An Engagement Ring Story Like No Other!

Colleen & "J" on their wedding day.  Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography - curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

Colleen & “J” on their wedding day. Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography – curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

Colleen and “J.” live on top of the world or about as close to it as you can possibly get. Their home is located in the Canadian Arctic (Iqaluit in theCanadian territory of Nunavut). Average monthly temperatures in Iqaluit are below freezing for eight months of the year and just over 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the short “summer” months. Iqaluit is an arctic paradise that Colleen describes as an incredible and never-ending landscape with captivating tundra and coastlines and no trees (as they are above the tree-line).  “It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place to live on earth”, says Colleen.

Colleen, an Iqaluit native, works for the Canadian Government and has a small side business as an Art Conservator. She also writes a really fabulous ArcticDECO blog with tons of great home decorating, renovation, and organizational tips with a focus on her favorite design inspiration, the Art Deco period. Colleen’s husband, “J”, originally from Resolute Bay, the second most northernly community in North America (close to the North Pole), settled in Iqaluit after his University education. Colleen and “J” met at a mutual friend’s gathering/games night and fell in love.

Colleen and “J” enjoy many things about living in the remote Canadian Arctic, the landscape and the amazing, talented, and resilient people, but there are also some challenges associated with living above the 60th parallel north. Simple things that most of us take for granted, like easy access to mail, food, and essentials, are not all that straightforward in Iqaluit. There are no roads in or out of the city, so supplies are flown or shipped in during the short summer season. This, in turn, translates into an extremely high cost of living and limited access to goods. There are only 3 small stores in town and a container of orange juice typically costs $22 or more. Because Iqaluit is so physically isolated from other areas, on-line shopping is a must for many items (including engagement rings).

When Colleen and “J” decided to marry, they turned to their computers in search of her perfect ring. Since Colleen is an art conservator with a love of history and Art Deco design she was looking for an Art Deco panel-style engagement ring that was neither too big, nor too simplistic. Amazingly, she found exactly the type of ring she was seeking on our Etsy store — a delicately crafted Edwardian platinum topped 18k gold ring with a complex open work design accented with tiny bead set diamonds.

The process of selecting a ring was only the first step on Colleen’s quest to actually receiving her dream engagement ring. She then needed to concern herself with the considerable task of getting the ring safely through its journey of some 2590 kilometers to her remote home. With winter fast approaching, Colleen’s ring set off on its adventure by FedEx from Lewisburg, PA to Iqaluit in early October. It should be mentioned that Iqaluit isn’t connected to other settlements by a highway, so inbound mail shipments are only possible by aircraft and, ice conditions permitting, by boat. She expected it to take several weeks to arrive, and so she waited patiently .

Colleen's Edwardian & Diamond Engagement RIng

Colleen’s Edwardian & Diamond Engagement RIng

Because of the remote nature of Iqaluit, Fedex relies on a network of third party carriers to route parcels to their final destinations. Unfortunately, FedEx loses the ability to track the whereabouts of packages as soon as they are handed over to these third party couriers. Unbeknownst to either Colleen or ourselves, the ring arrived in her town just 7 days after being shipped. Then came the waiting game. And, so we all waited, and waited, and waited… Week after week passed and Colleen and I repeatedly called FedEx and the moving company that was contracted to deliver her package, but had no luck getting information on its whereabouts. To all of our disappointment, FedEx officially declared Colleen’s engagement ring parcel missing in mid-November.

I completely lost hope by this point, but not Colleen! Utterly undeterred by FedEx’s declaration, Colleen was unwilling to accept that her package was lost somewhere in her own town. After buckets of tears and countless emails and calls, Colleen charged down to the local moving company’s warehouse and insisted to search through all of their packages. To everyone’s surprise except maybe her own, Colleen found her FedEx package hiding in a corner under a pile of other “undeliverable” items. The moral…never underestimate a woman in love.

Colleen and J.'s Rings -Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography - curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

Colleen and J.’s Rings -Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography – curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

Ring finally in hand, Colleen and “J” were married just a few weeks ago in front of their close family and friends. Colleen used this very special ring during the ceremony because she is still hunting for the perfect Deco-esque band that will match. “J’s” band (shown in the photo) was custom made by Dan Wade out of walrus tusk ivory, which is often used by Inuit for jewelry and carvings (Dan Wade’s Website: www.danwade.ca).

