Photo Practice- Three Dimensional Jewelry

I got out my camera today to practice taking photographs of jewelry, and choose a few pieces from my collection to highlight.

The first selection is a pot metal dress clip and pair of screw-back earrings with light aqua celluloid flowers. They look like they’re from the 1930s. These were challenging to photograph because of the uneven color of the metal, and the shape of the earrings. They aren’t flat, so I had to prop them up a little bit. The worn metal makes it hard to capture the delicacy of the design but I think this turned out pretty well.

My second selection was an ornate rhinestone shoe clip that has clear rhinestones, rhodium metal, and lots of dimension to it. It was a struggle to get the right amount of light – too little, and the rhinestones look dull, but too much, and the reflection is distracting. I first tried to photograph it flat but the results were terrible. I then put the clip on a shoe, as it’d actually be worn. The challenge was to get the whole clip in the photo but I realized a side view gives a slightly better idea of what it looks like. My challenge is try again with the shoe clip and maybe use a filter over the light source to make it less sparkly. I’d like to show the pair but that really didn’t work so well – I just couldn’t get them both in focus at the same time. Back to the drawing board!

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Treasure Hunt in the Hollywood District

This past weekend, Todd and I wandered around a couple of the antique/vintage/junk malls in the Hollywood District before our wine and pasta run to Trader Joe’s. We stopped at Hollywood Antiques and Hollywood Reruns, two antiques/collectibles spots on SE 42nd. I’m not a big fan of “collectibles” at antique stores but it doesn’t prevent me from looking around all the little booths, some selling fun vintage wear and some selling junk.

Our first stop was Hollywood Reruns, which has more collectibles than antique or vintage wares. The big draw here are the magazines downstairs. They have a wide variety ranging from McCall’s to Mad Magazine to issues of the Saturday Evening Post from the 50s. It’s a great place to browse. The place also sells new unfinished pine furniture…which seems out of place to me but they’ve been selling it for years.

As always I went to the jewelry case first, and found a pair of shoe clips that had different backs than any of the others in my collection. Instead of hinged clips, you just fold the metal gently to attach them to your shoes. I image these were made in the 50s or 60s. The price was great – $3. I also saw a strand of pop bead plastic pink pearls but as fondly as I remember then from childhood, now they just looked cheap.

Shoe clips circa 1950s or '60s

Our next stop was Antique Alley, right next door. It’s the downstairs part of a mall that has all kinds of odd little stalls upstairs. It had more vintage and antique goods than Hollywood Reruns but some vendors just sold collectibles and replicas. It’s a fun place if you don’t mind wandering through lots of stuff to find a real gem. I saw some excellent antique marble prosthetic eyeballs, old black and white postcards, toys from when I was a kid, and lots of great jewelry, costume and fine. In one of the booths I saw a pretty little dress clip hidden in the corner. I asked a friendly salesperson to show it to me, and was surprised to see how decorated the back of the clip mechanism was. The stones are bezel set and the piece looks hand-wrought but I’m not sure.

Dress clip, likely from the 1930s

It was a fun afternoon for a wonderful sunny day. For serious collectors, I’d say skip these places and go to the place across the street, Hollywood Antique Showplace. We ran out of time but I’ve been there before -beautiful antique furniture, glassware, and jewelry. There’s very little junk there, but of course, the prices reflect this.

Two clips and a brooch

My vintage jewelry obsession includes all kinds of clips: shoe clips, dress clips, fur clips, clip earrings. From the 1920s through the 1950s, various dual purpose clips were patented. Dress clips and fur clips were sold in pairs with a separate frame with a pin on the back.  The clips could be temporarily attached to the frame to make one brooch, or worn separately as two or three. I have two brooches that separate into pairs of clips – one separates into dress clips, and the other into fur clips.

This first piece is a Coro Duette, and is likely from the 30s or 40s; the frame mechanism was patented in 1931. The brooch separates into two fur clips. The long, dangerous looking double-pronged clip was apparently to clip onto one’s fur; it could hold two sections of a thick fur stole than a regular dress clip. I purchased this at Magpie Vintage.

Coro Duette brooch - attached

Coro Duette - two fur clips

I’ve had this Weiss clip pin (shown below) for years . It’s a dress clip from sometime after 1942, when the Weiss jewelry company was founded. This piece doesn’t have a patent number but it is marked “Weiss.” You can see that the clip mechanism isn’t short enough to be a shoe clip, and doesn’t have the double-pronged clip that a fur clip typically does.

Weiss brooch - attached

Weiss brooch - two dress clips

For more information on vintage clips, see Illusion Jewels.