Vintage Fashion and Jewelry Photoshoot

Brocade, silk, satin, gold, diamonds, enamel…the combination of vintage clothing and jewelry can be intoxicating! We collaborated with photographer Kylene Cleaver of Leave It To Me Photography  to pull together an epic styled photoshoot, with a vibrant color story, feminine details, and a modern edge.

Vintage clothing for styled photoshoot
It all started with the clothing…

Like any good photoshoot, hair and makeup were key to bring the story to life.  We were lucky enough to partner with Leisa Kanienberg of iMakeupArtistry for vintage inspired makeup, and Lauren Thrailkill from the Velvet Hair Studio for beautiful hair. It was amazing to see them match the hair and makeup so perfectly to the outfits!

Behind-the-scenes of vintage photoshoot. Hair styling.
Lauren of the Velvet Hair Studio preps Diana’s hair for major curls
iMakeupArtistry does vintage inspired makeup for photoshoot
Leisa of iMakeupArtistry creates Kathleen’s soft makeup look

Once the hair, makeup, and outfits were ready, it was time for us to style the jewelry.  We created jewelry sets for each look, with jewelry spanning Victorian times through the 1980’s.  Our goal was not one set time period, but rather to compliment the colors of the vintage clothing and the personalities of each of the ladies.

Vintage gold and gold filled jewelry for vintage photoshoot.
Lots of bohemian gold pieces were used with Diana’s vibrant purple brocade dress
Victorian and Art Deco jewelry
Old Victorian and Art Deco jewelry was used for Cynthia’s classic green velvet dress and fur cape look.

Then the time came!  Kylene worked her magic behind the lens, taking incredible photos of each of the models.

Antique Victorian portrait earrings

Vintage velvet and fur dress in styled photoshoot

Vintage rings on fur cape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cynthia’s look was all about soft lines and draping, and a classic style reminiscent of decades past. Cascading waves finished the look, and her cat eye was on point!

  • A crushed green velvet halter dress
  • 1950’s fur cape (that we salvaged!)
  • An Art Deco aquamarine ring, Victorian portrait earrings (Stacey’s personal collection), Victorian emerald infinity ring (sold) and an Art Deco green jasper ring.

Egyptian woman in vintage brocade dress, vintage gold bangles, rings and anklet

Vintage gold jewelry bohemian look

Vintage damascene Spanish earring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diana’s look was as fun and bohemian as her vibrant personality. Lauren did an incredible job on Diana’s hair, bringing out the curls in a soft and voluminous way.

Vintage suede and fur coat with green vintage dress and vintage jewelry by Stacey Fay Designs

Vintage suede and fur coat

Vintage gold filled bib necklace and Chinese enamel bird pin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gina had a Mafia-meets-Peaky Blinds vibe – so fierce! We just can’t get over the gorgeous combination of that green and peach.  Her jewelry matched her look, bold.

  • Vintage green strapless dress
  • Retro 1960’s orange suede and fur collar coat
  • Gold filled bib necklace (email for inquiries), 1940’s Chinese enamel bird pin, a funky and amazing gold filled watch ring (Stacey’s personal collection), a H. Stern domed sputnik ring, and Italian micro mosaic bracelet (sold).

Vintage gold brocade dress and vintage Dolce and Gabanna coat.

Vintage gold brocade dress and vintage Dolce and Gabanna coat, Wonder Woman pose.

Vintage gold brocade dress with Edwardian pearl and diamond sunburst necklace.

Vintage gold brocade dress and gold jewelry

Kate’s look was classic meets modern, and a focus on texture and movement.  This woman knows how to strike a pose!

  • 1960’s gold brocade sleeveless dress
  • Incredible vintage Dolce and Gabbana brocade coat bought many moons ago at Malena’s Vintage Boutique
  • Statement 1960’s gold tone earrings (Kylene’s personal collection), Edwardian pearl and diamond sunburst necklace, and gorgeous emerald cocktail ring Kate donned as a pinky ring.

Vintage cream lace and pink tulle bridesmaid dress

Vintage bracelet stack with lace and tulle bridesmaid dress.

