Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Collecting Vintage Costume Jewellery

Unlike the clothing, which as sellers become more savvy is becoming increasingly hard to find at affordable prices, vintage costume jewellery can still quite readily be found for pocket money - I think the most I've paid for a brooch was £15, and most of my collection were under £5. (As a result, my brooch collection has long since outgrown my first brooch board and I really need to make another one - or two).

I love kitschy vintage plastics. Bakelite is of course the holy grail of vintage plastic, but being highly collectable it's generally fairly high-priced. But other materials such as celluloid, lucite and early hard plastics aren't as trendy and so are much more accessible to those of us on limited budgets.


Kitsch plastic figural pins are my very favourite. These are the ones which can most often be found adorning my lapels (the ice skates normally live on my winter coat). If you're thinking about building a collection of vintage costume jewellery, think about which you're going to get most use of (that is assuming you're buying them to wear, which I hope you are because these darling pieces deserve to be seen). For me, the most versatile tend to be 'theme-neutral', like the bows or the oversize feathers and florals below. I also wear my dog and bird pins often.


How to buy vintage costume brooches... Unlike for most items, for which ebay would be my first stop, I've found it can be quite difficult to find a bargain on costume jewellery online - especially when you consider that the postage can add a hefty percentage cost. One way to get a bargain is to buy in small or larger 'lots' - that's how I bought both the florals above. The clear one came bundled with one other brooch, while the red daisy brooch was in a lot of eight (which also included the "to my sweetheart" envelope brooch above - I sold the rest, recouping what I paid).


The above all came from car boot sales and charity shops (except the enamel cherries, which was a gift). I can't remember exactly what I paid for each, but I'm pretty sure they were all under £3.


Building theme collections can be a fun way to focus your buying. I can't resist bird brooches whenever I see a bargain, and I have a bit of a thing for dogs and nautical themes as well. The poodle on the right is my newest addition - Mother bought it for me on a recent trip to Totnes.


Although I'm not really one for bling, I do love the understated glamour of marcasite. I owe my entire collection of marcasite brooches to my mother, with the exception of the one on the right, which I bought recently in a charity shop. It's a 'duette' - actually duette is a brand name, but has come to refer to all pins of this type - two matching dress clips fasten onto a brooch frame, so can be worn two ways. Art Deco and 50s marcasite jewellery can be found quite affordably, often cheaper than the slightly trendier rhinestone pieces.

See also: Top tips for Brooch Thrifting on Queens of Vintage.

24 comments:

  1. Lovely post. I love them all, such a great collection but particularly like the sailboat, the ice skates and the little horse and cart from the first picture - gorgeous! I haven't wore brooches a lot in the past but starting to add them to coats and jackets now. I have some blingy ones that were my grans, which might look nice with a dress or shawl clip I think :)
    Lianne x
    rubyrubyslippers.blogspot.com

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  2. Ooooh! I love the Cracker Jack! And dogs in cars? C'mon!

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  3. So pretty! My collection is tiny compared to yours, but I've just started. I like to wear my brooches on sweaters. I adore marcasite and definitely need a bow like yours.

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  4. Wow! Lovely selection. Your collection rivals my mums. She too often buys lots from ebay and then sells on the ones she does not want.

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  5. Oh gosh, you have quite the collection there! I don't have much of one, but I've made a start. I should wear them really - this post has been a reminder to me.

    P x

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  6. Gorgeous, like the marcasite poodle. Lovely collection, I have a growing one too!

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  7. Those ice skates in the first snap have captured my heart soooo love them. Sarah x (curious Pip)

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  8. Love the plastic kitsch lot, but my heart belongs with the marcasite collection, I adore marcasite!

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  9. Fabulous collection! I love it!!

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  10. You have a fabulous collection! I love them all particularly the birds. A girl after my own heart :)

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  11. what a great collection! I love any excuse to kitsch up an outfit! :)

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  12. My, you have quite a collection there. I like some of that marcasite.
    I am a fussy sod where jewellery is concerned and can't afford the stuff I really like! Which is Art Nouveau/enamelled etc. I have always wanted a piece of Suffragette jewellery, too, but have always lost the bids, too expensive.

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  13. So many wonderful brooches!! I'm super jealous of the "To My Sweetheart" one!!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  14. I love the little doggies in the convertible!

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  15. I also love vintage brooches, most of mine come from flea markets for just one or 2 euros each!
    Plastic is really better than gold in my eyes... of course I like bakelite, but that's became really too pricey!

    You can see a part of my collection there: http://lostin1950.blogspot.fr/2012/08/how-to-store-vintage-jewellery.html

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    Replies
    1. Wow I'm in awe of your collection, lady! Lucky old you to find so many gorgeous plastic bargains :)

      xx Charlotte

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  16. Oh your collection is heavenly! I rarely wear the brooches which is silly, as I love them. I had already resolved earlier this year to rotate them in more often and to work on my collection. You're just inspiring me even more to do that!

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    1. Oh yes do wear them - we want to see them in your outfit posts from now on! Do you have them easily visible? It's easy to forget about what you have if you can't see it, so I keep my brooches on the wall (I now have three brooch boards - I made another two after posting this).

      xx Charlotte

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  17. Thanks for sharing information about where to buy them from - and learning about all the different materials was great, too! I definitely need to start collecting some of these, they're gorgeous and some of them are so quirky!
    www.foodfashfit.com

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  18. What a splendidly marvelous collection! I'm a huge vintage brooch fan, too, and really began to build up my collection a serious way last year. I can't say as though I scored prices quite as good as the ones you talked about over on this side of the pond, but I have got some fairly good bargains as well. It's hard now, even after just one year of really collecting costume jewelry brooches to remember a time when I didn't have them to reach for each morning while getting dressed. I wear a brooch more often than not now these days and will continue to collect for the rest of time.

    Thank you for sharing your stellar collection with us, dear Charlotte!

    ♥ Jessica

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  19. You have a lovely brooch collection.

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