During the 18th century, brilliant pieces of colorful rock crystal, or glass, were discovered along the Rhine River in Austria. While working with these pebble-like formations, an Alsatian jeweler by the name of Georg Friedrich Strass discovered that using a mixture of thallium and bismuth improved the refractive qualities of the rock, and once cut and finished, they resembled a diamond. Through further experimentation he found that the use of metal salts could alter their colors. He didn’t stop there, however.
The Trifari jewelry was started by Gustavo Trifari, who came from a family of fine jewelers, and Leo Kraussman in 1918. The partnership was profitable but the business became well-known when they were joined by Carl Fishel in 1925. The company was incorporated after Carl Fishel joined the company and produced many fine jewelry pieces.
Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride is one of those words that can stop a person in his or her tracks. It’s also the formal name for one of the world’s most beloved forms of vintage jewelry, Bakelite. For those that may have never heard of Bakelite before, it’s a thermosetting plastic. It initially burst onto the scene in the early 1900s, thanks to one Leo Baekeland. At the time, he was rumored to have been trying to create a binder.
Lucite made its debut onto the jewelry scene in the 1930s courtesy of DuPont. At the time, it was also used to create furniture, handbags, airplane windshields and other useful items. The material itself is a durable, methyl methacrylate polymer. It has the ability to appear crystal clear, clouded or full of gorgeous, glittering colors. In addition, it can be embedded with other materials.
Made from a mix of camphor and nitrocellulose, celluloid is one of the many materials that have been used over the years in the manufacture of vintage jewelry. Its origin may be traced back to 1850s England and one Alexander Parkes. Parkes, who reportedly discovered the material by accident, initially used it to create waterproof apparel.
I made this Halloween fascinator using one of our black feather fascinators (shown here ). This was a fun and fairly quick project. I upcycled it using vintage pearl beads to secure a glow in the dark bat, and stitched crystal spiders and black tear drop rhinestones along the front rim. A larger crystal spider dangles from a chain stitched on the side. The bat is a good size with nice details.
I came across a gilt fortune cookie on a black silk cord. It had a fortune inside of it attached with a chain. The back of the chain was signed ©Haskell. Miriam Haskell made several of these fortune cookie necklaces, with different "fortunes". The black silk cord is original to the piece. This cookie has the fortune: "Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself". A collector of these Haskell cookies wrote me and said these are some of the other fortunes:
I finished the Trifari Jewelry video. It is some of my pieces with my vintage ads set to music. The pieces are arranged chronologically, starting with my 1930's bracelet and ending with a late 1970's piece. Most of what I have photographed is from the 1950's and 1960's. I would love to find more from the 1930's- especially the bracelets.
I found an old newspaper (1958) tucked in an old wooden chest, over the weekend. It is yellowed and brittle with pieces breaking off as I carefully open it. I like seeing the old advertisements.
What is really fun in this paper, is an article with excerpts of a diary from 1858. The diary was presented to the Minnesota Historical Society (in 1958) and was featured in the Minneapolis
Tribune throughout Statehood week (Minnesota Centennial). I love reading through old articles and journals, it is like peeking into a window of the past.