Vintage earring stack with opal and tourmaline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but certainly not least is the ethereal and romantic look of Kathleen.  You can’t get much more feminine and beautiful!

  • See-through vintage lace top, with an Edwardian feel
  • Coral tiered tulle skirt, which Kylene repurposed from a vintage dress
  • Earrings were doubled up, with tourmaline scarab drops paired with vintage opal gold filled studs (not yet listed – email for inquiries). Bracelets were stacked, with costume jewelry paired with fine jewelry – a half carat gold diamond hinged bangle, antique hinged opal bangle, and brass and purple glass bracelet. One lone ring made it into the mix – a stunning Victorian garnet ring (Stacey’s personal collection).

What a day! Thank you to our gorgeous models – strong, amazing and real women – Gina, Diana, Kate, Cynthia and Kathleen.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

Stay tuned on the blog for upcoming styled shoots.

Vintage styled photoshoot

5 Tips for Buying Vintage Jewelry

Perhaps your thrill is Saturday morning yard sales in warmer weather.  Or maybe you’re the Ebay aficionado, always looking for that opportunity to get a treasure at a low price.  Or perhaps you’re just a lover of vintage jewelry, but too intimidated to get your feet wet.

I was all of these things, and often still am – I will always go out of my way, with excitement, to find the treasure in the rough at a yard sale, estate sale, or on Ebay.  Like everyone, I started with an interest in this but very little knowledge, and had to build up over time to be able to source and offer what you now see in my Etsy shop.

Keep in mind, buying vintage jewelry is much like a puzzle – you need to piece together several bits of information to understand the bigger picture of what you are buying.  With just a few tips in mind, you can acquire beautiful vintage jewelry with confidence.

1. Invest in a loupe!

GIA jeweler's loupeA loupe, that special magnifying tool you often see jewelers pull out and place on or near their eye, is a must if you hope to make a habit of buying vintage jewelry, whether in person or virtually. Here’s why: the closer you examine a piece of jewelry, the more you notice, both good and bad. You can use a loupe when considering an in-person purchase, to notice details that help you make your decision, or, if you purchase jewelry online, you can examine it after purchase to ensure it matches the seller’s description.  Not thrilled with the idea of spending money on a loupe? Any jeweler worth his/her weight will have a loupe on hand for you to use if you are purchasing jewelry from a brick and mortar store. Simply ask them.

2. Look closely & pay attention to details

So now you’ve got your loupe, or even if not, it’s time to look closely at your piece, in hand or through photos from an online seller.

First – look for hallmarks of any kind.

Antique 22k gold 1921 wedding band
This antique ring from 1921 has a purity mark of “22k”.

There are usually two types of hallmarks, although for European-made jewelry there may be more.  One type of hallmark is for the metal itself, called a purity mark, such as “sterling” or “14k” (gold) stamps.  While a metal mark isn’t 100% dependable – sometimes items were stamped as solid gold, for instance, and they may just be gold plated – a metal mark is at least a starting place to begin to uncover the story of your piece.  Next, look for a maker’s mark; maker’s marks tell you who made the piece of jewelry.

 

antique 15k gold pearl and turquoise 1870 ring.
Like a fingerprint, the hallmarks in this ring tell you that it’s 15k gold, and was made in 1870 in Birmingham, England.

This too isn’t a perfect clue, as many times American made jewelry wasn’t hallmarked in any way. European jewelry, however, has had a required hallmarking system for centuries, and some European pieces will even have date marks to tell you exactly when the piece was made.   There are many books out there to help you decipher your maker’s mark, and of course there are also famous jewelry designers’ marks to keep on the lookout for when purchasing pieces – Belais of the 1920’s or Ostby & Barton of Titanic fame, for instance – which will not only immediately date a piece of jewelry, but often can make it more valuable as well.

Antique 1920's Belais white gold wedding band.
A Belais white gold wedding band – a famous Art Deco manufacturer.

Secondly – look at the condition of the vintage jewelry.

