Sunday, September 19, 2010

Costume Jewelry Is This Girl's Best Friend

Marilyn Monroe may have needed diamonds to make her happy...

photo courtesy of Top 100 Female Celebrities

But girl-next-door types like me love costume jewelry!

I don't see too much talk about jewelry in the vintage blogs I've been reading, but I want to sing its praises!

There is an endless variety out there...

It can be casual and fun!  like this 1960's jewelry.

Or you can add a touch of glamour with 1950's rhinestones and pearls...

And best of all, it's often very reasonably priced (50 cents - $12) at estate sales.  And that suits me just fine because I'm Ms. Frugal.

As an example, this group of red clip-on and screw-back earrings came in a little bag at an estate sale for $1.50 on half-price day.

I also love costume jewelry's versatility.

Compared to many of my very fashionable blogging friends, I really don't own very many vintage clothes (that fit me).  Plus, I work in a rather conservative environment (fundraising at a college) and have gotten odd looks the few times I've been brave enough to show up at the office in a dress or jacket that was obviously vintage 40's or 50's.

But I can get away with wearing vintage jewelry.  In fact, it's brought me lots of compliments.  It's a great way to spice up ordinary office attire, like this turquoise top and black sweater combo - and give it a bit of a 60's flair.

Most of the jewelry I find is unmarked, but occasionally I stumble across a well-known name. This gorgeous blue set (below) had the Coro tag still attached to the bracelet.

I had to pass up the matching necklace - the most expensive piece of the three ($5.00) - because I didn't have enough cash with me that day.  Drat!

Don't forget to bring a magnifying glass to those Saturday sales!  I almost stepped away from these intriguing lilac and irridescent pearl earrings because they cost more than I usually like to pay (a whopping $4). But my trusty magnifier revealed that they were marked Germany on the back - a sign that they were likely made before 1949 when Germany split into East and West Germany.  I decided the little Germany mark made them well worth the $4 bucks. 

These are unmarked, but very intriguing - don't you think?

And here's a sampling of silver costume jewelry that I've collected in the past few years.  One can never have enough silver!  It goes with almost everything...

My favorite in the group - one that I wear quite often - is the chunky expandable bracelet. It's vintage, but has a contemporary look to it - and is a great accessory for dressing up a pair of jeans when going out on the town.

Most of you probably have pierced ears, and may have been hesitant to wear clip-on earrings.  I was hesitant too.  I remember playing dress-up with my mother's clip-ons as a kid - and my ears got so sore! 

Actually, that still happens to me sometimes when I wear them, and then I'll have to take them off after a few hours.  But it really depends on the earrings.  Some are so comfy I hardly know I'm wearing them.  I find that the screw-back type of earrings (see sample above, in the "reds" photo) are often more comfortable than clip-ons. But screw-backs are a little harder to find because once clip-ons were invented in the 1930's, they rapidly became the earring of choice over the next 20 years for most women. 

In case you were wondering where I keep all this jewelry that I've accumulated...
Well, as with most things in my life - I make do with what I already have.

Most of my vintage necklaces, bracelets & pins are in this old tin Louis Sherry candy box.

And I decided that this antique sewing cabinet that I've got on my dining room buffet would work perfectly to store all my earrings - grouped by color and style in little bags.  (Believe me, I'm not usually this organized .)  

Perhaps the dining room is an odd place to keep jewelry, but it works well for me because I'm usually putting on earrings as I'm racing out the door for work in the mornings - so this is very convenient!

* * * * * * * *
Oh my! - I just noticed that it's 3:30 pm!  Where did the afternoon go?  Sometimes time just speeds by when I'm happily blogging.  I guess that's a good thing.

One final note, and then I'll let you go.  While digging through my jewelry boxes today, I spotted my diamond wedding ring - which I (sadly) took off about 10 years ago, and planned to give to my daughter when she got older.

You know, I kinda liked wearing a diamond ring.  And if a man comes along someday and wants to give me another one...well, let's just say that I'd happily exchange all of my costume jewelry for one pretty little  diamond.  And yes - a small one would suit me just fine.

The song "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" famously performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film, "Gentleman Prefer Blondes."  Video courtesy of YouTube's Chiswick2


  1. I love this kind of jewelry too!!! Though I cannot wear clips and I'm allergic to most metals, I love them and buy them too. Sets are expensive over here. I buy loose pieces -even loose earrings to craft with. I will make a post about them one of these days too. We had a 'show me your bling' kinda day in the past. Love your treasures! Like you I prefer this to the real thing (shhhshhh otherwise my mum will hear this!)

  2. Lili - I wish I was crafty like you. It would be so much fun to create something with all my extras.

    Don't worry - I won't tell your mum. :-)

  3. Ohh do I love vintage costume jewelry. Thank you so much for the lovely photos and sharing. Happy creating...

  4. I have my mothers and grandmother jewerly boxes stuffed full of their old is so much fun. I find that I don't get to wear them much.

  5. What a wonderful collection you have - and I have to say - that blue colour made your eyes look like jewels!
    Hope you will have a really nice week!

  6. Creatology - I've visited your blog and have seen the lovely things you create. I'll bet you'd dream up lots of great stuff with vintage jewelry.

    Messy Missy - How nice for you to have a box full of your grandmothers jewelry. I've got just one lovely blue brooch of my grandmother's, but don't have a thing to wear it with (yet).

    Luna - you're always so kind. Hope you have a wonderful week too. I will visit soon! :-)

  7. Susan,
    This was a seriously wonderful post. Just love vintage jewelry!

  8. Your costume jewelry collection is divine! I have lots of estate sale jewelry stashed all over my house, squirreled of these days I'm going to put it all together and sort it out. Thanks for another informative and fun post, Susan!

  9. Aw, you are too cute! Love it :) I haven't really been the good blogger mate lately, been aaaages since I've visited your blog!

  10. Miss K - no apologies necessary! You've been very busy with your move to Ireland, and classes starting!

    Mitzi - I am now imagining a little squirrel stashing jewelry in hiding places all over your house. :-)

    Suz - Thanks! Are you back from Prague yet? I'll have to catch up...

  11. I love costume jewellery, too. But I'm quite often without too many pieces as I...well, I forget! Hehe. I like the odd bracelet and earrings and, occasionally, a necklace.
    -Andi x

  12. Wow, what an impressive collection. I am particularly in love with carved celluloid.

  13. look at your lovely things! your style is so wonderfully unique! i'm really glad to have found your blog....hope your week is going splendidly! xoxo

  14. Andi - I forget too!

    Baroness - carved celluloid...hmmm. Do you spot any in my collection? The red roses? I'm not sure i know what it looks like.

    Kate - Thank you, you're sweet. I was glad when I discovered your blog too!

  15. Wow! What a great collection. Pretty stuff...

  16. I love your jewelry! Maybe I can tag along sometime when you go shopping!


I love all of your comments - it's what makes blogging fun! C'mon, let's get a conversation going...

Related Posts with Thumbnails