Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Short, Rich History of Haviland Limoges China -- Shelli Nelson and Julia Arndt

Haviland Limoges china represented elegance as well as socio-economic success during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Its present day aesthetic appeal provokes the ambiance and fashion of those earlier times.  To own a Haviland Limoges item today is to own a piece of Haviland's rich and adventurous history which, for David Haviland, all began with a broken cup.

Teacup courtesy of Endearments

One day in 1839 a customer arrived at Haviland's New York City china shop with a broken cup wishing to have it replaced.  Haviland immediately recognized the quality of the porcelain but not the maker.  He thought this fine type of porcelain came only from China.  Perplexed, he researched the origins of the cup and discovered it came from France.  He traveled to France with high hopes of finding a match to his cup.

It would be in the city of Limoges that a determined Haviland finally found the cup's match and learned of a 75 year old ongoing history of china production in the region.  This was due to the discovery in the Limousine region surrounding Limoges of soil rich with deposits of kaolin and feldspar -- two principal ingredients that make hard paste, or high fired porcelain,  Kaolin is a type of earth and feldspar is a mineral that provides strength to the paste and, when fired at a high temperature, becomes translucent.  The finished result is an object that is vitreous, or glass like, and what china collectors have long admired in fine porcelain china.  As a result, Limoges has been home to numerous porcelain manufacturers over several centuries and today the name is synonymous with high quality porcelain.

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                                                     Serving Dish courtesy

Haviland and Company established a foothold in Limoges in 1842 and by the late 1800s created one of the largest and best factories there, making porcelain for the American market.  For nearly 25 years prior to establishing the Limoges factory, Haviland had run his own New York City retail and import china business and so had the experience to make the new factory a success.

Haviland not only recognized the superior quality of the hard paste porcelain, he also sought to import and decorate dishes with patterns, styles and techniques that appealed to Americn aesthetics. As a result, he achieved extraordinary success and fame in Europe and America.

He shipped large quantities of undecorated, or "blank," Limoges porcelain to America and created studios to import and decorate them.  He employed his own artists under the direction of Felix Brocquemond, a renowned ceramics decorator.  Brocqemond entertained artists such as Monet, Manet and the Damousse brothers, who influenced many of the floral designs.

Haviland porcelain was a tremendous success the 1853 World's Fair in New York City; it caught the attention of the White House, which began using the china.  Americans loved the Haviland decorated products and the demand for his china increased greatly.  David Haviland quickly became known as a leader in the making of fine china and instrumental in creating the American market for Limoges porcelain, thus making it a household name.

Plates courtesy of

Today's fine china collectors are delighted when they discover a piece with the renowned Haviland mark.  That mark represents a rich history that spans four generations of enterprising Haviland porcelain makers.  They established the most distinctive, best quality porcelain and set new artistic achievements in the making of fine china.  The next time you are out treasure hunting and find a piece of Haviland, you may find your heart pounding. If the piece speaks to you then you should surely snatch it up!

Resources:  Collector's Weekly

Friday, September 26, 2014

Native American jewelry

Vintage Sterling Silver Native American Zuni R                  

Native American jewelry refers to items of personal adornment, whether for personal use, sale or as art; examples of which might include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and pins, as well as ketohs, wampum, and labrets, made by one of the Indigenous peoples of the United States. Native American jewelry normally reflects the cultural diversity and history of its makers, but tribal groups have often borrowed and copied designs and methods from other, neighboring tribes or nations with which they had trade, and this practice continues today. Native American tribes continue to develop distinct aesthetics rooted in their personal artistic visions and cultural traditions. Artists may create jewelry for adornment, ceremonies, and display, or for sale or trade. Lois Sherr Dubin writes, "In the absence of written languages, adornment became an important element of Indian communication, conveying many levels of information." Later, jewelry and personal adornment "...signaled resistance to assimilation. It remains a major statement of tribal and individual identity.
Native American jewelry can be made from naturally occurring materials such as various metals, hardwoods, vegetal fibers, or precious and semi-precious gemstones; animal materials such as teeth, bones and hide; or man-made materials like bead work and quillwork. Metalsmiths, beaders, carvers, and lapidaries combine these materials to create jewelry. Contemporary Native American jewelry ranges from hand-quarried and processed stones and shells to computer-fabricated steel and titanium jewelry.
The Navajo, or Diné, began working silver in the 19th century. Atsidi Sani, or "Old Smith," (ca. 1828-1918)  who may have been the first Navajo blacksmith and is credited as the first Navajo silversmith, learned to work silver from a Mexican smith as early as 1853.

