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How to Wear Vintage Jewelry

  • Summer jewelry for your new fashion fling

    Summer Jewelry for Your 2021 Fashion Fling

    As social-contact restrictions ease and cities begin to re-open, fashion experts say that women are ready to throw aside their sweatpants and dress up, but in a new way. No more high-heels and formal workplace apparel for daytime. Instead, expect to see brightly-colored, comfortable, and fun clothing and accessories. Whether your idea of dressing up is a new summer frock, denim, or something more personal in style, these summer jewelry pieces will energize your wardrobe as you re-enter the world.

    What makes these jewels special is that they are works of art – not imitations of fine jewelry –created by talented makers in Europe and the U.S. Sadly, we don’t know their names in most cases because costume jewelry typically was unsigned before the 1940s. Nonetheless, the exceptional designs and materials and construction methods used have ensured the lasting beauty of these jewels, unlike the cheap pieces we see on the market today. And although costume jewelry was mass-produced in the 20th century, these survivors are unique and unlikely to be seen elsewhere.

    Art Deco Summer Necklaces

    Chokers were as popular in the 1920s as waist-long necklaces. The photo above shows a European creation with hand-wired clusters of pink blown-glass beads that are connected with clear-glass rings. Their transparency modernizes this piece, which is like a wreath of blossoms around your neck. Here are two more Art Deco chokers made in the 1920s that work really well with summer colors and fabrics.

    Summer jewelry - bue chicklet necklace
    Coral bead Art Deco necklace

    Did you know that blue is the world’s favorite color? It is especially popular with white and summer linens. The style of the necklace on the left is called a chicklet, a modern term for a type of jewel with open-back, glass stones set on linked metal mountings. In this example, the design is more elaborate – the faceted square stones alternate with ones molded in a step-pattern. Each end is finished with two blue enamel links.

    On the right is a fringe necklace with tiny coral-glass beads in delicate oval white-metal settings. A paperclip chain finishes this elegant piece. The color coral says summer. See how lovely this jewel looks with a colorful dress. You can also wear it to add a pop of this lovely hue to a neutral outfit.

    Summer Pendant Earrings

    Long, dangling earrings like these two pairs bring to mind the decade that roared a century ago. Think summer parties, music and dancing when you look at these adornments from that era.

    Summer jewelry -- jade bead Art Deco earrings
    Lapis panel dangling earrings

    On the left, a trio of chains suspend mint-green-glass beads that form a circle with a dangling bead in the center. The construction and lavish 3-inch length provide lots of movement as well as chic. Earrings like these that were made in the 1920s are increasingly hard to find.

    The pair on the right features molded-glass panels in the color of lapis lazuli. The attention to detail is evident – the floral motif is repeated in the silver-tone components that connect the pendants to the earring tops. Bold in color, texture and length (two inches), this pair definitely makes a statement.

    Funky Summer Bracelets

    Bracelets, one of the earliest forms of adornment, became very popular in the 1920s, when style dictated bare arms. With short sleeves or sleeveless attire in summer, why not add a bracelet to your ensemble? These two examples are from the first half of the last century.

    Tortoise shell Bakelite tank track bracelet
    Turquoise bead bracelet by Miriam Haskell

    Though tortoise-shell in appearance, the bracelet on the left is made from a translucent early plastic (possibly Bakelite). It is formed by alternating rows of semi-circles that are linked with metal pins. The design is a variation of the tank-track motif, which was fashionable in the 1930s. This Machine Age piece with excellent articulation is still modern today. Its bold, yet casual look works well with jeans or summer linens.

    On the right is a 1940s creation by Frank Hess for Miriam Haskell. The turquoise-glass beads and diamantés wrapped around a gold-tone hinged frame show the designer’s ingenuity when high-quality glass stones from Europe were not available during World War II. Haskell produced several variations of this piece, with tiny glass beads from the U.S. This bangle in a popular summer hue has just the right amount of bling for a casual ensemble.

    Playful Summer Brooches

    From their utilitarian function as fasteners, brooches have been worn as adornments since the Middle Ages. More recently identified as old-fashioned, they are making a comeback as fashion statements, sometimes with a political connotation. These examples, both designed by Frank Hess and hand-made at Miriam Haskell, are whimsical and fun to wear.

