Friday, August 27, 2010

Vintage Jewelry Word of the Week - Ivory

There are so many materials out there in the retail world which are labeled ivory. Some just refer to the color and some refer, either truthfully or not, to the material.

Ivory a smooth grained material which is made from the tusks of elephants, walruses and other animals with tusks. It is creamy white in color, usually with a cross hatching type of grain. It is a natural material. Not ivory will show this cross hatch grain, depending on the way that it has been cut, but it will always have a prominent grain mark of some sort.

Beware though, the product may be called ivory, when it is, in fact, bone - another natural material with a similar look.

Although bone has a similar look, it does not have the telltale ivory cross hatch grain. The photo shown here is an example of the ivory grain which has been magnified. The grain line in bone is more often a series of parallel lines. Bone also often has pits and other imperfections which are not usually apparent in ivory pieces. The following photo is a good example which shows the grain of bone as well as the pits and imperfections often found in it.

Ivory is highly collectible and the import of it into the USA has been banned since mid June 1989. Items labeled pre-ban ivory are those which were made and imported into the USA earlier than this period.

One way to determine if the item is real ivory is the hot pin test. BEWARE: if your item is not ivory, you will damage it. True ivory is virtually impenetrable with heat. Take a large pin or needed and heat the pin until it is red hot. Poke your item somewhere that will not show. If it is real ivory it will not penetrate, but will only leave a tiny mark. Bone is also resistant to heat but not as much as ivory, so if your mark is much larger it is more likely bone. (also ivory smells like burning teeth and bone has much less of a smell.

Here are a few examples of some pre-ban ivory jewelry items.

Visit Vintage Jewelry Lane for more details and prices on ivory jewelry.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Patina Gallery to Showcase Atelier Zobel's Jewelry

Patina Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico is an international destination for collectors and connoisseurs of contemporary hand fabricated jewelry, textiles, and sculptural objects in metal, clay and wood by leading American and European artists.

Their website has details of both real and virtual exhibits and is a fascinating place to spend a few hours exploring the various artists which they feature.

The gallery has been running a fabulous exhibit which will end on September 5, 2010, and which features the remarkable works of a German master, Michael Zobel. This will be the ninth return engagement by the Atelier and as always, it is eagerly anticipated.

Their website says that The jewelry of Atelier Zobel redefines metalsmithing. Through a painterly use of metals and selection of gems, the Atelier emphatically elevates jewelry into the realm of fine art.

The bracelet shown here is made from Oxidized Sterling Silver, 22k and 24k Gold, Turquoise, and Coral, with Champagne Colored Diamonds. It has a value of $16,085.

You can view more items from their exhibit on this page of the Patina Gallery website.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vintage Boucheron on the Auction Block at Fellows and Sons

One of my favorite auction sites is Fellow's and Sons in Birmingham, UK. Normally, they deal in moderately priced vintage and antique jewelry items with a bit of an emphasis on gold jewelry.

I was, therefore, interested to have a look at this interesting vintage Boucheron brooch with an estimate of £12,000 - £18,000.

The piece is a real stunner. It is a diamond brooch, from about 1955, in the form of two stylised leaves with an inner central curve of baguette cut diamonds and outer claw set round brilliant diamonds. The border is set with three old European/round brilliant diamonds surrounded by scattered pear and baguette cut diamonds. One tapered hoop is hinged allowing the two sections to be detached and form double clips. Estimated total diamond weight 19.50cts.

The antique and modern jewelry auction will take place on Thursday, the 2nd of September. For more details of the auction, please visit this page of the auction web site. They also have online bidding available.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to work!

Sorry for the long hiatus from blogging. I've been on vacation in Maine for the first part of August, and decided to just take a break from everything, including blogging.

This picture gives a pretty good idea of what I've been doing for the last few weeks. The only things missing are a few jools!

Do you ever notice when you've taken time off work that you get energized and eager to get back to it? I sure do. Stay tuned for new articles soon!


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