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Definition: Cuff Bracelet

What is a cuff bracelet? It’s a bracelet that spans the wrist but is open in the back. The opening allows the wearer to put on and remove the bracelet. Cuff bracelets can be thin or thick. Most fit the wrist fairly snugly and do not move around on the arm when the bracelet is worn.

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Tiffany Fakes & “Inspired” Replicas are Everywhere!

A few months ago, I purchased a group of jewelry. In the lot was a large silver cuff bracelet with raised daisies on the front. Lo & behold, the bracelet was marked “Tiffany & Co”. After some research, I found that this Daisy cuff design is part of the Nature Series. I did not know if the bracelet was authentic or not, so I took it to my local Tiffany store for their opinion. My bracelet turned out to be a fake but it took four Tiffany employees inspecting and discussing the bracelet to decide that the bracelet is fake. That’s how good the counterfeit Tiffany jewelry producers have become. They have the details of the jewelry down to the finest degree. According to the Tiffany salespeople, much of the Tiffany jewelry being re-sold or sold on the Internet is fake.

eBay is trying to crack down on sellers who are offering fake Tiffany but it’s hard to catch everything. Key word spamming (using word like Tiffany or Tiffany inspired) is against eBay policy and is a blatant disregard for the rules. Today, though, I ran across a seller who is selling Tiffany replicas without calling them so but the items are photographed on a Tiffany blue background. Very misleading, in my opinion.

I obtained another cuff bracelet recently. This one is Mexican silver and is a few years old. It’s clearly marked “Mexico”. But it’s a dead ringer for Elsa Peretti’s sterling bone cuff on Tiffany’s web site.

I used to think that having a Tiffany pouch or box was good enough authentication that an item is the real thing. But these boxes and bags are being copied and sold too. The only way I’d purchase a pre-owned Tiffany piece is to see a sales receipt from the original sale.

Visit My eBay Store: MidCentury Jewelry
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What is Art Moderne Jewelry?

Art Moderne style is an extension of Art Deco design and is associated with the later period of Art Deco style. Art Moderne can be dated from the late 1920s to the start of WWII. Art Moderne style is geometric and blocky. To me, it appears to be influenced by the Machine Age. Colors are bright and bold in Art Moderne jewelry. In contrast, Art Deco is more delicate.

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How To Identify Authentic Amber

Amber is a natural tree resin that can be molded into the same shapes as chemically-made “plastics”. Most amber used in jewelry will range from yellow to brown in color. It runs a range from transparent to translucent. You might see a perfectly clear piece with no “cracks” or inclusions or your amber may be full of these. There is an immature type of amber, not as desirable, known as copal amber. It will not stand up to the tests below. So, if you have something that looks like amber but doesn’t pass these tests, it is copal amber or a plastic. There are several tests to identify amber (some more sophisticated tests which I’ve not mentioned here but can be found on the Internet). Yy favorite test is the static test.

Static test: Rub your amber against a cotton cloth. It will become electrostatically charged. The charged amber should pick tiny pieces of paper like a magnet.

Solvent test: Please be careful here and don’t ruin your jewelry. You can apply a drop of acetone (fingernail polish remover) to your amber. If it becomes sticky or tacky, it is not true amber. Wash your jewelry as soon as you complete the test.

Bouyancy test: Amber will float in salt water. Make a solution of 2 ½ teaspoons of salt per cup of water and dissolve. True amber will float.

Hot needle test: Heat a needle in a flame until it is red hot. Touch the tip of the needle to a hidden place on the amber. True amber will noe melt quicky and will put off a grey smoke.

The necklace photographed above can be found in my eBay store.

Visit My eBay Store: MidCentury Jewelry

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What is Married Jewelry — Married Jewelry Set

When speaking of jewelry, a “married set” is a group of jewelry of very similar style that have been put together to wear as a set. In my experience, married sets are put together by original owners who could not find exact matches but maybe found similar jewelry over the years and then chose to wear it together. The amber glass set above is a great example of a married set. For example, the large pearls on each piece are not the same shape and they should be, if the set were truly a real match.

This set is available in my eBay store “MidCentury Jewelry”.

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Mid-Century Wingback Earrings – Judith McCann Invention

What are wingback earrings? Wingbacks were a 1940s invention of jewelry designer Judith McCann, for women who didn’t want to wear the clip earrings of the time. Wingbacks have an unusual 2-part wire setting in back. There is a t-bar shaped piece that fits inside the ear, resting on the top of the lobe. The upward-facing single wire fits securely behind the lobe and holding the earring in place.

