Vintage custom jewellery…it’s making a big comeback…even on fashion runways!

Austrian crystal aurora borealis brooch
Austrian crystal aurora borealis brooch

I have always had  an attraction to vintage jewellery, especially crystal. I started to make my own bracelets many years ago as I couldn’t find jewellery that I liked and that I could afford. I also gave them as gifts, donated them for charity and eventually participated in few art shows. As I enjoy going to flea markets, garage sales, I bought a significant amount of old beads, broken necklaces that I recycled into my own collections. This was a serious hobby, but I couldn’t make a living doing it. In parallel, I also started to collect some pieces that caught my eye. Some of them to wear and some for resale.

I love to do the research about the vintage jewellery that I acquire. I have a nice collection of books about the history of jewellery, the various designers, price guides. And of course the internet has endless information on the subject.  Some of the names that you may have heard of are: Trifari, Miriam Haskell, Weiss, Maison Gripoix, Elsa Schiaparelli and much more.

One of my favorite Canadian jewellery designers is Montreal Gustave Sherman (died in 1984). He’s well known for using top quality Swarovski crystals and the use of color combinations that were very avant-garde. Not all of his jewellery is marked as it was sometimes only printed on the box or the tag. I once bought a signed blue Sherman brooch at Value Village for $10 (…it was missing a stone). I had it repaired and made a nice little profit when I sold it on eBay… His slogan was: ‘Made to last a lifetime’…I think that he would be very proud that is jewellery is still highly collectible! If you are also a fan of Sherman or you would like to find out more, I would recommend that you buy a book called ‘Sherman Jewellery: The masterpiece collection’ by Sandra Caldwell & Evelyn Yallen (lots of photos and tons of info about the history etc…)

Vintage custom jewellery is making a come back, as we have seen during the last few months at major fashion shows: Chanel, Christian Dior, Prada…

So check out your mother or grandmother’s drawers to find that old brooch that she only wears at weddings or at funerals! What is your favorite piece of vintage jewellery that you own or that you would love to get?

Isabelle V.




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