Remember that all vintage jewelry has years, decades, perhaps even centuries’ of wear.  So don’t expect a perfect piece; in fact, too perfect of a piece may indicate it’s reproduction jewelry.  The wear to a piece is its story, its imprint of memories.  However, it’s important, particularly if you are making a bigger investment, to look closely at the condition of the jewelry, and/or the condition report and photos which a seller provides.

Antique 1930's silver and garnet earrings
These earrings are actually different lengths due to a poor repair job in the past. We’ve discounted these to reflect this condition issue.

When it comes to jewelry, some of the usual suspects in terms of condition issues which are easily visible with the naked eye (or a loupe) include chipped, cracked or badly scratched stones (diamonds can withstand quite a bit more of wear, so colored stones and white sapphires, etc, are those that most exhibit surface wear), loose stones (tip: shake the ring next to your ear and listen for the stone jostling around!), missing stones, very thin or broken prongs around a stone, chips or cracks in enamel, an overly thin band, or broken filigree.  Many condition issues can be fixed by a reputable jeweler.

3. Know your eras

You don’t have to know everything about jewelry to buy jewelry – it takes more than a lifetime to learn it all! Like everything, however, some knowledge can go a long way.  In the case of jewelry, you’ll want to do just a bit of research to understand the different jewelry eras – Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco, etc. – as that information will not only help you understand what you like most, but it will also help you pick out those hidden treasures, and to know if the information you’re being given on an item from a seller is accurate.

Antique Victorian late 1800's sterling silver buckle locket.
Buckle motifs were common in the Victorian era.
Antique Victorian black enamel and pearl mourning locket.
Similarly, the use of black enamel with a single pearl in this locket – an indicator of mourning jewelry – the evidence of age on the clasp and hinge, and the age of the photo inside, help you date it to the Victorian period.

For instance, if you find a platinum ring and it’s being sold as a Georgian ring, that dating is inaccurate, as the Georgian period was from 1714-1837, and platinum wasn’t in widespread use until the early 1900’s.  Silver was a more common setting material for the Georgian period.  Or, you may find jewelry that, upon close inspection, has a piece of cloth, or even hair, within it, a common bit of artistry from the Victorian period.  You can work backwards as well – that’s often how I learn jewelry best! – by Googling a particular feature, hallmark or other characteristic you’ve found on your mystery jewelry.

Art Deco 1920's 14k gold and amethyst charm necklace.
The cutouts and curves of this piece are an Art Deco feature which help you date it.

4. Purchase from a reputable seller

Particularly when purchasing online, but even when purchasing in person, know as much as you can about the person selling the item.  Reviews on sites like Etsy or Ebay – you’ll see our shop has a 5 star review status! – or well established jewelers or shows in your area, give you a good idea of the customer experience, and whether or not that seller can be depended upon to sell good, accurately described jewelry.  Never hesitate to ask the seller questions as another source of information; reputable sellers will be happy to answer your questions and even send you additional pictures or videos if they sell online.  When purchasing higher-end jewelry with stones, you should look for sellers who are certified gemologists with GIA, or are on that path (such as myself), or who have their jewelry examined and assessed by those who are GIA certified.  Without this knowledge, it can be impossible to accurately identify some jewelry, particularly the stones, as some differing stones can look exactly the same to the untrained eye.

Buy from stores that have a good return policy, and clear communication around purchases, so that you can feel secure in your purchase.  Lastly, the best part about a reputable seller is that s/he is usually a font of wisdom about jewelry! Ask lots of questions, and learn as much as you can.

5. Most importantly – buy what you love!

Even as a vintage seller myself, one of my biggest rules is that I buy what I love, not just what will sell or is a good deal.  I recommend the same for you.  When you go to make your purchase ask yourself – do you love it? Will you wear it often, or, is it a special occasion piece that will make you smile each time you wear it? Does it fit well and comfortably? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so find what you like and adorn yourself with those treasures.

Good luck with your vintage shopping! Always reach out to me if you have any questions on your vintage journey!

