Vintage blue costume jewelry is this year’s hot new trend

There are grandmas and there were grandmas, just as there’s blue … and there’s blue.

The 21st-century granny is often a different species from the 1950s gram — about as unalike as big blue-moon Bakelite bangles and dainty sapphire-rhinestone circle pins by Weiss (which can only be described as wickedly unsexy).

My own fantastic nanny didn’t drive, wore tint-blue hair in tight perm curls and walked in shoes that made it look like something was seriously wrong with her feet, even though nothing was. Compare her with several current G-mothers: gray hair down to their waists, wearing black boots when not in stilettos, and, on the weekends not baking cookies but riding Harleys.

The analogy of grammies came to mind, because blue jewelry is often slammed as the domain of yesteryear’s little old ladies. But the factor of blue in jewels arose as a column subject while trying to purchase an Eisenberg Original ballerina brooch. The seller wanted a premium because the stones were azure, less common than ballerinas with emerald or topaz in their tutus. That relative rarity holds true across the spectrum of Eisenberg Original figurals — uncommon anyway, and more so when the crystal colors cozy up to cyan. For example, while you might be able to snag a highly desirable Eisenberg Original sterling mermaid with lemony-citrine stones and beads for, let’s say, $1,500 to $2,000, the Eisenberg Original aqua lady hued in blue fetched $3,100.

Not only is indigo blue (especially with rust) on the go-to fashion palette for Spring 2011 (memo to dealers: Dig out all things old and blue), but the shade, from robin’s egg to Smurf, is a big deal across the antiques and collectibles spectrum.

While staid little pieces of jewelry done in pale sapphire- or Montana-blue rhinestones often elicit responses ranging from “ick” to “blech” among collectors, even blue rhinestones can make modern hearts race, if they came out of the hands of certain jewelry houses and designers, especially pre-1950s. Mazer’s flamboyant, famed flower spray of magnificent 1941 proportion is a desirable brooch despite its bourgeois array of blues. Both Staret and Chanel Novelty (not Coco’s house of Chanel, which is still often confused and misrepresented) used blue stones and enameling to dramatic effect in their 1940s flowers. And both Dior and DeLizza & Elster infused even 1950s blues with the wow factor via luxurious design.

 The blues are inevitable this time of year, but, in jewelry, blues have been known to produce a seasonal high.

READ MORETOP 10 blue vintage costume jewelry categories

Warman’s Jewelry
Identification & Price Guide, 4th Edition
Warman’s Vintage Jewelry
Identification and Price Guide
Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry


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