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Antique 1830s American Silver Spoons Willey & Blaksley

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Metals: Silver: Coin: Pre 1837 VR   item# 598490

Antique 1830s American Silver Spoons Willey & Blaksley
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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$140
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According to the Cincinnati Art Museum, which owns work by Willey & Blaksley, the firm was a local business in operation for only a few years (circa 1831 to 1836). Subsequently, silversmith Bushnell Willey entered a different partnership. Thus, this is a rarely seen hallmark, from the period prior to adoption of a sterling standard in America. Whether made from melted coins or not, pieces fashioned before 1865 are called "coin silver". In this case, however, the silver is of very high grade -- apparent in its delicacy -- and the form of the spoons is particularly graceful. While these spoons have certainly been treated with loving care, evidence of long use is plain. There are no repairs, but there are the little dings and other irregularities you'd expect after almost two centuries.

Based on the length and bowl width, they were originally made as dessert spoons -- taller than tea spoons but shorter than table spoons of that era. At 7.25 inches long, with a bowl width of 1.5 inches, the size is equal to what we'd use now for soup and as auxiliary serving spoons for smaller dishes like cranberry sauce.

A scrolling monogram, the letters EH or EM, appears horizontally on the fiddles. This isn't deeply incised and could be polished off by a good jeweler. On reverses, the Willey & Blaksley mark appears within a rectangular cartouche.

BTW, a small (less than 4 inches tall) and very plain coin silver beaker made by Willey & Blaksley in the 1830s recently commanded almost $500 on eBay, which attests to the rarity value of W&B goods.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Victorian Gothic Cloak Clasp Sash Buckle c 1860 Rare

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: English: Pre 1900   item# 594126

Victorian Gothic Cloak Clasp Sash Buckle c 1860 Rare
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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$185 SALE
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This rare and wonderful circa 1860 antique clasp or buckle is a museum-worthy jewel that you'll want to display in a vitrine or shadow box frame when you aren't using it.

By far the most romantic fashion accessory I've ever seen, it would be divine at the waist of a wedding or evening gown -- although it's easy to imagine it securing the cloak of a pre-Raphaelite poet like Christina Rosetti, as she trekked through foggy London or across windswept moors.

Crafted in two parts linked by chain when closed, this astounding item features profiles of a medieval knight and his lady, executed in high relief and remarkable detail. Each panel, about two inches round, is further embellished by an elaborate decorative motif that shows Etruscan influence in the beading of the metal. I'm not certain about the material, but it seems the figures are of gilded copper, while the frame is of gilt brass.

Obviously it dates from the mid-19th century, when the "Gothick" movement begun by Pugin expanded from architecture into other areas. For those in the avant-garde, the style provided appealing relief from neo-classicism and evoked a medieval sense of heroic endeavour and the heartiness of "Merrie England" in the Middle Ages.

Condition is quite good, given the great age of such a functional piece. There's only minor loss of finish on the front - which, as you see, is dazzling - but evidence of very old repairs became apparent after cleaning the heavily patinated reverse (no surprise since the piece has a delicate openwork understructure). There's also a tiny chink out of one edge, where a thread hole pulled through; it wouldn't be noticed when worn and another could be easily drilled in the vicinity. The price would of course be a great deal higher, if everything were perfect.

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Rare Antique Jugendstil Giardinetto Brooch or Pendant

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Continental: Pre 1900   item# 592877

Rare Antique Jugendstil Giardinetto Brooch or Pendant
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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$350 SALE (Reduced from $425)
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The giardinetto (little garden) style -- often called giardinetti, the plural -- originated in Italy during the Rococo years of the 18th century and has been revived in other eras when an exceptionally feminine look was prized. Here the artist made the look totally fresh, adapted in the Jugendstil style of late 19th century Eastern Europe.

This elaborate multi-part antique pendant brooch is one of the most delightful Victorian jewels I've seen and, fittingly, it's been treasured. Notice the rose gold gilding, still shining as brightly as new. There's delicate chasing around the bar pin, which has an elongated pinstem, tube hinge and safety-pin clasp reliably dating the piece to the 1880s. Most wonderfully of all, an oval bale beneath the pin suspends a fully dimensional, round basket holding a bouquet of gorgeously enameled flowers and leaves with highly polished accent stones of rose, emerald and coral art glass. Quite sizeable, it measures about 2 1/4 inches tall and 1 1/4 inches at its widest -- large enough to look sensational on a coat or jacket -- and obviously the basket drop can also be worn to great effect on a necklace chain or ribbon.

Without markings, which in this age appeared only on precious metals, one can't be absolutely certain, but all the indications of Austro-Hungarian origin are present -- and, if you love jewelry from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, you know how difficult it is to find now. There was never much, since the Dual Monarchy lasted only from 1867 to 1918 - besides which jewels from this area and period are so special that people seldom let them go. They share the decorative opulence we prize in the shimmering paintings of Klimt, a goldsmith's son who studied at Vienna's celebrated School of Applied Arts. Its students learned to design outstanding arts and crafts products that could be mass-produced for a growing middle class who emulated the aristocracy and had refined tastes. I expect the creator of this elaborate multi-part pendant brooch was trained there.

