While shopping online for vintage or antique jewelry, you may come across items described as "gold filled," "gold plated,"or "gold tone." We may all be familiar with solid gold, silver, and platinum, but there are some metals used in the past that many modern consumers my not know much about. In most cases, these alternative metals were used as ways to reduce costs and jewelry prices during times of strife or for those who could not afford real metals. Today, gold filled or plated metal is a great way to begin collecting jewelry because of its' lower cost.
What is Gold Filled Metal?
Gold Filled Metal means the item is made of a thick layer of gold fused onto a base metal. There is usually a thick enough layer of gold that it won't fade or wear easily. It is safe for those with allergies.
What is Gold Plated Metal?
When an item is described as being gold plated, there will be a thin layer of gold over base metal. Gold plated metal can be safe for those with metal allergies, but the gold may wear eventually, exposing the base metal.
What is Gold Tone Metal or Silver Tone Metal?
This simply refers to the color of the metal. The metal can be any base metal. These pieces generally don't contain any gold or silver content. More likely found in contemporary pieces.
Children wore many styles of jewelry during the Victorian era. According to Morning Glory Collects "Coral beads, silver lockets, bead necklaces and little bracelets all were popular. Coral was thought to ward off ill health so even babies wore small beaded necklaces and bracelets of coral. "
While it might not be a popular daily practice in modern times, some parents still dress their children in jewelry for special occasions.
As for us adults, jewelry collectors have thought of a few clever ways to wear these tiny pieces in a modern way.
Baby Ring Charm Necklace
A single, or collection of baby rings can be worn on a chain in place of charms. Single rings can be layered on individual chains for a cascading look.
Antique Baby Rings as Midi or Knuckle Ring
Some antique baby rings might be large enough to be worn on an adult finger. They can be worn on the upper or middle knuckle. For this, you would need the ring to be at least a size 1 US.
Have you acquired any antique baby jewelry for your personal collection? How do you like to wear them? Please share in the comments section below.
As more of my friends are starting to get married. I am thrilled to take on the task of sourcing special antique rings for the engagement.
There are no rules to relationships these days, so even the act of engagement is a lofty subject. To ease the burden of this big step, many young people are starting to look for more casual or alternative styles to the large, obvious solitaire diamond.
In antique jewelry, the romance is in the symbolism. Design elements are incorporated to connote loving attachment. Here are a few styles that symbolize commitment in a more subtle yet meaningful way.
This refers to a ring with two stones in a cross over style setting. The stones can be two of the same, or mismatching. This style of ring was often used for engagements during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The cross-over style symbolizes two souls intertwined.
The toi et moi ring's popularity was believed to have started when Napoleon gave a sapphire and diamond engagement ring to Josephine in 1776.
Art Deco Filigree
lf you want to make a sparkly statement, but can't afford a grandiose stone, an elaborate setting might be the solution.
Filigree styles from the Art Deco era help emphasize a stone, making it look larger than it is. It still has the glamour and flash of diamonds, but it is usually accomplished with smaller stones. The artistic setting is excellent for someone with unique personal style. There were so many filigree patterns made during this time period, it would be hard to find two of the same.
Fede or Gemel Ring
A Fede ring (also called Gemel ring) is an old engagement ring style that features two hands clasped together. They usually have a hinge mechanism that clasps the hand to reveal a stone or a heart stamping. These are quite rare, but they can occasionally be found in nice condition.
The claddah ring has been a symbol of engaement since the 17th century in Ireland. It features two hands holding a heart topped with a crown (representing friendship, love, and loyalty).
According to tradition, the heart is worn pointing away on the right hand if the wearer is single, toward the body when the wearer has a love interest. When worn on the left hand, it should point away if the wearer is engaged and toward the body once the wearer is married.
Also known as "True Lovers Knot" or "Celtic Lovers Knot". This symbol was often used by sailors separated from their lovers. It is modeled from an difficult to untangle knot style. These rings can sometimes be found with a diamond in the center to make it extra engagement friendly.
Symbolically the belt motif represents the notion of "holding your love tightly", attachment and eternity. These usually have fairly simple designs and can look fairly modern when worn today. These make excellent engagement rings for males, or women with a more understated style. Read more about buckle motif symbolism in my previous blog post.
A prevalent Victorian symbol, the snake is an emblem of eternal love. The popular style began when Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria with what is considered the very first engagement ring, which was in the image of a snake with an emerald-set head.
There are so many options in today's jewelry market. The choice of ring should be as unique as the romance it represents. Antique rings are an excellent way to make a sentimental statement sure to last for generations to come.
See all available ring options, engagement and otherwise, at LUXXORVintage.com
I love bidding on mixed lots at auctions. You never know what you will find inside.
This box was so beautiful, I would have bid on it regardless of the contents.
Inside, there were many silver pieces. Most I will have to scrap because they are damaged or just useless. I did manage to save this awesome 1961 class ring. It has interesting images, some of which have worn down. It was very clearly worn and loved by a prideful "Wildcats" alum.
Originally worn by Victorian women as a way to carry their pocket watches; these long chains (often called "Guard Chains" or "Slide Chain" by collectors) came in solid gold, gold filled, and occasionally silver. As Victorians were experts in mixing form and function; slide chains can be worn in a number of ways.
