Monday, September 27, 2010

The History of Hair Jewelry

While antique shopping at the Grand Bazaar in Turkey, I came across this valuable vintage locket. Jewelry made with hair is dated back to at least the 1600's, when both men and women gave hair bracelets as love tokens. During this time one was likely to find the hair placed under glass and used as a background for initials or some other personal symbol to the wearer. Hair jewelry stayed popular until the late 1800's. At the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865), hair jewelry became popular once more as women wore the hair of husbands and sons in brooches and lockets, while soldiers may have a watch chain made from the hair of a loved one back at home.

Hair art was common throughout the Victorian era (1837-1901). It was used for a variety of functions from recording family history to tokens of affection exchanged between lovers. Naturally, hair art also became popular means to memorialize loved ones who had passed on. Mourning jewelry created with hair was intensely popular because it did not violate the strict code of conduct Victorian society imposed upon the conduct and dress of grieving persons. Queen Victoria gave pieces of jewelry made from her hair as gifts; many of these pieces were given to her children and grandchildren. Napoleon wore his watch on a chain made from the hair of his wife, Empress, Marie Louise.

Hair was valued for sentimental reasons at a time when there were no photographs. In lieu of photographs, young girls kept scrapbooks of their schoolmate's hair, usually with a name and verse to go with it identifying whose hair it was. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, postcards and valentines were sent with hair attached. The sentimental sender would glue locks of their hair onto specially made postcards, (a picture of a beautiful woman) and send it to someone as a keepsake.

Now, hair art and hair jewelry is a collectible that may be worth a lot of money. Today there are only a few hair artists who are making this type of jewelry. There are no schools where one can go for instructions, so this art is self-taught. An enormous amount of time is spent learning the different techniques. The process of creating a piece of hair jewelry can take anywhere from 8-10 hours or days depending on the size and detail of the piece. The process begins by sorting the hair, counting the hair, and then tying the strands into groups. That is why woven hair jewelry is very valuable.

Monday, February 1, 2010

1900's Gibson Girl Locket Necklace

The pen and ink drawings of illustrator Charles Gibson came to represent the spirit of the early twentieth century in America. The “Gibson Girl” is probably the best remembered of the artist’s images. Some people argue that the Gibson Girl was the first national standard for feminine beauty. The images of her epitomized the late 19th and early 20th century Western preoccupation with statuesque, youthful features, and ephemeral beauty. She was portrayed as the feminine ideal in elegant dresses, bustle gowns, shirtwaists, and terraced, shorter skirts. With her hair piled atop her head and a waist so tiny as to defy belief, the Gibson Girl represented a serene self-confidence that could surmount any problem.

This is a rare cameo locket with a beautiful portriat of a Gibson Girl surrounded in flowers and embellished with small faceted stones. It is gold filled circa 1905. The necklace is an etched 14k gold filled chain with vintage crystal beads, and my signature cloisonne bead at the clasp.

This 1900's Gibson Girl Locket Necklace is on sale at

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Family Heirlooms

Originally from the Victorian era, lockets have been around for centuries and their uses are constantly expanding from being given as a condolence for those who have lost a loved one, to romantic gifts and keepsakes passed down into every generation.

At a trunk show last weekend, a woman became teary-eyed as she looked a my vintage locket necklaces. She told me that her mother once had a locket with her initials on it, but it was stolen. It was a one-of-a-kind heirloom that had much more sentimental value than worth. For years, this woman has been searching for her mother's locket or a special replacement. Finally, she found a one with her inital 'H'. Unfortunately, now her mother is very sick, so she hesitated to buy.

Days later a man ordered this same locket for his wife who will be delivering their first child any day now. Although the little girl's name is a secret he told me it starts with a H, so this piece spoke to him. What a sentimental gift to commemorate this special day. I imagine the proud mama showing off her baby's picture inside the locket. In turn, I picture the daughter's excitement then this family heirloom is passed down to her. Already this 1900's 'H' Locket Necklace has many stories to tell. This is what I love about vintage lockets. Check out all of the fabulous, one-of-a-kind, vintage locket necklaces by Vintage Rehab.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vintage Silver Cameo Locket Necklace

This vintage, sterling silver, cameo locket looks very Romanesque and Grecian which is where most of the truly superior ancient cameo carving originated. It is in mint condition. The necklace is a new sterling silver chain with vintage givre west german slate glass beads and sterling silver spacer beads, and my signature cloisonne bead at the clasp.

