In general, there are six eras of antique jewelry. Each era has identifiable aspects that help define it and the culture that surrounded it. And as this video points out, each is more gorgeous than the last.
Did you know that since 2006, veterans have been encouraged to wear their hard-earned medals on civilian clothing?
“The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) encourages all military veterans to wear their medals and decorations during Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and other patriotic holidays as well as formal occasions such as a parade honoring the military, retirement ceremonies, funerals, or weddings.
“Wear them when you go play golf. Wear them when you go to the store. Let America know that you took that oath and served.”
Of course, there are rules defining how to wear your medals. According to Army regulations:
“You can wear either the full-size or miniature-size medals. You should place the medals and decorations in approximately the same location and in the same manner as for the Army uniform, so they look similar to medals worn on the Army uniform.
We like this more lax rule on medal wearing. People who have served our country deserve to display their service proudly and frequently.
Remember: thank a veteran you know or meet. It doesn’t need to be Veteran’s Day!
In honor of the 4th of July, we’re taking a step back in time to 1776, the birth year of our country. How did people dress hundreds of years ago? What was the prevailing jewelry style? How uncomfortable were mile-high wigs? (We’re guessing a lot.)
First, the fashion. According to Wikipedia:
Women’s clothing styles maintained an emphasis on the conical shape of the torso while the shape of the skirts changed throughout the period. The wide panniers (holding the skirts out at the side) for the most part disappeared by 1780 for all but the most formal court functions, and false rumps (bum-pads or hip-pads) were worn for a time.
Below: Robe à la Polonaise, France, c. 1775, plain-woven silk with supplementary warp- and weft-float patterning. M.70.85 Shown with quilted plain-woven silk petticoat, England, 1780s.
But what about the jewelry in colonial America? What were the jewelry trends of this critical year in history?
According to Lang Antiques, pearls were all the rage. (See? We told you – pearls are always in!)
Pearls and mother-of-pearl were essential to every woman’s wardrobe. Pearls from the Persian Gulf and the Pacific and Indian Oceans were considered the most desirable and beautiful of gems. Whatever the source however, pearls of all types were found in earrings, necklaces, rings, and brooches just as they are today.
What about diamonds?
Trade with India and Brazil during the eighteenth century brought diamonds to Europe and trade with the colonies brought them to America. Rings, earrings, buckles, necklaces, brooches and lockets set with diamonds were sought out by the colonists.
So there you go: a glimpse into the fashionable jewelry and dress during the birth year of our country. Even 200 years ago, jewelry remained a mainstay in the dress of Americans.
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!
During another tumultuous week in the U.S. Congress, we decided to take a breather from the tensions and reflect on something more positive: a medal that honors those Americans who perform exceptionally valorous military duties.
First, let’s set the record straight on its name. The official title is simply the Medal of Honor, not the Congressional Medal of Honor. (The confusion regarding the name may come from the fact that the president presents the award “in the name of Congress.”)
There are three versions of the medal, one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force. Each one is created differently. The components are made from gilding metals and red brass alloys with some gold plating, enamel and bronze pieces.
There was an attempt in 2004 to upgrade the materials (to be 90% gold, which is the same composition as the lesser-known Congressional Gold Medal), but unfortunately, the measure was dropped. Regardless of its simple components, we honor its powerful beauty and more importantly, what it represents.
What’s there not to love about hoop earrings? Not only are they fun and flirty, but for the practical jewelry wearer, they’re comfortable and stay put on the ears.
Hoop earrings have been around for decades, appearing throughout fashion history in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. They reached a popularity apex in the 70’s when they were funky, oversized and fit with all the “mod” outfits of the time.
Now, you may still see some oversized earrings (we suggest everyone has at least one fun pair) but they also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, perfect for everyday or evening wear.
Why not consider a custom design pair of hoop earrings? (We’ve done many in the past.) We also have a sweet selection of high quality earrings waiting to ship to your doorstep.
Practically every culture lays claim to a particular style of jewelry making, with no culture being exactly like another, yet many having distinct similarities. Celtic jewelry possesses its own powerful and mystical beauty, unmistakeable and distinctly its own.
The origins of this amazing jewelry date back to somewhere between 2000 BC to 550 AD. This is when silver and gold were used by Celtic craftspeople and adorned with Celtic symbols. Silver (commonly associated with the moon) was often used for Celtic torques and bracelets, whereas gold (very rare and precious in those days) was reserved for the wealthiest society members.
