Monday, December 8, 2014

Sparkle with Christmas Jewelry

By Christine Cravens owner of VintageCravens

Can you imagine December today without the celebration of Christmas? Traditions such as the Christmas tree, Advent calendar and Santa Claus with his reindeer have their roots in Germany’s celebration of the holiday as early as the 16th century. Celebrations such as these were not widespread until the marriage of Queen Victoria to German-born Prince Albert. In 1848, the Illustrated London News showcased a drawing of the royal family with a Christmas tree and soon every home in Britain had trees and wreaths bedecked with gifts, fruit, sweets, homemade decorations and candles.

Soon, jewelry began emulating the colors of beautifully decorated trees and snow to celebrate the season as well. Ivory was a common medium used for ornate designs such as reindeer amidst lacy fir trees. Brooches and pendants were also fashioned from gold or silver with green, red and clear gems such as emerald, ruby and diamonds in shapes emulating wreaths and trees. When larger hats came into fashion, long hatpins were adorned with festive Christmas designs as well. Blown glass began appearing as jewelry components emulating ornaments in latter Victorian times.

During the late 1930s and 1940s, leading costume jewelry designers began manufacturing Christmas themed jewelry. Hollywood and famous actresses were influential in inspiring a trend that continues today – the Christmas brooch. Many stars would wear costume jewelry in magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan as well as still shots leading ladies to their favorite department stores to find jewelry perfect for Christmas celebrations. Production of holiday jewelry continues with designers today, however, the high quality of vintage and antique Christmas brooches make them a desirable addition to your jewelry collection.

While there are many vintage pins available today, several factors contribute to value including the appearance of a signature or stamp on the piece, the designer, overall materials and complexity of the design and condition.  When purchasing Christmas tree brooches, be on the lookout for the following collectible styles:
  • Stanley Hagler – filigree hardware, intricate beading, baroque pearls and Murano glass
  • Larry Vrba – aurora borealis, large cabochons and rhinestone
  • Trifari – tree-shaped pins with minimal beading, enameling and glass
  • Hollycraft – gilt-metal trees with polychrome rhinestones
  • Eisenberg Ice – ruby and emerald colored rhinestones, enameling
  • Art – Christmas tree shapes featuring colorful baguette and round rhinestones, focus on multi-layer designs
  • Hattie Carnegie – realistic tree designs featuring enameling and beading
  • J.J. – traditional designs featuring colorful rhinestones and animals
  • Weiss – highly decorated designs featuring rhinestones in abstract tree shapes

As the Vintage Jewelry Sellers on Etsy team (VJSE), we are pleased to provide high quality vintage and antique jewelry. Enjoy these signed and unsigned Christmas themed brooches by some of our team members. To see more of our jewelry, please visit us at Etsy.

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