I have fond memories of digging around in my Grandmother’s jewelry box and admiring her jewelry. I would pin her jeweled brooches, all over my dress and awkwardly attempt, to clip her sparkly earrings, onto my tiny earlobes. I would drape myself, in her many strands of beads and necklaces. There were chunky strands of various beads, in all sorts, of shapes and colors. And, doesn’t every Grandmother have pearls? Some necklaces were delicate, and I tried hard, not to tangle them. But for me, the clear iridescent crystals were my favorites. When I put those on, I felt like a movie star! She had a matching set, which we refer to today as a demi-parure. It was made up of a necklace, bracelet and clip on earrings. When I opened her jewelry box, their sparkle always caused me, to reach for them first.
When I played with her jewelry, I could transform into anything I wanted to be! I would wrap some of the long strands of beads and chains around my head, along with the ones around my neck that hung down below my waist, and I pretended to be a cool, hippy, chick. I put on her angel pin and cross necklace, and I was a Sunday School teacher. Wearing her pearls, white silk gloves, while clopping along in her high heels, I was a fancy lady!
Given the craftsmanship and artistry put into vintage costume jewelry, most people these days consider it valuable beyond their potential sentiment. Even pieces first brushed off as cheap plastic can be highly treasured by collectors. There are perfect vintage pieces for daily wear and something for every special occasion. Fun, funky, and colorful accessories, with jeans by day, or a sparkling dramatic statement piece, for a dressy night out. There are so many styles to choose from!
For those of us who collect vintage jewelry, one of the most sought-after makers is Eisenberg & Sons. The company actually began as a women’s clothing company in 1914. They started making jewelry pieces simply to decorate the clothing they made, in order, to make it more eye-catching, to potential customers. The jewelry they made and used for display purposes, kept getting stolen, because it was so attractive! They decided to give their customers more of what they wanted, and began making a full line of jewelry pieces and selling them separately. Eisenberg & Sons jewelry often featured Swarovski crystals. The now infamous ‘Eisenburg Ice’ line, incorporated both clear and colored stones. Then and now, the colored stone pieces being the most expensive. In the 1950’s, Eisenberg styles included pave “curlicues” and “wings”. These styles soon became synonymous with the Eisenburg name, as well.
Another maker, popular to collectors, is Albert Weiss, who began making costume jewelry in 1942. Weiss excelled at floral and figural brooches. His jewelry line also included numerous styles of earrings, bracelets and necklaces. In the 1950’s he became well known for his use of smoky rhinestones, and was also one of the first to use Swarovski’s polychromatic aurora borealis crystals. Many vintage jewelry enthusiasts particularly appreciate Weiss’s jewelry designed with butterflies, bugs and flowers. Both Eisenburg and Weiss, also created stunningly beautiful, Christmas brooches. These brooches are highly prized, many becoming family heirlooms, and very sought after by Collectors.
So… whatever the occasion, outfit or mood, there are gorgeous options to accessorize with vintage jewelry. Let your imagination run wild, allow your inner child to rummage through your Grandmothers’ jewelry box! If you haven’t already, go ahead and start your own vintage jewelry collection. Add some spice, pizzazz and sparkle to your life! Take a tip from your Grandmother and remember…Life is too short to wear boring jewelry!