Every pair of wingbacks that I’ve sen are stamped “WINGBACK” on the side of the long wire in back. There is always the patent number for this invention stamped after the Wingback name.

Most wingback earrings are substantial in size. I’ve seen them in rhinestones, enamel and beaded.

Photo of Wingback ad courtesy of

Rhinestone wingbacks are available in my eBay store.

Visit My eBay Store: MidCentury Jewelry
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Vintage Caro-Nan Box Purse — Painted with Playing Cards

I love these 1960s-1970s box purses, many of which were painted by Caro-Nan. I don’t know anything about Caro-Nan and there is very little online about this company.

My green painted basket purse has a bridge motif. It is nicely painted front and back with playing cards. The sides of the purse are painted with the reverse side of a playing card. Inside the purse, it’s like in a gingham fabric. This purse is part of my personal collection and not for sale. I’m always looking for box purses to add to my collection. If you have one, let me know!

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Vintage Painted Cincinnati Box Purse

My mother-in-law got this purse in the 1970s and passed it on to me a few years ago. I have a thing for hard-sided box purses and this Cincinnati, OH themed purse is my favorite. It’s shaped like a house, which is unusual. One side of the roof swings up to let you into the purse.

The sides of the purse are painted with Cincinnati landmarks: Cincinnati Reds, Music Hall, Roderick St. Johns (I’m not sure what that was, maybe a store?), Riverfront Stadium, Maisonette, Cincinnati Bengals, Pigall’s, Art Museum.

I wish someone could make some plain box purses for me so I could paint up a storm.

I’m not sure who made the purse. Caro-Nan made a lot of purses at the time but this one is unsigned.

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My Daughter’s Now Interested in Costume Jewelry

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……

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Ebay Restricts Selling of Vintage Bone & Horn Jewelry

I listed two vintage necklaces today on eBay, both about 30 years old. Both necklaces had some old generic bone beads on them. Almost immediately, eBay ended the auctions and sent me an email stating that I had violated their policy of selling animal parts which were banned.

I’d already had some auctions ended last month because they were made with vintage ivory. Ebay has now basically banned all sales of ivory, even if it’s old. Of course, I learn about this policy by getting into “trouble” with eBay because I’m not aware of their new ban. Ebay has lowered their rating of my compliance with their policies……………..

After much discussion with eBay about bone, I found that it’s still OK to sell vintage bone jewelry. But eBay’s guidelines say that you should clearly state in the listing title the origin of the bone and make sure that the bone did not come from the endangered species list. In addition, you should also cover the origin of the bone in your listing text too.

I have no problem with eBay banning the sales of products made from endangered animals. I totally support it. However, I hate eBay’s lack of communication and employees who aren’t even sure of the policy. Ebay’s written policy is very vague and gives THEM a lot of wiggle room to make arbitrary decisions on what’s allowed or not. On top of that, there are hundreds of eBay auctions going on right now featuring bone jewelry that doesn’t comply with their new standards.

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How to Sell Gold & Sterling Jewelry — Beware Cash for Gold Scams

Until gold prices shot up this past year and “Cash for Gold” ads hit the media, the practice of selling scrap gold and sterling seemed to be practiced by people already in the know (coin dealers, jewelry dealers, antiques dealers, jewelers). Now, everyone knows that “Cash for Gold” will buy your scrap. However jewelers and coin dealer have been buying scrap metals for years & years.

A little research will help you determine if you are getting your best price.

1. Get on the Internet and look up the spot price for gold and/or sterling that day. There are many sites that post the spot price. Realize that the seller is going to get 70-80% of spot price when selling to a gold buyer.
2. Sort your pieces of jewelry by their gold/sterling marks. Put your 18K, 14K, 10K gold in different piles. Also, you will probably only be able to sell sterling (925) silver.
3. Call your reputable local jeweler, someone you know in your hometown. Ask them what they are paying for scrap…it will most likely be higher than Cash for Gold.
4. Invest in a cheap little scale and weigh the jewelry yourself. That way you’ll have a good idea prior to selling how much you have.
4. When selling your jewelry, are the stones worth anything? If you think they might be, have them pried out prior to weighing the scrap and selling.

Good luck! Selling scrap gold is a good way to get some money out of something you’ll never wear again. But make sure you are aren’t “giving” your scrap away.

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What is Art Nouveau? Art Nouveau Jewelry

What is Art Nouveau? How to Recognize Art Nouveau jewelry?

According to, Art Nouveau is a “style of decoration and architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, characterized particularly by the depiction of leaves and flowers in flowing, sinuous lines.” [French : art, art + nouveau, new.]

The jewelry shown in this post is very typical of Art Nouveau styling.