For thousands of years, people have worn carved images as personal jewelry adornments. This lovely carved sculpture has cast a romantic spell over the wearers for centuries. Seen as both a keepsake for sentimental reasons, and a means of wearing gorgeous works of art, the cameo is one of the most treasured piece of vintage jewelry.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Buddha Locket Necklace

For over a year, I hunted for a vintage Buddha locket for one of my best clients. And, I finally found one! YIPPEE! It was like finding the treasure chest at the end of the map after a long journey. The dimensionality and detail of this locket is amazing. I paired it with a sterling silver chain that is accented with vintage Swarovski grey crystal bead. She LOVES it!

Are looking for a sentimental piece or have a family heirloom or other jewel laying around that you want to wear again or give to someone special? I would love to custom design a piece for you. Please contact me if you are interested.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1900's 'DVA' Locket Necklace

I love finding vintage lockets with the original photos inside. This one dates back to the 1900's which makes these photographs over 100 years old. It is a gold-filled, circular locket that is beautifully etched with a moon and star stone inlay. On the back the initials 'DVA' are engraved. The necklace is a new 14k gold filled chain accented with vintage clear crystal beads. This 1900's 'DVA' Locket Necklace is on sale at

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New York + Lime Green = Bittersweet

Evolution is IIDA's (International Interior Design Association) annual fundraising event. Every year, local interior design firms enter a design competition. This year each company was given a different color and city. My team was assigned New York + lime green. We had to create a collage within specific size parameters, only using black and white and the color we were given. We titled our piece "Bittersweet" which represents fashion in the big apple. I love challenging my creativity and am proud to say that we won 1st place.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vintage Money Clip Bracelet

I bought this vintage money clip at an estate sale with no intention of using it for that purpose.  Instead, I saw it as a unique bracelet. It is made of sterling silver with a a two-toned mother of pearl portrait with three faces.  A sterling silver frame is embellished with tiny crystal stones.  I reshaped the clip, creating a loop on both sides. Then, I attached a dark-brown leather strand at each end that wrap around the wrist eleven times, and connect with a magnetic clasp. This Vintage Money Clip Bracelet is a one of a kind piece for sale online at Vintage Rehab's shop

Family Tree

Every time I go to my grandparents house I pull out the boxes of old family photos.   It is fascinating to see what my relatives looked like, discover where they came from, and learn more about them.  I was especially excited to find this old picture of my great grandmother, Sarah and two of her sisters, Ethel and Bess. 

Sarah is my great grandmother from my mother's side, who I am named after.  In the photo she is wearing a locket necklace that reminds me of some of the vintage lockets that I have found. It would be so special to have this family heirloom, but maybe if I am lucky enough I will find it in an antique store someday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Old Found Treasures

My friend Jenna loves her collection of vintage costume jewelry, but seldom wears any of these pieces due to their extreme gaudiness. While flipping through her recent copy of W Magazine, she was inspired by a photo shoot of a woman with a bunch of Mardi Gras beads draped around her neck to design this necklace. It was created using seven charm bracelets and six pairs of clip on earrings.

Jenna says, "I never throw anything away. There is always a use for stuff even if you aren't using for it's original intention. I love redecorating my house with new found treasures and it always crosses over into my wardrobe."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Letter From Miles

Today, I received an email from a customer that I want to share.  I love getting notes like this.  Thank you for the kind note, Miles.  I can't believe I missed that photo.

Hi Stacey,
    I just wanted to send you a quick note to tell you that my girlfriend (and myself and everyone else) loves the locket. It''s perfect and just what I hoped it would be. Interesting though, when I was opening it up to put pictures in out popped a really faded and old picture of a was quite spooky...I assume you must have missed it or did you know it was there?  Either way we have decided to treat it as a good luck sign and assume it was a happy opposed to this being the beginning of a horror film:) Anyway, thought you might find that interesting.  
Thank you again,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vintage Locket Collection

I am always on the hunt for vintage lockets and am very excited about my most recent finds.  I stumbled along these heirlooms at a local antique store.  They are Victorian, dating back to the late 1800's - early 1900's. All of the pieces are 14k gold-filled and in mint condition.  

The heart locket has a clear gems in the center. Adjacent is a circular locket with a raised design that is embellished with clear jewels.  I passed on the plain gold locket and bought the one with moon and star that is accented with stones.  Even more special are the old is are old photos of someone's loved ones inside. 

Next, I rehab them and make chains that pair well with each one. Keep checking Vintage Rehab's shop for new vintage locket necklaces.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vintage Swarovski Crystals

I design one-of-a-kind vintage locket necklaces. Many have rare Swarovski crystals wire-wrapped throughout the chain. The green Swarovski crystals on this 1900's Embellished Locket Necklace accent the stone in the center of the locket. Other unique vintage locket necklaces are available at Vintage Rehab.  