It isn't surprising when "ballroom" jewels survive in splendid condition, but this charmer was more likely worn by a young lady enjoying the casual pleasures of the Heurigen (wine gardens of the Vienna woods) or riding the Riesenrad, prototype of ferris wheels. Nonetheless, it's as imaginatively and carefully crafted as the adornments of nobility. The underlying metal appears to be a sturdy luxury-weight brass. To see minute losses of gilding and enamel requires extremely high magnification. To the naked eye (at least mine), this jewel is perfect. Its provenance is a North Carolina estate and you'd have to look a long time to find anything comparable.

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Superb Art Nouveau Gilt & Pink Art Glass Buckle Set

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Continental: Pre 1920   item# 588008

Superb Art Nouveau Gilt & Pink Art Glass Buckle Set
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$115
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The opulence of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire is captured in this rare buckle dating from Czechoslovakia's earliest years of independence, just after World War I. Because it's marked CZECHOSLOV on the fastener, it can't be older than 1918, but it clearly can't be younger than 1920.

This is the lavish sort of jewel we'd expect to see on one of the beauties Klimt painted in Victorian and Edwardian times: ornately patterned with scrollwork, rope twists and millegrain details, richly gilded (22 karat at least) and wonderfully colorful, thanks to two radiant faux-moonstones of rosy pink art glass. To judge the quality of this piece, note the gilding on its reverses, untouched by time's patina. A good jeweler could restore the same brilliance to the front surfaces, although they're lovely as they are, and brighten the tiny areas on the collets where gold has worn away. (Alternatively, for a quick fix, you could dab those little spots with gilding paste and seal them with clear nail lacquer.) These are extremely minor flaws, but our price naturally reflects them. Fastened, the buckle measures 3 inches by 1 1/4, and its brackets will hold a belt or sash up to 3/4 of an inch wide, or wider if gathered.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Antique Arts and Crafts Buckle of Victorian Gothic Form

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: English: Pre 1900   item# 587921

Antique Arts and Crafts Buckle of Victorian Gothic Form
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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$110 SALE
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This is exactly the sort of belt or sash buckle you'd expect to see in a painting by Burne-Jones, Rossetti or other artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Obviously it was hand-crafted in the Victorian Gothic Revival period to mimic a medieval jewel -- complete with undulations of the metalwork, witchy faux-prongs that look like talons and four collet-set stones of rich royal purple amethyst glass. Probable dating would be the 1860s or 1870s and most likely it originated in England, although it reached us from an East Coast estate.

Measuring more than 2 inches round, the buckle is in superb condition for its age. The gilt brass finish has patinated to a soft powdery effect on the front, where the lacquer on the surface is almost wholly intact. Some loss of lacquer is evident on the reverse, where there are brighter underlying areas. You might want to clean all the lacquer off and go for high-shine everywhere, but I'll leave that decision to you.

Obviously this buckle would be a wonderful accent for historic SCA costume, as well as a fabulously original fashion accessory for both formal and informal attire. To wear it, you'd simply stitch the bracket to a soft belt or sash (up to 1 1/2 inches wide) and, at the other end, add an eye of metal or thread for the hook to slide into.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



c 1500 Bronze Ornament - Super Pendant or Paperweight

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Metals: Bronze: Pre 1700   item# 559734

c 1500 Bronze Ornament - Super Pendant or Paperweight
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$45
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In the Tudor Era (1485 - 1558), when this bronze ornament was crafted -- probably to decorate horse harness -- the Renaissance was just beginning in England. Life was still primitive for all but the rich, so it must've belonged to someone of substantial means, most likely a nobleman.

This is an elegantly formed piece, two inches round and highly domed. We know it's meant to embellish leather because of the two prongs at the back, both of which have survived. Time's patina has given rich color to the top, which feels silky to the touch. Being of bronze, it has a nice heft, so would make a wonderful conversation-piece paperweight for your office. Alternatively, if set in a bezel mounting, it would be a stunning pendant for either a man or a woman. We acquired it from a leading antiquities dealer in East Anglia, near Cambridge.

There's no charge for giftwrap and insured U.S. shipping is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Rare English Edwardian Summer Nightgown White Lacy

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Textiles: Apparel: Pre 1910   item# 558280

Rare English Edwardian Summer Nightgown White Lacy
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$150
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Here's a change from the very covered-up Victorian and Edwardian nighties we usually see. It's a midsummer night's dream of a gown -- shorter, sleeveless and with a scooped neck, but still lavishly detailed, demure and made of the superb antique cotton that feels indescribably luxurious and simply won't wear out. Antique trims are astoudingly durable, too. Our modern laces wouldn't last on frequently laundered nightwear for more than a few years, but here, after a century or so, there's just one spot on the lace yoke that could use a few stitches. All seams are intact, being double-strength as was done in Victorian and Edwardian times, and I don't even see any old repairs on this gown (no doubt because it's sleeveless and most rips occur beneath sleeves). The ribbon tie has no doubt been changed several times through the years and that could stand to be done again. It's just a matter of running your favorite color ribbon through the lace casing and securing it at the sides.

