Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Interview: Jewelbird Vintage Costume Jewellery

Today I have my first ever interview for you!  I snuck off for a couple of hours to the Chiltern's hideaway of my friend Sally, also known as Jewelbird to talk a bit about vintage costume jewellery. 

So what first got you interested in vintage jewellery?
Well I love anything Art Deco and a few years ago I realised that I could buy little pieces of Deco style on ebay at often bargain prices.  So I started to build up a collection, mostly bits and bobs from the 20s and 30s, mainly brooches and dress clips, but also some necklaces and earrings.  I found myself looking for things in markets, sales and charity shops as well.  

Art Deco Diamante Brooch
 1930s Deco diamante brooch

20s Amethyst Glass & Silver Necklace 
20s Amethyst glass and silver necklace

Later I became more interested in contemporary jewellery and my collection languished in a box for quite a few years.  Last year I took another look, because to be honest, times were hard and I was looking for things I could sell.  I started to auction off some of my things on ebay.  From there it just took off really, I became interested in finding out more about vintage jewellery, not just from the Deco period but from the whole of the 20th Century.  So here I am, not just selling my stuff for profit but looking out for things to buy again and doing lots of research to find out more about individual pieces and about the subject as a whole.   I have a huge amount to learn!!

Why did you decide to set up Jewelbird Vintage Costume Jewellery?
Because I was becoming interested in buying jewellery to sell – trading rather than just selling my own personal collection – so I set up as a business seller on ebay then opened an ebay shop .  It’s on a fairly small scale but I liked the idea selling at fixed prices and having all my things on display together and selling more professionally.  In the future I’d definitely like to have my own website that can be a little more my own style, the ebay shop is just a beginning.

I called myself Jewelbird because – well I love birds, I love jewellery and I’m always on the lookout for jewelled birds.  This silver flying goose with rhinestones and enamel is one of the few of my old pieces I haven’t been able to bring myself to sell.  I think it probably dates back to the 1920s or even earlier.

Jewel Bird
Flying Goose Brooch (Which I'm actually coverting big time!)
Sphinx Lovebirds Brooch 
The Sphinx love birds brooch is for sale and dates from the 80s!

Does 'vintage' mean it's expensive? Or is there something for everyone?
Not expensive at all, prices vary according to age, condition, material, general trendiness and if the piece is signed.  The most expensive item I have sold online was £50 for a very beautiful pair of silver and marcasite dangle earrings from the 1920s, but I am selling 80s cloisonné enamel earrings for £4!  Most items range from £5 to £15.  There’s definitely something for everyone.

80s Cloisonne Butterfly Earrings 
80s blue cloisonné butterfly earrings

I know 1950's jewellery is going to be all the rage for the summer are there any other trends we should be looking out for?
Well definitely big sparkly rhinestone brooches .  Flowers and floral designs and the colour blue – apparently, although green is popular too!  I like this 50s brooch.  It’s on goldtone metal with pale green lucite petals/ leaves and greeny toned aurora borealis rhinestones.

Green Lucite & AB Crystal Brooch

I'm liking this too Jewelbird and green is my colour for spring! 

Do you have a favourite era for jewellery and does Jewelbird Vintage Costume Jewellery only sell jewellery from this era?
I still love the styles of the 20s and 30s but these days genuine deco pieces are more difficult to find and often very expensive when they do turn up.  I’ve become a bit of a fan of jewellery from the 50s especially diamante and crystal pieces.  Diamante has a classic appeal, its perfect to wear for special occasion, a ball or a wedding, but a pair of sparkly earrings or a necklace can look fantastic with jeans or a summer dress and brooches are incredibly versatile and can be worn in the hair, on a hat or bag – there’s lots of scope for creativity!

Diamante Mix
Rhinestone bling mix

Oh yes a bit of bling to jazz up a bag would be great! I may have to go and make another bag just to add some bling to it - Not that I'm looking for an excuse to make another bag...nooooooo ;-)

What are the benefits of choosing vintage jewellery over modern costume jewellery?
A piece of vintage jewellery is unique – generally you’re not going to find another one like it in the high street.  A piece of vintage can epitomise the particular style of an era that you love, it can complement vintage clothing and add a special something to a modern outfit.  It can be eye catching and different,  reasonably priced and often wonderful quality, especially the older items - even if the materials are not precious, the workmanship and detail is often very fine.  Old things often have another quality to them -they have personality, history and a story to tell, if only they could speak!!  They have been owned and loved and maybe discarded and abandoned and are just waiting for a new lease of life.

40s Diamante Chain Neckalace 
1940s rhinestone chain necklace

Where can we find Jewelbird Vintage Jewellery because after seeing all these beauties I'm sure everyone it just itching for a bit of vintage sparkle?
Find my shop on ebay here.  I also have a facebook page in need of some liking!! 

Green AB Crystal Necklace
Green aurora borealis crystals - loving the green Jewelbird!

Well thank you very much Jewelbird for chatting with me about vintage jewellery and sharing these treasures with us.  I think a bit of sparkle to cheer us up on these grey days is just what the doctor ordered.  In fact I'm popping along to Jewelbirds Ebay shop right now why don't you join me?

Photos used throughout this post were supplied by Jewelbird. 


  1. I love the amethyst, glass and silver necklace.

  2. Great interview Jan - some of these pieces are absolutely gorgeous!!

  3. All that Cloisonné on the eBay store has taken me back to my teens!!

  4. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about my stuff. I hope all you wonderfully creative people find it of interest :-)


  5. Really well done! Love that amythest necklace.


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