June 27, 2009

Why Choose Vintage Costume Jewelry

Today I had a surprise when I met a friend for lunch. She gave me a pair of Laurel Burch earrings she has had since the 1980. She has never worn them as they were just not her style and she knows I love vintage so she gave them to me in hopes that they would be enjoyed. I have not taken them off as Laurel Burch was the first designer that I consistently purchased myself back in the 80's and still have every pair and wear them.

It started me thinking why do I enjoy vintage and antique jewelry so much and wear it more then the contemporary pieces I have. I realize for me, there is no single reason, but thought I would share them.

1. The quality of the pieces is often times much better then today's costume jewelry. After all they were originally meant to last a season or so and here it is decades later and still sparkling and wearable.

2. I am saving a piece of American history. Once upon a time, manufacturers such as Trifari, Coro, Boucher and Mazer employed hundreds of people right here in the U.S.

3. The designs were imaginative and many times large. Many designs were important enough to patent so the competition did not simply steal their ideas and imitate them immediately once they came out.

4. My pieces many times retain their value or are even more valuable today then when I purchased them.

5. I most likely will not see someone else wearing my piece as there are simply not very of that design around if it is at all.

If you do not own any vintage pieces, I highly recommend you browse around on line to see all your choices out there. Certainly something will appeal to you and you will be recycling and giving these beauties new life.

June 24, 2009

Vintage Costume Jewelry Designers Mazer Bros.

I was looking at my lovely double clip brooch whose mechanism was patented by Marcel Boucher when he worked for Mazer Bros. and then looked through some of my costume jewelry books for Mazer and was reminded how beautiful their jewelry designs are. I thought I would share some informaton about the Mazer brothers and Jomaz.

Mazer Bros. was formed in 1927 by Joseph and Lincoln Mazer who were Russian immigrants. Many of their early pieces were made to look like fine jewelry. The high quality and color of rhinestones as well as plating techniques could at first glance look like real gold and gemstones. Mazer Bros. jewelry is high quality and was priced affordably for the times. A series of rhinestone encrusted masks were made and are highly collectible as is all Mazer jewelry. In 1947 Joseph Mazer started his own company and manufactured until 1981. Earlier pieces were signed Mazer Bros. Joseph Mazer pieces were signed Mazer or more commonly Jomaz.
I have included some photos of the Mazer Bros. and Jomaz jewelry I have or had. I love the diversity and even the newer pieces are extremely well made using beautiful rhinestones.

References taken from “Costume Jewelry a Practical Handbook and Value Guide” by Fred Rezazadeh as well as today’s recommended book.

June 21, 2009

Vintage Costume Jewelry: Newest Additions

I have been very busy adding new vintage costume jewelry to my shop on Ruby Lane and created a new video displaying them on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQTibc4KR-U

You'll find both signed and unsigned beauties from the 1940's to the 1970's. There is a wonderful huge enamel and rhinestone flower that is very much in the style of early Coro done in shades of Purple. Wedding cake earrings from Italy, faux Opal Gold filled demi parure, ocean blue RS brooch by Cathe' a company that was located here in California and so much more.

It is still amazing to me that although these pieces were meant to last a season or so, decades later they still are gorgeous and wearable. I love recycling these little works of art as they are a part of our American heritage. All these companies had manufacturing facilities employing a variety of people from designers to stone setters. The better quality costume jewelry has prong set rhinestones that required a person to set the stone and push each prong into place manually. Today, most stones are glued in and many of the stones are plastic rather than glass. I wear both vintage costume jewelry and contemporary pieces together from time to time for a really fun look.

Does your costume jewelry have any markings on the back? You can find information about the maker at the Illusion Jewels website: http://www.illusionjewels.com/costumejewelrymarks.html You can find things alphabetically and be sure to look at the vintage advertisements and the jewelry that they collect. I have used this site since 2004 and always enjoy browsing around. If your jewelry is silver, you can browse American and world marks at this website: http://www.925-1000.com/ I have found the maker's name for many of my pieces by carefully looking around this continuously updated site. Is there a patent number or patent pending marked on your jewelry? See if you can find the drawing on this site: http://jewelrypatents.com/
I also have these site as permanent links on my blog as I find them invaluable and I hope you do to.