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Mrs. Beadsley’s Jewel Box: Becoming A Collector

on May 5, 2015 - 8:09am
By DEBRA LOWENSTEIN, Owner
Mrs. Beadsley Vintage Jewelry

This month. let's talk about collecting. First, do you collect, or would you like to start a collection but aren't sure just what to collect?

I ask many of the people who come into my shop if they collect anything in particular. Most say no. They just buy what appeals to them, and do not consider themselves to be collectors.

This is fine, of course, especially if you are acquiring jewelry to go with a certain dress or outfit, or if you are staying on the inexpensive side of vintage jewelry. If you are buying more expensive pieces, perhaps $50 or more, it's a good idea to know what you are purchasing and understand the value of the item.

If you find yourself buying certain styles or eras, you might well call yourself a collector. And, if you are lucky, you may have inherited a few pieces from grandma or auntie and you have a collection of family pieces!

If you are just starting to collect its fun to have a little direction. If you inherited a cameo from grandma and have decided you love cameos, that's a good way to start. You can define your collection further by researching cameos. You'll find that there are sub-categories such as lava cameos, shell cameos, jet or ivory cameos, glass cameos, left-facing cameos, etc.

You may have seen or inherited a piece of jewelry from a relative who traveled or was in the service. Many servicemen brought back pieces from Italy, Spain, or Siam, or wherever they were stationed. If one of these pieces interests you, this would be an area to look into.

I like collecting so many things! If you have been in the shop you will laugh at this understatement. But, I find it so much fun to find more of a style I like.

Here are a few things I have collected over the years: dog brooches, especially the breeds I have at home, small Victorian brooches of various materials, umbrella brooches, Czechoslovakian necklaces and actually anything involving Czech glass, vintage and art glass bead necklaces and jewelry from certain companies and designers.

Many people collect particular companies, whether it be Weiss, Coro, Kramer, Trifari, Eisenberg, Hollycraft, Florenza, Vogue, and many others. One of my customers has an extensive collection of Regency jewelry. She began collecting Regency years ago when she observed what quality glass stones they used and how well-made their pieces were.

Every company and designer had their own distinctive look. There was a great deal of Coro jewelry made mid-century, and almost every lady had several pieces of Coro in her jewelry box. They were very much the look of the 1940s and 50s.

I sometimes collect certain materials, as well. Currently, I love finding old coral, Victorian-era pyrite jewelry, and carved jade from the art deco period. You might like to collect jewelry from a particular place. People from Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Japan, and China have all asked me to show them jewelry from where their family came.

I personally like collecting pieces from Israel and France. Native American and Mexican silver jewelry is plentiful and fun to collect and wear in New Mexico. How about collecting silver filigree jewelry? Many countries have been the source of intricate and beautiful filigree jewelry pieces. Gold-filled bracelets from the 1940s to 50s also are particularly nice.

There is a myriad of ideas for collecting; perhaps one of the categories I have mentioned sounds like fun to you. Still don't have a good idea of what to collect? Come by the shop and I'll be happy to give you more ideas. And, if you still don't think you are a collector, do you have two or three pieces of Native American or Mexican jewelry, or perhaps a couple of pieces of religious jewelry or gold earrings? Two or three pieces make a great start to a collection. So, congratulations, you are a collector!


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