Since 1895, Swarovski crystal beads have been made from the finest crystal lead glass, cut and ground with such precision that they sparkle as brilliantly as diamonds.  The brilliance comes from the light bouncing off internal surfaces in the lead crystal.  In the 1950's Swarovski crystals were very popular. Competitive jewelry designers, such as Weiss, Coro, Trifari, Lisser, Capri, Napier and Royal of Pittsburg commissioned Daniel Swarovski to produce exclusive beads for them. 

Many colors, shapes and sizes of vintage Swarovski crystals were discontinued because they were to expensive to mass-produce. Collectible colors, such as mink, purple givre, scarabee, joulan, elestria dark, carousel, fantasy, ghost, dark sunburst, ambrosia, cognac, joulet, cinnamon, honey, meadow, sarnell, sun and steel have not been made in decades. Vintage Swarovski beads are also uncommon because of their size and shape, including the oval, octagon, disco balls and the pagoda.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Art of Filigree

For centuries, the art of filigree has been used to craft jewelry such as pins, rings and pendants, reaching the height of its popularity during the Art Deco period of the 1920's and 1930's.  At the time, this method of producing open patterns was more common than molding or casting. 

Filigree is formed using twisted threads of gold and silver to create delicate, lacy, openwork jewelry. Artists hammer malleable metal into thin filaments, then twists and bends them into intricate designs, and solders them at their overlapping junctures.  Vines, leaves, buds, waving hair, and spider webs are common motifs.  

Many ancient cultures, including Greece, Rome, Armenia, India and China used such delicately woven jewelry to celebrate marriage, birth, as well as fancy ornamentation for royalty. Antique filigree can be found in museums around the world.  

I found this 1930's sterling silver locket is from an estate sale.  The face is matte silver with a clear stone in the center. It has an ornate filigree pattern around the edge of the piece.  This 1930's Silver Filigree Locket Necklace is a one-of-a-kind piece available at Vintage Rehab.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Story Inside a Locket

Lockets are fascinating because they tell a story. When you open an old locket for the first time, a mystery is to be discovered.  I love finding ones with the original photographs still in tact.  I imagine who wore it and the meaning of the photos inside.  Most often they are one's parents, husband or children that a woman once wore close to her heart.  I was quite a surprise to find a picture inside this locket of Bing Crosby, a musician that someone greatly admired.  

This 1910's Moon and Star Locket Necklace is available at Vintage Rehab's store.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

History of Cameo Lockets

Throughout history, royalty figures have set the trends for jewelry fashion.  In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, Queen Victoria of England popularized cameo lockets. Queen Elizabeth and Catherine the Great also had a very impressive collection of them.  

Since then, women began collecting cameos to show their cultural status, prestige and wealth. Cameos feature images of mythological gods and goddesses, heroes and rulers, and biblical events. These reliefs predominately showcased women's profiles, and depicted an ethic or moral, or to make a statement about faith and loyalties.  

This beautiful vintage sterling silver cameo locket is from the 1940's. I paired it with an ornate sterling silver chain that accents the relief border around the locket.  You can purchase this 1940's Silver Cameo Locket Necklace  at Vintage Rehab's online store.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rattlesnake Guitar Strap

Last summer, my fiance went fishing with his friends.  They didn't have much luck that day.  Instead of catching fish to cook, he brought back a rattlesnake.  It was over 5 feet long with a beautiful diamond pattern.   

This is a guitar strap that I made with the snake skin.  I laced the edges with dark brown leather to match the criss-cross design.  Best of all, I attached the rattle to the end.  He loves to shake it while he plays his guitar.   

We used the meat to make this rattlesnake cake recipe, which was not very good.  Try it at your own risk.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

1800's Fan Necklace

While hunting for vintage lockets, I came across this amazing 1800's fan pin made in Portugal by Topazio. The filagree design is gold plated sterling silver that is adorned with painted enamel flowers and  a dangling fleur-de-lye charm.  

Although I mostly create vintage locket necklaces, I couldn't resist this exceptional piece.  I paired this fashionable pin with a very ornate, new 14k gold filled chain.  You can find this necklace at my etsy store.

Vintage Rehab Bracelets

I have created a new line of Vintage Rehab bracelets.  This rectangular shaped shell button is a rare vintage find.  A dark brown leather strand is threaded through it and wraps around the wrist eleven times, and connects with a strong magnetic clasp. They are available in dark brown, light brown, green and coral leather.  Please check out my etsy store to see my new designs.  

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All Stitched Up

Everyone appreciates the thought put into a handmade, one-of-a-kind gift. This is a poncho I just finished knitting for my mother. It is a simple garter stitch.  The yarn changes colors throughout, creating a striped pattern.  I wove a strand of leather at the neck that tightens to give it shape.  A few months ago, my mom and I were shopping at one of my favorite boutiques. We both really liked a similar tubular sweater, which inspired this design of mine.   It didn't quite turn out the same, but even better.