Trifari was known for some designs using glass poured into molds. You can find such jewelry from the 1950s, with leaves and flower petals made from poured glass. This pin is unsigned but dates to the 1960s.
Enamel and sterling silver charms in the shape of the Bluebird of Happiness were manufactured in the 1950s and 1960s by companies such as Wells Sterling and Beau Sterling. You may find variation in the designs but almost all depict a flying bluebird with red breast.
After WWII, celluloid and plastic were used in Japan to make fashionable dress clips as well as pins, hat pins and shoe ornaments. Some were painted. Others were made from layered of laminated celluloid.
This cute clip is made from celluloid, molded into a flower design, then details were hand painted on the front of the dress clip.
Let’s say you have a piece of vintage costume jewelry with a patent pending stamp or a patent # on the back. There are excellent web sites that are dedicated to identifying costume jewelry which was produced when jewelry designs were patented in the US. Patenting as a practice died out in the early 1950s and the heyday of patented costume jewelry was from the 1920s-1940s. The Trifari pin featured above is patented and is dated to 1953.
These sites can help you determine who manufactured and sold a piece of jewelry, the name of the designer, the date of patent, as well as other details. This information is extremely important in determining the value of a piece of vintage costume jewelry.
The following links show sites with comprehensive research resources. The sites are organized by jewelry maker and dates, along with design drawings and patent dates.
Also, if you want to see a site with loads of high-end magnificent costume jewelry that was produced during the hey-day of design check out the link below. Many of these pieces have the patent information provided.
My site: www.midcenturyjewelry.com.
Thermoset lucite jewelry was manufactured predominantly in the 1950s-1960s by many costume jewelry companies. It was great for jewelry because the lucite (a heavier plastic) could be molded into many creative shapes and designs. I’ve seen many examples of thermoset lucite by well-known manufacturers such as Lisner, Coro, BSK, Trifari as well as other makers signed and unsigned.
Lucite can be opaque or translucent. It can also have objects embedded into it….objects such as abalone pieces, or shells, or confetti or glitter. Confetti lucite is exactly as it sounds: lucite with confetti or glitter embedded inside. The bracelets pictured are wide with lucite pieces with embedded items. They are available on my web site with the link below.
The recession can be felt by jewelry sellers on eBay and the Internet. I belong to a vintage jewelry seller’s group and everyone sees a drop in their sales as a result of the recession. I have documented a drop in the average dollar amount per item I am receiving on eBay sales these days. I’m not complaining….it’s just something I have to live through until things get better.
The 1950s-1960s Winard signed gold filled cameo and matching clip earrings featured above sold this past week in my eBay store for $9.99. A heart-breaking price for me to accept, especially since a set like this would have sold for $45-50 this time last year. There are definitely bargains out there for people still buying.
Surprisingly, the competition among resellers at antiques auctions for jewelry continues to be strong in my area. Sometimes I see resellers purchasing jewelry at higher prices than I can resell it for. Either they know something I don’t or they’re not very smart. Also, winter seems to bring out people who are desperate for more stock when the pickings are slim in the cold weather months.
In my opinion, the market will continue to be depressed for a while. I think that some sellers will not survive the recession. Those who can hang on will be the sellers who already had strong customer bases and sufficient capital to survive the down times.
My kids have always hated old stuff. I’ve got these 1950s dishes that my son refuses to eat off of because the brown colors gross him out. He has his own personal bowl that no one is allowed to eat out of…the bowl is totally white. I guess he likes his white bowl because he can tell when it’s clean and that it’s not “contaminated” with the cooties of previous owners.
My daughter is the same way. For years, she has spurned my efforts to give her vintage jewelry from my collection. I can shake an old necklace at her like a voodoo totem and she’ll back out of the room. I always said to her, “I bet other girls would just love to have some jewelry”. Well, my prediction has come true. Her friend Sara loves to come over and pick through my jewelry to find the funkiest piece in the bunch. Last week, Sara took home some truly strange fuzzy Christmas wreath earrings with reindeer leaping across the front. Now that my daughter’s friends are interested in my jewelry, she is too.
So, this post is for my daughter. I’m glad that she will at least stay in the room when I drag my jewelry out to show her……
It is a lightweight plastic, many times a cream color. Sometimes the cream celluloid is painted to add color, though.
In the 1950s, a lot of celluloid jewelry was manufactured in Japan. Celluloid can be quite distinctive looking, many times with rhinestones embedded into the jewelry or molded/carved into floral designs.
Smell test: Hold your celluloid jewelry under hot water for 30 seconds. Now, put it up to your nose and smell it. You should smell a camphor or vinegar-like scent.
Weight: Celluloid feels very lightweight in the hand.
Needle Test: There is a test where you can apply a hot needle to celluloid to bring the camphor-vinegar smell out. Celluloid is FLAMMABLE so I would NEVER recommend this test!