Saturday, June 7, 2014

Crosses in Regency Jewelry

When I first started researching Georgian jewelry, I couldn't help but notice how frequently cross pendants were featured.  They show up on originals, but also are regular guests in fashion plates:

Early 19th Century Pink Topaz cross, sold at Sotheby's

Elizabeth Monroe's Topaz cross pendant (1817-1825), Smithsonian

Given how common they were, I really wanted to have them as an option for my reproduction Regency jewelry.  I'm a big fan of trying to reproduce the most common types of jewelry, and crosses certainly qualify!

I was frustrated in my searching.  I couldn't find anything that had the right "look" and I didn't want to settle.  I found a few settings, but they were either too small or too big or were for square rhinestones, and the major thing I noticed is that the stones in the originals were almost always ovals or round.

Circa 1770 Georgian Paste cross pendant, Via Ebay

Finally, after exhaustive searching and emailing and researching, I found a company in Germany that makes settings for modern Swarovski jewelry and they made some settings for me in my requested size.  I'm always nervous when ordering custom made stuff because it doesn't always work out (ask me about the hundreds of unusable settings I have lingering around in my craft room...), but these were everything I hoped they would be!  I spilled the beans about these on my Facebook page earlier this week because I just couldn't wait!

Reproduction Georgian Cross Pendants by Dames a la Mode

A reproduction paste glass cross pendant hooked on to one of my collet necklaces

Some of the colors of reproduction Regency cross pendants I offer

I'm really thrilled with these, and I think they really capture the look of the cross pendants from the period.  What do you think?
Jane and Cassandra Austen's Topaz crosses, at Chawton House

19th Century faceted paste pendant, via Ebay

Circa 1830s Topaz cross, via Ebay

Circa 1830s Aquamarine cross, via Ebay
Amethyst Paste cross, circa 1780, via DB Gems

I'm planning on offering this mostly as custom orders and add-ons to my reproduction collet necklaces, but I've listed a few stand-alone cross pendants in my Etsy shop if you'd like to take a look:

Monday, June 2, 2014

What Size Collet Necklace Do I Need?

There are a lot of different sizes of vintage rhinetones that I use to make my collet necklaces, everything from diminuitive little 8x10mm sparkles to giant 20mm statement stones.  It can be really tough to decide which size is right for you, and it isn't always easy to tell what size they will be from the photos in my Etsy shop.

I recently did a professional photoshoot with my friend Wilson Freidman, and one of my goals was to be able to see what the various sizes look like when being worn.  Keep in mind that I am full-figured, tall, and have a slightly-larger-than-average (17 inches) neck.  These will look different on a more delicate figure.  So here are a few examples:

12x10mm Oval Peridot Collet
10mm Round Pink Tourmaline Collet

Layered 12x10mm Pink Tourmalines, Diamonds, and Peridots

14mm Round Emerald Collet

14x10mm Octagon Ruby Collet

Layered 18x13mm Oval Peridot and Sapphire Collets

18x13mm Peridot Collet

20mm Round Peridots
And, for the ultimate luxury look, Anna Wintour Style Layered Collet Necklaces.  I'm wearing a 12x10mm octagon diamond, 18x13mm peridot, 18x13mm sapphire, and 20mm peridot.  LUXE!

 At the time I'm writing this, I have all of these collet necklaces in stock in my Etsy shop, but my stock changes all the time.  If you're looking for a particular size, just let me know!  I'll be happy to let you know what I have available in each of these sizes.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Get the look: Anna Wintour Necklaces

A few weeks ago, I did a photoshoot with a friend of mine so I could have some professional pictures of my collet necklaces to use in my Etsy shop.  I decided at the end to throw a few on at once, a la Anna Wintour, with the hopes that I could get one to use as my profile picture in my shop.  And man, I just LOVE this look!  (All photos by DriftingFocus Photography)

Anna Wintour Style Necklaces

Collet Necklaces worn layered, a la Anna Wintour

In the above photos, I am wearing 4 necklaces, 12x10 foiled Diamond, 18x13 foiled Sapphire, 18x13 unfoiled Peridot, and 20mm foiled Peridot.  At the time of writing, all are available in my shop:  Dames a la Mode.

I especially like the styles above, because it has two big greens, offset by a more subtle Diamonds and Sapphires. (Hahaha!  I can't believe I just described this as subtle!)

I did a few more with different necklaces:

Anna Wintour Collet Necklaces
These two necklaces were in the above photos as well, but worn without the larger Peridot and the Diamond.  I love pairing these types together because they are the same shape and size, but have different colors in the stones and the settings.  I think it makes a nice contrast while still having continuity.

Anna Wintour Style Necklaces

Anna Wintour Necklaces by Dames a la Mode
They styles above are all smaller necklaces, a 12x10 Pink Topaz, 12x10 Diamond, and 12x10 Peridot.  These are also currently available in my shop, along with dozens of other styles, sizes, and colors of Anna Wintour necklaces, which you can mix and match to your heart's content!  Which ones would you pair?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1790s Sparkles

Last night I went to the Birthnight Ball at Gatsby's Tavern in Alexandria, VA.  This is a ball set in 1793 and is celebrated to honor George Washington's birthday.  It's a really unusual year, costume-wise.  I mean, how often do you see events in the 1790s?

