• Earring styles

    Earring styles

    Below, you will seven styles of earrings commonly found in antique and vintage jewellery. (In a previous article, I discussed how to age earrings by the  findings. )

    Stud earrings

    Stud earrings became popular in the late 1800s but fell out of use when ears stopped being pierced in the early 1900s. They became popular again in the early 1960s and continue in popularity to this day.

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    Gold, diamond and silver stud earrings. England, late 18th century. V&A Museum

    Note: Some stud earrings have threaded posts which can be indicative of a finer piece.

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    3.50 Carat European Cut Diamond Stud Earrings, c. 1900. Photo courtesy of LangAntiques.com (Note the ‘threaded posts’)

    Button Earrings

    This type of round or domed earring with no dangling element first became popular in the 1930s. Earlier examples tend to have screw backs whereas those from the 1950s and 1960s tend to be clip-ons. From the mid-1960s onwards some button earrings were also produced for pierced ears.

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    Vintage Angel Skin Coral clip on button earrings. Elder and Bloom

    Top and Drop Earrings

    This is a style of earrings which has two sections, usually round or oval.  The two sections normally match and the bottom section is normally the largest.  The top section usually hangs just below the lobe except when there is a pierced post and then it might sit on the lobe itself. The style has been around for centuries but is associated with the Georgian era as it was so popular in that era.

    When the bottom section is detachable, these are known as day to night earrings as they can be converted for daytime or evening attire.

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    Antique gold and coral ‘Top and Drop’ earrings. Elder and Bloom.

     

    Pendeloque Earrings

    This is a style which began in the 1800s. It is similar to the Top and Drop earring  style, but the two sections are connected by a third central section, designed as a bow.

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    Pendeloque gold filigree and pearl earrings. Salamanca 1800-1870. V&A Museum.

    Girandole Earrings

    This is a style which has three dangling elements with the central element usually being the largest or hanging lower than the other two elements.  The style first appeared around 1700 in France but is often associated with the decade of 1870 as it experienced enormous popularity during the Rococo Revival of that period.

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    Antique gold and coral Spanish Girandole earrings.

    Drop Earrings

    This is a very popular style which consists of a single element attached to the finding.

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    Victorian drop earrings with À jour settings. Elder and Bloom.

    Chandelier Earrings 

    This is a style of earring which has tiers of dangling elements, resembling a chandelier. They are often associated with the Mid-Victorian era.

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    Queen Letizia of Spain wearing chandelier style earrings.

    © Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

     

     

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  • Art Nouveau Enamel Pendant

    Art Nouveau Enamel Pendant

    I thought you may enjoy seeing this absolutely gorgeous gilded 800 silver cloisonné enamelled filigree pendant just in the Elder and Bloom Store.

    If you are interested in learning more about enamel techniques in antique jewellery, you may enjoy these articles here.

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  • Understanding the Differences Between Bakelite and Catalin

    Understanding the Differences Between Bakelite and Catalin

    One of the great misnomers in vintage and antique jewellery sales is ‘Bakelite’. Nearly all jewellery that we refer to as Bakelite jewellery is actually Catalin, a similar but different type of early plastic. This can be confusing but is more easily be understood if you think of the term ‘Bakelite’, when it refers to jewellery, as simply being another term for ‘Catalin’. (When I sell Catalin jewellery, I call it ‘Bakelite’ because otherwise the customer may not know what it is.)

    Bakelite

    Bakelite was a type of early plastic first developed in 1907 by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York. It was used in a wide variety of products, ranging from radios to household appliances and industrial parts but was rarely used for jewellery.  It was produced into the 1950s.

    Catalin

    Catalin was developed and trademarked in 1927 by the American Catalin Corporation when they acquired the patents for Bakelite.  Catalin contains no fillers and is transparent and almost colourless. It can be carved and faceted. It has a wide variety of applications, including jewellery.

    The Catalin Corporation introduced 15 colours, including clear, opaque and marbled versions. Catalin jewellery was produced from 1927 until the end of World War II. Production ended because every piece had to be cast and polished by hand which proved to be too expensive.

