The Allure of Vintage


The Allure of Vintage

 Cartier Vintage Art Deco Necklace Set 

When a 1925 Cartier vintage necklace set with diamonds and rubies came up for auction in Hong Kong in the year 1994, it went unsold. However, nineteen years later, the same vintage necklace fetched more than twice the earlier estimate, selling for HK$4.82m to a select private collector.

The sparkling gems in the necklace were set in a classic art deco style, designed by a very renowned French jewellery house. However despite the necklace’s provenance, the experts say that demand for such pieces, particularly in China, did not even exist 20 years ago.

Vintage and Antique Costume Necklaces and Earrings attractive to Buyers

In the past ten years however, interest from the Asian market in antique and vintage costume jewellery has gathered speed, partly because buyers have thrown off  supposed superstition about pre-owned pieces and also  because such necklaces and earrings makes an attractive proposition for investors.
Buyers are eyeing a range of periods and style – from antique through to art deco and right up to designs of the 1990s by JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal), the exclusive and Paris-based jeweller.


Growing Trend for Buying Quality Vintage Jewellery Pieces

Pieces of known provenance are particularly sought after. At a Hong Kong auction in April, the Cartier Collection, the famous jeweller’s heritage archive, paid $27.44m for a jadeite necklace that was the subject of a 20-minute bidding war. The growing trend for buying quality vintage necklaces as opposed to newer jewellery is now seen in a younger generation of buyer. These are buyers who may have inherited jewellery, and are paying attention to period pieces. 


Vintage Aquamarine and Amethyst Necklaces are in Demand

Owning a special unique piece has a cachet – whoever is wearing the vintage necklace,vintage brooch or earrings knows they will not bump into somebody else wearing the same piece. And limited availability for vintage jewellery always enhances the value. Particular stones are also popular with aquamarine and amethyst jewellery being a favourite

Above - vintage necklaces from Modern Vintage Style
An appreciation of the workmanship that goes into vintage jewellery is driving demand. Period pieces will be handmade from beginning to end, which is not always the case with more modern or vintage style jewellery, where computers are often used for precise cutting.


Classic Pearl and Gold and Silver Vintage Necklaces

Vintage necklaces are particularly in demand. Whether it’s classic pearl necklaces, long gold and silver designer vintage necklaces or more costume jewellery necklaces the vintage market has never been busier.  Glitzy vintage costume jewellery necklaces are always popular with some of the vintage necklaces from the big brands of recent decades, such as Trifari,Coro, Butler and Wilson, Monet , being most sought after.

Miriam Haskell Vintage Pearl Necklaces

In years gone past in Hollywood the big starts such as Joan Crawford were fans of costume jewellery necklaces from early on. Joan Crawford was a regular client of acclaimed costume jewellery designer Miriam Haskell. Vintage Haskell necklaces are among the popular designer’s most sought-after pieces. Some necklaces have only a single strand of faux pearls. Others have multiple pearl strands in matching or different sizes and colours—from traditional white to smouldering dark brown. Even the necklace clasps are opportunities for embellishment, with rose montées, pearls, and filigree decorating the ends of the clasps.


Faux Pearl, Gemstone and Rhinestone Crystal Necklaces worn by old Hollywood stars

Famous designer Coco Chanel was another admirer of costume necklaces, providing faux-pearl and glass-bead necklaces to such stars as Elizabeth Taylor. After World War II, Christian Dior combined faux emeralds or rubies with sparkling rhinestones. Greta Garbo, Claudette Colbert, and Vivian Leigh are just some  of the other influential movie stars who routinely wore sparkling costume necklaces.

One particular designer whose main focus was Hollywood was Eugene Joseff. His company, Joseff of Hollywood, made stunning costume jewellery necklaces for such films as “A Star is Born” (1936), and “Casablanca” (1942). In that Alfred Hitchcock classic film Grace Kelly wore a Joseff necklace with a spectacular strand of faux diamonds.


1950's Costume Jewellery - Trifari Jewellery

By the 1950’s costume jewellery necklaces had become so admired that Mamie Eisenhower felt perfectly at ease wearing a Trifari costume jewellery necklace to the inaugural ball in 1953. To match the First Lady’s pink  gown (dripping with sparkling rhinestones), Trifari’s Alfred Philippe produced  an "orientique" pearl choker with matching three-strand bracelet and earrings  each with eight pearls. Three sets of this jewellery were made: one for the First Lady, a second for the Smithsonian Museum, and a third for the Trifari company archives. Mrs. Eisenhower was so pleased with the result that she had Trifari make a parure of jewellery for another inaugural ball in 1957.

Other very collectible vintage costume jewellery necklaces include Coro’s Vendome rhinestone-studded chokers, Elsa Schiaparelli’s bright pink  lava-rock necklace collars, and Stanley Hagler’s coral floral type necklaces.

Related Articles Vintage Jewellery Guide-,  Costume Jewellery Overview  


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