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 July 2008
In This Issue
- Planning A Summer Wedding? Make It A Vintage Wedding!
- Visit Ruby Lane's Blog
- Current Trends In Doll Collecting As Observed by Robbin Wilson of Emmie's Antique Doll Castle
- Ancient Egypt: Inspiration for Many Modern Jewelry Styles
- The Silver Lining of Jewelry Collecting During Inflationary Times by Mona Hair of Mona's Jewelry Armoire
PLANNING A SUMMER WEDDING? MAKE IT A VINTAGE WEDDING!
Click here to see a special Vintage Wedding video message from Ruby Lane, or go to:
VISIT RUBY LANE'S BLOG
Notes from The Lane is Ruby Lane's new blog, where you'll find hundreds of articles on antiques & art, vintage collectibles, jewelry, e-commerce success and much more with new content added daily. We invite you to stop by to read, learn, comment, contribute or advertise. Visit http://blog.rubylane.com
CURRENT TRENDS IN DOLL COLLECTING AS OBSERVED BY ROBBIN WILSON OF EMMIE'S ANTIQUE DOLL CASTLE
It seems that in the doll world, trends of popularity among collectors change as swiftly as those in the world of fashion-well, perhaps not, but I have certainly seen several interesting changes of tide in what is popular in my shop-those dolls that fly out the door as soon as they are listed.
When I first opened nearly five years ago everyone seemed to love the cuddly composition babies and toddlers of the 1930's-40's. Upon each arrival, the cute tots were swiftly snapped up and shipped away. It was the same for Miss Revlon and other such fashion dolls, and those wonderful Deluxe Reading grocery store dolls: "Sweet Rosemary," Darling Debbie", and "Candy". These days, interest in those dolls is much softer; not that the demand is completely dead, there is still some interest, but exclusively, it seems, for the few dolls in untouched, pristine condition. Patsy and her friends, with a few exceptions, are also experiencing definite neglect from collectors.
I have noticed a definite increase in interest for the dolls I grew up with: "Tippy Toes," "Baby Go Bye Bye, ""Tubsy", (The hottest!) "Dancerina", and Miss Peep. Most dolls from the 1960's-1970's era are HOT, with the exceptions of Chatty Cathy, Dancerella, and some others. A couple of exceptions are Mrs. Beasley, who enjoyed high popularity a couple of years ago, and Thumbelina, both of whom are growing lukewarm. Also rapidly climbing the ladder are all types and brands of Lenci and Lenci type child dolls. The beautiful Lencis have always been favorites, but now it seems that the pristine or near pristine examples are commanding higher prices than ever. Beautiful, clean, all original felt dolls by Chad Valley, Alma, Dean's Rag Book, and especially Raynal are realizing enormous demand. But, such dolls must be immaculate in order to do so. Collectors are becoming much more particular about the condition of their dolls.
Now for a word on antique bisque dolls. Fine antique French dolls are going through the roof! Even the traditionally less popular SFBJ dolls are on fire if they are beautiful, high quality examples. Better German bisque dolls are still selling, but they must be exceptional examples in order to sell quickly. Also, collectors want their antique dolls with sleeping eyes if originally made that way, original body finish without large areas of repaint, and original wig of possible, if not, then a fine quality, appropriate mohair or human hair wig. There is a definite downturn for the formerly red hot Heubach character dolls, especially the boys. It is a good time to acquire them for a future investment, for they can be obtained at very reasonable prices.
Fine doll clothing of all types and eras are gaining demand. A very fine, beautiful antique French costume often commands $1,000.00 or more. In my opinion, many collectors would appreciate information about antique doll clothing in regards to what is the most appropriate for their dolls, and what styles and colors antique dolls originally wore. In the future, I would be happy to contribute an article along that line if I am asked.
There is one consistent factor concerning all types of dolls I have seen across the board from my customers; they want the very best condition possible. 1960's- 1970's dolls must be at least near mint, or the interest is low. Older dolls, likewise, must be clean, and in excellent overall condition, thanks to the wide variety of all types of dolls available via the internet, dolls in average condition are plentiful, so the dolls in the best condition are the ones sought after. However, pristine, factory mint dolls are often times selling at higher prices than ever.
We invite you to visit Emmie's Antique Doll Castle
ANCIENT EGYPT: INSPIRATION FOR MANY MODERN JEWELRY STYLES
Two of the great jewelry trends of the year are Art Deco style pieces and larger pieces, such as chunky bangles and big, bold rings featuring color.
These styles often overlap in Egyptian Motif pieces. Egyptian style has had a large influence in the world of design for 2 centuries now, waxing and waning, but always consistently there. The adaptation of Egyptian style into the Art Deco movement is probably the best known of this 200 year reign of influence, and Egyptian motifs can be big, bold, and colorful!