    Final words

    Made only between the years of 1927 until approximately 1945, Catalin / Bakelite jewellery is very much associated with the Art Deco era. Iconic and characterful, it is surprisingly pleasant to wear and has a truly addictive quality. It has unexpected nuance and charm. Two pieces striking each other – for example, when two bangles are worn – make a delicious ‘clunking’ sound. The colours and styles are vast and gorgeous. Often the styles are completely one of a kind, especially when hand-carved. For all of these reasons and more, it is no wonder that Catalin / Bakelite jewellery is becoming increasingly sought after and is considered a collector’s item.

    The tests for Bakelite and Catalin are the same.

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    Bakelite (Catalin) bangle. Elder and Bloom.

     

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    Bakelite / Catalin bangle. Elder and Bloom.

    © Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

    Sources / further reading:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalin

    http://plastiquarian.com/?page_id=14230

     

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  • À jour

    À jour

    À jour is a term used in jewellery manufacturing which describes an open backed setting that allows the light to shine through the gemstone, enhancing the scintillation, brightness and colour. À jour settings are not found prior to 1800 when nearly all gems were mounted with closed backs.

    The term à jour is from the French word for ‘day’.

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    Victorian earrings with À jour settings. Elder and Bloom.

     

    Please note: Plique à jour is a type of enamelling that incorporates an open background which is filled with transparent enamel.

    © Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

     

  • Lapis Lazuli

    Lapis Lazuli

    Lapis Lazuli has been loved since antiquity for its intense, vibrant cobalt blue colour. It can be flecked with either white or gold (calcite or pyrite).

    A metamorphic rock, mainly composed of the mineral Lazurite, it usually originates from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia or Chile. It is also mined, to a lesser extent, in Italy, Mongolia, the United States and Canada.

     

    Below you will find some of the many applications for Lapis Lazuli in antique and vintage jewellery:

    Pietre Dure

    Lapis Lazuli is also one of the principal stones used on Italian Pietre Dure (micro-mosaics). 

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    Necklace, 1808, Pietra dure, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, gold. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

    Acrostic

    The Georgians and the Victorians, with their passion for acrostic jewellery (‘The Language of Stones’) used Lapis Lazuli to represent the letter ‘L’ for ‘Love’.

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    Acrostic Pendant. 1830. V&A Museum.

    Cameo and Intaglio

    Many beautiful examples can be found of Lapis Lazuli used in cameo and intaglio. 

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    Lapis Lazuli Cameo. 1580-1600. Italy. V&A Museum.

    Arts & Crafts

    The Arts & Crafts movement designers favoured Lapis Lazuli as the stone fitted in with their ‘beauty before perceived value’ philosophy.

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    Arts and Crafts Pendant 1903. May Morris. Set with variety of stones, including lapis lazuli. V&A Museum.

    Art Deco

    Art Deco Jewellery designers prized Lapis Lazuli as it suited their vibrant, bold styles.

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    Art Deco Lapis Lazuli Diamond Gold Earrings. Elder and Bloom.

    Cartier stands out as a design company who loved to use Lapis Lazuli during the Art Deco era.

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    Lapis Lazuli Brooch. Cartier 1920-1930. V&A Museum.

     

    Imitations

    There are four other stones that can be mistaken for Lapis Lazuli. These are:

    1. Dyed Jasper or Howlite. It will have the cobalt blue colour but will not show the white or golden patches. (Known as ‘Swiss Lapis’).
    2. Sodalite, which is one of the components of Lapis Lazuli, looks similar but the color is much paler.
    3. There is a synthetic spinel which also imitates Lapis Lazuli. (Known as ‘Gilson Lapis’). This looks very similar but does not have the same random patterns shown in natural Lapis Lazuli.
    4. Azurite is not as hard and has a darker tint.

    Tip: To see if a stone has been dyed, try removing the colour with acetone.

    Final note:

    Lapis Lazuli has, of course, been used as a paint pigment since the late Middle Ages and has been a favourite of many of the great artists. This beautiful painting by Vermeer showcases not only Lapis Lazuli as a paint pigment but also a style of pearl earring from the era.

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    ‘The Girl With a Pearl Earring’. Vermeer.

     

    © Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

    Sources / Further Reading:

    http://www.langantiques.com/university/Lapis_Lazuli

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapis_lazuli

    https://hyperallergic.com/315564/lapis-lazuli-a-blue-more-precious-than-gold/

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