GlitzQueen Antique and Vintage Jewelry
All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Textiles : Apparel : Pre 1920 item #1191823
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Our superb lace collar from the late 19th or very early 20th century is detailed in back just as on the front. Each element of the lace - flowers, grapes, leaves and so forth - was stitched by hand onto fine, soft netting that's a beautiful color match. I'm not expert enough about textiles to be sure the lace elements are also hand-crafted, but it's certainly possible, given the design quality of the piece and the loving care it's been given.

Acquired at a major antiques fair in Newmarket, near Cambridge in England, the collar is more than 17" wide at the bottom of the front. About 23" long from front corner to back corner, it gives you almost a FOOT of gorgeous lace on each side of your shoulders. Its ecru color is actually paler, more toward a creamy off-white, than you see here, the photo being slightly darkened to reveal more detail.

A fine hook and thread eye remain at the bottom of the back and another thread eye a few inches above indicates one hook is missing, easily replaced. I've found no other flaws.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Textiles : Accessories : Pre 1920 item #691605
GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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Edwardian handbags often range to sensible sizes and yet they're also the prettiest purses ever made -- rich with exquisite needlework and such dressmaker details as seam cording and truly luxurious linings (like the heavy champagne silk-satin you see here), plus fittings of greater refinement than in any other period. It was a very brief era, just a few years, but it set an abiding standard of quality in purses and jewelry.

I don't open the private vault often, but have decided to let this fabulous bag -- a star of my own collection -- fly free into the Wider World. It's a purse you can carry not only for special evenings, but also by day without looking overdone. Its large size (9" x 10") is an important part of its versatility. Although the gilt filigree hardware is as jewel-like as you'd expect from an Edwardian evening bag, this isn't one of those precious teensy models made strictly for the cocktails-and-dancing circuit.

I hope the next owner of this treasure -- made even more exceptional by its near-mint condition -- will see that it gets a great deal more use than ever before. It's certainly meant for a lady who leads an interesting life. Provenance of the bag is an estate in Scotland and dating is circa 1905-1910. Both sides are identical, except in the color of a few stitches that authenticate hand-craftsmanship. Its chain handle, possibly not original since it's a bit sturdier than I'd expect (but the right color), is 20 inches long.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Ceramics : English : Pre 1910 item #634895
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This exquisite set of handpainted side plates with gold gilt rims originated in England circa 1900. The green-on-white design is enchanting, featuring layers of delicate fern fronds. Pale ferns recede into mysterious distance behind their brighter companions in the foreground.

Ferns were an extremely popular Victorian motif, as you know, most often executed in all-green majolica. If you happen to have a majolica serving piece, these plates would be perfect to use with it. They measure 7 3/4 inches round and 3/4 inch deep.

Each plate bears the hallmark of Alfred B. Pearce & Co., which even gives the company's address: 31 Ludgate Hill, London, EC1. Additional markings are the initial M in green (presumably the artist's initial), the number 5664 in red and, incised into the plates, a large D followed by a smaller 3. Their condition is lovely, showing only minor loss of gilding and a little stacking wear to the bases. There are the slight variations in color that you'd expect from handpainting.

Finding an 8-plate set complete after this long is, of course, rather rare. Adding to its collectibility, the maker's early work isn't plentiful. According to the Museum of London, which has a Pearce cup in its collection, the company operated from 1901 through the 1930s. These plates certainly date from before World War I -- most likely before 1910, as they're so classically Late Victorian/Edwardian in design.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Pre 1960 item #563694
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Because it plays the charming Cole Porter tune "I Love Paris," which debuted in the 1953 musical "Can-Can", this gorgeous music box shaped like a grand piano can't be older than that. Even so, it's about 50 years old and of a type that won't ever be duplicated, so has assured investment value. Tortoiseshell has appreciated a lot since it became taboo in 1975 -- a great break for threatened hawksbill sea turtles, but disappointing for collectors of this marvelous substance prized by connoisseurs since ancient times. Its worth resides in its rich mottled colors -- translucent yellow dashed and spotted with brown -- and its very high sheen. The Romans veneered furniture with it and the Georgians and Victorians adored tortoiseshell piqué jewels inlaid with metals, mother-of-pearl and whatnot.

