Monday, December 21, 2009

Vintage Metallic Couture

Glittery gold and silver screams “where is the party?!” Apparently the party is over at Tiddleywink’s Etsy shop where vintage is queen and shop’s selection of metallic vintage is oh-so alluring.

Retro metallic shoes and purses are being routinely being featured in top international magazines. The fashion revivals in this shop are designer re-dos of vintage fashion.

If only I could find vintage pair of shoes that fit.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where did Fairies Come from?

Bliss St. | Fairy Joy Charm

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”
— J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)

If faeries are created by the laughter of babies then no wonder they bring us joy!

Just added to Bliss St Jewelry

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yellow Enamel Pansy Necklace Picked for Treasury

I love Pansies and our Yellow Enamel Pansy Necklace was picked for this treasury.

Left to Right and Top to Bottom

w Enamel Pansy Necklace

Shop: BlissStreetJewelry

Hand Painted Pretty Pansy Note Card
Art By Aimee Joy

Gingham Pansies Pot
Lil Chameleon Designs

Pretty Pansy Tea Cozy
Ginghamgrlva aka Gingham Girl

Pansy Hand Painted China Dresser Tray
Porcelain Heirlooms

Paperback Book Cover with Matching Bookmark; Pansies

Pansy Face

Pansy on Egg

Pansies Afgahan
Barbara's Afgahans

Purple Pansy Scarf
Telford Silk

Beautiful Table Runner

Embroidered Dreams

Hand Felted Petite Shawl - Pansy
Elena Makes Things

If you don't know what a treasury is you may want to read this

What is an Etsy Treasury?

Etsy defines it as - curated galleries handpicked by the Etsy community

So for those of who who don't know what a Treasury is lets start with the basics.

Etsy started as a handmade community for artisans to sell their creations. The Site has since expanded to include Vintage goods (at least 20yrs old) and supplies. It is the largest site of it's kind with sellers from all over the world.

So many sellers and so little prime exposure. On Etsy the front page is a goal for many sellers getting on the front page insures lots of views. Being in a Storque article, featured seller, Gift Guides and the Main Gallery all get you views, and hopefully sales.

The Main Gallery on the front page is 12 items picked by Etsy to showcase their sellers. It's hard to miss and instantly drives traffic to a etsy shop. If you look in the forums of etsy, you will see tons of threads about the Front Page (FP). How do I get on the FP? Why is it all the same Sellers on the FP? Rants about the Front page. Currently there are 4,561 threads dedicated to the Front Page.

One way to get there? Treasuries. Picked by Sellers. If you are lucky enough to get a treasury slot. You can pick one of your own items and 11 others plus 4 alternates. 16 items in total. 12 For the treasury page and if something sells the alternates get put in the empty spot.

Treasuries are other sellers saying "I like this item" or "this is front page worthy" at it's best. It is being honored by other sellers. Great treasuries (chosen by Etsy staff) are featured on the front page. Of course even the best treasury doesn't always make it. What is the saying? it was an honor just being nominated.

It isn't easy getting a treasury spot. People set up and wait for it. With just 333 spots they fill up quickly. So Etsians wait for one to open up. Craftpolis created a clock, two just to figure out when there will be an open spot. It doesn't always help. If you get a treasury it lasts for only 2 days.

With competition steep to get a treasury and steeper to get to the front page gallery being chosen for a treasury is a good thing. Something to tweet, blog, and basically share. It says somebody liked my item enough to promote it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sacred Urban and Bliss St.

“What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”

~Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

Bliss St Jewelry as a company has labor intensive one of a kind pieces along with hand assembled and vintage Jewelry

As a result I created a line called Sacred Urban and a page Sacred Urban.
It is where all my artisan jewelry can be found

For 1000 markets where only my artisan jewelry is I debated for a while whether a name change is in order or not. In the end I decided that a clear and defining line was important. For months the lovers of handmade jewelry has known us as Bliss St. Jewelry on 1000 markets. Today the name changes officially to Sacred Urban.

A new shop was created on Etsy to reflect the change. Sacred Urban is now up and I am listing my Hard Candy Collection.

While Sacred Urban is a part of Bliss St. On Etsy and 1000 markets Sacred Urban will represent our one of a kind and artist made pieces.