The Wedding Ceremony - Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography - curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

The Wedding Ceremony – Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography – curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

Colleen and “J” are building their life in her family home that her father built in the early 1980’s. They purchased the home from her parents when they retired to southern Canada a couple of years ago. They are breathing new life into the home with some very creative renovation projects that she shares on her ArcticDECO blog http://www.arcticdeco.com.

Look at Those Red Boots!!!

Look at Those Red Boots!!!

My husband and I were so thrilled to share this wedding ring journey with Colleen and “J.”, and we wish them a mountain of happiness as they begin their married life together!

Wedding Day Shenanigans - Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography - curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

Wedding Day Shenanigans – Photo Courtesy of Curtis Jones Photography – curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com

(The breathtaking wedding photos shown in this blog post were taken by Colleen’s friend, the uber-talented Curtis Jones. Curtis is an amazing landscape and portrait photographer and you can see more of his work by visiting his website http://www.curtisjonesphoto.squarespace.com.)

~Jessica

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Posted in Antique & Vintage Jewelry, antique engagement rings, antique jewellery, antique jewelry, antique wedding ring, diamond jewelry, engagement rings, Jewelry, wedding ring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Down Memory Lane: Wedding Rings Throughout the Ages

Throughout the ages, couples have commemorated marriages with rings worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The earliest of these love tokens were plain iron circles, hard stone intaglios, or a rings with two right hands clasped.  Our ancient ancestors selected the symbolic “ring finger” believing that it held a vein of blood leading directly to one’s heart. (1, 2)

7th Century Marriage Ring- This is a ring typical of the Byzantine period on which the bride and groom are depicted on the bezel as full-length figures standing before Christ. He performs the marriage rite by symbolically joining their hands together is the dextrarum junctio . Some examples are inscribed in Greek: 'vow' or 'harmony'. (V&A Museum)

7th Century Marriage Ring- This is a ring typical of the Byzantine period on which the bride and groom are depicted on the bezel as full-length figures standing before Christ. He performs the marriage rite by symbolically joining their hands together is the dextrarum junctio . Some examples are inscribed in Greek: ‘vow’ or ‘harmony’. (V&A Museum)

Not much is known about the earliest wedding rings, but poesy (or posey/posie/posy) rings with amorous symbols and inscriptions or fede rings with two clasped hands were popular with many during the latter part of the Middle Ages.  Religious wedding ceremonies of the Middle Ages often required a ring.  By the 12th century, all Catholic weddings were required to include a ring for the bride. (3) Jewish wedding rings of the Middle Ages featured a roof or house placed on a bezel representing the couple’s future home, a tradition that remained for many centuries to come. (4)

Posy Ring - 1500-1530- Gold posy rings expressing affection and love were popular wedding rings during the 16th century.  Gold.  This ring, which is in the V&A Museum is likely a wedding ring.  It is inscribed outside  with VNG.TEMPS.VIANDRA (a time willcome); inside: MON.DESIR.ME.VAILLE (my longing keeps me awake).

Posy Ring – 1500-1530- This ring, which is in the V&A Museum is likely a wedding ring. It is inscribed outside with VNG.TEMPS.VIANDRA (a time willcome); inside: MON.DESIR.ME.VAILLE (my longing keeps me awake).

Jewish Wedding Ring- Jewish wedding ring, the bezel possibly representing the Tabernacle or Solomon's Temple or the home. (V&A Museum Collection).

Jewish Wedding Ring- Jewish wedding ring, the bezel possibly representing the Tabernacle or Solomon’s Temple or the home. (V&A Museum Collection).