Tortoiseshell is actually a natural thermoplastic, so it softens when heated, making it easy to insert other materials; that's the process called piqué. You can tell the shell is genuine by the pattern of dots visible under magnification and by the absence of mold marks you'd see in modern plastic.

This treasure, obviously hand-made, holds irregular silver leaf forms and gold or gilt twisted wire. The music plays when you wind the key on the base and open the keyboard cover to reveal lovely keys of carved ivory or bone. You can also open the top, revealing a fine beveled mirror, the music works clad in a blue sueded box and a little niche just the size for a favorite few rings. Measuring about 6 inches long, 3.75 inches wide and 3 inches tall (or 6.5 inches when opened), it stands on three brass-tipped legs of intricately turned wood.

Condition is gorgeous, although we should take note of two flaws. The keyboard cover, which has a filament hinge on one side to activate the music, is missing something on the other side (hard to notice, but there's a teensy chip at the outer edge) and the broad side of the box is somewhat uneven. The latter is probably original to the piece, since it's quite a production to bring the various plates of a tortoise's carapace together and one wants to avoid any waste due to the high value.

This is a really remarkable item. I've seen no others like it, either before or after the English auction sale where we acquired it. My best guess on origin is France, where it may well have been produced as a special souvenir for tourists who'd enjoyed "Can-Can."

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Textiles : Apparel : Pre 1980 item #557174
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This lavishly silver-embroidered wrap is in like-new condition. Probably crafted somewhere in the Orient, it measures a whopping 105 inches long (including 7-inch fringe at both ends) and is 22 inches wide. The detail is amazing; notice how there are even shadow-stripes you can see through in the unembroidered section, and the reverse is almost as pretty as the front.

This would be a superb evening wrap, worthy of your loveliest gowns, or fabulous for day if you dare, Imagine how dashing it would be over jeans and a black sweater. Also consider the décor possibilities that exist when you aren't wearing it -- from dining room table topper to bed throw.

For dating, I'm thinking late 1960s or early 1970s, since the hippie Boho set adored exotica -- and their taste influenced older fashionistas who could afford classy examples like this. Its provenance is a Texas estate.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Continental : Pre 1910 item #551067
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Along with the flowing, organic lines of Art Nouveau, this graceful candlestick shows Arts and Crafts influence in the simplicity of its fabrication. To form the stylized calla flower at center, a sheet of silver was artfully wrapped, seamed and folded, while the engraved ivy leaves, each slightly different, were also cut from sheet silver. The curvy tendril that comprises the base is weightier (great for safety), so some other metal is inside the silver there. No marks are present, but the piece tarnishes and polishes like sterling. Its silver content has to be high.

Although acquired from a dealer in England, the candlestick originated in Continental Europe, I believe, because its measurements are inexact in inches. Height is a little more than 5 inches and width is a bit more than 5.5 inches; in centimeters, that would be 13 by 14. Based on style, France is the best suspect.

As you know if you collect Art Nouveau, authentic pieces are getting very hard to find. This is without a doubt the real thing, having been in my personal collection for decades, and it's a one-of-a-kind treasure since it wasn't factory-made. From every angle, it's stunningly sculptural.

Although at least a century old -- probably dating between 1895 and 1905 -- the candlestick is in lovely condition, showing just a few tiny dings and some tarnish and wax residue deep within the calla flower. I clean it only lightly, to preserve vestiges of age patina, but it will polish to a high shine if you prefer that look.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Plate : Pre 1950 item #505222
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The Neo-Classical rope twist ornament and fine Arts & Crafts workmanship of this lovely flower pot or planter argue for an Edwardian dating, as does the the absence of marks. Only because of its marvelous condition do I hesitate to call it that old. There was also a revival of interest in Neo-Classical forms for home decor in the 1940s, so it could be up to 40 years younger than it looks. However, it would be more likely marked by some company if made that late. Given that it came from England but measures precisely in inches, as opposed to centimeters, we can rule out its being more recent. Size is relatively generous: 6 inches in diameter and 4 1/4 inches tall.

