Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beaux Art Style Antique Jewelry

Recently I acquired the locket above. It fascinates me...the snakes and mythical looking creatures on it...So I began my research on mythical creatures. Using keywords like snakes, dragons, beast, sea serpents and wolfdragons. George Nathanial Steere and his company GNS CO. produced many fabulous pieces of jewelry in the Beaux Art style. Gorgeous antique jewelry!!!! A couple of years ago there was a site devoted to Mr. Steere and his jewelry, but unfortunately the site is no longer there. Sad because it was chock full of fantastic information! Besides learning of what a genius Mr. Steere was...I discovered a new term that had eluded me all of these years! Beaux Art Style. I have a house full of reference books on every era of jewelry...and am constantly doing research...yet somehow had never heard this term used. I always put these items...with mythical creatures and the Art Nouveau and Victorian periods. While the locket above has "some" elements that can be attributed to the Beaux Art style...such as the snakes and lions?...bears?..dogs?...the actual locket itself looks very Victorian. Originating in Paris, the Beaux Art style was a major influence on American architecture from the 1880s through the 1920s...and was totally embraced by the nouveau riche industrialist here in America. Featuring neoclassical designs that were very ornate...It found it's way into the mainstream of art, architecture...and yes jewelry! Below are some pieces that I own or have owned...that I thought I would share with you. Enjoy!

This is a close up of one of the cuff links below. Notice the details of the mythical sea serpent. I have also heard this design referred to as a dolphin.

These are absolutely gorgeous...and luckily...I have not parted with them!

They date to the 1880s. I acquired these beauties from a seller in the UK a few years ago.

This is a locket that I previously owned...featuring a winged dragon holding a shield in his mouth.

This is a man's watch fob...large faux amethyst with a snake. Heavy gold gilt.

This is just one of the strangest creatures that I have seen on a locket! A winged sea creature with a scorpion like tail. How would you like to meet up with this guy while boating!!!!!!!

Another gorgeous example of Beaux Art style...mermaids...or mermen. They look like an architectural detail that you would see on a turn of the century mansion. Or possibly figureheads on an old galleon.

And this fabulous locket...boohoo...boohoo...I am so sad that I parted with this piece! It was one of the most amazing lockets that I have ever owned! After reading the article on George N. Steere...I can almost...without a doubt...contribute this piece to his work! Note the green eye!

A side view of the locket. Look how detailed!

And Finally...this tiny clip. Sometimes this beast is referred to as a wolfdog. He looks fierce!!!! Maybe this will spark a new interest for you. Recently I have seen a few pieces listed on the internet as "Beaux Art style"...So keep your eyes may just find a treasure!

Happy Collecting!

For more antique and vintage jewelry visit my shop!

Wicked Darling

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ladies' Night - Art Nouveau Lady Lockets

Isn't she lovely...Isn't she wonderful...I just wanted this post to be about Art Nouveau "lady" lockets and how art imitated life...always has and always will. The Art Nouveau Era was at it's best from around 1880 to about 1915. There are elements of the era that show up before and after these different trends and styles merged.

The Art Nouveau era was influenced by beauty and nature. yes beautiful women. Slowly getting away from the very formal Victorian Era...which also featured elements of nature...just in a different and more conservative way. Art Nouveau...which is French for new art...had a light ethereal feel to it. Dreamy...fairy like. Very much an homage to the beauty of women and nature.

In this post I have included photos of antique Art Nouveau lockets that were part of my collection at various times...Just looking at them makes me kind of sad that I have parted with them! They are just beautiful! I have also included photos of women from the same you can see the correlation of art and real life. Enjoy!

This photo reminds me so much of the very first locket pictured in this post. Elegant. Refined. Is she breathing??? Look at that tiny waist! She has to be holding her breath!

Flowing hair...water...the sunrise...a swan...

Again...a beautiful lady or maiden with flowing hair.