Diamonds,  a symbol of fidelity, did not make their appearance in wedding rings until the 15th century, but gained quick popularity.  By the 16th century, no royal marriage was complete without a diamond ring.  Poesy rings and fede rings were much more affordable and remained popular with most. (5)

Early 16th Century Love Ring- Gold love or marriage ring with traces of enamel on the shoulders, the bezel formed of two oval collets each with a 4-cusp setting, with a triangular-cut diamond and a ruby. The fluted shoulders decorated with volutes and foliage, Germany, about 1500. (V&A Museum)

Early 16th Century Love Ring- Gold love or marriage ring with traces of enamel on the shoulders, the bezel formed of two oval collets each with a 4-cusp setting, with a triangular-cut diamond and a ruby. The fluted shoulders decorated with volutes and foliage, Germany, about 1500. (V&A Museum)

Poesy rings were popular throughout the 16th & 17th centuries, but some instead chose gimmel rings with 2 identical hoops that pivoted at the base or hoops of jet or tortoiseshell inlaid with silver.  Throughout the 1500s-1600s, the gimmel became more elaborate and was merged with the fede motif. (6) (7)  As in centuries past, wealthy individuals continued to purchase more elaborate wedding rings often accented with gemstones and enamel.

Early 17th Century Wedding Ring- This intricate wedding ring is decorated with symbols of love and quotations from the marriage ceremony. The central motif comes from the Italian mani in fede (hands clasped in faith), which was a popular symbol of love. The three connecting hoops, each with an attached hand or heart, fit together and appear as one band when worn. The inscriptions can only be read when the hoops of the ring are opened out. (V&A Museum)

Early 17th Century Wedding Ring- This intricate wedding ring is decorated with symbols of love and quotations from the marriage ceremony. (V&A Museum)

17th Century Wedding Ring- Enamelled gold ring, the hoop enamelled in black outside with 'EC' and 'EH' separated by four hearts and inside the arms of Chibnall, Haselwood, Wilmer and Andrews, England, 17th century.  Presumably commemorating a marriage of a Chibnall and a Haselwood.  (V&A Museum)

17th Century Wedding Ring- Enamelled gold ring, the hoop enamelled in black outside with ‘EC’ and ‘EH’ separated by four hearts and inside the arms of Chibnall, Haselwood, Wilmer and Andrews.  (V&A Museum)

The 18th century introduced lighter, more graceful wedding rings — hearts transfixed with cupid’s arrows, crowned or winged hearts and heart-in-hand claddaugh rings.  Some of these rings were accented with diamonds or other precious stones.  (8)

Early 18th Century Wedding Ring - Enamelled gold fede ring, set with rose-cut diamonds in silver collets, with a crowned heart held by two hands inscribed 'Dudley & Katherine united 26.Mar. 1706', England, dated 1706. (V&A Museum)

Early 18th Century Wedding Ring – Enamelled gold fede ring, set with rose-cut diamonds in silver collets, with a crowned heart held by two hands inscribed ‘Dudley & Katherine united 26.Mar. 1706’, England, dated 1706. (V&A Museum)

Pearls, claddagh, and fede rings remained popular during the 19th century; however, towards the end of the century, most rings were very large gold “cigar style” bands sometimes worn by both husbands and wives. (9)  Towards the end of the 19th century brides adopted the tradition of having 2 rings — engagement ring and a separate wedding band, a tradition which continues to this day. (10)

Late Victorian Cigar-Style Wedding Band by Trademark Antiques www.rubylane.com/shop/trademark

Late Victorian Cigar-Style Wedding Band by Trademark Antiques http://www.rubylane.com/shop/trademark

Antique Rose Gold Victorian Engraved Bird Floral Wedding Band Ring by Ageless Heirlooms - https://www.etsy.com/shop/agelessheirlooms

Antique Rose Gold Victorian Wedding Band Ring by Ageless Heirlooms – https://www.etsy.com/shop/agelessheirlooms

Wedding rings of the early 20th century tended to be more narrow than their Victorian cousins. They were often simple platinum hoops encircled with ivy & oak.  During the first World War, white gold bands were generally used in place of platinum (which was banned from use in jewelry because of the war efforts).

Art Deco Platinum Wedding Band by MaeJean Vintage --http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaejeanVINTAGE

Art Deco Platinum Wedding Band by MaeJean Vintage –http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaejeanVINTAGE

Art Deco Wedding Band by The Eden Collective -https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheEdenCollective

Art Deco Wedding Band by The Eden Collective – https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheEdenCollective

Wedding bands have evolved and will continue to evolve throughout the ages.  What will likely never change is people’s desire to commemorate one of the most momentous occasions in their life with the exchange of a simple, unbroken ring symbolizing a lifelong promise of love.