Whether antique or merely vintage, this is a marvelous item, both decorative and useful. It's silvered so heavily that you really don't notice wear to the finish, except at the very bottom of the interior, which is amazing for a piece of this type. Even some of that wear, apparently revealing underlying brass, may just be tarnish, since I polished only lightly.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Pre 1920 item #491059
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Far more Edwardian in spirit than Art Deco, this remarkable antique evening bag from a Florida estate features baby fine mesh hand-enameled in the Impressionist manner. The subtle blue, green and lilac shades remind me of Monet's waterlily ponds painted at Giverny. As you know, the company's later designs are of larger mesh, decorated with assertive Art Deco colors and on boldly geometric frames. This frame, by contrast, is thoroughly Edwardian, with delicate floral and foliate details also appearing on the oblong links of 13 1/2-inch chain, which shows strong Arts & Crafts influence and is diagonally attached as chains were in the 19th and very early 20th centuries. Probable dating would be between 1907, when C.W. Whiting became a partner in the firm, and 1920.

Exclusive of the gorgeous chain, the bag measures almost 9 inches from its clasp to the lowest point of fringe, and the shape flares to 7 inches wide at the bottom. Thus, it's unusual for size as well as style. Comparably sized W&D bags are now selling in the $300-350 range, but we've priced this example low due to the need to restitch the lining to the frame's perforations. This will be a quick and easy job for anyone handy with a needle (as I'm not). Apart from that, I see no problems of note, only minor age-appropriate surface wear to the mesh and gilding. All the grillions of fine links remain attached, with no tears, and the beautiful floral clasp closes securely.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Bronze : Pre 1900 item #410402
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The Victorian keeness for gardening extended to the creatures of the natural world, with the result that reptiles and insects were highly popular forms for 19th century jewels and home adornments. A prime example of the latter - executed in the sinuous Art Nouveau manner - is this finely detailed bronze lizard on an exquisitely modeled leaf. He's so lifelike that you can feel him watching you with great alertness. Unlike most of our other ornamental antique bronzes, this one is so good it deserves the "fine art" designation.

A pleasure to stroke as well as to look at, this delightful little sculpture, measures about 6 1/4 inches long and 2 1/2 inches at its widest. A signature could well be present beneath the heavy patina on reverse, but I haven't found it. Probable origin is France or England, where we acquired the piece. It likely dates from the 1880s, since Art Nouveau influence is evident, but not florid in the 1890s manner. Condition, is superb.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Ceramics : English : Pre 1900 item #406025
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The most feminine and drop-dead beautiful piece of Majolica I've ever owned, this antique plate features blue, white and dusky rose fans, cherry blossoms, butterflies and a dragonfly against a happy yellow basketweave pattern edged with bamboo. It's been a star of my personal collection for at least 15 years and, now that I'm simplifying, the time has come for someone else to love it as I have. Acquired while I was living in England, it's presumably European and certainly from the 19th century. The Renaissance art of Majolica-making was revived in the early 1850s and Oriental motifs appeared about a decade later. Thus, probable dating of this plate is circa 1865-1890. Relatively few pieces have maker marks, so their lack has minimal impact on value. I'm far from a china specialist, but a lady who's selling her cakestand of the same pattern elsewhere online (for $375 plus shipping) saw an S under the glaze and speculated that the maker may have been Shorter. However, this looks nothing like the more rigid and restrained fan design normally associated with his firm (a pity since those plates are now selling as high as $975).

One other plate like this is currently offered online without attribution for $275 plus shipping. Ours is priced lower in deference to a few small problems: a chip out of the rim on the base, a couple of tiny ones under the edge, a little loss of surface finish and an area of old restoration near the edge. The flaws are hard to spot, with so much going on, but naturally they have to be disclosed. (Actually I never noticed the restored bit before going over the piece with a magnifying glass today.) There's also the fine overall age-crazing we expect, most visible on the fans. Condition issues, if not severe, are of less interest to most Majolica collectors than the charm of the design and fresh glaze colors.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Bronze : Pre 1900 item #405240
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Shaped like a feather fan and featuring a reclining Victorian beauty in very high relief, this is an exceedingly beautiful and feminine vanity, table or desk accessory. It's a heavy piece and its size is quite generous for a trinket tray - 6.5 x 5 inches, rising on two half-inch feet to a total height of 1.5 inches at the back. Upper side is lightly polished, showing patina in crevices, while the back shows rich overall patina and traces of gilt. Condition, as you see, is lovely, with no flaws I can find. Dating could be as early as 1880s, based on the sculptural style and the fact that the lady is dressed. Likely origin is French, although the tray was acquired in England.