 

 

Valentine’s Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day is rooted in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman God of agriculture, and Roman founders Remus and Romulus. The ins and outs of the festival are quite weird – animal sacrifice, slapping woman with the animal hides which was believed to make them more fertile, etc, etc – but the connotation with love and fertility stuck.  The celebration of Valentine’s Day didn’t begin until much later, with Valentine greetings beginning in the Middle Ages, and the first written valentine happening in 1415 when Charles, Duke of Orleans, wrote a poem to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Somewhere along the way the holiday was linked to St. Valentine, who married lovers in secret at a time when it was outlawed.

Of course we now have today’s traditions of Hallmark cards, chocolates, and often jewelry.  While we think love should be bestowed everyday, it can be quite fun to give gifts to lovers, partners and friends on Valentine’s Day -or of course, give yourself a little love.  Here is the roundup of our best gift ideas for 2017.

Lockets

Lockets are always a great gift, especially if you add personal photos.  We’ve been stocking the Etsy shop with new lockets each day – and they’ve been selling out quickly. Here’s a sampling:

 

Antique Art Nouveau gold filled diamond locket
Antique fleur-de-lis gold filled fob locket
A classic and gorgeous Art Nouveau (early 1900’s) round locket with a single diamond, and a Victorian (late 1800’s) amazing fleur-de-lis fob locket.
Vintage retro 1960's gold filled mom locket
Antique early 1900's sweetheart expansion bracelet with a heart locket
A retro 1960’s locket with “mom” in high relief is about as sentimental as it gets.  Lockets also come in other form – here is a stunning early 1900’s gold filled sweetheart bracelet with a heart locket on the front that holds a single rose cut diamond.

Symbols of Love

Two lovely symbols of adoration which anyone would swoon over this Valentine’s Day – a 14k gold “key to my heart” charm necklace, and a sweet lover’s knot charm with an inset diamond.  Knots have been symbols of love since antiquity, since their threads overlap and are stronger the closer together they are pulled.
Vintage 14k gold key to my heart charm necklace
Antique Victorian 14k gold and diamond lover's knot charm necklace

 

Antique 800 silver handpainted rose brooch pendant necklace
An antique necklace with a handpainted rose miniature painting. Need I say more?

Classics

Nearly every woman loves a pair of diamond studs, as they can be worn with almost any outfit.  These beautiful studs come in at a hefty half carat.  Not looking to spend so much? A vintage gold filled bangle bracelet is sure to do the trick.
Vintage half carat diamond solitaire stud earrings
Vintage 1940's gold filled bangle bracelet

 

Vintage 1940's gold filled moonstone pendant necklace
Antique 1920's gold lavalier pendant necklace with pearl and white sapphire
A rare 1940’s floating opal necklace – the opal chips float in liquid in a glass globe – is a dainty and beautiful piece.  For more of a statement but an equally delicate necklace, the 1920’s gold lavalier with white sapphire and pearl is elegant and intricate.
Vintage 14k rose gold cigar band with flowers and .45 carats of rubies
vintage ruby solitaire gold ring
Red rubies have long been associated with love, and we have several in the shop. Here is the mama of all ruby rings, with 11 rubies totaling close to half a carat, set into individual flowers on a thick cigar band gold ring.  No less beautiful is this more modern and simple ruby ring.

Handmade Wax Seal Necklaces

Last but certainly not least, we have an array of love themed wax seal necklaces available, each handmade from an antique wax seal stamp.  We have the bestselling rose necklace, the “two hearts as one” seal with a bird descending upon two hearts, a “L’Amour” French necklace, and the ‘I love you” rebus, where an eye, cupid and yew tree spell out the phrase.
Handmade rose wax seal charm necklace
Handmade love charm wax seal necklace
Handmade L'Amour French wax seal necklace
Handmade I love you rebus wax seal charm necklace

 

5 Vintage Engagement Ring Ideas for the Alternative Bride

Over the centuries, starting even with Posy rings in the middle ages, rings have been given as tokens of affection.  However, despite what many modern brides may think, the styles, materials, symbols, and stones that were used varied widely throughout history, and it wasn’t until the 20th century when diamond engagement rings became a norm. Let’s look to history and imagination to suggest five engagement ring options for the vintage, discerning bride:

  1. Use a Wedding Band as an Engagement Ring

Yes, you read that right – a wedding band.  My own engagement ring is a wedding band, my husband’s grandmother’s.  As a woman who didn’t need a big ring, the wedding band with its small row of diamonds was absolutely perfect.  Once we did get married, the original engagement ring that went with the band was what we used – reversing the norm!  I’m proud of our unique and one-of-a-kind “engagement ring”, which allowed us to make a family heirloom all our own.

