IntoTemptation…..jewellery musings

Thoughts on jewelry, accessories and whatever else takes my fancy

Archive for the month “June, 2009”

Jewel of the day: kimberlite ring

This ring was made for my mother-in-law when she lived in South Africa. It’s a beautiful piece of kimberlite, a rock formed by the melting of the earth’s mantle and in which diamonds are typically found. The crystals that make up kimberlite give the “stone” a beautiful sheen.  This is large, about 1-3/4 inches. It’s my knuckle duster almost diamond!



Jewel of the day: Sherman beads

I have become a big bead fan. (Yes, just what I needed – yet another thing to collect!). I originally turned to both Dior and Sherman beads because they were a lot cheaper than the rhinestone pieces. Well, as in so much else that relates to collecting, those days are over and good vintage beads can be quite pricey now. Alas…

Sherman used Swarovski crystal for his beads and while much of what he did was the fairly typical double or triple round or teardrop shaped strands, this one is different. These are long, skinny bicone shaped beads in an intriguing golden mink and aurora borealis colour. I think the correct Swarovski name is vitrail. The earrings are also quite unusual for Sherman – haven’t seen this bead design before with quite the same clasp/earring back. All pieces are signed Sherman, another rarity since most of his beads are not signed. As these are a recent acquisition, they are not in the book, Sherman Jewellery: The Masterpiece Collection.


Jewel of the day: Vega Maddox

Vega Maddox was a California artisan whose wares were sold in the sixties and seventies. Not a lot is known about her but her jewellery has remained popular, if elusive. Her designs usually incorporated birds, butterflies, flowers and foliage. Shown here is a very long and elaborate necklace made with semi-precious beads and stones and enamel work and set in what I think is low grade silver, or possibly silver plated base metal.  The earrings, nearly three inches long, were bought separately and are not a match per se, but can certainly be worn together. Pieces are usually, but not always, signed Vega with an engraving tool somewhere on the reverse. The word exuberant fittingly describes Maddox’s designs!



Jewel of the day: Antonio Pineda owl

Antonio Pineda is among the Mexican silver designers whose work is sheer genius. This little owl (he’s about an inch and three quarters high), with moonstone eyes and matching screw back earrings, is such a striking design. Despite the small size and simple triangular shape, Pineda has rendered the owl’s predatory nature so well. I love its fierce look (instead of the somewhat cuter and less sculpted owl pin Pineda is better known for) and faint deco styling. I was thrilled to see it at the recent UCLA exhibition of Pineda’s work.


Jewel of the day: Christian Dior beads

I am going to be super busy tomorrow so getting a jump on things by putting this up a bit early….

I used to think beads were for old ladies and terribly unattractive. Then I discovered Christian Dior. Gorgeous, heavy glass beads, often with Venetian glass, the strands are anything but boring. This was my first set. Twelve glass strands and a magnificent clasp worn at the front, with matching earrings… Luscious…


Jewel of the day: Toshikane gods of fortune bracelet

The level of detail in the porcelain faces of this bracelet, referred to as the fortune gods or seven immortals, always amazes me. Each individual plaque is backed by silver cut to fit. This is very easy to wear but, being porcelain, I am always a bit ginger with it as I’d hate to crack or break one of the faces! The gods are often found in button sets, less often in this bracelet. Circa 1950s.Fortunegods

Jewel of the day: Boucher

Boucher was really my first designer costume jewellery love. I first saw the ruby flower in Vivienne Becker’s fantastic book Fabulous Fakes and vowed to stop collecting once I had found it. Well, that didn’t happen… And the retro styled bow is one of the pieces that I doubt I will ever part with. One of the things I like best about Boucher is that because of his early career in fine jewellery, his costume pieces are generally well designed and crafted and have a very real look to them.



Jewel of the day: Victorian angel pin

I was drawn to this pin at an antiques show because I had never seen one of these painted porcelain pins that wasn’t simply of flowers. Portraits do exist, but this little angel really captured my heart. Terribly sentimental and utterly Victorian. This is a transfer print applied to porcelain, brass backed. It’s likely circa 1880-1900.


Jewel of the day: Herve van der Straeten

I adore Herve Van der Straeten’s work…he’s been designing jewellery since the mid -1980s but now does mostly furniture and industrial design. Van der Straeten designed the lipstick container for Guerlain’s Kiss Kiss line, and the bottle for Dior’s J’adore perfume, among other commissions.

You can still find his jewellery, but I really prefer his earlier pieces, like the one I’m showing here today. Like much of his work, it’s hammered, gold dipped brass (he also works in silver plated metal but doesn’t often incorporate stones). This eye shape, reminiscent of Dali, features a tear drop shaped lapis lazuli stone, which hangs freely, as the pupil of the eye.


Jewel of the day: Jeanine Payer

I first noticed Jeanine Payer’s jewelry about ten years ago, a fabulous necklace that was crafted to look like a tiny book. Engraved on the “pages” was a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, and set on the panels were two miniscule photos of a baby with applied gold angel wings, set under glass.

Since then, I have collected several of Ms. Payer’s pieces and have been fortunate enough to visit her shop on Market Street in San Francisco. I also met her at a trunk show at a local department store, where I bought a wonderful solid and weighty heart engraved with verse from the Persian poet Rumi.

This piece is unusual in that it was crafted for one of the poets whose work she quotes, Kate Richey, and due to its massive size. It measures about 5 x 4 inches. Most of Ms. Payer’s pieces are fairly dainty. The top is a lovely piece of onyx, prong set into a silver backing with engraved poetry.

You can see her work at



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