NewslettersRuby Lane's newsletters are designed to celebrate the antiques and art, vintage collectibles and jewelry communities around the world. Our Past Times newsletter focuses on antiques and collectibles. Our Creative Hands newsletter celebrates fine art and handcrafted jewelry on Ruby Lane. Our shop owners are frequent article contributors, sharing their expertise and their passions for the items they collect and create. Enjoy!
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Ruby Lane's Past Times Newsletter for April 2011
In This Issue
- Ruby Plaza Promotion: Sell for Only $9/mo. Through 2011!
- The Formula for Dynamite by Jack Becklund of The Pottery Nuts
- Inspired by Haskell
- Glass selections available on Ruby Lane
RUBY PLAZA PROMOTION: SELL FOR ONLY $9/MO. THROUGH 2011!
If you aren't already aware, this promotion has been extended! Are you looking for a venue to sell your home decor items ranging from furniture and accessories to lighting, bedding and window coverings? Or perhaps you, or someone you know sells fashion and accessory items, and/or jewelry. If so, spread the word - as now you can try out our sister site, Ruby Plaza, launched last April - for only $9 a month through 2011 with no set-up fee!
Through December 31st 2011, we are making it easy and affordable for sellers to join Ruby Plaza. Already over 700 shops have joined us with over 60,000 items added to the site.
There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and the only expense out of your pocket is $9 a month.
Spread the word!
For more information visit www.rubyplaza.com, then under SELL, choose Open A Shop. We hope you'll join us!
* Please note that items currently offered on Ruby Lane may not be duplicated on Ruby Plaza.
THE FORMULA FOR DYNAMITE BY JACK BECKLUND OF THE POTTERY NUTS
Would you pay $198,000 for a Rookwood Sea Green Vase? How about $56,000 for a Lalique Serpent Vase? Or $121,000 for a Cowan Jazz Bowl? These are record prices, but they don't even approach the big money spent for high end Tiffany Lamps. How about $990,000 for a Tiffany Magnolia or $2.8 million for a Tiffany Lotus? And for really big bucks, try pink, yellow or blue diamonds.
Why do people do it? Why are they so determined to capture that special antique or collectible with very little regard for price.You can start with a little three letter word. EGO. What else explains the need for a 30,000 square foot house or a matching pair of Bentleys or a 250-foot yacht?
Of course there's more to it. In an auction situation, where you have one unique item and a half-dozen hungry bidders, you are dealing with ego on steroids. Several bidders may want to win desperately, but only one will refuse to lose. We've seen it often. A vase worth $100 goes to $1,000. A $1,000 piece of cloisonne goes to $12,000. Makes no sense but it happens.
For the really big prices, the items that fill the room with elephants, there are four important basic factors to consider. You need all four, just as you need specific ingredients to make any recipe. Think of them as our formula for dynamite.
First, you need a name that is recognized for quality. Tiffany, for example, usually trumps Handel or Pairpoint, which in turn trump Jefferson or B&H, etc. In pottery, Newcomb College or Grueby are
much better than McCoy or Hull. In Majolica, you would look for George Jones or Holdcroft.
Second, you would insist upon original beauty and quality in the item. You can find Rookwood vases for $100 but there are also Rookwood vases you could not touch for less than a several thousand. Even an untrained eye can see the difference. An expert can take it in at a glance.
Third is rarity. If a Marblehead vase contains multiple colors, was made and signed by Hannah Tutt, and only three are known to exist, competitors will line up to join the battle. I saw this happen and wrote about it last month. It went for $86,000, including buyer's premium. Many pieces of art pottery, art glass, folk art, painting and other creative enterprises are by nature one of a kind. They are irreplaceable. When that happens, buyers fall back on quality, beauty and name. Unfortunately, rarity itself is not always a deciding quality. We have a Cambria Moderne art deco pitcher on sale here at Ruby Lane. It's well marked, quite striking and we've never seen or heard of another. But nobody wants to buy it, so in this case you could call it rare and unimportant. We have two pieces of Markham pottery at home, not for sale. We called Belhorn Auction, which specializes in art pottery. In thirty years, they've never sold a piece. So what are they worth? Nobody knows.
Finally, when dealing with antiques and collectibles, current condition is all-important. You may have a great example that
meets the other criteria, but if it's scuffed, cracked, chipped, repaired, faded, etc., there goes the ball game. It may still fetch a high price, but it will nor be one of those stratospheric examples we mentioned earlier.
So there you have it. When you combine name, original quality, rarity, current condition and a group of well-heeled competitors, you're ready for lift-off. The only other significant variable is the state of the economy and the value of the dollar. The economy is strong for corporations, but the value of the dollar is steadily falling, which is why gold, silver and other commodities are rising. In ten years, the dollar has fallen 30% and promises to keep right on sliding. On the other hand, investment grade diamonds are up 20% in the last year alone. You get the idea, right?