We will still have Vintage Jewelry on Bliss St on Etsy

Wonderful ideas are brewing! Watch for our new creations
~Carolena Costa

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Insane Artist Myth

There are many romantic scenarios of the solitary artist. Living alone in a loft, with plenty of lovers of course. The misunderstood artist who can not create and be in a relationship, the working spouse just doesn’t understand. The all consuming artist the one that does nothing but breathes, eats and sleeps art. Basically lives his or her art. The latter is the most favorite of patrons. It feeds in to the myth of artist being so different that they are insane. It also raises the value of art. It raises the adrenaline rush, which quickens the blood and loosens the wallet.

In no small way the gossip spreads.

Before Hollywood gossip there were artist gossip. Did you know Van Gogh cut off his ear? Picasso was known not only to save his hair but that of his son’s. Oh and Hemingway….could that man drink! Gossip still goes with art today. Yet gossip, even odd behavior, does not make you insane. It’s good press. That’s all. Ok maybe it’s just press.

Today we know that Van Gogh is like to have been an epileptic. The depression that he wrote about was by some believed to be manic depression. If he had either or both would he be…insane today? Or would he be part of the thousands that take medication or are otherwise treated? Hemingway was an alcoholic. Know one? Are they insane? OK Picasso he was nuts. you got me there. Or not. We could take apart each artist and see what made them tick, what “damage” we could find. Yet that would only lead to post mortem therapy (possible- many famously dead are on twitter, go ahead check) or it would lead to us finding out simply that artists are human. Each with their own quirks, manners and abilities.
The equation
artist = insanity or artist =odd or that artist = solitary or artist =broken is wrong. And a bit insulting because it is much too simplistic.

What the insane artist myth mean to an artist? ….Next time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Filigree Butterfly Featured in Treasury

A Treasury called Sweet September Fade was created by Vintage seller Comfuzzled.

It includes my
Vermeil Filigree Butterfly Swirl Pin. (lower left hand corner with the heart)

This Treasury is beautiful. So well done. There are at least 4-5 things that I want from it.

Still haven’t been able to get a treasury myself. I should check more often. There are so many items I would like to include.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Venus Ring is a 1000 Markets Staff Pick.

My Venus ring was picked as a staff pick on 1000 markets! They called it stunning. I missed my opportunity to take a screen shot (next time I will think of it sooner).

(via Bliss St on 1000 markets)
Like many woman Venus was divided by her different roles.

There was Venus Genetrix ("Mother Venus"),Venus Felix ("Lucky Venus"), even Venus Kallipygos ("Venus with the pretty bottom"), and the list goes on, an epithet for each the different facets of the goddess

Venus Ercina was the Venus of untamed or wild love in other words, erotic love. Literally it means "queen of the heather" an untamed rose that grew out of the rocks.

This sterling ring unearths an image of powerful beauty, vulnerability, and complexity of female sexuality in the simplest form I could think of. Inspired by Jean Leon Gerome and done in the Art Nouveau style.

The Venus Erycina Erotic Love Ring can be found in my shop on 1000 markets as well as in Bliss St Jewelry.


Found this on Facebook on Charity Maas Sloan's Notes. Every thing written by me is in blue italics. <--- Like this! I of course am all the X's After all it is my list.
If you want to see Charity Mass Sloan's just check it out click on her name.

A room without books is like a body without a soul." --Cicero

Have you read more than 6 of these books?

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES (Or BLOG) . Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read. Tag 20 other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X (I also read Eyre Affair, not by Bronte but fun book)
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X (all but the last book)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible X (It was really good, a bit heavy on the sex and violence)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X (First "adult" book I read)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens -X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - (out of 42 works I have read 28)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien-X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens X
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams X (I loved it I also read the other books in "a trilogy in five parts",
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X ( Love Steinbeck)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll- X (Also read Through the Looking Glass)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens X
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X ( all of them )
34 Emma-Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen X
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (in my to read pile in my living room)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (reading next)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X (read the illustrated version too. It's better)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding -X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel X
52 Dune - Frank Herbert X The original and some of the others in the series)
53 Cold Comfort Farm
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold X (loved this book)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas X
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville X (Call me Ishmael. He never tells you his real name, just what he wants you to know.)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce X
76 The Inferno – Dante- X
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray X
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X ( one of my favorites children's book )
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams X
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare -X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (nope, first movie freaked me out wouldn't read the book)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo X