Native American Lizard Brooch Vintage Signed Navajo 

Zuni jewelry-making dates back to Ancestral Pueblo prehistory. Early Zuni lapidaries used stone and antler tools, wooden drills with flake stone, or cactus spine drillbits, as well as abrading tools made of wood and stone, sand for smoothing, and fiber cords for stringing. With the exception of silver jewelry, which was introduced to Zuni Pueblo in the 19th century, most of the materials commonly worked by Zuni jewelry makers in the 20th century have always been in use in the Zuni region. These include turquoise, jet, argillite, steatite, red shale, freshwater clam shell, abalone, and spiny oyster.
Since pre-contact times, Zuni carve stone and shell fetishes, which they trade with other tribes and even non-Natives. Fetishes are carved from turquoise, amber, shell, or onyx. Today, Zuni bird fetishes are often set with heishe beads in multi-strand necklaces.
Lanyade became the first Zuni silversmith in 1872. Kineshde, a Zuni smith of the late 1890s, is credited for first combining silver and turquoise in his jewelry.[63] Zuni jewelers soon became known for their clusterwork.
Santo Domingo Pueblo, located on the Rio Grande is particularly known for heishe necklaces, as well as a style of necklace consisting of tear-shaped, flat "tabs" strung on heishe shell or turquoise beads. The tabs were made from bone inset with a design in the traditional mosaic style, using bits of turquoise, jet and shell. These beautiful and colorful necklaces are also sometimes incorrectly identified as "Depression Jewelry", however their origin certainly predates the Great Depression, and they are still being made today in large quantities by the Santo Domingo Pueblo.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vintage and antique textiles

Portrait Pillow Lucrezia Borgia Unique Vintage Handmade 

 textile or cloth is a flexible woven 
material consisting of a network of natural or
artificial fibres

The word 'textile' is from Latin, from the adjective textilis, meaning 'woven', from textus, the past participle of the verb texere,  'to weave'
The discovery of dyed flax fibres in a cave in the Republic of Georgia dated to 34,000 BCE suggests textile-like materials were made even in prehistoric times.
The production of textiles is a craft whose speed and scale of production has been altered almost beyond recognition by industrialization and the introduction of modern manufacturing techniques. However, for the main types of textiles, plain weave, twill, or satin weave, there is little difference between the ancient and modern methods.
Incas have been crafting quipus (or khipus) made of fibres either from a protein, such as spun and plied thread like wool or hair from camelids such as alpacas, llamas, and camels, or from a cellulose like cotton for thousands of years. Khipus are a series of knots along pieces of string. Until recently, they were thought to have been only a method of accounting, but new evidence discovered by Harvard professor Gary Urton indicates there may be more to the khipu than just numbers. Preservation of khipus found in museum and archive collections follow general textile preservation principles and practice.
During the 15th century, textiles were the largest single industryBefore the 15th century textiles were produced only in a few towns, they shifted into districts like East Anglia, and the Cotswolds.
Textiles can be made from many materials. These materials come from four main sources: animal (wool,silk), plant (cotton, flax, jute), mineral (asbestos, glass fibre), and synthetic (nylon, polyester, acrylic). In the past, all textiles were made from natural fibres, including plant, animal, and mineral sources. In the 20th century, these were supplemented by artificial fibres made from petroleum.
Textiles are made in various strengths and degrees of durability, from the finest gossamer to the sturdiest canvas. The relative thickness of fibres in cloth is measured in deniers. Microfibre refers to fibres made of strands thinner than one denier
Sources available for the study of clothing and textiles include material remains discovered via archaeology; representation of textiles and their manufacture in art; and documents concerning the manufacture, acquisition, use, and trade of fabrics, tools, and finished garments. Scholarship of textile history, especially its earlier stages, is part of material 
culture studies
For vintage textile

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Ephemera (singular: ephemeron) is any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, bookmarks, catalogues, greeting cards, letters and so on.

