Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vintage Rhinestone Jewelry

Antique Rhinestone Dress ClipAntique and vintage rhinestone jewelry has become a very popular fashion accessory over the last few years. This current trend has increasingly been seen during fashion week runway events and in the personal attire of professional working women. It has also become a very wearable collectible that adds beauty and style to any ones appearance. Rhinestones are clear or colored glass that have been cut and polished to resemble or simulate diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. The name rhinestones originated in Germany where crystals were found in the Rhine River. These natural crystals, once cut and polished were early substitutes for diamonds.
Chechoslovakian Emerald Rhinestone Dangle Earrings Antique Round Rhinestone Pin Antique Art Deco Dress Clips
It wasn't long before the good quality natural quartz crystals became scarce and jewelers began to grind glass into a glass paste that could be molded and then heated. The outcome of this process was a dense glass with an opaque surface that didn't reflect the light very well. These stones became known as paste and were often wrapped on the underside with silver or copper foil to enhance the light reflection.
Vintage Rhinestone Earrings Antique Snowflake Rhinestone Pin Antique Pave Basket Pin
In the late 1800's, a new glass cutting technique and machine was developed by Daniel Swarovski that allowed the glass or stone to be cut with many facets.  Facets reflect the light and make the stones sparkle. The use of higher lead content and other chemicals in the glass batch also improved the glass clarity and its ability to refract light.This was the beginning of modern day rhinestones.
Vintage Blue Rhinestone Round Pin Vintage Sterling Czech Amber Rhinestone EarringsVintage Emerald and Clear Rhinestone Necklace and Earrings
Antique Clear Rhinestone Dress Clips Vintage Kramer Amber Necklace and Matching Earrings Vintage Clear Rhinestone Clear Choaker Necklace and Matching Expansion Bracelet

At first in the early 1950's, rhinestone jewelry was considered cheap costume jewelry until designers like Coco Chanel made it fashionable.  Her designs and influence made costume jewelry acceptable around the world.  When movie stars, Broadway actresses and the showgirls in the Ziegfeld Follies began to wear rhinestones jewelry, rhinestones became an integral part of American fashion for their glitz and sparkle.
Vintage Clear Rhinestone Bracelet Antique Photo Locket Watch Pin

Today vintage rhinestone jewelry is valued not only for its sparkle but for its quality of workmanship and its beautiful designs. Rhinestone jewelry always makes the perfect gift for that special someone. Or why not start your own personal collection today?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Antique Cuff Links For Elegance and Style

What creates more style and elegance  for a man than a beautiful pair of antique cuff links. Cuff links make a wonderful fashion statement for a black tie event or a quiet college affair.  When it come to looking good, cuff links add that little extra special touch.

Cuff links come in a wide variety of styles and metals but one of the most distinguishing characteristics  of antique cuff links is the clasp.  Here is a brief overview of the different cuff link clasps.

Toggle bar cuff links
The toggle bar cuff link is a toggle mechanism that can rotate vertically between two bars. The toggle is moved vertically to fit through both cuff holes. Once through the toggle bar is moved to the horizontal position to  secure the cuffs  in place.  This design became popular in the 1940's and is still popular today.

Vintage Cuff Links, Gold with Diamond Handcrafted

vintage men's cuff links and tie clip

Vintage Cuff Links, Silver and Mother of Pearl, Handcrafted

Snap link cuff links
The snap link cuff links consists of two piece that come apart in the middle, push together and pull apart.  Manufacture of this type of cuff link started in about 1910-1918 by companies like Kum-A-Part, Snap-Link and Bear and Wild and  were popular in the 1920's and 1930's.  They were machine made of base metal with gold or silver and mother of pearl embellishments.  They were convenient to wear  but the snap mechanism sometimes failed causing the cuff links to come apart unexpectedly.

Antique Snap Link Mother of Pearl and silver Cuff Links Antique Snap Link Mother of Pearl, Silver and Gold Cuff Links

Double Panel cuff links
Double panel cuff links consist of a chain or a bar or a bridge connecting two identical decorated shapes together.  French makers,  Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermes and Boucheron preferred this style because the cuff links appear of hug or grip the sleeve.

Single Panel cuff links
Single panel cuff links are just like double paneled cuff links except only one side of the identical shapes are decorated.  With single panel cuff links the undecorated side must be worn on the cuff facing inward against the body. 

Swivel Bar and Pivot cuff links
The swivel bar cuff links have just one decorated panel on each cuff link and a movable bar on the back.  The bar is lined up with the cuff holes and then is swiveled horizontally to hold the cuff in place.  The pivot cuff link has one side that is immobile and a connecting bar that is able to pivot.

Ball or Oval back cuff links
Ball and oval backed cuff link have a  immobile closure mechanism shaped like a ball  or an egg attached to a rod.

