Valentine’s Day Jewelry

By Karen Parr-Moody



As is historically the case, jewelry will be a hot gift this year for Valentine’s Day. According to a National Retail Federation survey, 17 percent of those surveyed expect to buy their beloved a sparkly something (only cards beat jewelry out, at 52%).


At GasLamp, all that glitters is waiting to be the object of someone’s affection.


Following World War II, Americans returned to making large quantities of costume jewelry. It was during this period that faux pearls become popular for younger women.


No pearl necklace was more famous than Jackie Kennedy’s iconic three-strand, seen being tugged on by her toddler, John Jr., in more than one photo.


The glamorous four-strand in the photo, right, is a luscious blend of cream and pink tones, and evokes the glamour of Camelot (pearl necklace and earrings set, $45; Showcase B-110).


In the photo, below left, is a gorgeous engraved double locket with chain, perfect for containing photos of one’s beloved ($85; Showcase B-110). Lockets, in various forms, have been around for centuries. But it was the Victorians who, as they did for so much of the arts, imbued them with romance. The most popular lockets held an image of a man and woman in each half of the locket, facing each other; it was as if they were looking into each other's eyes.


Like lockets, cameos have also been around for centuries, going back as early as Roman times. Slightly more recently, Napoleon attended his coronation wearing a crown festooned with cameos. While cameos had once been carved from ivory, conch shells, and even pieces of Wedgwood porcelain, after World War II, synthetics such as celluloid and Bakelite were used. The cameo necklace in the photo, right, is from the 1930s, and is in its original box ($89.95; Booth B-231).


Brooches have been around since before recorded human history, firstly as a simple fastening mechanism, and then, later, decorated for the same use. The earliest development of the brooch as an ornament of true decoration came from the Byzantines. They produce brightly enameled brooches inspired by an oriental flair for color. This was the watershed moment for the popularization of the brooch: The design was carried along trade routes as far away as Britain.


After the early twentieth century, brooches were primarily categorized as costume jewelry worn by women for decorative reasons. They thrived until the relaxed fashions of the Seventies. The pink crystal brooch in the photo, left, is perfectly colored for Valentine’s Day (clear crystal brooches, $30 and $38; Booth B-231).


The colonial city of Taxco, Mexico, is known worldwide as the city of silver. Hundreds of silversmiths fashion pieces of renowned finesse from this location, as with these vintage, heart-shaped earrings, photo, below right ($35; Showcase S-104).







Amid the chocolate, flowers and cards this Valentine's Day, jewelry holds a special place. Men who need a gift for that special lady will find vintage jewelry is a romantic token of their affection that is also one-of-a-kind. And for those who are single, there’s never a bad time to indulge in a little self-appreciation, now is there?

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