I haven't found this list outside of Facebook, now that I googled it. But BBC did put out a list in 2003 of the top 100 favorite books. The list is quite similar. I only marked books I had read from beginning to end at least once. I didn't mark books that I started but never finished, also watching the movies or listening to audiobooks don't count (sorry)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Coffin Couch Via She’s Batty Design Blog

Coffin Couch $3500

I discovered this Coffin Couch Via She’s Batty Design Blog . So today there were two great finds. First The coffin couch from VonErickson shop on Etsy The lid closes so it looks like a regular coffin. They will make it in purple, red or black. Personally Red would be my choice. I can’t tell you if it comfortable but it is definitely a statement.VonErickson is in NY. The couch is $3500, shipping depends on your location.

Now the second find. She’s Batty Design Blog. She has products, finds, marketing for artists, and entries about just what is going on with her. It’s a blog worth checking out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bamboo a Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Product?

Recycled, up cycled, refurbished, reclaimed, cruelty free, conflict free, organic are all word used in eco- friendly or green products. One word is gets the most question from clients. Sustainable. What is a sustainable product? Bamboo some blurts out to their computer screen and you would be right. Why? Why when we are is bamboo the hottest thing in living green? Furniture to Flooring to towels are currently being made from Bamboo. Bamboo is a Fast Growing Grass

The best definition is “Sustainable products are those products providing environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health, welfare, and environment over their full commercial cycle, from the extraction of raw materials to final disposition.”
Tough to find a product that does that in this modern age. Benefit the environment, public health and economy. Some say bamboo is the only true sustainable product. Yet it isn’t. It is renewable, and eco-friendly, but it does not meet all the requirements of a sustainable product.

Bamboo is a hard, durable, renewable resource. Bamboo grows quickly and the use of it helps save trees that take much longer to grow. Most comes from the Pacific Rim, generally in China or Vietnam. Generating economic growth in these counties as the demand becomes greater. Bamboo as a tree substitute does not require use of pesticides and fertilizers used are often organic. So far it sounds eco friendly and it is very.

But why is it not sustainable? Since there are no American growers of wood substitute bamboo all the bamboo used in flooring, furniture and cutting boards are shipped from the Pacific Rim. The energy used for transport if not very eco friendly.

Most bamboo flooring uses an adhesive that contains urea-formaldehyde (UF). Use of UF resins, are harmful to indoor air quality. It must be said that bamboo flooring uses a relatively small amount may other materials such as particle board (hello Ikea). There are sellers that have Formaldehyde free bamboo flooring. You also may consider using salvaged wood.

Importers generally have little information or control over bamboo manufacturers. Manufacturers can use potentially toxic binders, finishes and other chemicals. They can create lots of solid waste, run equipment that may be dangerous, polluting and eroding hillsides. Bamboo can be an aggressive invader because of its quick growth if it is not managed well. It creates monoculture which is has less biodiversity. Biodiversity is good for the environment.

As the demand for bamboo rises so does the economical potential. With that there should be a rise in tracking bamboo. Where did it come from? How environmentally conscience is the company growing it? Producing the products? What was used in the production? Once these questions are asked and America start growing and producing (instead of hydrogenated corn oil please). Many of bamboo’s sustainable issues will disappear.

While Bamboo is not yet sustainable it is extremely promising and is eco-friendlier than many other materials in use and it is beautiful too!

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Mocha Cup Charm Necklace in Treasury.

TLV Coffee Shops #1 above can be found at Tali Schiffer-Oren Photography it can also be found in the Coffee in the Sky treasury along with my Mocha Cup Charm Necklace
Note the little heart in the center on my necklace. Now to see the whole treasury just click into the picture or link (as always). I made a screen shot but was unable to include the whole treasure in it.

My Mocha Cup charm necklace and Latte Cup charm necklace is perfect for the Coffee Addict. I should know. Best addiction ever. Heading out to get a latte now. ;P

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reasearching Jewelry - Taxco Sterling Bracelet

One look at this bracelet and I thought eighties. When researching jewelry that is not enough. It's a good start especially when you have 22 years experience.
Sterling set with a black onyx this bracelet fit well and was discovered with a matching ring (pictures coming soon)

The Bracelet is marked TX-120 925. 925 is sterling. First step was to look up the mark. No luck but the registration mark was for taxco.