    Ruby bead & rondelle Miriam Haskell brooch
    Wood bead dangling brooch by Miriam Haskell

    The 1940s jewel on the left, though shown as a pendant, is a brooch/clip. The rows of deep-red glass beads embellished with diamantés set in gold-tone metal actually move, giving this piece a Machine Age-look and feel. The black cord in the photo is included with the purchase of this versatile piece. You could also wear it with a chain.

    On the right is a whimsical brooch created during World War II. Here, again, Hess used non-traditional materials. In this example, the coffee-bean-shaped wooden beads form a flower at the top. From it cascade additional beads attached to braided silk cords. The result is lots of movement and sound! At four-inches in length and with its other attributes, this wonderful jewel truly makes a statement. Wear it at the base of a round- or v-neck top, or on the pocket of a denim jacket.

    For More Vintage Summer Jewelry Fun

    As you muse about what you’ll wear when you venture out into the sunshine, consider colorful, fun, and expressive vintage costume jewelry. To see more of the pieces I recommend for your new fashion fling, visit the boutique’s Summer Jewelry collection.

     

  • 1950s beaded earrings by Miriam Haskell

    1950s Beaded Earrings for Modern Women

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    Birthday Tea for Me

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  • Jewelry gift -- French pinwheel brooch

    TruFaux Jewelry Gift Guide for Holiday Sparkle

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  • Brighten your mood with this dazzling brooch.

    Brighten Your Mood with this Glittering Jewel

    As the months of near-quarantine drag on, the idea of dressing up to stay at home may seem like an oxymoron. You may be surprised to learn that psychologists are encouraging us to do just that. Studies have shown that how we dress affects how we feel about ourselves. So…

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  • Red Carpet Looks -- Amy Adams

    Red Carpet Looks for You

    Whether you watched the stars arrive at the 2019 Oscars in real time or waited for the reporting afterwards, you probably have a favorite red carpet look. Hot pink dresses, romantic ball gowns, and capes were among the spotted trends. And, of course, we saw loads of sparkle. Lady Gaga…

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  • What to wear with a tweed blazer

    Blaze Up Your Tweed with a Vintage Brooch

    As soon as I saw the cover of the October 2018 issue of Vanity Fair, I knew what I wanted to do for this month’s styling tips. Felicity Jones is pictured wearing a black-and-white herringbone jacket with a simple white shirt, open at the collar. Her lapel is adorned with…

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  • How to accessorize smart casual outfits

    From the Runway to Every Day

    If you think vintage costume jewelry is just for dressing up, think again! Yes, TruFaux Jewels walked the runway during Toronto Fashion Week for Spring 2019. But the same pieces can add a touch of glamour to your everyday attire. This month’s styling tips show you how to accessorize smart…

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  • Jewelry on the Runway at Christopher Paunil's show

    Jewelry On the Runway: A Modern Take on Vintage

    Even though the record-breaking heat and humidity altered my planned attire for the evening, the weather didn’t dampen my excitement. On September 5, I attended my first fashion show. But that’s not the exciting part. From my front row seat, I was thrilled to see my jewelry on the runway,…

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  • Summer bracelets for casual, office and evening wear

    Summer Bracelets to Adorn You

    From ancient civilizations to the present day, bracelets have been one of the most popular forms of adornment. In addition to their role as decorative ornaments throughout history, they have served as protection, objects of religious significance, and expressions of wealth and power. I like to wear this type of…

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  • Summer necklaces

    Summer Necklaces: Colorful, Chic & Cool Jewels

    I love to play with color when I dress and when I prepare styling tips to share with you. Now that summer is here, I particularly enjoy putting together colorful outfits accessorized with equally colorful, yet lightweight jewels. Last month’s styling tips focused on earrings with these qualities, so this…

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  • Summer earrings

    Summer Earrings to Stay Cool, Look Chic

    The summer season is nearly upon those of us who live in the northern hemisphere. To keep me cool and comfortable while temperatures rise, I dress in mainly cottons and linens. Although I tend to wear the same colors all year-round, I do have some summer-only clothes, shoes, and handbags.…

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