1930's diamond white gold engagement ring
My own engagement ring from the 1930’s

From deep rosy gold Victorian rings, to plain bands in warm, buttery high karat gold, our shop has a variety of rings to choose from. What wedding band could you see using as your engagement ring?

Victorian rose gold dogwood flower windowpane wedding band
Victorian rose gold dogwood flower wedding band, of substantial weight and with intricate engraving.
Antique 1921 22k gold wedding band
Antique buttery 22k gold wedding band with an inscription from 1921.
A 1930's thin diamond wedding stack band
Thin diamond gold wedding band which can easily be stacked with other rings.
  1. A Cluster Vintage Engagement Ring

While a solitaire diamond ring is one of the most common engagement ring styles, a cluster ring is a unique take that allows you to get more sparkle for your money.  When stones are clustered together in a setting, smaller carat stones can be used to the same visual effect as a large stone – and is a lot lighter on the pocket book.  Cluster designs are also an eternal classic, and have been used as a design element in rings for centuries.

antique Art Deco 1 carat diamond cluster ring
Antique 1920’s platinum and yellow gold 1 carat diamond cluster ring (For sale at Stacey Fay Designs)
Vintage diamond cluster engagement ring
A great example of how smaller diamonds can look much larger in a cluster setting. (Sold Stacey Fay Designs)
Diamond cluster engagement ring
A star shaped dainty diamond cluster engagement ring (For sale at Stacey Fay Designs)
1940's white gold 1 carat diamond engagement ring
A nearly 1 carat 1940’s diamond cluster ring makes quite a statement.
  1. Colored Stone Vintage Engagement Ring

A diamond is forever…or is it? While diamonds have been used in rings for hundreds of years, the diamond engagement ring craze is a newer phenomenon, made popular in the 1930’s and 40’s by DeBeers jewelry company.  At the time, diamonds were neither scarce nor particularly valuable, so DeBeers coined the famous phrase and did targeted marketing (as well as controlled the supply!) to create a desire for diamonds and a belief in their value.

So…don’t believe the hype!  Other stones can make marvelous engagement rings, as we saw firsthand with Princess Kate Middleton’s gorgeous sapphire ring.  To help in choosing your stone, consider the meaning and symbolism behind each:

  • Agate: truth, protection, strength
  • Aquamarine: courage to overcome fears, protection on journeys
  • Blue topaz: fidelity, friendship, gentleness, and integrity
  • Emerald: fertility and calm
  • Garnet: fertility, protection and healing
  • Onyx: thought to deflect the negativity of others — associated with determination and perseverance
  • Pearl: harmony, humility, purity, worth
  • Ruby: fire, passion, the opening of the heart
  • Turquoise: friendship, associations with nature
Antique Victorian rose gold emerald and diamond engagement ring
A stunning Victorian rose gold synthetic emerald and diamond ring, sold (Stacey Fay Designs)
Antique rose cut diamond and emerald engagement ring
An antique emerald and rose cut diamond ring;  a custom order for a client through Stacey Fay Designs.  This is a halo design – another take on a cluster ring!
Antique ruby, diamond and gold ring
A rose cut diamond is surrounded by rubies in this unique “target” antique ring. Take a peek at this ring.
Vintage gold and ruby ring
This simple and more modern vintage ruby ring is perfect for the bride who prefers dainty designs. Available at Stacey Fay Designs.
Antique garnet double snake rose gold ring
Queen Victoria’s engagement ring had snakes, and yours can too in this stunning antique garnet snake ring.
Vintage 10k gold heart and flower aquamarine ring
With a large aquamarine stone and a halo of hearts and flowers, this ring screams romance (sold, Stacey Fay Designs)
Vintage gold sapphire and diamond engagement ring
A deep blue sapphire is encircled by diamonds in this stunning vintage piece.
  1. A Family Heirloom Makes a Wonderful Vintage Engagement Ring