Much could be written about various Celtic symbols, but for sake of ease, let’s focus on the most common:
Celtic knots or interlaces are one of the instantly recognizable hallmarks of Celtic jewelry. Tracing the line of one thread of most Celtic knots, for example, reveals that the thread is unbroken, returning over and over again to complete its path. The organic form of Celtic knots as revealed in bracelet patterns throughout the centuries symbolizes one’s strong connection to nature and the cosmos.
[Source: Celtic Culture]
Incredibly, 25 centuries later (!), this same intricate symbolism can be seen in modern day jewelry. If you’re interested in your own Celtic piece of jewelry, talk to us about your ideas. We’re happy to custom design a piece especially designed for your spirit and personality.
Isn’t it an amazing feeling to know that jewelry has been worn throughout the history of humankind? Just like us, they felt compelled to adorn (though jewelry was also likely to be worn to protect and ward off evil).
While there has been much debate regarding the authenticity of these jewelry fragments, proof is now positive: Neanderthals did create jewelry.
Now, a study uses a new method that relies on ancient proteins to identify and directly date Neandertal bone fragments from Grotte du Renne and finds that the connection between the archaic humans and the artifacts is real. Ross Macphee, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, who has worked with ancient proteins in other studies, calls it “a landmark study” in the burgeoning field of paleoproteomics. And others say it shores up the picture of Neandertals as smart, symbolic humans. [Source: Science Magazine]
If you’re looking for jewelry from the Neanderthal period, we’d love to custom design it for you…but it’s a little too late!
Some movies are simply “jewelry heavy” where the film relies on jewelry as if it were a co-star, enhancing the beauty of the film…and the lead actress of course.
Cleopatra is one such movie where the jewelry lovin’ queen played by jewelry lovin’ actress Elizabeth Taylor stunned theater goers with her staggering array of gold dripping costumes.
Here are some other fun facts about Cleopatra (found in AnOther) you might not know.
1. Taylor’s 24-carat gold cloth cape, designed to look like the wings of a phoenix, was intricately assembled from thin strips of gold leather and embellished with thousands of seed beads, bugle beads and bead-anchored sequins.
2. A colossal total of 26,000 costumes were created for the film.
3. Taylor had 65 costume changes in Cleopatra, a record for a motion picture at the time.
4. She was allocated an incredible $194,800 (£123,000) wardrobe budget.
5. Costume designer Renie Conley won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Costume Design (along with Irene Sharaff and Vittorio Nino Novarese), for her creation of Taylor’s stunning gowns, which placed emphasis on the actress’ beauty and sexuality over historical accuracy.
6. Sartorially, the film was extremely influential, popularising snake rings, arm cuffs, geometric haircuts and maxi dresses, as well as the “Cleopatra Eye” makeup trend – a 60s Revlon commercial promoted Cleopatra “Sphinx Eyes”.
7. According to Rex Harrison’s autobiography, Fox custom-made the boots for his character Julius Caesar while Richard Burton’s boots were Stephen Boyd hand-me-downs from the previous attempt at making the film. Harrison was amazed that Burton did not complain.
8. The armies of extras alone were issued 8,000 pairs of shoes.
9. Taylor’s iconic gold cape sold at auction for $59,375 in 2012. Prior to that it had been stored in a cedar closet, finely wrapped in tissue paper.
10. The female extras complained about their overly tight and revealing costumes, which they said provoked wandering fingers among the male ensemble. The studio eventually hired a special guard to protect them.
There are jewelry boxes and then there are amazing forms of detailed art. This box falls in the latter category.
Can you imagine storing your jewelry in it? We could. (Though you’d certainly need a lot of jewelry to fill it!)
The 1920’s were a period of tremendous social change and nowhere was this seen more in the unique and bold fashion choices for women.
Jewelry was not based on function. No longer design was determined by the cost of the materials. “In addition, by focusing attention on the design rather than the intrinsic value or materials, the Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th and early 20th century had already suggested that jewelry need not act as a three dimensional bank statement, but instead could be worn purely for its decorative qualities. – A Collectors Guide to Costume Jewelry. Tracey Tolkin
And to this day, some of the same fashion rules apply. Jewelry needn’t be an indicator of wealth, but of personality, of expression. Here are some examples of fashion from the 1920’s. Note how “everything old is new again” since many of these trends exist to this very day.