) on a flat marble stone, within a rigid frame (chase) spaced artistically with blocks, tightened up with toothed angular blocks (called quoins).
Printers' National Environmental Assistance Center

In an earlier blog post we talked about Hale Pai, the printing shop at Lahainaluna High School in Lahaina, Maui, where the first printed paper west of the Rockies was printed.

History San Jose has a Print Shop museum with several letterpress presses. The volunteers are quite knowledgeable about all sorts of printing methods and history.

Susan has a wonderful, small letterpress platen printer in her collection.

Letterpress blocks are fun to work with for more than printing. These wood or metal blocks can be used in all variety of craft projects. We have even seen jewelry made from them! At Vintages we have a large selection of letterpress blocks … both wood and metal … letters, numbers and images … in a variety of sizes. Check us out!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fabulous Contemporary Navajo Ray Tracey Sterling Coral Necklace

This statement piece is a contemporary Native American Indian Navajo jewelry piece ... sterling and coral pendant and necklace. This is the creation of Ray Tracey, contemporary Navajo artist. Ray Tracey has had a life-long love of jewelry and has been working professionally as a jeweler since 1977.

Tracey has this to say about his work: Sometimes my creativity comes to a screeching halt. When this happens I go to my roots; Old Style jewelry. That is the place of fascination. The Old Ones utilized rudimentary tools to create their simple, yet perfected, pieces of craftsmanship. From this point I am able to create from an inspiring idea. On the flip side, sometimes my mind becomes flooded with more designs than I can remember. Ideas come so quickly I can’t draw them fast enough.

When I see someone wearing one of my designs, it takes me back to the time when the piece was created. Sometimes I can recall what I was eating or even the music I was listening to. I will remember the inspiration that helped create that design.

This large pendant and necklace is made of graduating silver beads with a large slide pendant made of sterling silver inlaid with red and angel skin coral. It was made back in the 1990s and is a wonderful example of Tracey’s “vintage” work. We have it priced at $495 and it is available in our Los Gatos shop or online here.

Handcrafted Folk Art Pottery Royal Thrones for Your King and Queen

These are fantastic free-hand-made pottery thrones ... one for the queen and one for the king. The artist made these of thick pottery sheets formed into these wonderful chairs with crowns atop the back. While these are great pieces in and of themselves, imagine them as candle holders, stands for mini-violets, ring or key holders, or whatever your creative mind desires!

The chairs stand about 6.5 to 7 inches tall. Two chairs ... one price ... $69.00. Unique. One-of-a-kind. Made in America. Find them in our Los Gatos shop ... or online here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Handmade Ceramic Pottery Pins

In Greensboro, NC, we found these wonderful impressed pottery pins in super designs and great colors. What's more, these are made by folks at Mosaic - A Lifespan Studio. They are created and sold by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every piece is different. Every piece is unique. Every one is a special piece of handmade wearable folk art. We have them priced at $14.95 each. Contact us if you want one!

The pins range in size from about 1-1/2" to 2-1/2".
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