Are you getting the picture now? I guess...pun intended! :)

Japanese influence was also strong in the Art Nouveau era. Lovely Geisha with her lover...I am presuming a lot I know...surrounded by curves and flowers. Maybe they are just friends...who knows!

The solemn lady...again curves and flowers. Even the locket itself has been transformed from the standard round Victorian locket. It accentuates the Art Nouveau style.

Flowers in her flowing hair.

A different view of the locket above. Note that the lady on the locket is wearing a locket.

She looks almost child like or nymph like. Very tranquil.

This photo looks so Art Nouveau yet so today as well. One of my favorite photos!

This Art Nouveau locket was most likely a fob for a man's watch chain and would date to the earlier part of the Art Nouveau era...

...While this locket would date to around 1910 or so. This lady is holding a steering wheel! Yes! She is actually driving! Note the flowing scarf on her head.

This lady locket is almost a combination of the photo above and below it.

You can just see it in her eyes..."The times, they are a changing" for women...and I must say...she looks pretty damned pleased about it! Thank you very much! :)

Be sure to visit my shops Wicked Darling on Etsy and Love And Honor on Ruby Lane for antique and vintage jewelry.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remember Me - 1830s Woven Bead Chain

A little over a year ago I purchased this sweet woven bead necklace. I have been collecting the loomed beaded Victorian necklaces for a while...the ones that date to the 1880s to early 1900s. At the time I purchased this necklace...I just assumed that it was from the same time period but just a different style. Apparently I was not alone in my assumption. Often these are misidentified as American Indian or late Victorian.

Shortly after I purchased this necklace, I ran across a couple of auctions on Ebay that totally blew me away! When reading the descriptions...I learned that my necklace...much like the ones up for auction...actually dated to the early 1830s! WOW! The seller included a link to an article by Lynne Zacek Bassett, titled "Woven Bead Chains Of The 1830s". You HAVE to read her article!

I immediately went to the link and read the article. There are no photos but it is so informative! I could not believe what I was reading. It was primarily a trend and an art form found only in America. Young women of the 1830s would make these woven bead wear or for gifts. Much like teens and young adults today...making things for their friends and family. The trend was short lived...and only lasted about four years. So these are extremely rare and hard to come by.

Most of the necklaces or bead chains are very long and very delicate! The beads are so tiny that I don't know how anyone made ANYTHING from them. The necklaces are said to be 40 to sixty inches in length and about 1/2 of an inch wide.

Mine is 43 inches long.

Each symbol that is woven into the chain has a meaning. Mine features a hearts (charity)...and anchors (hope)...keys...signifying education and wisdom when worked in gold beads. Keys are also associated with Martha, the patroness of housewives, and symbolize the housewife's keys to storage cupboards and to the house itself.

My necklace is sewn together at the end.

At first necklace appears to be black and white...but it is actually a very deep brown and white. (I think.)

After reading the article I could not help but wonder how in the world these treasures were electricity for good lighting! How did this wonderful piece of history survive for nearly 200 years? What was she like? The young girl who put so much love into placing each bead! I feel so honored to own such a piece of history! I think that if she were around today...she would be thrilled to see her artwork on the internet for all the world to see! I imagine that she would be texting all of her friends..."OMG.... "

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fly By Night - Antique Comet Pins

Summertime...fireflys...gazing at a star filled night. It all reminds me of antique comet pins. From the dawn of time, people have been fascinated with the heavens. The Georgians and Victorians were no exception to this. They were quite enamored by Halley's comet. Named after Edmond Halley...he predicted that this comet would return in 1758. Which it did...but he did not live to see it's return. He noted that it had previously appeared in the years 1531, 1607 and 1682. The comet reappears roughly every 75 years.

It was then seen again in 1834...then 1910...and if you were one of the lucky people (and I was) you got to view the return of Halley's comet in 1986!

Mark Twain was born in 1835 when Halley's comet was still visible. It is said that he did not want to leave this earth until it returned. He sadly passed away April, 10 1910...just one day after the comet became visible in the sky. Some people dispute this claim.