I did a bit of digging in fashion plates to see what kind of jewelry I should wear, and my favorite source for 1790s fashions is, without question, Gallery of Fashion.  

So far I haven't found any colored jewels in the Gallery of Fashion plates (thought by no means have I read every description- they may very well be there), but you see diamonds show up a lot.

Gallery of Fashion, April 1796. (Detail)

A partial description of this plate: "Diamond clasp upon the shoulder...upper bracelets and girdle of black velvet, set with Diamonds.  Diamond necklace and earrings."  Her hair is described as having "Diamond pin and black velvet loop, trimmed with Diamonds in the front."

Gallery of Fashion, February 1795 (Detail)
She is described as having a "Diamond necklace and earrings" and her hair has "A Diamond star in the front, and Diamond pins around the cap."

Gallery of Fashion, June 1795 (Detail). 
If you can get past her derpy face, the description on her plate includes: "Festoon Diamond necklace and Diamond earrings" while her hair is described as "ornamented with Diamonds."  I also adore her fan!                                  

Gallery of Fashion, June 1795 (Detail)
This lovely lady is wearing "two Diamond pins in the front" of her hair and "A Diamond necklace and Earrings."

Gallery of Fashion, March 1796 (Detail).

Not only does this lady have truly spectacular feathers, but she also has "A Diamond necklace" with a lovely pendant.

 I have some truly stunning vintage Czech glass "diamonds" so I decided to make a little demi-parure with a necklace and earrings.  I love these cushion octagon shapes, which look so "real" to me.   I wanted to have some festoons on it (those are the little loopy bits) or a pendant, but the truth is that I ran out of time.  Between having my hair done by the magnificent Jenny la Fleur and getting dressed for the ball, I threw together this necklace and earrings.  No time for fiddling with the fancy bits!

Inspired by so many of the women with their hair ornaments, I also wore a set of my 18th Century Aigrettes (Hair jewels), which are available in my Etsy shop at the link.

Overall I'm very pleased with the look of this outfit, and I think the choice of simple yet sparkling Diamond jewels really pulled it all together!  If you are interested in a set made of these stones, just contact me through my Etsy shop and I'll be more than happy to make you a custom set!

By the way, if you are interested in seeing the full plates and descriptions, I've posted them in their entirety on my fashion plate Tumbler.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rocking our Parures

I went to a Regency 12th Night party this weekend, and it was spectacular.  One of the best things about it is that there were 7 people there wearing my jewelry, so I got a chance to see how it looked.  Even better, the party was lit entirely with candles and fireplaces, so I REALLY got to test out the effect in firelight.  I was NOT disappointed.

First up, here I am in my 18x13 citrine parure:

I'm wearing a necklace, two bracelets, and single stone earrings.  

Here's the full set when it isn't on: 
Reproduction Citrine Parure (Click for link to Etsy)

I made a custom Citrine parure for Jenny-Rose (the famous Jenny la Fleur) out of graduated stones.  I thought her double stone earrings were particularly lovely!

Jenny-Rose working her hair magic on our hostess!

And I had another custom parure for Leia (of Wear When Why), which she debuted that evening.  She chose the 18x13 Peridot stones for her parure, and these things were spectacular in the firelight.  The foil-backing really makes them shine.  Gorgeous!

I don't have a full parure listed, but the necklace and earrings are available on Etsy (and I'll be happy to make you a full set if you would like!

Peridot Collet and matching Earrings (demi-parure)

And finally, the two lovely ladies side-by-side, and a little blurry!

Sadly, there were a number of other ladies there but all of my pictures of them are blurry messes!  A good excuse for us to get together in our finery again!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Girandole earrings in 18th Century Paintings

When I started testing out the designs for my reproduction girandole earrings, I was a little worried that they were too large.  Here's a crappy picture of me wearing the largest I offer, so you can get a sense of the scale:

These Girandoles are about 2 inches long and are available here

Then I started looking for images of girandole earrings in 18th Century paintings and HOLY SMOKES, those women were not afraid of wearing some incredibly large pieces of jewelry!

I call this collection "Do these earrings make my bling look big?"

(Note: almost all of these are detail shots of larger and lovely paintings!)

Portrait of Maria Francisca Pignatelli by Anton Mengs, before 1769

Self Portrait with Daughters by Antoine Pesne, 1754

Catherine the Great by Aleksey Antropov, 1760-1770

Charlotte of Mecklinberg by Thomas Frye, 1761

Infanta Maria Ludovica by Anton Mengs, Prior to 1779

Maria Luisa de Parma by Anton Mengs, 1765

Juliane Marie, Queen of Denmark by Unknown, 18th Century

Portrait of Princess Ekaterina by Ivan Arguvnov, 1754

Maria Luisa de Bourbon by Anton Mengs, Prior to 1779

Maria Amalia of Austria by Martin van Meytens, 1760s

Queen Charlotte at her Dressing Table by John Zoffany, 1764

So the lesson I leave you with, lovers of Georgian sparkles, is please do not fear the giant rhinestones.  Especially if you are an 18th-Century Aristocrat!