ENDNOTES:

1. Scarisbrick, Diana. Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection. London: Thames & Hudson, Ltd., 1993. Print.

2.  Swineburne, Henry.  A Treatise of Spousals, Or Matrimonial Contracts: Wherein All the Questions…S. Roycroft for Robert Clavell., 1686.  Electronic.

3.  Scarisbrick, Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection, 7.

4.  Scarisbrick, Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection, 17-19.

5.  Harlow, George E.  The Nature of Diamonds.  Cambridge University Press, 1998. Electronic.

6.  Ibid at 149.

7.  Scarisbrick, Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection, 82.

8.  Ibid at 117.

9.  Scarisbrick, Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection, 164.

10.  Harlow, George E.  The Nature of Diamonds, 168.

Posted in Antique & Vintage Jewelry, antique jewellery, antique jewelry, antique wedding ring, diamond jewelry, engagement rings, Jewelry, wedding ring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A LOOK THROUGH OUR LOUPE: A Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing Authentic Antique & Vintage Diamond Engagement Rings

Art Deco 18k Gold Diamond & Sapphire Engagement Ring http://www.rubylane.com/item/561847-a301/Art-Deco-18k-Gold-Diamond-Sapphire

Art Deco 18k Gold Diamond & Sapphire Engagement Ring http://www.rubylane.com/item/561847-a301/Art-Deco-18k-Gold-Diamond-Sapphire

The popularity of antique and vintage diamond engagement rings has grown tremendously in recent years driven by consumers seeking a unique look or story, extraordinary craftsmanship, or a potential investment vehicle.  As demand for antique and vintage engagement rings has risen, true antique and vintage diamond rings, particularly from the Edwardian (1901-1910) and Art Deco (1920-1930s) periods, have become more scarce.

Because the demand for antique and vintage engagement rings has outpaced existing supply, many jewelry manufacturers and sellers of antique and vintage jewelry have taken to selling “antique style” or “Art Deco style” rings or hybrid pieces marrying old stones with new settings.

Antique Diamond Engagement Ring from Trademark Antiques

Antique Diamond Engagement Ring from Trademark Antiques

Although many of these newly designed rings are quite beautiful in their own right and likely to satisfy many consumers, those wanting authentic, antique or vintage engagement rings, must use extra scrutiny when making their purchase to avoid getting a new engagement ring made to look like a ring from the 1930s or earlier.  Although reputable sellers will always disclose the use of reproduction settings or the marriage of old stones with more modern mountings, consumers should study up on the basics before making their purchase because there are some unscrupulous or unknowledgeable jewelry sellers who may sell reproduction rings as original period pieces.

These days, in addition to knowing the 4 C’s of diamonds (cut, clarity, color, and carat), those in the market for an antique or vintage diamond engagement ring, should also know the basics on what to look for in a true period piece.  

Art Deco Diamond & Sapphire Cocktail or Engagement Ring by Trademark Antiques http://www.rubylane.com/item/561847-A805/Vintage-Art-Deco-Diamond-Sapphire-Cocktail

Art Deco Diamond & Sapphire Cocktail or Engagement Ring by Trademark Antiques http://www.rubylane.com/item/561847-A805/Vintage-Art-Deco-Diamond-Sapphire-Cocktail

We’ve shared some tips below that can help you navigate this most important purchase:

  1. Know the definitions of Antique & Vintage.  By definition, antique jewelry must be at least 100 years or older.  Vintage jewelry includes jewelry that is at least 25 years old.  Art Deco rings from the 1920s-1930s are vintage, not antique.
  2. Know the meaning of “Antique Style” or “Art Deco Style” Rings sold in the style of a period piece are later reproductions made to look old.  They are not truly antique or vintage.
  3. Rings created from original Art Deco dies.  Rings made from molds of original hand-carved dies that were fabricated during the Art Deco period are not Art Deco rings and should never be sold as such.  In addition to using original dies, some jewelry manufacturers cast authentic antique & vintage pieces and create new molds as a means of reproducing antique and vintage jewelry.  Jewelry made using these techniques is considered reproduction jewelry.
  4. The metal must match the time period.  Victorian jewelry was either fashioned of yellow gold or silver over yellow gold.  Platinum was not widely used in jewelry making until around the turn of the last century (circa 1900). White gold jewelry was first used around 1912, but not widely available until the 1920s when it became a substitute for platinum that was appropriated for the war efforts.

