Tag Archives: flea markets

Custom Order Spotlight:Wedding Earrings

I love custom orders, especially custom orders for weddings. I am always so honored that someone trusts me to create jewelry for their special day. It’s also a great excuse to sing sappy love songs in my studio at the top of my lungs and just have a good time making.

Besides singing “Chapel of Love” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” one of the other things I love about custom orders is the challenges they present. Fitting the jewelry to the person, their style and their personality and often keeping within certain parameters.

My latest custom wedding order came from one of my co-workers, Sarah. She had a jewelry set from her grandmother that she wanted to wear on her wedding day. The necklace and earrings were beautiful, but the earrings were posts and not the dangle-ly, long earrings that Sarah wanted for her wedding.

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Before: Sarah’s grandma’s lovely jewelry set

So, my challenge was how to turn posts into long, dangle-ly earrings. That itself is not much of a challenge, but creating temporary dangles are a different matter.

In a lot of my pieces I try my best to respect the original object, and not create new holes or altering it, and thereby keeping the original piece in tact.

To create dangle-ly earrings out of posts the answer was to build on top of filigree and essentially fasten (as you would to your ear) the earring to the filigree–keeping the earring in its original state and not altering it. Especially since Sarah will want to wear these again.

What’s fun about fastening earrings posts to filigree is that you have 2 pairs of earrings, 2 different styles, and 2 different looks that you can easily change up yourself.

Here’s the “After”:

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Sarah’s wedding earrings are made with vintage brass filigree that my mom and I found at a Paris flea market (I used some of my private stash because the metals matched perfectly!), antique gold watch chain links, clock cogs, rhinestone rondeles, brass chain links (that matched the necklace’s chain links), flat mother of pearl buttons,  pear shaped pearls, and Sarah’s grandmother’s crimson flower earrings.

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To match the earrings, I added pearls and a rhinestone rondele to the bottom of her grandmother’s necklace.

I couldn’t wait to go to work Monday morning and see Sarah’s face. She is someone with such a big heart and I am so happy that she is getting married in September. She is going to be a beautiful bride. Congratulations Sarah!

For those of you who are interested in custom orders, email me at bohemianromancejewelry@gmail.com. I’m ready for the next fun challenge!

 

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W.S. Rockwell Brass Valve Tags

In my flea market & thrift store travels I often happen upon little pieces of history. My mom and I picked up these brass tags, marked W.S. Rockwell, at a street fair & flea market in NYC in September. Yesterday was a deliciously rainy morning and afternoon so I curled up with some tea and did a little research. Here’s what I discovered:

W.S. Rockwell Co. was established in 1880. The company made furnaces and was chartered in 1908. They owned many patents on their furnace innovations, like this one for a tilting crucible melting furnace. Their main office was located on 50 Church Street in New York City in the Hudson Terminal Building. Their company slogan was “Better Heating, Lower Cost.” Their dedication to a quality furnace and thus quality heat lead them to write a book on their industrial craft in 1922 called The Elements of Industry. The book itself is fascinating–filled with diagrams and explanations of metal working.

I found little about the tags themselves, except that they were used to identify and differentiate between valves. I have a whole key ring of valve 29s. They are beautiful brass tags that certainly reflect the beauty of Rockwell’s furnaces.

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Flea Market Find: Bradley & Hubbard Inkwell

I love typography and anything that makes print & type and so I find myself collecting letterpress drawers, vintage stamps & pens, and antique inkwells among other things. My mom happened upon this inkwell a month ago at a flea market and I have just now had time to sit down and research more about it.

My only clue was its (very difficult to read) makers’ stamp and model no. on the bottom (pictured below). I have found that when a stamp or brand is difficult to decipher 2 tricks work best: 1) rubbing the stamp with chalk (a trick that worked well here because I could not tell whether or not the Bs in Hubbard were in fact Bs and not Rs.) or 2) paper and crayon (which you would use as you would a grave rubbing).

Here is what I have discovered: This inkwell is in fact a Bradley & Hubbard Bronze Mission Style (or Arts & Crafts) Double Inkwell, model no. 6062.  The company began in Meriden, Connecticut in 1852. Their primary products were clocks; however, they prospered during the Civil War and came to manufacture a vast number of oddities: hoop skirts, measuring tapes, match safes, kerosene lamps, desk accessories (like the inkwell), and hearth necessities (andirons and the like). Their products were carried in many stores, including Sears & Roebuck. To learn more about Bradley & Hubbard, click here.

If you are looking for a Bradley & Hubbard inkwell yourself, make sure you check for their brand: a triangle with a lantern inside. Along the three sides of the triangle is stamped their name: “Bradley & Hubbard MFC. Co.”

A google search for a Bradley & Hubbard Co. Mission Inkwell will reveal several Ebay auctions and antique dealers’ listings. There are a number of these inkwells out there and for a wide range of prices. I have found nearly immaculate inkwells for $450.00 and ones that need a little TLC and elbow grease for $75.00. My mom found mine for a steal—a whopping $45.00. It is one of my favorite flea market finds & acts as both a conversation piece in my home, inspiration for my writing, & a prop for photographing my Steampunk jewelry.