The tie allows you to adjust fit in the upper bust area, which goes to a max of 40 inches. Beneath the yoke, the shape flares in an A-line, so there aren't any crucial points of fit. Length from shoulder to hem is about 38 inches -- well below the knee, but not swirling near the ankles like our other gowns.

All authentic antique nightwear is getting very thin on the ground and sleeveless ones are the most scarce, since fewer were made. England, where the best gowns come from, isn't exactly known for its long, torrid summers. Thus, this is an unusual opportunity to acquire a beautiful antique nightgown that will feel comfortable year-round in our modern climate-controlled homes.

There's no charge for insured U.S. Priority shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Antique Victorian Nightgown c 1900 Long White Lacy

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Textiles: Apparel: Pre 1910   item# 557913

Antique Victorian Nightgown c 1900 Long White Lacy
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


$155.
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If you haven't slept in a Victorian or Edwardian nightie yet, you're in for a thrill. The quality of antique cotton fabric is like nothing we can buy new anywhere today, no matter how expensive. Its touch makes sleeping in it one of life's loveliest luxuries. Besides all that, these are *so* romantic. Without going into detail, this sort of gown has done me a lot more good through the years than Frederick's of Hollywood.

The condition of this gown is lovely; it's crisp and snowy white, detailed with exquisite pin-tucking and lace (even down the sleeves) and fastened by corded loops to mother-of-pearl buttons. If you look closely enough, you'll find the inevitable old repairs, but they're hard to notice (under the arm, for instance). You might want to replace exhausted elastic at the ruffled wrists, but it isn't really necessary, since the sleeves look fine full at the bottom. It's amazing how well these gowns withstand a century of wear and laundering. BTW, you don't have to obsess with ironing them. They're wonderful when crisply starched and pressed, but you're seeing this one straight out of the washing machine after air-drying on a hanger overnight.

The only crucial points of fit here are the shoulders (about 14.5 inches between sleeves) and the bust (about 34-35). Length is 49 inches from just below the neck ruffle to the back hem.

There's no charge for insured U.S. Priority shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Rare Antique Edwardian 1910 Halley's Comet Brooch

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: American: Pre 1920   item# 513530

Rare Antique Edwardian 1910 Halley's Comet Brooch
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$99 SALE (Reduced from $129)
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The Arts & Crafts movement and ladies’ magazines inspired busy hands in Late Victorian and Edwardian homes, where moms and daughters crafted trendy jewels and fashion accessories. I'll bet this enchanting antique brooch, which obviously commemorates the dazzling show put on by Halley's Comet, was just such a project -- made by a talented Edwardian lady for herself or as a very special gift. These old pastes, so much brighter than our modern rhinestones, were perfect for a comet jewel and so was the wonderfully iridescent mother-of-pearl from which a stylized comet was cut and then given incised details. Assembly was quite simple: The glittering row of stones is simply wired through two holes, one leading to the open "C" clasp and the other to the hinge. Thus, the stones have a bit of movement, which lets them flash even more fire. The only flaws I find are some waviness of the brass pinstem, inevitable after so long, and the fact that the point was shortened at some time (a very common adaptation, since the extra-long ones used until Art Deco days can easily draw blood).

From a New York estate, this unusual and charming jewel measures about 1 7/8 inches long and 5/8 of an inch wide. Comet jewelry always makes a great conversation piece.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Superb Edwardian or Early Deco Beaded Black Bag

Catalogue: Antiques: Decorative Art: Textiles: Apparel: Pre 1920   item# 506116

Superb Edwardian or Early Deco Beaded Black Bag
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


$215
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This spectacular antique European evening bag has been a star of my personal collection for a couple of decades. It's a marvelous example of Edwardian metalwork -- the loveliest clasps and purse frames in history -- combined with geometric decoration that anticipates Art Deco. The ornately formed and richly gilded filigree on this bag is among the most beautiful I've ever seen, and the beading is truly remarkable. Both the teensy round beads that trace out the edges of the bag and its strap and the much larger square beads lavished all over appear to be silver-finished celluloid. The square ones gleam softly like mother-of-pearl, while the smaller ones seem to be glass until you touch them. Also of early plastic is the massive faceted clear stone that crowns the top of the clasp. It's an amazing mix of Edwardian elegance and Deco innovation, which could have been fashioned only when the former was phasing out as the latter phased in. A bag this chic almost certainly was made in France.

Its condition is as marvelous as when I acquired in England, since I've used it rarely. You have to search very hard to notice the few bead losses and it takes high magnification to note any surface wear (mainly at the corners of some of the square beads). Even the silk interior is pristine, still equipped with a mirror that was probably original. Large enough to be useful, it measures about 6 inches by 6 3/4 inches and has a 3 3/4-inch carrying strap, the ideal length to suspend from a sash or belt for dancing.

I don't open the private vault often, but this bag deserves to go out on the town and, now that I'm back in New Mexico, there are no occasions gala enough to warrant it.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!


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