    Yellow Gold Victorian Diamond Rings by Trademark Antiques www.rubylane.com/shop/trademark

    Yellow Gold Victorian Diamond Rings by Trademark Antiques http://www.rubylane.com/shop/trademark

  5. Does the ring show signs of wear?  You generally expect to see signs of wear on antique or vintage ring settings (unless they were seldom worn or kept only in a safe deposit box).  Look for wear to the base of the ring shank and the high points of the ring.
  6. Are there signs that the ring was hand-crafted by an artisan or quickly mass manufactured?  True antique and Art Deco rings were typically hand-crafted or die-cast by skilled craftsman.  Today’s Art Deco or Antique reproduction diamond rings are often mass-manufactured quickly and do not show the same signs of craftsmanship that one would expect to see in an original piece.  Some of the modern copies tend to have edges that are a bit raspy and the lace-like filigree often lacks polish inside of the punch work.  Modern reproductions are often weightier than their antique or Art Deco counterparts and sometimes the filigree is asymmetrical.
  7. Is the cut of the stone consistent with the time period?  The cut of the diamond should match the time period of the mounting.  The first bruting machines for diamond cutting were invented during the late 1800s, so diamonds cut prior to this time period are generally of irregular shape.  Rose cut diamonds and mine cut diamonds were used throughout the 18th century and old European diamonds were used from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s.  Rose cut diamonds have a flat bottom and faceted dome shaped crown. Mine cut diamonds are cushion-cut in shape (not round) and feature a high crown, deep pavilion, small table, and large culet.  Old European cut diamonds also feature a high crown and a small open culet.  Old European cut stones feature 58 facets and are typically slightly off-round.  Today’s modern round brilliant cut was not introduced until around 1919.  Most Art Deco rings and all Edwardian rings will generally have a mine cut, old European cut, or transitional cut (Transitional cut stones are not exactly Old European cut and not exactly round brilliant.  They were created during the period when diamond cutters were transitioning from Old European to the new standard of round brilliant.)  [FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON GEMSTONE CUTS see this post by All About Gemstones: http://www.allaboutgemstones.com/old_european_diamond_cuts.html]

  8. When possible get a grading report with your ring from a reputable grading service.    Grading reports from grading services like GIA, AGS, IGI or EGL certify the color, cut, clarity, and carat of diamonds and take some of the guess-work out of purchasing a diamond. Diamonds with GIA and AGS grading reports typically command the highest prices.

We hope that you find these tips helpful in navigating this most important purchase.

Happy Shopping!

Posted in Antique & Vintage Jewelry, antique engagement rings, diamond jewelry, engagement rings, Jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Down Memory Lane: Insects & Animals as Ornament

Ever wondered what it might feel like to wear a necklace made from dried beetles?  Would you find it beautiful, creepy, a little of both?  It would surely grab attention and generate lots of quizzical stares and conversation.  

Alternatively, could you see yourself donning a pair of earrings made from hummingbird heads?  The once living birds dangling so close to your face that they might brush against your cheeks.

Victorian Insect & Animal Jewelry

Top Left: Hummingbird Earrings from bellandbird.com, Top Right: Beetle Earrings from abrandtandson.com, and Bottom: Beetle Necklace http://wakefieldmuseumsandlibraries.blogspot.com/2013_07_01_archive.html

Some women of today may think it odd or unethical to wear insect and animal jewelry, particularly the kind made from once-living creatures, but during the mid-to-late 19th century, lots of women embraced insect and animal fashions.

During the latter part of the Victorian period, there was a fascination (or perhaps a bit of an obsession) with naturalism.  This intense curiosity with nature was, in many ways, a reaction to industrialization brought about by rapidly advancing science and technology.  It was also partially sparked by Charles Darwin’s controversial theory of evolutionary biology from his 1859 book On the Origin of Species.  People of this time period gravitated to natural history museums and botanical gardens for entertainment and brought miniature terrariums and taxidermy displays into their homes in an attempt to reconnect with nature.

