Free Shipping to the United States & Canada

How to Wear Vintage Jewelry

  • Sensational Schiaparelli

    Some of my favorite costume jewelry from the 1950s was designed by Elsa Schiaparelli. I like these pieces because they are strikingly different from those of other designers of the decade – they’re colorful, bold, and innovative. I am glad this last trait is one that continues to inspire Daniel Roseberry, Artistic Director of Maison Schiaparelli, today. In the preface to his Spring/Summer 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection, he describes the House’s founder as “someone who celebrated innovation and progress of all kinds: creative, social, cultural”.

    This article highlights some of the Schiaparelli jewelry in the boutique and demonstrates innovative ways to wear it. I hope you will be inspired by seeing these fabulous pieces worn in fresh ways.

    Schiaparelli Jewelry Characteristics

    By the late 1940s, the designer had set aside her pre-war style in favor of abstract designs and motifs inspired by nature that would appeal to the American market. Nonetheless, Schiaparelli’s jewelry remained innovative. Materials included heavily-plated metals in a variety of finishes and textures along with prong-set distinctive glass stones. She mixed shapes, sizes, cuts, colors and finishes in unexpected ways. Schiaparelli’s bold designs from the late 1940s and 1950s are statement pieces. Let’s look at some of my favorites.

    Fireworks for the Bride

    This large (3” diameter) brooch is very three-dimensional, with a trio of layered flowers. Each is formed with clusters of red-glass beads resting on shimmering petals, giving this jewel the appearance of a fireworks display. Schiaparelli often used Aurora Borealis (an iridescent coating invented in 1955 by Manfred Swarovski, grandson of the firm’s founder). It makes the stones flash colors of the rainbow as the wearer moves and catches the light.

    The photo above shows this jewel on the wide sash of a simple ivory silk wedding ensemble paired with a vintage beaded clutch. This unusual placement of the brooch at the waist makes a stunning statement accessory. I think it could be a wonderfully unconventional way to add red to a bridal look and a match for a bride seeking her own personal style. It could even allow her to ditch the tradition of holding a bouquet!

    Ruby Glass Bead & Aurora Borealis Brooch

    Black & White in Color

    This version of the same brooch substitutes black glass stones and beads for the red ones. The photo on the left captures the kaleidoscope of colors of the iridescent clear stones.

    Worn on a black turtleneck sweater by day or a silk scarf by night, this jewel is a unique and sophisticated accessory that’s guaranteed to get you noticed.

    Lucky Clovers

    Schiaparelli was a master at using stones in unusual cuts to complement the shape of a jewel. These earrings are a fine example. The faceted, three-sided, shield-shaped glass stones in two shades of topaz enhance the three-leaf clover design of the earrings. The gold-tone frames are accented with faceted round citrine glass stones.

    Ear clips like these were all the rage in the 1950s. If this type of earring isn’t for you, how about wearing it to adorn a ribbon necklace, as shown here? Or to embellish your shoes?

    Glowing Lava Rocks

    This substantial brooch features Schiaparelli’s signature stone – lava rocks. They are textured, domed, oval stones with iridescence that appear to have a fire within. Surrounding them are faceted navette and round glass stones in blue and pale amethyst. The abstract shape allows you to position the piece in any way you wish. On the right, it’s worn as a pendant on a cord.

    For Sunny Days

    Sets of costume jewelry – matching brooches, earrings, necklaces and/or bracelets – were popular in the 1950s. Here’s an example with another of this designer’s distinctive glass stones – faceting that forms an eight-pointed star when viewed from above. In this case, the stones are encircled with tiny faux pearls in an elaborate, antiqued, gold-plated setting. The photo on the right shows my favorite model wearing the brooch and ear clips together. You could do that or wear them separately.

    Schiaparelli Jewelry Today

    Jewelry is an important part of Maison Schiaparelli’s collection each season. As discussed in my post “The Jewels of Maison Schiaparelli: Yesterday & Today”, Artistic Director Daniel Roseberry continues to be inspired by the Surrealist artists who influenced the House’s founder before the war. His pieces are big and bold, and bold jewelry is back in fashion.

    This connection between fashion and art will be celebrated in the upcoming exhibition “SHOCKING! The Surrealist World of Elsa Schiaparelli” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. It runs from July 6, 2022 to January 22, 2023.

    For More Schiaparelli Jewels

    Shop the TruFaux Jewels boutique.

  • 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…

    Read more
  • 1950s beaded earrings by Miriam Haskell

    1950s Beaded Earrings for Modern Women

    If you enjoy period TV series and movies as much as I do, I’m sure you find the costumes and sets as entertaining as the stories. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, set in the late-1950s, provides eye-candy for jewelry lovers like me. Because the show is streaming, we can experience the…

    Read more
  • Break the gloom by planning a tea party

    Birthday Tea for Me

    I love to celebrate my birthday. And I don’t limit the festivities to that particular day. My favorite way to observe my special day is to take afternoon tea with various close friends, spreading the celebration at least through the month of January. Afternoon tea is my favorite pastime, not…

    Read more
  • Jewelry gift -- French pinwheel brooch

    TruFaux Jewelry Gift Guide for Holiday Sparkle

    With the holiday season approaching, we’re all looking for safe ways to add some sparkle to our celebrations. Whether you’re shopping for a jewelry gift for a special woman in your life or looking for a way to add shine to your wardrobe, I have just what you need. This…

    Read more
  • 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…

    Read more
  • 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…

    Read more
  • 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…

    Read more
  • 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…

    Read more
  • 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,…

    Read more
  • 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…

    Read more
  • 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…

    Read more