Wednesday 24 October 2012


As luck would have it, a cabinet has just become free at The Old Flight House and I now have the perfect showcase for a good selection of costume jewellery to compliment the clothing and accessories I'm selling from my unit. So everything is under one roof, which is wonderful. I've divided the cabinet into four main stories - Diamante & Sparkle; Shimmering Pearls, Golden Delights and Finishing Touches, which all work well with the heirloom jewellery trend that is so strong for Autumn/Winter 2012. I'll move the items around and add more evening bags and perfume bottles as things sell and hopefully people will fall in love with the vintage pieces as much as I did...

Diamante & Sparkle

When you open the cabinet you are greeted with the heady aroma of Jean Patou's signature 1000 fragrance. There's hardly any of the rich floral perfume left in the collectable cut glass bottle from the 1970's, but it's almost as fresh and strong today as it was all those decades ago. The nose behind the fragrance is Jean Kerleo who created 1000 for Patou in 1972 and the chypre floral Sublime in 1992. Apparently 1000 took its name from the multitude of formulas that were tested before a final fragrance was agreed upon. The bottle would look lovely on a dressing table, displayed alongside show-stopping diamante jewellery and stretch lame evening gloves. 

Shimmering Pearls

In the pearl section there are several strings of vintage knotted pearls with sparkling diamante clasps, as well as stunning pearl statement brooches by leading costume jewellery designers such as Sphinx (British: 1940's - 1990's) and Trifari (American: 1918 to present). Pearls have been used to embellish several designer collections this season, including tailored pieces by Balmain and Dolce & Gabbana. If you are a deft hand with a needle, you could easily customise the lapels or cuffs on a jacket with a flurry of pearls, or simply pile on the pearl jewellery a la Chanel. As Coco Chanel said, 'A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.'

Golden Delights

An oversized gilt brooch adds a touch of glamour to a winter- or evening coat and looks stunning worn two or three at a time. Think Marilyn Monroe and Dita von Tees. The American premium jewellery house, Trifari, stars again in the Golden Delights section, where there's a brooch and earring set complete with Trifari logo swing tickets and the original 1960's Bloomingdale's box it came in. On the right, you can also see a Trifari Rooster brooch with a faux pearl belly and ruby red Swarovski crystal eyes, which is a rare piece from Trifari's 1960's Fantasia collection of jewelled insects and animals.

Finishing Touches

I'm always on the look out for niche fragrance houses and you can't get more niche than the Bacorn Perfume Company of Elmira, New York, that created fragrances for only a short time between 1911 to 1927, when the factory sadly burnt down. Fortunately many of the empty fragrance bottles, complete with their unique Art Deco labels and pretty glass stoppers, were salvaged from the fire and were left in storage for the next 68 years. It must have been quite a discovery when they were unearthed in 1995.  There are three Bacorn bottles in this section - New Mown Hay from 1911, Carnation and Narcissus Toilet Water, both from 1915. There is also a richly embroidered minaudière (box clutch) with oyster satin lining, a generous mirror in the lid and a dainty satin wallet attached with a gilt chain - a perfect party piece. Highly reflective Aurora Borealis crystal necklaces and coloured pearls also feature here, as well as dressing table pieces and original 1950's millinery trimmings, that look beautiful worn as a corsage or used to adorn a room.

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