Enjoy this treasure to display your favorite jewels, keep keys handy, serve sweets or hold your business cards at the office.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Textiles : Accessories : Pre 1910 item #403110
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Halley's Comet put on a particularly bright show in 1910, inspiring a craze for comet jewelry (as happened also in 1835). Comet brooches are rare and highly collectible, but this purse is even more unusual. In fact, I've never seen any other beaded bag of this type! While the "British Made" tag tells us it's a manufactured purse, rather than a personal original, there can't have been many of them. Actually this has been a star of my personal evening purse collection for about 20 years, since I acquired it in London. Now that I'm in New Mexico, there's much less occasion to take it out on the town, so someone who can use and enjoy it should own it.

As you see, comet heads and their tails blaze in clear and gold crystal across the front of this bag, against a night-sky background of fine black beads. The reverse is also beaded all over in black and each end has two ribboning trails of clear and gold. Side edges are beaded, as well. The shape, an envelope, was introduced in the Victorian era and in this case it's very spacious. Overall size is about 9 1/2 by 5 inches, so there's loads of room for your essentials. A built-in coin purse is present, as was usual in this period, and there's a mirror compartment. Condition is truly remarkable, given that this bag is nearly 100 years old. VERY few beads are loose or lost and the only damage to the silk is wear at the edge of the coin purse. Tucked inside the side compartment is a little fabric strap, which was used for some purpose unknown to me; at one end this shows traces of a white substance (perhaps glue residue). The snap closure, marked "Made in England", is a little wavy but secure.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Sterling : Pre 1910 item #401255
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If you collect antique Victorian and Edwardian vanity silver, you know how differently various makers approached the "Five Angels in the Clouds" motif inspired by a popular Victorian painting. This is a highly detailed and romantically floral-bordered rendition by M & Co., a Birmingham silversmith.

The brush measures about 8 3/4 inches by 3" and rises on natural bristles to a height of about 1 3/4" inches. It's still quite useful for its intended purpose - and, to me, few activities are as evocative of the past as brushing my hair just as a lady did before World War I!

Since antique vanity silver patterned with angels or cherubs is vastly more coveted than other Victorian and Edwardian patterns, these pieces don't have to be perfect to keep gaining value. The condition of this piece, as you see, is nice but far from pristine. (Consider how often you've dropped a hair brush!) Besides minor dings, there's a flattened area at left, above the beautiful winged faces, which could probably be raised by a specialist. All this intricate repousse work, as you know, was hand-formed over wax that shrinks with time, so an injection of wax to the flattened spot should set things right. Also, I just noticed a teensy tear at the lower right edge; reinforcing it will be a cheap and easy fix. Typically one finds a great deal more damage to delicate sterling objects made for daily use, so this really isn't bad at all. Of course the price would be more than twice as high, if the brush had no problems.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Sterling : Pre 1910 item #401254
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This Victorian sterling mirror featuring the "5 Angels in the Clouds" is hallmarked for Birmingham 1904 and also bears the maker mark AGG&S. It's one of the prettiest and most finely detailed renditions of the c herub motif, which each maker interpreted slightly differently. Measuring about 10 inches long and 4 inches at its widest, the mirror has a domed top that rises nearly an inch above its beveled glass surface, which is original and very fine glass.