Vintage 50s Card Humourous Novelty Birthday 

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Sunday, September 21, 2014


Stained glass window

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Silica (the chemical compound SiO2) is a  common fundamental constituent of glass that contains about 70 to 74% silica by weight and is called a soda-lime glass. Soda-lime glasses account for about 90% of manufactured glass.
Silicate glass generally has the property of being transparent. Because of this, it has many applications. One of its primary uses is as a light-admitting building material, traditionally as small panes set into window openings in walls, but in the 20th-century often as the major cladding material of many large buildings. Glass is both reflective and refractive of light, and these qualities can be enhanced by cutting and polishing to make optical lenses, prisms, fine glassware, and optical fibers for high speed data transmission by light. Glass can be colored by adding metallic salts, and can also be painted. These qualities have led to the extensive use of glass in the manufacturing of art objects and in particular,stained glass windows.
Although brittle, glass is extremely durable, and many examples of glass fragments exist from early glass-making cultures. Because glass can be formed or molded into any shape it has been traditionally used for vessels: bowls, vases, bottles, jars and drinking glasses. In its most solid forms it has also been used for paperweights, marbles, and beads. When extruded as glass fiber it becomes an insulating and structural reinforcement material, especially when embedded as a plastic composite in fiberglass.
The term glass developed in the late Roman Empire. It was in the Roman glassmaking center at Trier, now in modern Germany, that the late-Latin term glesum originated, probably from a Germanic word for a transparent substance.
Naturally occurring glass, especially the volcanic glass obsidian, has been used by many Stone Age societies across the globe for the production of sharp cutting tools and, due to its limited source areas, was extensively traded. But in general, archaeological evidence suggests that the first true glass was made in coastal north Syria,Mesopotamia or Ancient Egypt. The earliest known glass objects, of the mid third millennium BCE, were beads, perhaps initially created as accidental by-products of metal-working .

Roman glass
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Glass remained a luxury material, and the disasters that overtook Late Bronze Age civilizations seem to have brought glass-making to a halt. Indigenous development of glass technology in South Asia may have begun in 1730 BCE. In ancient China, though, glassmaking seems to have a late start, compared to ceramics and metal work. In the Roman Empire, glass objects have been recovered across the Roman Empire in domestic, industrial and funerary contexts.

Glass was used extensively during the Middle Ages. Anglo-Saxon glass has been found across England during archaeological excavations of both settlement and cemetery sites. Glass in the Anglo-Saxon period was used in the manufacture of a range of objects including vessels, beads, windows and was also used in jewelry. From the 10th-century onwards, glass was employed in stained glass windows of churches and cathedrals, with famous examples at Chartres Cathedral and the Basilica of Saint Denis.Stained glass had a major revival with Gothic Revival architecture in the 19th-century. With the Renaissance, and a change in architectural style, the use of large stained glass windows became less prevalent. The use of domestic stained glass increased until most substantial houses had glass windows. These were initially small panes leaded together, but with the changes in technology, glass could be manufactured relatively cheaply in increasingly larger sheets. This led to larger window panes, and, in the 20th-century, to much larger windows in ordinary domestic and commercial buildings.
From the 19th century, there was a revival in many ancient glass-making techniques including Cameo glass, achieved for the first time since the Roman Empire and initially mostly used for pieces in a neo-classical style. The Art Nouveau movement made great use of glass, with René LaliqueÉmile Gallé, and Daum of Nancy producing colored vases and similar pieces, often in cameo glass, and also using luster techniques. Louis Comfort Tiffany in America specialized in stained glass, both secular and religious, and his famous lamps. The early 20th-century saw the large-scale factory production of glass art by firms such as Waterfords and Lalique. From about 1960 onwards there have been an increasing number of small studios hand-producing glass artworks, and glass artists began to class themselves as in effect sculptors working in glass, and their works as part fine arts.
Cameo glass
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Art nouveau jelly jam pot