Have you had any lucky finds at your local flea market this summer?

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There’s a Heart in Every Locket!

I love vintage & antique lockets! When I stumble across one at a flea market or estate sale I usually end up buying it. As jewelry, they are often intricate & beautiful and as nostalgic objects, they are both mysterious & romantic. I wonder what torrid love affairs the wearer had or unrequited loves they may have harbored. Lockets seem like they have secrets already inside.

This particular locket came with a mystery–a trademark that eventually lead me to its history. I was able to track down information about W & H thanks to the New York Public Library’s digital archives of advertisements and a few skilled Ebay auctioneers.

The trademark inside this locket, “W & H Co” (pictured below as 1) with a heart etched around it (pictured below as 2), belonged to Wightman & Hough Company who operated out of Providence, Rhode Island.

Wightman & Hough Company made sweetheart necklaces from 1856 until 1922. They were primarily renowned for their lockets. Their slogan, which I find to be quite amusing & sweet, was “There’s a heart in every locket!” How true! Below are 3 of their advertisements:

Though I do not know the exact date of this locket as of yet (sadly, I must wait a long while for an inter-library loan to come through for a jewelry catalog from 1910 to verify thestyle & date of this locket)–I believe it is from the latter period of W & H Co.’s production. The design on the locket is an Art Deco pattern and the stones (which are all in tact) are sapphires which were popular at that time.  For now I know the approximate value of the locket is between $65.00-$250.00 (I paid $12.00 which makes me feel a bit like a Robber Baron).  You never know what you will find & what it is worth until you do a little digging–sometimes you’ve gotta trust your gut! Happy Flea Marketing everyone!

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Saturday in New York City

                           

My mom and I, fabric shopping in Mood. I was pleasantly surprised by everyone’s sincere friendliness and helpfulness. I expected a cold shoulder since I am not a wholesale buyer or a designer, but was happily mistaken. I found exactly what I was looking for—a pale gray patterned cotton for a pair of Edwardian bloomers I am making from a Folkwear Pattern (the pattern is called Edwardian Underthings).

We also happened upon this stunning brocade fabric which we had to buy to fashion a Victorian style skirt. I am so excited! The fabric is stunning—the other side of it is completely covered with netting which ages the fabric’s look by 100 years

Our next stop was the Antique Garage Flea Market (on 24th Street by the Tish Building). We saw everything from antique writing desks, pornography from 1911-1941, vintage & junk jewelry, old books & vintage apparel, to WWII death announcement cards.

          

 

Here are my finds:

Three antique hat pins—so dainty & dangly!

Vintage chains—one with pearls! So delicate & feminine!

A child’s silver identification bracelet, engraved: “H.A. [worn too much o discern] Pinehurst Ave., Troy, NY”

Three vintage cuff links—can’t wait to Steampunk these!

A metal pill box, not vintage but beautiful. I am going to gut the plastic out of the inside and replace it with a very soft velvet.

                    

Two silver lockets—I have already begun collecting lockets for a collaborative project with Tara @ Plume Perfumery. We are going to make a line of Steampunk perfume lockets filled with Victorian scents!

I wish that every Saturday were filled with flea markets & fabric shopping!

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Today’s History Lesson

In the spirit of Labor Day I would like to share a story. Doing what I do–scouring flea markets to find things to upcycle into Steampunk jewelry, I wind up with roundabout history lessons. Today’s lesson is courtesy of one of my patrons, Casey. A year ago Casey purchased a necklace from me, it was made with cute pink glass beads and a tiny silver metal bow and a bronze metal tag that I had purchased at the Stormville Flea Market.

While Casey and her husband were grocery shopping, the gentleman who checked them out was astonished by the bronze metal tag on Casey’s necklace. He asked her excitedly where he could find one and told her of their rarity. As it turns out, the bronze metal tag (which I took to be an old hotel room key tag) was in fact a coal miner’s tag! Coal miner’s tags are rare because they are often kept within families as an heirloom and passed down from generation to generation. Coal miner’s tags are unique to American history and cannot be found elsewhere.

Miner's Board where miners would hang their tags

Miners' tags

I was eager to know more–and so, like most people, I googled “coal miner’s tag” and a very interesting interview popped up which I urge you to read if you’re at all interested. Carol Malcolm-Parsons, daughter of a coal miner, provides us with a definition & description of what coal miner’s tags are and what function they serve: These tags are a “symbol of a career”–the career of a miner. Each miner has a tag and, in her words,  “each mine, I guess, can do it different. Some of [the tags] just have their Social Security number. Some of them have the miner’s last name and first initial or something. So before you go underground, you have to move your tag to the section of the board that shows that you’re underground.” These tags were a safety measure–though not as famous as a  canary in a birdcage.

I bought three tags at the flea market that day. I only have one coal miner’s tag left and I wish I could discover who it belonged to because it is more than a “symbol of a career” but a life lived–so whoever you were, Coal Miner no. 38, Happy Labor Day.

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