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Maximal Art Jewelry

I have a large group of Maximal Art holiday motif jewelry, some of which is listed on eBay now. Maximal Art, designed by John Wind, features images from vintage postcards and other printed materials, Austrian crystals and 14K gold plated settings. This jewelry has charming, vintage-inspired designs. My Maximal Art jewelry is new old stock.

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Vintage Mexican Silver & Amethyst Panel Bracelet

I picked this bracelet up recently at an auction. It is a circa 1940 Mexican silver panel bracelet with very large amethysts set into the front. The size of the amethysts is unique and I’ve been all over the web looking for similar bracelets. I haven’t found anything quite like this bracelet.

Dealing with so much jewelry tends to make me blase’ about most jewelry. It’s exciting when I run into something I haven’t seen or owned before.

This bracelet is currently for sale in my eBay store but I almost hate to part with it. Not that I need any more jewelry…..

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What Makes a Great Antique Booth?

When I walk through an antique mall, I tend to see the majority of the booths as not very interesting. I hate to see a bunch of garage sale level items, overpriced and dusty, sitting in an unlit and jumbled booth with no real theme. Once in a while, I’ll run across a booth that’s truly exciting. These booths tend to have a theme where the seller is marketing a family of items that go together. At the Ohio Valley Antique Mall in Fairfield, I saw several great booths recently.

There were a couple of vintage kitchen spaces with kitchen furniture, dishes, hand appliances and decorative items. I saw a colorful mid century furnishings and art booth.

Someone was selling a few vintage refrigerators which had me salivating. The stainless fridge is really a freezer that has been outfitted to hold a keg with a tap on the door. So fun!

The Ohio Valley Antique Mall in located on Route 4.

Visit My eBay Store: MidCentury Jewelry
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Antiques Auction at the Preble County OH Fairgrounds

I went to an auction yesterday at the Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton, Ohio, known as the birthplace of Swine Improvement in America. No swine were visible yesterday. The crowd included farmers, townspeople, and the same old antiques dealers and gold buyers whom I see at every auction in Cincinnati.

There was so much to sell that it filled two large rooms inside the fairground buildings. I love auctions like that because it usually helps keep prices down when there is an abundance of goods. Yesterday, though, auction bids were surprisingly high….apparently the recession hasn’t hit Eaton, OH. There were at least 200 ziploc bags of jumbled vintage costume jewelry for sale. I competed against one particular guy in overalls (!) and paid dearly for about 20 bags.

There was half of a room dedicated just to sewing supplies. In boxes of supplies, I would see a bakelite clip here and a bakelite clip there. I intended to stay and bid on these boxes but eventually ran out of time.

My best purchase was a 1970s Lanvin signed colorful enamel pendant necklace. Very Pucci looking. I hope to list it on eBay sometime next week.

Visit My eBay Store: MidCentury Jewelry
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The Recession Has Hit Vintage Costume Jewelry Sales

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.

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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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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”.

Visit 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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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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US Bicentennial & Patriotic Jewelry

I run into a lot of 1976 era patriotic jewelry. Some of it is pretty whimsical. The 1976 lariat is in the shape of the state of Arizona.

The enamel Flag necklace can be found at eBay store “Orphaned Items”. Check out the owner’s video on the home page.

The 1970s Arizona State map copper & gemstone lariat is available at

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Vintage Copper Arm Cuff — Aztec Warrior Stabbing Snake

I can’t decide if this vintage copper arm cuff is really cool or really hideous! I got it from an estate with lots of vintage Mexican jewelry and have never really seen much like it.

This funky cuff is over 3 inches long and shows an Aztec warrior in a death-match with an angry fat serpent. Probably not something I can fit into my everyday wardrobe. But I still like it…..

You can see more photos in my eBay posting for the cuff in my eBay store:

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Boho Ivory & Bone Jewelry — How To Identify Ivory?

Went to a local antique store today, looking for jewelry. I ended up buying a ton of bohemian style ivory, amber, bone & horn pieces. Most will end up on my web site since eBay has now banned ivory from listings.

How can you identify ivory versus bone?

Ivory normally has a finer appearance than bone. It will have fewer marks and striations in the material. Sometimes with bone you can see with the naked eye some cracks, black lines, pits, etc. See the lines in the bone on the bottom bangle? Ivory would not have these lines.

If you look at ivory with a loupe, it may show a slight grain or cross-hatching in the material on back.

There is a “hot pin test” for ivory. True ivory is virtually impenetrable with heat and so will not be damaged by this test. Take a needle or a straightened-out safety pin and heat it until it is red-hot. In an unobtrusive spot on the piece, poke it. If the piece is true ivory, there will not be a hole and there will be a tiny mark. Smell the spot. It should smell like burnt protein (burnt hair). Bone is also resistant to heat, but not as much as ivory. It will not put out the same strong smell as ivory.

Bone is not free of grain and will have little “pock marks” in it where the marrow or blood was. You may have to use a loupe to see these pock marks.

Ivory can yellow over time.