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Miriam Haskell

Miriam Haskell Gold Gilt Brooch/

Miriam Haskell (July 1, 1899 – July 14, 1981) was an American designer of costume jewelry. With creative partner Frank Hess, she designed affordable pieces from 1920 through the 1960s. Her vintage items are eagerly collected and her namesake company continues.
Born in a small town across in Indiansto a Russian Jewish immigrant parents , she studied for three years at Chicago University. Moving to New York City in 1924 with $500 in her pocket, she opened a jewelry boutique in 1926 in the old McAlpin Hotel, and a second outlet within the year at West 57th Street. Frank Hess joined her business the same year. Despite some controversy concerning the extent to which the jewelry designs are Haskell's or Hess's , the two worked together until Miriam left the company; Hess continued to design for many years afterwards. In the 1930s, the company relocated to 392 Fifth Avenue; their affordable art glassstrass (diamond imitation,rhinestone), and gold-plate parures 
( set of jewels intended to be worn together)  were popular throughout the Great Depression, and the company went on to open boutiques at Saks Fifth Avenue and Burdine's, as well as stores in Miami and London. The Saks shop also offered pieces by Chanel.

Miriam Haskell, in the Thirties, courtesy of Malcolm H. Dubin, Cincinnati.
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Miriam Haskell jewelry was worn for publicity shots, films, and personal use by movie stars Joan 
crawford and Lucille Ball, as well as by Gloria Vanderbilt and the Duchess of Windsor. Crawford owned a set of almost every Haskell ever produced, from the 1920s through the 1960s.
Her vintage pieces can command high prices from collectors. However, her jewellery was seldom signed before 1950, it was her brother Joseph Haskell who introduced the first regularly signed Miriam Haskell jewellery. For a very short time during the 1940s, a shop in New England did request all pieces they received be signed by Miriam - this signature being a horseshoe-shaped plaque with Miriam Haskell embossed on it. Pieces with this signature are rare.
The horror of World War Two affected her health and emotional stability; in her fifties, she became ill, despite an adherence to health food. In 1950, she lost control of her company to her brothers. Living in an apartment on Central Park South with her widowed mother through the next decades, she became increasingly erratic in her behavior. In 1977, she moved to Cincinnati, under the care of her nephew Malcolm Dubin, and died in 1981. It was a sad ending for an exceptional life, but, as Pamfiloff writes, "Obviously, the legacy of her dream has filtered on down through the decades. It was a man’s world. Designers were men. The owners of companies were men. The staff was men. The salesmen were men. It was all men. And then you had Coco Chanel, who just jumped right out there, and a couple of other women who carved out their own niche in the world. Haskell did that, too".

MIRIAM HASKELL Milk Glass Pendant Necklace

MIRIAM HASKELL EARRINGS -Signed-Round Button Style

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian Antiques

The Georgian era of British history is a period which takes its name from, and is the first four Hanoverian kings  who were all named 'George': George I, George II, George III and George IV. The era covers the period from 1714 to 1830 .The definition of the Georgian era is often extended to include the short reign of William IV, which ended with his death in 1837. The last Hanoverian monarch of the UK was William's niece Queen Victoria who is the namesake of the following historical era, the Victorian, which is usually defined as occurring from the start of her reign, when William died, and continuing until her death.The term "Georgian" is typically used in the contexts of social history and architecture.

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The Victorian era of British history  was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death, on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence for Britain.[Some scholars date the beginning of the period in terms of sensibilities and 
political concerns to the passage of the Reform Act 1832.
The study of Victorianism is often specifically directed at Victorian morality, which refers to highly moralistic, straitlaced language and behaviour. 
Culturally there was a transition away from the rationalism of the Georgian period and toward romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and arts
Queen Victoria ,

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The Edwardian era  in the United Kingdom is the period covering the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 
1910, and is sometimes extended beyond Edward's death to include years leading up to World War I.
The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 and the succession of her son Edward marked the end of the Victorian era. Edward was the leader of a fashionable elite that set a style influenced by the art and fashions of Continental Europe—perhaps because of the King's fondness for travel. The era was marked by significant shifts in politics as sections of society, such as common workers and women, became increasingly politicised.
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