Ancient Egyptian styles have been the inspiration for many revivals over the centuries. Some of the elements of style from ancient Egypt have always been popular. Roman nobility copied Egyptian styles for villas in Italy over 2000 years ago. The late 18th and early 19th centuries saw a revival of Egyptian style in design, primarily used in memorials and monuments. Obelisks and pyramids saw use in cemeteries, and entrance facades were designed to look like Egyptian temples. There was also a strong Egyptian influence in Masonic designs. The Napoleonic campaigns in Egypt and Nelson's victory at Abukir Bay sparked interest in all things Egyptian in Britain and the continent. The Rosetta Stone, which unlocked the mysteries of hieroglyphics, was discovered during this period. Egyptian art was discussed and documented in many volumes of the time. David Roberts documented his early 19th century travels to Egypt and the Holy Lands in many paintings. These were extremely popular when published as bound volumes of lithographs in early Victorian England.
Another flourish of Egyptian taste occurred with the discovery of the tomb of Queen Ah-Hotep and the start of the Suez Canal project in 1859. From then until the end of the century, Egyptian styles showed influence. Silver and china adopted Egyptian motifs. The Aesthetic Movement and Art Nouveau adapted and used Egyptian motifs. Liberty & Company, closely associated with the English Arts and Crafts movement, offered Egyptian inspired pieces. The last half of the 19th century and the early 20th centuries saw some masterpieces of jewelry with Egyptian themes from names such as Castellani, Giuliano, Boucheron, and Tiffany. Many of the noted jewelry makers of the Newark Renaissance produced pieces with Egyptian motifs, including some fine enameled pieces.
The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922 occurred as the world was gearing up for Art Deco. The term Art Deco only came into widespread use in the 1960's. The style it describes was showcased at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Art). It was referred to more often as Art Moderne or Style Moderne during its period of greatest popularity, which ended around 1940. Egyptian motifs were evident in many works of the period, in glass, bronzes, and jewelry. Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier produced stunning Egyptian inspired designs, with rubies, sapphires, and emeralds set in platinum. Egyptian Revival deco clocks were also produced. Hollywood films popularized the styles, and many of the great theaters built by the film chains during this time had Egyptian inspired designs.
The release of the film Cleopatra in the 1960's and the tour of the treasures of Tutankhamen in the 1970's both caused a stir and renewed interest in Egyptian design. The Egyptian Revival of the 1920's and 30's, linked with Art Deco, is probably the best known of the revivals. If a piece is described as Egyptian Revival, with no other dating given, it should probably date to this period. Dating Egyptian themed jewelry can be somewhat difficult, especially if unmarked, due to the fact that these pieces have been produced consistently for at least 150 years. Egyptian style is a better term to use for post-1940 pieces, as there has been no single period with this level of popularity since then.
Scarab beetles have always been a popular motif, and will be encountered in all sorts of carved stone, glass, pottery, plastic, and metal. Some of the 19th century jewelry pieces featured the dried and preserved iridescent green bodies of actual beetles. This beetle had special spiritual significance in Egyptian culture. It was associated with the Sun god Kephri, and was believed to create itself out of nothing. Jewelry pieces may use a winged scarab motif as well. The cartouche, originally the text of a royal name, is often produced as a personalized ornament. Pharaoh's heads, stylized sphinxes, sun symbols, and lotus blossoms are popular motifs, as is the Ankh, the Egyptian cross. Turquoise and coral are two of the most widely used colors and stones.
Newer pieces will be encountered which use old or allegedly old components, such as faience or pressed glass sets.
Pieces inspired by the designs of ancient Egypt can be found in a wide range of quality and materials, from inexpensive pieces of vintage costume jewelry to masterpieces by the finest jewelers of the last 200 years. Whatever the piece or price, you can rest assured that an Egyptian themed piece is truly timeless and will always be in style.
THE SILVER LINING OF JEWELRY COLLECTING DURING INFLATIONARY TIMES BY MONA HAIR OF MONA'S JEWELRY ARMOIRE
With gas prices soaring and impacting the economy in every kind of way, dealers and collectors are taking a second and even third very contemplative look at what acquisitions they'll be making in the immediate future, as well as more long term. Sellers are also considering more carefully what they'll be offering in their online venues, as listing prices and overhead effect the profit margin during a time when every dollar counts. This means, for all of us, that what's available will be less in quantity and higher in desirability. That's the silver lining during this inflationary period of time.
If a collector of vintage jewelry were to ask me, "What's the smartest move to make right now?", I would have to respond with, "There's never been a better time to shop online and in real time, for vintage costume and fine antique collectible jewelry."
Why? Because the market is thinning out and gleaming with the best of the best in what's collectible. Like panning for gold, we are finding the most desirable in vintage wearable art gleaming with more regularity from the bottom of the pan, both in costume and fine collectible jewelry.