Show off your own personal style and elegance with antique cuff links during the holidays and other special occasions.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Corning Glass Museum Experience

     I first visited the Corning Glass Museum in the early 1970's.  My mother had heard the museum  had a large collection of early American pattern glass and she wanted to see it.  Back then it was a small museum with one long wall of floor to ceiling glass panels.  Inside the small space, there were rows and rows of glass cabinets filled with pattern glass.  The lower level was occupied by the Steuben Glass Studio and museum. In 2014, I took my daughter to see the museum and it has changed a lot since that first visit. Now, it is a very large museum with a world renowned fabulous glass collection.
     The Corning Museum of Glass was a gift to the people of American to commemorated the one hundredth anniversary of the Corning Glass Works and was designed to tell the story of glass.  That was in 1951 and by 1978 the museum had out grown its space.  A new addition was designed with a library and galleries and the new museum opened to the public in 1980. By 1990, the museum was again out of space and a 65 million expansion project was undertaken to increase the efficiency of visitor flow and to expand gallery space.  And the museum just continues to expand.  No sooner was an expansion project completed another  project was started.  Now under construction is the North Wing Expansion scheduled to be completed soon.
     Today the Corning Museum of Glass tells the story of 35 centuries of glass from around the world. It also contains specialized galleries like the Frederick Carder Gallery, a gifted designer who oversaw the Steuben Glass Works.  Tiffany, Galle, Loetz, Daum Nancy, Lalique and many many other outstanding glass manufacturers are also featured. Your senses are overwhelmed as your eyes moves from one outstanding piece of glass to the next.

 The Contemporary Gallery features stunning works from artists from around the world. 

There is a special exhibit gallery that was featuring breathtaking pieces from the artist Rene Lalique when we visited this fall, including design drawings and a video showing glass production in his studio in the 1930's.

The Innovation Center is a big display area featuring many interesting facts and hands on activities concerning glass.

The Glass Market is massive and fills the entire first floor of the museum.  It is a feast for the eyes where you can purchase almost anything your hearts desires that is made of glass.

If you love beautiful glass you will love the Corning Glass Museum.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sampson World War II Navy Veterans Memorial Museum

At the beginning of World War II the United States Navy had four Boot Camps (Training Stations), they were located at at San Diego, CA; Bainbridge, MD; Newport, RI; and Great Lakes, IL. Because the need was so great during the war, three more camps were added, one at Norfolk, VA; Sampson, NY; and Farragut, ID.
  When World War II started, my father was drafted into the Army. When his papers came in the mail to report for a physical, he instead went and enlisted in the Navy.  He was forty years old and had previously served in the Navy when he was in his twenties.  He was sent to the Great Lakes Training Station near Chicago.  Because of his age and prior service, he was trained as a boiler mechanic and operator. After he completed his training he was stationed in New York at the  the newly built Sampson Naval Training Station, as a boiler maintainer.

  Sampson was built on the shores of one of the finger lakes, Seneca Lake. It was a beautiful quiet area in central New York that soon became the size of a small town.  The base cost 56 million to build, had 498 buildings, covered 2500 acres, with large drill halls that were 600 feet long and 120 feet wide. The Sampson Naval Training Station was established in less than a year, 270 days to be exact, and opened on October 17, 1942. All but two of the building were built out of wood because the Navy predicted the war would not last very long. The base closed in May of 1946 after training 411,429 sailors.

Drill Hall Under Construction

  When recruits first arrived a three hour transition from civilian to "boot" took place. They were given a buzz hair cut, striped naked, given a extensive physical and shots, issued gear, and had all of their personal items including their clothes sent home. Training usually lasted about six weeks. WWII Navy Boot Camps like Sampson trained thousands of sailors to board ships and win the war.  

    A few weeks ago, I visited the Sampson Naval Training Station.  It is now Sampson State Park and the base has disappeared.  All but two of the buildings have been demolished and a lovely grass covered campground and park on the shores of Seneca Lake has taken its place.
  The Navy brig, a stone structure, was restored by Navy and Air Force veterans and now contains the Sampson World War II Navy Veterans Memorial Museum. The museum contains uniforms, mementoes, pictures, guns, souvenirs, and other artifacts from World War II.

Items from Sampson Naval Training Station for sale for at Reuzeit Emporium.
Legging or "Boots"
Worn by Trainee's
World War II 
mailing box
World War II 
Navy Garrison Hat
World War II 
Souvenir Pillow
World War II,  Navy Uniform, White, Shirt, Pants
Navy Uniform, World War II, Dress Blues
Navy Sailor's Hat
The Making of a Sailor, 
U.S. Naval Training Station
World War II 
Souvenir Pillow
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