Which brings me to my fourth point – as you and your love are talking together about marriage and engagement, consider whether a family member may have a suitable ring.  Too many family heirlooms are sold off or melted down over the generations, so your breathing new life into one can be extraordinarily meaningful.  You can of course keep the ring intact as I did with my own, or, many brides are choosing to get their heirloom stones reset into modern settings.

  1. Choose an Engagement Ring with a Symbolic Number of Stones

While people often think about the symbolism in the stones themselves, the design or number of stones in a ring can speak to your commitment and future together. Toi et moi rings – French for “me and you” – are highly sentimental, yet with two stones are simple enough not to overwhelm.  Trinity rings, with three stones – one for the past, present, and future – also offer a highly symbolic ring which doesn’t fit the solitaire norm. What number of stones is significant for your life?

Vintage 14k gold two stone toi et moi red spinel ring
A vintage toi-et-moi (“me and you”) red spinel ring (For sale at Stacey Fay Designs)
Vintage gold moonstone and emerald doublet ring
A unique and mystical toi et moi ring, with moonstone and an emerald doublet (sold, Stacey Fay Designs)

 

 

 

 

Antique rose gold toi et moi emerald and seed pearl infinity ring
A Victorian rose gold ring with two synthetic emeralds and seed pearls in an infinity pattern
Antique 15k gold turquoise ring
A stunning Victorian turquoise ring with five stones lined up perfectly. Does the number 5 symbolize anything for you?
Antique diamond gold and platinum trilogy ring
A dainty trinity ring, English made with a platinum top and gold shank (sold, Stacey Fay Designs)

 

References: 

www.americangemsociety.org

www.gia.edu

www.artofmanliness.com 

 

 

 

 

 

The 12 Days Gift Guide – Day 4 – Gifts for Under $100

The holidays are a time when we’re all looking for a special gift that won’t break the bank, given the number of gifts given. So today we highlight the best gifts in the shop for under $100!

The deal for today is an additional $10 off any of these itemscontact us to get the code.  And don’t forget to visit the Etsy shop for many other items under $100.

vintage gold filled cameo locketantique carnelian beaded necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lockets are always a good gift, and this beautiful cameo gold filled locket is no exception.  Of course, if you know someone obsessed with flapper style and the 1920’s, this retro carnelian beaded necklace is the way to go.

vintage silver garnet earringsvintage jasper earrings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flair of red in a holiday outfit is always in style – do so through a gift of these vintage silver garnet earrings, or this Mexican silver red jasper set.

vintage gold filled bangle

Vintage mosaic bracelet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold filled bangles make any outfit, and this one reminiscent of a disco ball is a steal.  Then we have an Italian made micro-mosaic bracelet, perfect for the traveler (or those dreaming of it!).

Quran necklace

Vintage Scottish Terrier brooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And on the unique side, we have a vintage necklace from Mecca, with texts from the Quran inside, and a beautiful Scottish Terrier marcasite brooch, great for the dog lover.

Last but not least, every wax seal necklace in our shop is $65, and makes for the perfect gift.  Browse the shop today; we’ll offer the $10 discount on any choice!

Narberth Fall Festival

Stacey Fay Designs sold handcrafted jewelry and vintage and antique resale at the annual Fall Festival in Narberth.  From those who bought wax seal necklaces to wear everyday, to others who bought special occasion vintage pieces, the day was a success.

Did you miss it? Remember that Stacey Fay Designs is always sold at Sweet Mabel in Narberth, and you can also buy through the website or by reaching out to us directly at info@staceyfaydesigns.com for a special order.

Here a young woman from town, Samantha, wears her Stacey Fay Designs wax seal necklace! Get yours today.

Samantha wearing her wax seal necklace