As ever, the most important questions a collector is hopefully asking a seller, is to define certain vagaries in text descriptions related to offerings. First inspect the pictures for inconsistencies between reported condition and actual condition. Second, look for signs of repair, such as inconsistencies in shades of metal coloration in settings. Condition of stones is always a pitfall. Often in certain auction venues, sellers have described stones as in excellent condition when that is not the case. If there are black spots (peppering) in the stones it is an indication of corrosion behind the stones in the settings. This can be an indicator of deterioration in the piece of jewelry that is concealed by the stone that is still somewhat sparkly. In the case of pave' settings: Pavé is referred to as the paving stone setting where many small stones are set together in a mass to totally cover the entire design or a section of a design. Stones are also set flush with the surface of metal, emphasizing a mass effect rather than any particular gemstone. Check for the integrity of a pave' set piece by running a finger over the stones, they should feel even and have a perceptible smooth uniformity. There should never be a pronounced bumpy texture to pave‘. If there is, it means there has been a restoration made with stones of the wrong size or configuration. Any restorations should be plainly stated in the text. Hopefully that restoration has been made with a modicum of
skill and with consideration of integrity to the historical value of the piece in question. If not...pass it by or make sure that there is a reasonable discount for such conditions. Then search out someone who can, with integrity, put the condition to right again. Aside from satisfaction with the condition of the item you purchase, please expect to be satisfied with the way it is shipped. Was the container of adequate size and were packing materials sufficient to protect the item from damage during transit. This should always be. If you are making a purchase with a dealer new to you, ask questions about their shipping practices with regard to preparation. I have never been offended by these types of questions. As a consumer, you have the right to ask any and all questions you should so desire prior to making a purchase, to insure that you are well satisfied. If a seller you are contemplating dealing with is offended by this, find another seller who isn't. Finally, if the return policy isn't very clearly stated, ask about it. If you aren't satisfied with an item, it should be easily returnable with no hassle.
If a dealer were to ask me, "What's the smartest move to make right now?" I would have to respond with, "Tighten up." Decrease offered inventory of those lovely but lower end jewels and offer the cream of your inventory." Save the lower end beauties for a time when the client base has a more expendable income. For the lower end inventory that is chosen to remain available, think emotion and human experience. Birds, Leaves, flowers, interesting figurals. Think exotic influences of Asian, Egyptian, Indian, and South American styles. Those styles of jewelry offer exotic or interesting experiences for the buyer that respond to their needs for entertainment and longing for a rewarding experience. Consider offering items that share humor!
Classic styles in wearable art that exude quality in craftsmanship, quality in components, and produced by well known designer houses in vintage costume jewelry have never been more desirable than they are today. As the availability of these fine examples is evaporating, their historical value is on a sharp incline.
Antique jewelry of extraordinary quality and craftsmanship are revered and sought after even in the most difficult of times. Casual consumers of vintage jewelry are buying less frequently right now. Serious collectors will always be collectors, as their longing for beauty and reverence for history transcends all economic conditions.
International sales of top quality collectible jewelry is on the upswing. This is great news! My finest pieces are shipping to Europe. Their currency is frequently in better shape than in the US, and purchase power is increasing in the international market. This means for the buyer that fine collectible wearable art is more attainable. The dealer, to be successful, must be willing to ship globally, offer secure methods of packaging, ask for fair shipping fees, and be responsive to the needs of those international collectors. Make sure international clients understand that if they waive insurance on an item, that the seller will not be held liable for loss, damages, or theft. No amount of insurance restitution will satisfy for the loss of collectible jewels, but no compensation at all can be a very unhappy proposition! I highly recommend insurance for all items.
Communication, warmth, courtesy, and reliable quality of goods all contribute to building strong positive relationships. I'm embarrassed to report that I frequently get comments from clients here and abroad, that they are surprised by my attention to quality of packaging and by the extremely fine condition of the jewelry they have purchased, as their other recent experiences have not been as positive. Preservation of the integrity of a relationship developed before, during, and after a sell are, at the very least, as important as the pending transaction. It's the only pathway to longevity in the business. Carve it in stone and place it atop your computer monitor where it speaks to you daily. This is a very solid fact.
Outside of all of these economical concerns is one bottom line for dealers and consumers alike. Acquire what you enjoy. Collect what is meaningful for you. Everyone has a certain penchant for style, for color, for dimension. Individuals have particular impressions and opinions regarding what is beautiful. Each individual has a very personal need to experience beauty that is uniquely his or her own. It's about the art and about personal self expression in wearable jewels. There is something in wearable art here for everyone, regardless of the price point.
Acquisitions will hopefully bring a treasured experience that entertains, intrigues, or offers an unfamiliar but wonderful miniature escape from the pressures of daily life. Humor, nature, far away places, or glamour captured in wearable, artful expressions are all experiences possible through the gratifying pass-time of collecting vintage and antique jewelry. There's glory in the hunt and rapture with the find!
We invite you to visit Mona's Jewelry Armoire
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