This is quite a heavy piece and in nice condition, considering the extreme delicacy of repousse sterling (hand-formed over wax that shrinks with time). Over the past century, it's inevitably taken a few bumps and some of the angels' noses suffered a bit. Besides minor dings, there's a slightly flattened area just below the winged faces at left (which could probably be raised by a specialist, if it bothers you). As you know if you collect in this area, items patterned with cherubs (or angels, if you prefer) are vastly more coveted than any of the other Art Nouveau Victorian and Edwardian patterns. Hence, they don't have to be perfect to continue increasing tremendously in value.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Sterling : Pre 1910 item #401249
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This very lovely "Five Angels in the Clouds" clothes brush, hallmarked for Birmingham 1905, is technically Edwardian but of a pattern introduced in the Victorian era. The maker mark is BPD followed by a C or G, which I haven't researched to identify. The brush measures about 7 inches long and 2 1/2 inches at its widest and rises on fine natural bristles to a height of 1 3/4 inches.

This is a piece you could definitely use for its intended purpose, not just display. It hasn't seen a much wear and took only minor bumps over the past century (the worst of which depressed one of the noses and a forehead). Condition is truly remarkable, relative to the great delicacy of repousse sterling. Typically one finds a great deal more damage to these ornate shapes formed over wax, which shrinks with time.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Textiles : Accessories : Pre 1990 item #326845
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This is a wonderful vintage evening bag - stylish enough for big events and yet also big enough to be useful: about 9 inches wide, 6 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches deep. To keep your hands free for greeting, eating and dancing, there's a super-long 44-inch braided cord to wear on your shoulder or across your chest like a bandolier. Detailed on the front with shirred fabric that radiates in pleats from a row of sparkly diamond rhinestones, the bag has a dramatic "Dynasty" look and likely dates from the glitzy 1980s. It reached us from a collection in England but was made in Hong Kong by Debonair. The fabric isn't named on the label, but feels like silk (with something soft and cushiony between the layers). Condition is lovely, inside and out. The only flaws I can find, besides a little flattening of the pleats from storage, are a couple of small spots at the base; they're hard to notice, but a good dry cleaner or a dab of spot remover should zap them away, if they bother you.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Textiles : Apparel : Pre 1930 item #323352
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This fabulous antique silk purse is quintessential Art Deco in its boldly geometric beadwork - identical on both sides and featuring as the central motif a radiant sun. Even its base and strap are luxuriously beaded. What makes it even more special for us today is that the color scheme is extremely restrained for the period. Featuring only elegant shades of white, ivory and the dark silver of cut steel, it's a carry-with-anything bag you'll use again and again. Its size is unusually ample, too - about 8 1/4" x 5" - and it has expandable sides, as well as an interior pocket for the things you need to find quickly.

Although acquired in England, this treasure looks decidedly French to me, and of course the dating would be 1920s. Alas, it's condition - while impressive for its age - isn't perfect. (It would be museum-quality and enormously expensive, if it were.) There are a few minor bead losses, hard to notice, and the entire outer row of beads appears on close inspection to be missing on both sides. These would be simple repairs, if you're at all good with a needle. Thankfully, the lining of the pouch remains pristine, but the fabric covering the inner frame shows a few areas of rusty staining (which leads me to believe those beads that look like cut steel may be). A good dry cleaner might be able to remove those, or that portion of the bag could be relined. One hinge also needs a screw. When these minor bits of restoration are done, you'll have a bag worth two or three times the money and sure to keep increasing in value.

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All Items : Archives : Decorative Art : Textiles : Accessories : Pre 1940 item #126269
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This exquisite beaded purse is a real treasure, with all the quality you expect from vintage Czechoslovakian beads and craftsmanship. Obviously hand-stitched, the beads are soft pastels - ivory, pink and green pastels - and the same floral design appears on *both* sides. Inside, there's a small pocket with a label that reads "Made in Czechoslovakia". Measurements are 7 1/2" by 4", not including those wonderful round handles that add so much style! Somewhat oddly, one of the handles is rigid, while the other isn't, but this appears original to the bag's construction. Perhaps the soft side was to rest against the waist when the bag was worn over a sash or belt for dancing. You could easily run a bit of wire through the interior of the soft handle, if you want them exactly the same. Probable dating would be 1920s or early 1930s and overall condition is simply superb; I can find no stains, missing beads or other flaws and the zipper works smoothly.

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