Posted on

Shopping for Antiques in Small Town Ohio

I had an errand to run recently that took me out into the country of southern Ohio. Prior to going, I Googled “antique stores” to see if I could find a few in nearby small towns. One town, Lynchburg OH, showed a single antique store listing online.

Well, I went out of my way and found Lynchburg. There was a single stoplight with a bank, a gas station, a hardware store and a few other buildings. Within a few seconds I found the location of Lynchburg Antique Mall but it appeared to be closed. Darn it! I was ready to spend some money. After walking up to the store front and peering through the glass, I saw someone arranging items inside. I knocked on the window, totally ignoring the sign on the door which announced that the store would be open for business for the season in a couple of weeks. The man inside the store opened the door to talk to me and let me in.

This guy was busy and could have turned me away. As soon as I told him what I was looking for, he rummaged around and found me several boxes of vintage costume jewelry for me to look through. I found some good items; we had a good conversation while I was looking and he gave me a fabulous deal.

I’ll be back. The owner of the mall said that several antique stores are open in the area during the summer season. It will be fun to explore the area again in a few months.

Posted on

How To Find Real Bakelite — Not Fakelite

Everything, it seems, is made in China these days. Even fake vintage costume jewelry is coming out of the Far East. Fakelite (fake Bakelite) bangles are being imported into the US and these copies are quite good. The carving is excellent and of the same quality as old bakelite. How do you tell if the vintage Bakelite bangle sold online is real?

First, where is it coming from and how many Bakelite bangles are being sold by one seller? If a seller is selling too many similar items, I would have to wonder how they are able to come up with an unusually large selection of hard-to-find Bakelite. On eBay, a seller’s history and feedback mean a lot to me. A reputable dealer will not mind answering questions. I would feel comfortable buyer Bakelite from a reputable antiques/jewelry dealer but not from a flea market or from someone in the Far East on eBay.

Real Bakelite has a clunky look and feel to it. It’s heavy but not as heavy as the fakelite. Because it is “old”, it will usually have tell-tale signs of slight wear. If a bangle is too perfect, ask yourself if it’s too good to be true.

Real vintage Bakelite will usually show up in certain colors — reds, yellows, oranges, greens, black, browns. No neon colors here.

Real Bakelite will not have mold lines. The interior of a bangle will be sommth with no mold line evident. The back of a pin will be smooth.

Hardware will be affixed to the piece, not glued on.

These are some clues that will help you diagnose whether your bakelite is authentic vintage jewelry. Again, my main advice is to stick with reputable dealers and beware of bargains too good to be true.

Posted on 5 Comments

Why Some Antiques Are Scary

When I heard that actor Billy Bob Thornton is scared of antiques, I had to laugh. Some antiques are totally nasty and freak me out. I’m not worried that there are spirits attached to objects. I’m worried about the cleanliness factor of having old furniture in the house.

Upholstered furniture is the worst. Have you ever sat on an old sofa or chair and felt strange lumps under the fabric? The stuffing is all messed up in there. Once I see an old upholstered piece of furniture, I wonder how old the stuffing and fabric is and I imagine that it smells. In my mind, it smells like dust and old people and antique farts.

If I can’t clean it, wipe it down or put it in the dishwasher, it’s not going in my house!

I also have a problem with dolls. When I see people at auctions in bidding wars for nasty old dolls (dolls with missing hair and weird eyes and tattered clothing) I’m disgusted on the inside. I don’t care what those dolls are worth. It’s not worth it to me because I’d have to touch one to own it. EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW!

Below is a link to a good scary doll story. Check it out!

Posted on 1 Comment

Websites That Identify Vintage Costume Jewelry From Makers’ Marks or Stamps

You’ve just obtained a beautiful vintage costume jewelry pin! You’d like to know how old it is and who made it. If you spend enough time around vintage costume jewelry, you’ll begin to see that most manufacturers had styles, patterns and techniques that were specific to that maker. But without looking at anything else, many times it’s possible to identify a piece of jewelry solely by the stamps/names/maker’s marks on back.

There are a couple of web sites that are incredibly helpful in identifying makers’ marks and learning about the jewelry makers. My favorite is Illusion Jewels website. This site lists many makers, the dates they were in business, and lots of photos of their marks. I use this site almost every day.

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry is a gorgeous site which shows photos of some marks but also has many reference pages with photos of classic vintage jewelry such as Trifari, Eisenberg, Miriam Haskell.

A site which is great for researching letters and symbols stamped on chains and jewelry. It’s called “Ornament, Jewelry and Accessory”. This site has a different page for every letter of the alphabet, and these pages don’t appear to be linked. To find a page for each letter of the alphabet, change the last letters in “OJAS” on the web address to the proper letter of the alphabet. So, for letter A, I change the address to “OJAA”.

There is a website which is a virtual museum of Classic Trifari jewelry from before 1960. N&N Vintage Jewelry sells Trifari and other makers but their photos and info are fantastic. Check this site out!

Another thing that I do with good results is to Google the heck out of a jewelry mark. If I’ve exhausted my favorite web sites and cannot find info, I’ll Google a description of the mark. There are many marks which are just letters and symbols. I’ll literally describe this mark on Google and see what pops up. Sometimes I’m able to find the makers from this technique.

And, of course, eBay is an excellent resource. Once I’ve identified my jewelry, I always check out Current and Completed auctions to see what things are selling for.

There are many more helpful sites out there, and I’ve barely even touched on the subject. I’ll talk more in later blogs.

Posted on 1 Comment

Getting Ready for the 2009 Burlington Antiques Show

I am SO ready for the Burlington Antique Show this coming spring! Last year, I sold at Burlington a couple of times and loved it.

The show is on the 3rd Sunday of every month, April – October. It is an outdoor show at the Boone County fairgrounds that features about 250 antique and collectible dealers. Some dealers are out in the open while others are under cover. Food vendors are present at the show, too. I like the fact that dealers are not supposed to bring “new” items to the show.

I’m in the process of gathering lots of jewelry to sell. I’ve found that it’s best to have a great deal of jewelry and to have items in a variety of price ranges. I’ve sold to people who want junk jewelry for grandkids to play dress-up in or who want to use junk jewelry for craft projects. I’ve also sold very high end jewelry to serious collectors. That’s what’s fun about Burlington — interacting with all the different people and talking to them about their interest in vintage jewelry.

I plan to sell at Burlington each month in 2009. Hope to see you there!
Burlington Antique Show
Boone County Fairgrounds
5819 Idlewild Rd. (KY Route 338)
Burlington, Kentucky(10 minutes south of Cincinnati)