This is a gorgeous antique Victorian comet pin that I have in my collection. The stone represents the comet and the long gold part of the pin represents the comet's tail.

It has a wonderful paste stone and has black taille d' epergne enameling. Is a little over an inch were many comet pins. Short and sweet!

This is a view of the back of the pin. It is engraved 1873...possibly to represent another comet... discovered by Horace Tuttle and Ernst Temple in 1873. It was named 10P/Tempel 2.

The paste stone has become clouded...but I still prize this piece!

This is an example of an Edwardian Halley's comet pin. It dates to 1910. Gorgeous!

Another Edwardian Halley's comet pin...with an amethyst.

There are also some fabulous antique comet pins listed in various shops on Ruby Lane. This link will take you right to the search page! :)

Happy comet hunting!

A Long Hot Summer

"Nobody Panic!...She just got over heated! I will get the mint juleps and all will be fine!"

For the past few days it has been sweltering here in the south! Temps are hovering around the 100 degree mark with the "feel like temps" in the 120s. Needless to say...I have been a whiner about it. "It's just too hot!"...and I have not moved away from the air conditioner. (All the while...I am wearing minimal clothing...shorts and a T-shirt.)

I have been going through some of my jewelry reference books today...trying to stay cool...looking at the fashion plates from the times and just wondering....How in the world did those Victorian women survive this heat??? They say that you don't miss what you never had...namely electricity and air conditioners for these ladies! I mean...when it is hot like this...for me it's no makeup...I always wear jewelry...never too hot for that, after pulled up onto the top of my head. Just a hot mess!

So then I found this really cool site today, Vintage Holiday Crafts. Lots of clip art and these wonderful fashion plates from the 1850s-1880s. You should check it out! Could you pull these looks off in this summer heat? Think about it! Corsets...wire hoops...pantaloons...Not to mention the actual dresses!

Summer Silk Ballgowns from 1878
These are stunning!

1854 Dress
Notice the bangles on both wrist...Told ya...Never to hot for jewelry!

1869 Bridal Gown And Attendant's Dresses
Don't think I could be a member of the wedding party...Sorry! I would be somewhere just pantaloons!

1881 Seaside Wear
Those hand held fans just would not cut it! Oh...I forgot...There was probably a sea breeze! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

My Daddy As "Uncle Bunky" On His 1950's Kid's Show

Happy Father's Day to my Daddy! Does this post relate to antique jewelry? Well a round about way it does. You see...when I was a little girl...I loved jewelry! My Daddy worked at a television station. He had a live Kid's show every weekday. He would interview local kids and draw for them. Occasionally my sister and I would be on the show with him...but I think that we both preferred seeing him at lunch everyday...supper time...and on weekends! The weekends is where the jewelry comes in. I would beg for a "real"ring! He would take me down to the jewelry store and buy me a birthstone ring. I would say..."Daddy, is this a real ring?" His reply would always be the same..." are wearing it!" Not just once...but every time that I would "misplace" my ring. We would make a trip to the jewelry store. There is no telling how many rings are buried in that backyard now! Lost while making mud pies with my sister! :) But I am sure that this is where my craving for jewelry began.

Fishing With Daddy In Biloxi

My Daddy, My Sister And Me On A "Treasure Hunt"...
An Adventure That My Sister Will Never Forget...A Stray Dog Bit Her! Yes!!! I Think She Had To Get Those Awful Rabies Shots!....But We Had Fun! :)

Daddy Teaching Me Bad Habits Early In Life!

Daddy With His Daddy "PawPaw"...
PawPaw...My Grandfather...Started My Love For Anything That Came From A Bakery!

Daddy Fishing With Mama's Daddy "Daddy Burgess"

Daddy Burgess...My Grandfather...A Good Man! I Love this Photo!
He Is The One On The Right.
He Would Take My Sister And Me Fishing...He Had The Sweetest Smile And Laugh!

My Mamma And Daddy Today!
I Love You Both! Wish I Could Be There To Give Y'all A Hug!

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!