The T in TX-120 stands for Taxco Mexico. The X is for the silversmith. The artist either had a first or last name that started with an X. Yeap that's how they did it. 120 means that the silver smith was the 120th to register with the initial X. No information on the artist. Then I did an internet search that produced no information. Then I hit more research books, auction catalogs and specialty books.

What I found was three designers TX-145, TX183 and finally TX-240. All three (unnamed) designed for various companies in the early and mid- eighties. All registered after TX120. All the clues to the age of this piece scream 80's
. (via BlissStreetJewelry) It is also available on (Etsy)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Family Tradition - Lace making.

I grew up in a family, as many do, where the women cook, sew and create art in traditional ways. Skills in Crochet and Lace was handed down in my family. It skipped me. Or should I say I skipped it. Sadly lace making is a time consuming task that I didn't take to. Ask my mother and she will say it was too quiet and still for me. Mother's know best. It was.

I took to metal work, glass blowing, and enameling. While my female family, mom, grandmother, aunt and cousins knitted, crocheted and weaved lace I was hammering metal. Fired up a kiln, picked up a torch hmmm starting to see a fire theme here.

These pendants are my lace making, an ode to those quiet artists everywhere that make stunning pieces that we use in our everyday life.

Look at me mom!!! I'm making Lace !

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Father's Day - Musical Dad


Guitar Pick pendant is just so simple but striking. Yes it is custom and handmade. Just a wonderful idea for a music fanatic. jc jewelry design will personalize it with lyrics or names or anything you can think off. Although I am sure that there is a character limit. just under $50. (via jc jewelry design at Etsy)

Father's Day - Car Guy.

Bicycle Tire Belt - Wide Hybrid Tread by julienjaborska

Can you think of a better gift for a car guy? I already asked for one for my hubby's birthday. Shhh... Don't tell him! The posting says that it is made for wide loops I hope that it fits standard levis or that he will make a thinner version. I will keep you posted. (via julien jaborska at etsy)

update: It fits Jeans!!!! He also has a back orderlist so if you want one get your name on the list.

Father's Day The Photographer's Box by SixthandElm

The Photographer's Box - Vinatge Red Oak Stain by SixthandElm

For the picture taker. I love this box it brings back a vintage feel to a hand made piece. I would put a memory card or film in the box so that dad has everything he needs to take photo's and store them. If he has a camera of course. If not how about putting your favorite photos in the box?

Here is some detail from
Sixth and Elm

"This beautiful wooden box has been woodburned with a vintage-inspired "Photos" label with matching flourishes. The box has been sanded to a soft 600-grit smoothness and stained a Red Oak colour, with a faux-vintage treatment applied." (via

Friday, June 12, 2009

Father's Day - For the Science Dad

Seven Years Handstamped Custom Personalized Solid Copper 2-Piece Keychain or Pendant

7th anniversary?(It's copper by the way) or Science Geek? This is a great , unusual hand made gift. I think it is perfect for father's day. (via 1000 markets -Anandi laboratory) ohh and I almost forgot it's $26. nice price.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Father's Day - Morpho Butterfly Wing Cufflinks

Vintage on Etsy - Sunset at the Beach Morpho butterfly Wing Cufflinks by BlissStreetJewelry

Yes. These cufflinks have real butterfly wings, aren't they stunning. I bought a collection and am slowly listing pieces. Many fathers go to the office for work, but not every father takes the beach with him. (via Bliss Street Jewelry). I also have a Capital Building pair.

Note while I still have a pair on etsy, I now have them on my new website.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Father's Day. The Great Bowl O' Fire Recycled Steel Fire Pit: ArtBuzz

The Great Bowl O' Fire Recycled Steel Fire Pit: ArtBuzz

This is stunning!!!. Who doesn't life fire? Not only is this perfect for a deck or backyard but it's ART. (via John T. Unger) John T. Unger has some amazing pieces. Each design has different sizes.

Fathers day Gifts - For the Rocker or Biker Dad.

