Thursday, April 14, 2011

How To Wear Estate Jewelry - Revving Up The Retro

Oh, what a week. 
Obviously I've been grumbling on a daily basis about all of the busy work that goes into getting my taxes completed...so I decided to take a break from the all the wasteful spending by the government things that annoy me about the modern world and concentrate on the loveliness of past at the LA Antiques Show.

It seemed to be a much smaller show this year than the shows that I've gone to in the past...a sign of the times non?There were some very attractive antiques, books and Mid-Century abstract paintings that struck my eye.  But I'm afraid that I wasn't exactly overwhelmed with the estate jewelry. 

This week what I am loving are these pieces from the Retro Period. 


During WW2 both fine and fashion (costume) jewelers showed their support for the war effort by designing patriotic jewelry.  They created brooches with specific war related motifs such as army jeeps, American flags, military insignias and medals.  Many of their designs also stayed within the patriotic genre by using red, white and blue gemstones like the rubies, diamonds and sapphires in this VCA brooch.
My photos don't do justice to how beautiful the stones are in this piece...but here's what the VCA brooch looks like being worn

Isn't it charming?
Another great vintage estate jewelry piece from the late Retro Period that I have been wearing this week is this Cartier sapphire brooch which comes with matching earrings.

These pre sputnik style designs were highly popular in the late Retro to the early Mid-Century period.
Here is the Cartier set being worn. 
Yes I know that jewelry buyers today are looking for contemporary pieces such as VCA Alhambra necklaces and Cartier love bangles. While they are certainly chic, they just don't evoke any curiosity.

For me there's something wonderful about wearing jewelry that has a history.  It always makes me wonder who owned this piece?  How was it acquired?  Was it a special gift? What outfit was it worn with?  Did the wearer have a father, husband, lover or son fighting overseas?
So many questions and so few answers.  Provenance is rarely available.
Such is the nature of antiques and estate jewelry.

OK, so back to my grumbling.
I highly recommend that you read this article from Bloomberg
It's always good to know what your hard earned tax dollars fund!
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7 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

Oh, I love those "pre-sputnik" pieces!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello:
This is so fascinating. We had no idea about 'patriotic' jewellery and wonder if this was [is] something peculiar to the United States?

The pieces you show here are, indeed, most attractive and look very stylish when worn.

SewingLibrarian said...

I have two pieces that my father gave my mother during WWII, a pendant necklace and a ring, both with the Marine Corps insignia. She told me that she wore them all the time while he was away. Not expensive jewelry, but great sentimental value. I haven't worn them, but maybe I should try wearing them somehow.

Tabitha said...

I've never heard of this before, I love the bird piece

David Toms said...

I love these retro pieces especially the Cartier Sputniks! Damn, you have reminded me that I must finish my taxes as well.

kathy peck said...

Love the VCA brooch, absolutely beautiful. The Cartier sputnik set is very cool too. Both look great on your LBD.

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

They're both fabulous. The VCA is my favourite. Have a great weekend xx

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