This past Saturday I was supposed to shop with a client, but he unexpectedly had to reschedule. Knowing this would allow me the opportunity to visit the Hillsborough Antique Show in San Mateo, CA, more than made up for this schedule change. I decided to go through the show with my “virtual bottomless wallet” and pick out what I would buy if the sky was the limit. This made the excursion so much fun!
Just a few booths in on the first row I walked down, I found a couple swoon-worthy pieces. First up is this Victorian bracelet from France with angel skin coral and natural pearls. I learned the ornate work in the 18K gold is called “tracery work.” (I am constantly learning new things whenever I speak with such knowledgeable dealers like Lisa!) This bracelet is from A Pocket of Rocks.
At the connecting booth I met Alison from Duvenay. She was showing an exquisite pair of Victorian cut steel earrings from the late 1800’s. I knew a bit about cut steel jewelry, but when I came home, first thing on the agenda was to research it a bit more. This article from Lang’s AJU has a fantastic description of this genre of jewlery. I think these earrings are the perfect way to get a special occasion look with glowing sparkle.
Another booth that drew me in by some sort of jewelry magnetic force was that of Laurel Stearns’ PassItOnLTD. Within just a few moments of chatting we discovered we have a mutual very dear friend, and we’ll both be at her wedding this summer. Is that a small world, or what?! But back to the jewelry…I couldn’t decide between these two rings, and since I didn’t have a limit for this exercise, I chose both! The one on the left is a Victorian navette from around 1890, set in silver wth a 14K shank. The ring on the right features a converted Georgian pin from the late 1700’s-early 1800’s. Which would you choose?
I had to stop at Lenore Dailey’s booth, which always exceeds expectations. The pair of earrings that was calling to me this time around was these late Georgian hand earrings. Do you see the little ruby ring each hand is wearing? So precious and romantic.
I’ve been following TheOneILoveNYC on Instagram for quite some time, but this is the first time I got to meet Mia in person. Boy were her cases brimming with sparkle — tons from the Georgian era! But typical me, who seems so drawn to Victorian jewelry, selected a Portuguese pendant on a long yellow gold chain. I THOUGHT the pendant was Georgian, due to how the diamonds were set, but I was wrong. (So much to learn!) Isn’t it pretty?
Her next-door neighbor was Jewels by Grace, a fantastic vendor whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet at a couple shows in the past year. At her booth, I tried on this diamond and turquoise “tiara” bracelet, which was a very popular motif during Victorian times. How can you not admire the 2.65 ctw of rose cut and old European cut diamonds?
But then…I spied “The Olsen Twins” — a truly remarkable pair of elongated cushion cut diamond earrings totaling 9.46 carats!! I had seen photos of them on Instagram before (such as this one below) and in Grace’s ears, but this time I got to try them on myself. Ack! I truly felt like royalty wearing them. Can you see my virtual crown?!
Near the end of the show, I stopped at Mary Ann-tiques, as I spied a particularly fetching pair of Art Deco earrings. Granted, this is not typically an era I’m drawn to, but this pair of carved rock crystal and onyx earrings had it going on with the mis-matched earring trend that’s so en vogue right now. To give you a sense of their size, I took the photo with my full-sized pen next to them. Pretty incredible, right?
Though I didn’t leave the show with all these stunning pieces, I still got a thrill seeing them and trying them on. Thanks to all the kind dealers who spent time chatting with me, and furthering my education on antique jewelry. If you’d like to learn a little more, you may enjoy articles I’ve written about Georgian and Victorian jewelry. And if you’re interested in attending this show, which is open to the public, it’ll be back in San Mateo July 21-23 and November 3-5.
Over the past few years, antique jewelry has really made an entrance in my life. And with it, I’ve been experimenting with some ways to style antique necklaces so that they look current and express my personal style. I certainly don’t want to look like a “fashion don’t” when stepping out the front door! I want to share two different ways to utilize antique necklaces. The first is layering, and the second strategy is using one necklace as a focal point.
So let’s start with layering necklaces. With this, you can layer various antique/vintage necklaces, or you can mix old and new together. Doyle & Doyle recently shared this photo on Instagram, which is a fantastic example of how to layer with panache.
I’ll share what I did with them two days last week. On Monday I looped the long antique necklace around my neck twice, creating a choker effect, and paired it with the non-antique necklace.
In my typical black, I liked how they looked with my harem pants and sandals. I describe my personal style as “urban bohemian” and I thought this ensemble was true to my style.
Then on Wednesday, I wore a dress over a pair of cropped, frayed-hem jeans. I wore the 57″ necklace long, layered the new necklace. I’d never worn a necklace so long! But once I figured out how to maneuver it (and not get it stuck in the seatbelt), I felt pretty swishy! It’s true that I don’t necessarily look like anyone else on the street, but in my book that’s a good thing.
Now let’s take a look at just using one necklace as a focal point. While I was at the Hillsborough Antique Fair a couple weekends ago, I spent quite a bit of time with the charming Lenore Dailey. I photographed two different necklaces to use in my examples. The first one is a Victorian 18K and silver necklace with rose cut and old European cut diamonds. At first glance, you might think, “Oh, this is gorgeous, but certainly best worn for a dressy occasion.” I feel the complete opposite. I think it would look just amazing worn during the day. Don’t worry…I’ll give you some ideas how in a minute.
The second necklace that caught my eye in her booth was this Georgian 15K gold flower chain with the most amazing clasp — check out the cabochon turquoise. What workmanship!
So yes, of course you can wear these necklaces with a cocktail dress. But how cute would they look with a t-shirt, jeans, boots and a biker jacket? Or what about this — a simple pencil skirt, a pull-over sweater, and funk it up with some Golden Goose Sneakers. (yes, I might be just a wee bit obsessed with these sneakers).
If you add one of these necklaces to the sporty chic look, it’d be awesome! I like how the turquoise would look against the raspberry color. Not too “matchy-matchy,” if you know what I mean. And the juxtaposition of the diamonds with sneakers would be so cool — not a combination someone might typically come up with while getting dressed.
The bottom line is I want you to know that it’s much easier to incorporate an antique necklace into your look than you might think. Try it on with unexpected garments, and you might be very surprised at how original and unique it looks. And with any item you purchase, remember that the more it costs, the more you should wear it so that the cost-per-wear goes down. Never save anything “for good.” Now venture forth into your jewelry box and your closet and have some fun! Send me pix of what you come up with.