Stingray Cross Black Leather Tri-fold Wallet

Black Leather wallet with a red sting ray cross. It is all hand stitched The center cross is sterling as are the snaps. Best thing? It's not just fashion - it is tough and usable with lots of pockets(?) Is that what it would be called? (via Bliss St Jewelry) It's $158.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Steam Punk Dragonfly

Federikas Vintage Filigree over at Etsy has quite a few dragon flyies. my favorite? of course the Steam Punk Dragonfly.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Glass Insects by artist Wesley Fleming.

Dragonfly - 2009

Wesley Fleming is a glass artist with an eye towards nature. He uses glass rods from Italy and shapes them over a flame then anneals them in a kiln. Sounds like 3 simple steps? Think again. Working with hot glass is like sculpting with honey. Quick hardening honey that cracks. Wesley Feming has know the how glass behaves and uses that knowledge to create his sculptures.

Grandaddy LongLegs 2008 was made for Bozeman Public Library's "Catch the Reading Bug" program. Can you imagine tiny little insects gathered around listening?

Orb Weaver (2009) is for anyone who loves spiders

Monday, June 1, 2009

Art Nouveau insects by Lucien Gaillard (1861–1933).

Art nouveau is famous for it's flowing lines, natural inspiration and artistry. Lucien Gaillard is just one artist.
Gaillard was third generation of Parisian jewelers. He took over the family firm in 1892 he took the firm away from jewelry and shifted the emphasis to larger-scale metalwork. Although the larger work did well around 1900 he returned to jewelry.

Moth Pendant, ca. 1900Lucien Gaillard (French, 1861–1933)Gold, enamel, citrine, and horn. (Picture is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as is the description.)

Hairpin, c. 1904 , Horn, gold, emerald, diamond, citrine and enamel. (Picture is from Rijks museum)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's BUG week.

Jewelry and bugs go hand and hand. From victorian beetles to art nouveau dragonflies to spiders, lots and lots of spiders. The insect world had inspired millions of jewelry artists through the ages. This week we look at insects.
This Victorian French Beetle Brooch uses a the shape of Abalone pearl for the body. It is accented with, one of the victorian eras favorite stones, rubies. Diamonds bring some sparkle to the rich gold luster. It is offered by Nelson Rarities.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Video created for my etsy shop

Playing around with different ways showcasing the jewelry. What do you think?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I have been Stalked!!!!!!!!

Stalked!Checking my etsy account Bliss Street Jewelry because I can't stay away:) I noticed I had a message. That's nothing new. I am always talking with other etsy members, I am even coaching a couple (I'm a life coach as well). This was different.

The message started-

Greetings and Congratulations!

I wanted to let you know that your Spiraling Eternity pin has been featured on our website, Etsy Stalker.

Here's the pin-

An here is the Esty Stalker just incase their icon take you there.

As always all pictures and names have links just click on them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Symbols of Love - Scottish Luckenbooth

Locked booths were shops in Edinburgh from St Giles to Canon gate on the Royal Mile. They became the city's first Jewellery shops in the 16th century (1700's). At least the first permanent jewelry shops as traveling vendors did exist. It was these shops that gave the love token, Luckenbooth it's name.

Traditionally given to a bride by her groom on her wedding day as a symbol of love (heart) and loyalty (crown). It was believed to ease child birth and insure good breast milk. Later it is pinned to the blanket/shawl of the baby as insurance against the child taken by the "wee folk" and to protect against evil spirit

Today the Royal Mile still produce these love tokens. Hamilton & Young offers the two above.

Often Luckenbooths are decorated with the thistle. The legend is the guardian thistle saved an entire Scottish army in the Battle of Largs in 1263. A soldier of the Norse invading army stepped on one, cried out, alerting the Scots. The Scottish defeated their attackers that night. It became the national emblem of Scotland along with the along with the Latin motto, Nemo me impune Laecessit -"No one provokes me with impunity."

The Crown on most Luckenbooths are designed after the crown of Mary Queen of Scots. She gave a Luckenbooth brooch to her betroth. Her gift was decorated with her monogram and a thistle.

The above luckenbooth is offered by Schredds. It is a lovely antique hand engraved brooch circa 1870.
These jewelry pieces have traveled the world. They were used as trade jewelry with the six nations and Iroquois Indians. Inspired the Iroquois created their own "Iroquois brooch"

When we look at the Luckenbooth, we can see a symbol of love. Love of country, of wife and of children, made by Scottish artists. No wonder the Luckenbooth is said to be most romantic artifacts of Scottish history.