1. Super Duper Long
For the traditional Victorian woman who lead a fairly sedentary life, there was little risk of getting tangled in the chain. To keep the length under control the end piece can be tucked into a pocket or clipped onto a belt or sash. The slide can be used to adjust the length slightly.
The chain can be doubled up and clipped in the center to create a festoon style look. A pendant can be added to the clip. Just wrap the chain around your neck once. Even out the two layers and clip in the bottom part of the chain.
3. layered choker
A simple way to wear your slide chain is to double it up. Just wrap once around your neck, to make a choker portion, and let the rest hang. You can adjust the choker portion to your desired length. This gives a nice layered necklace look. Like two chains in one!.
4. Pendant Style
You can also use the slide and clasp as charms. Just apply the chain as if it were a regular old boring one and clip it in the front. Pull the slide wherever you wold like it to sit. Now you have a double layered chain with a unique charm.
Aren't slide chains the coolest?? There are infinite ways to wear them. They can even be wrapped around the wrist as bracelets if you have enough length. Some people even collect the slides to make charm bracelets out of.
If you have a unique way of wearing yours; please share in the comments below.
I always loved when my grandmother brought these papyrus bookmarks back from Egypt. They depict various Ancient Egyptian gods, with the Hieroglyphic alphabet printed underneath.
She managed to pick up a pack of 50 this time; so I will share them with you! They look vintage, but it's hard to tell with this kind of thing.
I hand stamped the backs with the LUXXOR Logo. You can find them in the next 50 or so LUXXORVintage.com orders!
THE T-BAR PIN AND C-CLASP
T-bar pins and c-clasps were used predominately through the Victorian era. The pins on brooches from this era were usually really long, often extending past the body of the brooch itself. This helped keep the piece secure on heavy Victorian fabrics, and served as an early safeguard before the safety clasp was invented.
Around the of the turn of the century, hinges became smaller and more rounded. Brooches with a c-clasp and small hinge (not tube hinge) usually date around the late 1800s-1900.
THE TROMBONE CLASP
Named after the trombone-like gesture required to pull open the tube shaped closure; Trombone clasps were also used during the late 1800s. They are most often found on European made pieces. This type of clasp can sometimes be found on European jewelry from the 1940s as well.
THE SAFETY CLASPThe original style of safety clasps was invented around 1910. They worked a little differently than the modern ones, since the lever rolls down instead of upwards. It was essentially a C-clasp with a closure.
Around the 1920s the modern fold-over safety clasp was invented. This helped secure the heavy jewel encrusted pieces of the time. This also made brooches more functional for the modern woman, as it
helped keep the brooches protected against her new more active lifestyle.
As a collector of vintage and antique jewelery, one of the motifs you will most often find (and in many different forms) is the Buckle or Garter. In Victorian jewelry, garters can be found as the frame on a cameo brooch or enameled onto the cover design of a locket. Victorians also loved wearing ring bands in the shape of garters. These rings were often given as romantic gifts. Brooches were made to look like buckles that attached to nothing. Perhaps the most popular use of the buckle motif was the Buckle bangle bracelet. These were made in solid gold or silver as well as plated metal. The buckles functioned as the clasp of the bracelet, and could often adjust in tightness, much like a real belt.
The garter as a symbol represents loyalty, protection, and strength. As a symbol of mourning, the garter holds the memory of a loved one close. It was used as a romantic symbol for the same qualities.
Royal Order of Garter Brooch
This motif was said to derive from the Royal Order of the Garter. This was an order of Chivalry founded by King Edward III in 1348 to strengthen military leadership. It was considered the highest honor a British Monarch can bestow. Members of the Order wore a blue garter buckled above their knee. Queen Victoria took a more modest approach and wore her garter on her arm instead. This started the garter motif as a fashionable jewelry trend.
If you come across an old locket or pendant with a military emblem or designation such as ‘mother’ or ‘wife’ it is probably an example of WWII sweetheart jewelry. Sweetheart collectibles are items that were purchased by military servicemen and sent home to the ladies in their life. These items included compacts, handkerchiefs, pillow cases, as well as jewelry. Items could be purchased at post offices at military bases around the world. The tradition of sending home mementos from the war started in WWI and gained popularity during WWII.
These tokens of love were a small luxury in a time of rationing and scarcity. They provided emotional comfort for soldiers and the loved ones they left behind. Since many materials were reserved for the war effort, the jewelry from this time was often made of gold or silver plated base metal. Natural materials like mother of pearl, were used as luxurious decorations when supply of stones were limited. Most sweetheart jewelry was made machine made, and often decorated with hand done engraving. Hand made jewelry that was fashioned by soldiers is called ‘Trench Art’ or ‘Pacific War Art’.
Many pieces of sweetheart jewelry were decorated with the emblems of the different branches of the military. Others had words like ‘mother’, ‘sweetheart’, and ‘wife’ or the recipient’s name.
The most popular form of sweetheart jewelry was the locket. As Nick Snider said in his book Sweetheart Jewelry and Collectibles; “Lockets had it all, beauty as well as usefulness by holding a picture of a loved one close to the heart.” Sweetheart Lockets were usually heart shaped, but they can also be found as ovals, or even book shaped. Most lockets had spaces for two photos. Today, many old lockets can still be found with the original photos intact. Usually it is of a soldier in uniform.
Lockets were not only hung on traditional chains. Many times they came on wire or bar shaped pin with designations such as “wife” or “mother”. Others were attached to jump wing or bow shaped pins.