The dawn of cocktail rings dates back to the roaring 20’s, when women were freer than their Victorian and Edwardian counterparts, drinking during prohibition and flaunting their verboten cocktails in illegal speakeasy’s.  To highlight their new-found independence and defiance of social restrictions, women started wearing rings with large stones that sparkled along with their alcoholic drinks.  Like champagne, these rings were full of sparkles and bubbly with personality.  The cocktail ring enjoyed a renaissance during the 1960’s and 70’s, and they have also made a reprise in the new millenium, far bigger and bolder than ever.  Some of the Hollywood and LA wearers makes you wonder how they stay on the finger or how one can even maneuver a cup of coffee with a 30 carat rock on their hands.  Explore the world of vintage cocktail rings online…it will make your eyes sparkle and perhaps bring back that wanton flapper feeling.

Mama and baby bear cub pin

If you’ve been following my blog, you already know my favorite figurals are Christmas tree pins and snowflakes, but one that is nearest and dearest to my heart is my mama and baby bear cub pin, which I wear on my coat in honor of my sweet son, Chauncey, who will soon be turning 8 years old.   My dear Italian friend, Chiara, who resides in London, England, started calling my son my “little cub”, so when I found this pin, I just had to have it.

Another favorite of mine is the Art Deco sterling and enamel cornucopia I wear on my sweater for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.  It is rather detailed and gorgeous in cornflower blue, with sapphire blue, carnelian red and yellow blossoms, decorated with sparkly marcasite stones.

Figurals can be worn on a sweater, blouse, dress, coat lapel, purse or belt.  If you’re worried about pin marks, there are brooch converters that will slide over the pin and attach to a magnet behind your clothes so that no stick pin marks are necessary.  I got mine on Ebay, but there are several online sellers who have them, either in silver plate, gold plate or sterling silver.

Figurals take many interesting shapes: Butterflies, insects, flowers, hearts, animals, letters, fish, leaves, frogs, turtles (as well as trees and snowflakes, of course) are my favorites.  One of my holy grails is to acquire one of Trifari’s sterling silver “jelly bellies”, but since they usually are rather expensive, it might take me a while to snag one!  I’ll be showcasing some of my collection and my wish list in my next post!

Art Deco sterling & enamel cornucopia brooch

If you’re a vintage costume jewelry collector or a passionate fan, then I would like to suggest some staples for your collection.  By staples, I mean “must haves”…pieces that are classic, versatile and at the foundation of what’s available in vintage jewelry.

First, I would have some small, medium and large sized clear rhinestone brooches, in silver, gold and black japanned settings for diversity.  Weiss is always a great choice, as well as Kramer of New York, Sherman, Schreiner, Eisenberg, Juliana, Ledo and Polcini.  These clear, diamond-like stunners pop on black, vivid and jewel tone hues like nobody’s business!  They always add a touch of panache with the added bonus of glamorous sparkle for the evening.

The second staple are a pair of elegant drop earrings, either (0r both!) with clear rhinestone or paste stones.  A second pair of chandeliers would be another basic choice.  For these type of earrings, I have a penchant for old Napiers, 1960’s Kenneth Jay Lane, Hattie Carnegie, Art Deco, Edwardian & Victorian, Sherman, Schreiner, Miriam Haskell’s crystal pieces, Weiss, and Eisenberg.  I would also suggest a pair of black jet crystals set in a japanned setting…fabulous statement makers!