The last brooch shown is made by Historic Impressions.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Researching the Art Deco Snake Bracelet.

When I first saw the snake bracelet I thought eighties costume, after all I had a simular one. A bracelet and matching belt. The color how ever was all wrong for costume. Gold? it had the warmth of gold. If it was it was high as it was so rich in color. I picked it up and felt the weight, yes gold.

Taking a closer look at the design elements the craftsmen ship was excellent. Tight mesh, Art deco lines in the head, the stones were set well. It was vintage but quite a bit older than the eighties. Prelimary dating. 1920's t0 1950's.

Immediately I put it on my wrist. No looking at marks for me. I had to wear it first. Now that I rationlize it, all jewelry should be wearable and I was just checking that first. If a piece is gorgous but not comfortable what is the point? How often will you wear a piece that pinches or turns? Of course then I just wanted to feel it on, I was starting to love this piece. Striking, comfortable, Nice strong design. It had character. The fit was snug and made to curl around different size wrists. 1920-1940. Fifties bracelets had a different feel a different look. They are louder, looser and larger. Non bangles are mostly oval or oblong not round like this bracelet.

The scales are shield shaped. The tail is beautifully done but the only pure Art Deco element is the head. Light on art deco? The twenties had heavy art deco elements. This piece had no straight lines. No multi level straight lines in the tail. Was it an newer piece? 30's or 40's or did the artist just have a gentle design hand? I wasn't sure at yet.

At that point the work started. I took it off and looked for marks. Immediately I noticed the 750 (not american) noting it was 18k gold. There were two more marks. One which I couldn't read and 252VI.

750 was used in most european countries. Lounges , the frame around the marks told me that it was assayed so regulations where in place. It wasn't english or french or russian all have complicated and distinct marking systems. It probably wasn't american since it had a makers mark in numbers (the 252VI). It's important not to rule any thing out definately. Many items are marked in non-traditional ways. Or made in non traditional ways. I looked at it through a loop and still couldn't make out the third mark.

The next day, I tested the piece. Even though it was marked it was a heavy piece and marks have been known to be faked. It tested 18k. Good start

Next I took a macro photo of the mark. Then another, then a third and forth. and fifth. Why so many? Because I still couldn't read the third mark. Macro photography can show you more than a loop. The third mark was a blur no matter how clear or enlarged the photo was. Finally I decided it just wasn't punched clearly, alas no clues there.

Next I looked up the marks. I started with 750 which ruled out portugal which for the most part sells 19k gold. A good starting point for me was Italy and Spain. Luckily I started with Italy. Italy is famous for it's 18k gold work.

I had a good idea by now what period to start with 1920's. Italian hallmarks for the twenties has oval outline or no outline at all. My piece had very distinct shape a diamond with the ends cut off (certainly not oval.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Next Contest - Aqua Marine Moon Necklace by Jennifer Curl

This has a contest to win this Aqua Marine Necklace by Jennifer Curl (on the left). Described as:

Aqua Marine Moon Necklace
Raw aqua marine moon on a gold fill chain. This beautiful blue circle is sure to shimmer even at night.
Length:15" with 3" extension:18"

A simple circle with a twist. Although it isn't my personal style, the contest is interesting on different levels.

  • It is a necklace that goes with almost any outfit, dressy or jeans and t-shirt. The aqua marine is has color but will go with almost anything.
  • It is most certainly fashionable.
  • One of you (hopefully) will win this.
  • Jennifer Curl is a designer that I was not familiar with until today. I love discovering new designers.]
  • A This Next contest is a wonderful way for any designer to promote their work.
Jennifer Curl's glass flower necklaces and earrings have a slightly retro romantic feel. Giving clients a choice between that and her more modern gemstone collection. Both styles offer versatile fashion choices.

Her website includes a twitter link, weekly specials, a membership and a contest sign up. Contest for the same piece? Although the picture is a blue flower. I'm not sure. I haven't signed up. Her prices range from $18 to $57 as of this entry.

This next asks you to expand their shopping site. There is a page with the contest rules to read. I personally find it difficult to use This Next on a regular basis. It's not quick to add items and it requires comments for each add on. Who has the time? But tell me what you think. If you win the necklace let me know.