Thursday, July 18, 2013

More Costume Jewelry

In my last entry, I wrote about gold filled jewelry, which is considered costume jewelry rather than fine jewelry, and I've got costume jewelry on the brain again this week after my recent visit to the Museum of Arts and Design for an truly fantastic exhibit of costume jewelry. The exhibit, titled Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger, contained hundreds of pieces of costume jewelry made during the 20th century, as well as a group of more recent items. Fashion houses like Yves Saint Laurent and Dior designed and made many of the pieces. Other pieces were made by artists and talented craftsmen who made a name for themselves in costume jewelry, like those at New York company Trifari. The skills to make costume jewelry are quite similar as those to make fine jewelry, and the exhibit reminded me again why design and craftsmanship make jewelry beautiful, not just the materials used to make it. Berger’s pieces are exquisitely made and objects of true beauty. It was a pleasure to visit the exhibit, not only to see such an astounding collection, but to remember that a beautiful piece can always be worth adding to your collection, whether fine jewelry or costume. See below for some of the stunning pieces on display. 

William Delillo (USA) c. 1970 Glass, Lucite, Metal

William Delillo (USA) c. 1969 Glass, Metal

Top: Trifari (USA) c. 1940 Fruit Salad Bracelet, Glass, Metal
Bottom: Trifari TKF (USA) c. 1938 Glass, Metal

Schreiner (USA) c. 1960 Glass, Simulated Pearls, Metal

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gold Filled Jewels

Gold filled jewelry is abundant at Prather Beeland, and I wanted to share with you why we love it! 

Gold filled jewelry is a great and less expensive way to start collecting antique pieces. In the Victorian era, gold was expensive, but skilled craftsmen were not, allowing for beautiful pieces made with impeccable attention to detail but more affordable than pieces made of solid gold. Although the price tag made gold filled jewelry popular with middle class Victorians, the level of craftsmanship and time put into these pieces made them desirable to aristocrats and royalty as well. 

Gold filled jewelry is made using a rolled out layer of gold that is bonded to a base metal, often brass, with heat and pressure. This process leaves the pieces with a thicker layer of gold on the exterior compared to electroplating, a dipping technique that adds a very thin exterior layer of gold using electric currents.  Antique gold filled items have beautiful patina that comes with age, but the gold does not easily wear like gold plated items do.

Below are just some of the gold filled pieces available at Prather Beeland - we hope you'll love them as much as we do!