One other piece of advice: if you're planning to trade dollars for something that might hold its value or appreciate, buy the best you can afford. Let's say you're thinking of Roseville. Pick the Morning Glory or Sunflower rather than the Donatello or Rosecraft.
And remember the formula for dynamite: ego, quality, name, rarity and condition.
We invite you to visit The Pottery Nuts to view such items as the Tall Roseville Ming Tree Vase in Temple Blue ($185), an Unusual Art Deco Style English Pitcher ($125), or the Red and White Coin Dot Lamp with Prisms ($895).
INSPIRED BY HASKELL
Miriam Haskell had many common imitators. The addition of the Miriam Haskell mark after World War II was prompted by some of these imitations, including a large amount of Japanese look-alikes. However, several designers whose work is sometimes mistaken for Haskell produced truly unique items that stand on their own, although sharing many style elements with Haskell pieces.
The two lines that are perhaps best known for this are Originals by Robert, and the work of Robert DeMario.
Originals by Robert
Originals by Robert was actually a name used by Fashioncraft Jewelry. This firm was founded in 1942 by Robert Levy, David Jaffe, and Irving Landsman. Robert Levy appears to have been the primary designer, as evidenced by the name. Most pieces will be marked "Originals by Robert" or "Robert", although items have been seen with a "Fashioncraft" or "Fashioncraft Robert" mark. There is some speculation that Levy worked for Miriam Haskell at one time, but no serious evidence exists to clearly establish this.
The pieces were well made, and can be roughly divided into three main groups. There were pieces done on Haskell style filigree, featuring small seed beads and rhinestones. These filigree findings were widely available in the jewelry trade, with several firms in Rhode Island being primary suppliers. The ones used by Fashioncraft usually have a bright gold plated finish, unlike the more subdued and specialized finishes that Haskell had applied to her pieces.
often using multiple strands, were made with elaborate fancy catches, or elaborate focal elements. These pieces still share some style elements with Haskell items.
The company also produced some great enamel pieces, including fruits and flowers. Their enameled Christmas Tree pieces are very collectible today, and many are featured in specialty references for Christmas jewelry collectors.
Irving Landsman left the company in 1951. The name Robert Originals may have become the official company name around 1960. David Jaffe's daughter, Ellen, joined the firm in 1975, and Robert Levy retired. EllenDesigns for Robert Originals was used until 1979. The company was reorganized as Ellen Designs in 1980. While still in business, most collectors consider 1979 the last year of production for true Originals by Robert. Current owners are Ellen Jaffee Wagman and her husband, John Wagman.
Robert Demario started his company in 1945. Many sources make the claim that DeMario had actually worked for Miriam Haskell, but no evidence exists to support this claim. One of the major, and widely respected, works on Miriam Haskell states that DeMario had no association with Haskell. Other sources, however, feel that DeMario worked for Haskell as a designer in the 1940s, before starting his own firm.
Whatever his experience and origins, DeMario established himself quickly. The pieces involved a high degree of hand work, with elaborately wired beads incorporated into much
of the work. Faceted Austrian crystal beads and simulated pearls were favorites, along with other rhinestone sets. Beads, often in multiple strands, with fancy clasps, were produced. These pieces can resemble similar pieces from Haskell, or from Originals by Robert. DeMario's use of filigree brass findings is another similarity with Haskell items.
The items are most often marked "DeMario", in script or block, or "DeMario N. Y." Due to the high degree of handwork, no large volumes were produced, and the rarity of these items certainly impacts the price today. DeMario only produced these items for 20 years, closing the company in 1965. This shorter company life, at least compared to some others, also limited the total production.
After closing the company, DeMario may have done some work in co-operation for Stanley Hagler. However, details of this are somewhat sketchy. It appears that there was talk of a partnership, but this never happened. Hagler also worked with elaborately wired beaded creations, and was well established by the mid-1960s. Items exist that are marked "DeMario Hagler", and some may exist that are marked "Hagler for DeMario". Many feel that these items, which are very rare, may actually be Hagler's work, using findings left over from DeMario and the joint venture attempt.
Inspired by Haskell
The two Roberts, DeMario and Levy, clearly produced some styles inspired by, and similar to, Miriam Haskell creations. Both may have been associated with the
Haskell firm at some time. As some of the creations of both designers were inspired by Haskell style, the two lines also have some similarity. Both designers work in this style was original and can be considered more of a tribute than a mere imitation. Both designers also produced original lines that owed little, if anything, to Miriam Haskell's work.
Both designers tended to sign their works, although unsigned pieces may exist, especially as parts of sets. DeMario production was more limited, and his items are probably rarer in today's marketplace. However, pieces from both of these great makers are available on Ruby Lane.
GLASS SELECTIONS AVAILABLE ON RUBY LANE
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3 Vintage Czech Glass Place Card Holders
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Hand painted Victorian Lemonade Pitcher
Hand painted Victorian Lemonade Pitcher, 13"H, 5 1 8"W across base. Delicate subtle 12 sided pitcher with enamel flowers and designs on sides. The ...
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