A Little Bit About Me and a Whole Lot About My Process and Product
I have been a lover of all things antique and vintage for as long as I can remember. As a younger teen, I'd stay up very late to watch old movies, wishing to be Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth or Maureen O'Hara. I fell deeply in love with the fashions of the periods from the 1920s through the 1940s - those clothes! those shoes! the nylons with the seams up the back!
"New Old Stock" Components
Gorgeous brass jewelry components had been abandoned to the back of the warehouses of the findings manufactures and the now defunct jewelry houses on the East Coast where most of the jewelry making in the U.S. was happening. Having been relegated to history as fashion trends changed, they have never been used in jewelry designs until now, hence they're called new old stock.
However, their neglect over many decades brought about something wonderful - having escaped being plated in silver or gold, they've aged to beautiful mocha or stunning ginger patinas. (Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The color of the patina depends on the percentage of the copper content.)
Most of my components date from the 1930s through the 1970s. However, some have dated back as far as the Edwardian era at the turn of the 20th century (very early 1900s), as well as through the 1920s. Very rarely, as collectors have let go of their private stock, I've been fortunate enough to have had some from even the Victorian era of the late 1800s.
Beads and Crystal
I incorporate only the finest beads available, be they new or previously unused vintage stock. The majority are contemporary premium Czech glass from makers Preciosa Ornela and PAS Jablonec. The glass makers of this area of Eastern Europe, once known as Bohemia prior to WWI, have been designing and producing the highest quality beads for hundreds of years in an incredible array of colors and styles. They can be so varied, you'd never know they have the same origin. I love the flexibility this gives me to create according to my moods and muses.
Also included in some designs are vintage Swarovski crystal rhinestones, vintage and contemporary Swarovski crystal beads, as well as contemporary Swarovski pearls. Located in Austria, Swarovski, is of course the first and oldest name in sparkling, high quality crystal of every kind.
My Design Process
To be very clear, I do not take apart old jewelry to make new. I design and create, from the bottom up, the most beautiful hand assembled jewelry I possibly can. Each creation is the result of many hours of working out a design and bringing it together. I love small details. They may not be immediately noticeable without close inspection, but they're very visible in what they lend to the appearance of the overall piece. Between beads, wire, and hooks, even a pair of earrings may sometimes have as many as 10-12 components.
All beads are hand wired and cabochons hand set by me. Many of the rhinestones are as well unless I come across exceptional components with them already preset.
No piece is finished until I'm completely satisfied with it in order to bring you, to the very best of my ability, some of the finest, most unique assemblage jewelry available. If I don't like it first, you will never see it. While building this site, I've also found I tend towards certain colors. I'm simply drawn to the colors that best accommodate the patina of the brass, but do accommodate custom request in different colors.
The rarity of many of the vintage brass components, meaning my vintage creations are very rarely repeated. This means your purchase will, in all likelihood, be the only one of its kind. I do occasionally repeat contemporary designs, usually in a variety of colors.
I do sometimes design with contemporary brass pieces if I find them to be both interesting and of good quality. Each design in my store explicitly states whether they are made with vintage or contemporary components.
While my main focus is vintage and vintage inspired creations, I'm able to design in a variety of styles. Talk to me about the style you're looking for.
I also create custom rosaries, with all beads individually hand wired by me, by request.
Monica's Vintage Jewels
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