Victorian-PhotosWith the naturalist craze as the backdrop, mid-to-late Victorian fashions found great inspiration in flora and fauna.  Ladies of the day accessorized with all sorts of insect and animal jewelry.  Necklaces and earrings fashioned from once living exotic green beetles and butterflies were commonplace and some women even wove living fireflies into their hair to illuminate their updos at night!  

Ladies of this period also fancied gemstone jewelry made to look like real insects and animals, including dragonflies, bees, ear lice, ticks, lizards, and frogs.  They would scatter their little gem “visitors” about their veils, necklines, & parasols.

TMA's Bug Jewelry

Some of the Insect & Animal Jewelry found on http://www.rubylane.com/shop/trademark

While the thought of owning real insect jewelry may not appeal to some women of today (and certainly didn’t appeal to every woman of yesteryear), most modern ladies still appreciate antique gem-encrusted bugs, reptiles, and animals, like the three featured above.

Wouldn’t it be fun to wear some insect pins scattered in your hair for a formal event?  Think of the buzz a bride would create by walking down the aisle with some diamond or pearl bees and dragonflies on her veil. 

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On the Road with TMA: Brimfield, MA Antique Show

Break of dawn - 1st Day of the Brimfield Antique Show

Break of dawn – 1st Day of the Brimfield Antique Show

If you have treasure hunting in your blood, you need to go to the Brimfield Antique show.  In fact, you should add it to your bucket list right now and immediately start planning your trip to the next show.

Three times each year in May, July, & September, Brimfield, a rural Massachusetts town of approximately 3,000 residents, hosts one of the largest antique marketplaces in the world.  The Brimfield show is part carnival, part museum, and part flea market with over 5,000 dealers and 250,000 visitors from all over the world participating in about 20 different shows.  

Brimfield Barn Antique Show

Brimfield Barn

The Vendors of Brimfield

One of the Colorful Vendors of Brimfield

The trading at Brimfield begins at sunrise on Tuesday with a flurry of dealer activity and ends on Sunday afternoon.  Each of the shows opens at a different time throughout the week, so there is constantly unseen merchandise being offered to treasure hunters.  The staggered show openings create a frenzy of sorts among customers and dealers.  Before each show opens, thousands of shoppers swarm the gates waiting to rush inside.  Upon opening, a stampede of antique collectors and dealers rush into the fields and make a mad dash from booth to booth, each trying to beat their competitors out of the best deals.  While standing in line this year we overheard a man tell a story about how he was trampled during a field stampede last year and had his leg broken in three places. (He obviously thought the bargains were worth the risk to life and limb, as he came back again this year for opening day).

Crowd Assembling Prior to the Opening of the Dealer to Dealer Show at Brimfield

Crowd Assembling Prior to the Opening of the Dealer to Dealer Show at Brimfield

More Jewelry Shopping in Brimfield

Jewelry Shopping in Brimfield

Hunting for Jewelry Treasures in Brimfield

Hunting for Jewelry Treasures in Brimfield

Brimfield is not just an antique show, it is an experience.  There are food trucks offering scrumptious treats like lobster roll sandwiches, BBQ ribs, & gyros and there are customers and dealers dressed in vintage and period clothing.  This year we saw some ladies dressed as Rosie the Riveter and a man wearing a 10 gallon hat.  Some of the most fun can be had just sitting back and watching the people carry their treasures — large architectural pieces, benches, paintings, crocks.  People hoist their finds on their backs, lug them around in pull carts, and tie them onto bicycles.   It is a great place to study people and how they interact with one another when money and merchandise are at stake.

D&L Lobster Express - Home of Brimfield's Amazing Lobster Roll Sandwich

D&L Lobster Express – Home of Brimfield’s Amazing Lobster Roll Sandwich

A View from the Road

A View from the Road

We love treasure hunting at Brimfield and have found many wonderful pieces of jewelry there over the years.  Here is a sampling of some of our treasures from this year’s show:

Some of our Treasures from the May 2014 Show

Some of our Treasures from the May 2014 Show

If you love searching for unique antique and vintage treasures and appreciate a carnival-like atmosphere, you will love the Brimfield show.  The next show will be held from July 8-13th.  Hope to see you there!

