We have decided to start a small series about our shared love for vintage jewelry. I have been collecting since high school and Cavewoman has a collection that spans generations. I am also going to feature some of my friends and co-workers favorite pieces.
Cavewoman: Vintage jewelry has been a passion of mine ever since I spotted a huge rhinestone brooch on my Mom's best coat. I was probably around 6 years old, and my parents were going out on a Saturday night for dinner and dancing. It's fifty years later, but I still remember how lovely my Mom looked and how handsome Dad was. And last year, my Mom gave me the coat and the pin. I'll show you the pin in a bit here.
The huge red demi-parure is unmarked. When I say huge, I mean almost four inches across on the pin. All prongs and stones are intact, from the interesting faux-coral marquise-shaped pieces to the aurora-borealis stones. This incredible find came from a jewelry show called Pappabello in Cleveland.
The rhinestone array is mostly from my Mom. The large ruffle-shaped flower pin with the large stone in the center is the one from her coat. One of the baguettes is missing, but it is barely noticeable. She also gave me the two scatter pins and the laurel. None of these are signed or marked in any way. The last pin is a sterling and marcasite brooch that I found at the same show in Cleveland, with the tiniest marcasite work I've ever seen. Markings show that it was made in France and it is sterling silver. I have no idea what the date on this piece might be.
The large pin with the blue stone was a gift to me from a wonderful friend who asked me to be her Confirmation sponsor several years ago. The blue-stone cluster was a local flea-market find, as were the butterfly of fine, prong-set aurora borealis (signed "Made In Austria) and the blue kitty (signed "Warner")-- cute critters both of them. The tri-color gold-over-sterling branch with two cherry beads is signed Van Dell. And the little crown and crest scatter-pin set are signed "ART."
Probably the most spectacular parure that I own is the smoke crystal set, consisting of a huge, heavy brooch that resembles the shape of a cluster of grapes, with accompanying ear clips and bracelet. This set is signed "Weiss" and I bet that vintage collectors know that already! This set was a gift from a friend whose mother bought and sold vintage jewelry for many years here in our town. What a gift! Every stone and prong are in pristine condition. The bracelet has a rhinestone clasp that I wasn't able to capture in the photo, because the guard chain does not have a separate clasp. I wasn't able to lay it flat to photograph the entire bracelet.
The last photo, another set of smoke crystals, was a discovery at a twice-a-year antique show near Cleveland. These beautiful pieces are not signed, and so I am pretty sure that is why I got them for a song! The bracelet is a cuff-style that opens in the front between the medallion-shaped clusters. I only wish that I had a better camera to be able to show how magnificent the play of light is on these stones.