I love antique jewelry. Vintage is great, but generally feels more “costume-y.” Antique jewelry, however, usually is fine and more delicate. The detailing found on antique jewels is unmatchable- these pieces were made before things were mass-produced, and the hand-craftsmanship and stonework is amazing to see up close. It’s hard to track down the perfect pieces, though, and even when I do it’s tough to authenticate.
One of my favorite places to shop for antiques is AlexisBittar.com. The jewelry designer used to be an antique dealer, and sells some of his favorite collectibles alongside his personal designs. I love knowing that he’s authenticated the pieces himself!
This 1900s Art Nouveau fairy ring is so beautiful. A citrine stone sits in the center, and diamonds and garnet stones are set into the carved fairies on either side. This piece reminds me of the movie Moulin Rouge! I would mix this ring with a jumble of other rings for a modern take on an antique bauble.
A “Lover’s Pin” from the 1830s is also up for sale on AlexisBittar.com, and this is one of the most intriguing pieces I’ve ever seen. The story is that it was common to give these “eye” pins to your lover- the idea being that no one would recognize the eye, so forbidden love could remain a secret! This fell out of fashion pretty quickly, so pins like this are super rare. I’d fasten it to a chain to wear as a necklace!
These “Memento Mori” earrings are from the 1880s- if you look closely at the filigree detail on the bottom, you’ll see skulls peeking through! How cool is that? The skulls are carved from actual bone, as was the custom of the time. Skull jewelry was worn way back then to “memento mori,” or, “remember your mortality”. Instead of a symbol of death, though, these pieces served to celebrate the life of loved ones who had passed or to remind you to live life to the fullest. Such an amazing concept! I love these earrings because the skulls still feel relevant to fashion today.
Which antiques are your favorites? If I had to choose just one, I’d go with the earrings!