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Wearing Antique & Vintage Jewelry: Selecting the Perfect Ring for You

Have you ever tried on a dress that looked amazing on the rack only to discover that it looked horrible on?  Perhaps it was the wrong color, the wrong fit, the wrong look.  Well, selecting the perfect antique & vintage ring can be equally challenging, so we’d like to make it a bit easier for you by providing some helpful tips and tricks for finding the perfect ring .

First, select a ring that suits your personality.  Would you describe yourself as feminine and flirty, bold and dramatic, laid back and artistic, fun-loving, or timelessly elegant?  

Here are a few examples:

Rings for your personality type

Rings for your personality type

Next, select colors and materials that work with your skin tone.  Cool skin tones with pink undertones look best against white metals including silver, white gold, and platinum.  Warm skin tones with yellow undertones should generally select golden or copper toned rings.  Cool skin tones favor gemstones with pink, purple, red, or blue colors, while warm skin tones look beautiful with brown, orange, turquoise, coral, and green.


Examples:

Ring selections based on skin tones

Ring selections based on skin tones

Third, select a ring that compliments the shape of your fingers.  Individuals with shorter fingers benefit from rings with open shanks that take up space on the fingers.  These individuals also look great with vertical oval or rectangular rings which give the appearance of an elongated finger.  

Those with long and slender fingers can benefit from rings with narrow bands and delicate filigree.  These types of rings do not overwhelm dainty fingers and help them appear wider.

Selecting a ring that complements your finger shape

Selecting a ring that complements your finger shape

Individuals with wide fingers or those with large knuckles should consider asymmetrical designs, cluster rings, or several stackable rings.  These ring designs provide the illusion of a thinner finger and draw attention away from the knuckles.

Selecting a ring that complements your finger shape

Selecting a ring that complements your finger shape

A good general rule of thumb is that smaller, more dainty rings look best on smaller, petite hands, while larger hands with wider fingers  benefit from chunky and large rings.

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On the Road with TMA: Adamstown Pennsylvania’s Spring Antique Extravaganza

The Break of Dawn in Adamstown, PA

The Break of Dawn in Adamstown, PA

Adamstown, Pennsylvania is a mecca for antique enthusiasts.  This tiny town of fewer than 2,000 residents is located about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Dutch country.  Adamstown is lovingly referred to by antique collectors as Antiques Capital, USA, as this tiny hamlet boasts of dozens of antique shops and large antique markets showcasing the wears of up to 5,000 dealers. On a normal weekend, Adamstown bustles with recreational treasure hunters and dealers, and occasionally those shopping for the perfect prop for their Hollywood movie sets.  It is the type of town where you can find almost any antique or vintage item you desire.  

The Black Angus, Adamstown, PA

The Black Angus, Adamstown, PA

Three times each year, Adamstown hosts a special event known as the Antique Extravaganza.  During Extravaganza weeks there are more deals, more dealers, and extended shop hours.  Dealers and visitors travel from across the U.S. to participate in Extravaganza weekends to showcase their wares to customers.

Antique Shopping at Renninger's Outdoor Market

Antique Shopping at Renninger’s Outdoor Market

This past weekend, TMA traveled to the Adamstown extravaganza for only the second time in search of new, wonderful treasures to offer our clients.  Adamstown, as expected, did not disappoint.  We rose at the break of dawn (as some of the outdoor vendors arrive as early as 5am) and hit the ground running.  We started with the outdoor pavilions at Renningers, Shupps Grove, and the Black Angus.  We then took our trip indoors and visited some of the showcases at the year-round shops and markets.

Our trip was short, but sweet, and we found many exciting treasures to offer on our store.  Here are a few of the highlights from our trip.

A few of the treasures from our trip.

A few of the treasures from our trip.

Jewelry Showcases at Shupps Grove

Jewelry Showcases at Shupps Grove

Adamstown, The Heart of PA Dutch Country

Adamstown, The Heart of PA Dutch Country

Great Egg and Cheese Sandwich at Renninger's Oudtoor Market

Great Egg and Cheese Sandwich at Renninger’s Oudtoor Market

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