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Great Vintage Jewelry

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Joan Rivers on Fashion

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Joan Rivers on Fashion - Some Insightful Excerpts From Her Book

by Veronica Roser
Great Vintage Jewelry

See My Collection of Retro Modern Jewelry For Sale Here

Joan has very interesting, down to earth things to say about Jewelry and Fashion in her book Jewelry by Joan Rivers. She has had a remarkable, life time love affair with jewelry, and her stories are enlightening and fun to read for all ages. I highly recommend her book to the novice or the serious jewelry collector. The book is full of very remarkable photos of jewelry and fashions. The cover photo is the most impressive photo of Joan you will ever see.

~It’s In The Mix ~

" People often ask me about the “ rules of fashion .” It’s a question that stumps me every time, because “ rules of fashion ” is really an oxymoron. Fashion is not the now, nor has it ever been, a set of “dos” and “don’ts” carved on stone tablets in some secret cave. Fashion, like art or music, isn’t a thing, but a form of self expression. It’s a language without words, and to count its manifestations we’d have to count fingerprints, because each woman’s style is strictly her own.

            I’ll never forget the moment when I saw and truly understood both the lawlessness and the impact of fashion. It was many years ago, in early spring, and I was one of about a dozen guests at a rather fancy dinner party. At the table was a woman wearing a pale pink suit made from a slightly nubby fabric. Her blouse was cream-colored silk, high necked ; she wore her hair in a French twist ; and around her neck were pearls. Wait, let me rephrase that : around her neck were pearls, miles of pearls, pearls draped in a dozen lengths that began close at her neck and descended all the way to her waist. Her pearls were a mix of weights and sizes, and various strands were punctuated with crystals, little hints of gold, and sparkling details that caught the light. At her ears were more pearls, lovely drops that moved with her, and on her wrists she wore two different kinds of pearl bracelets, plus a watch whose band was a triple strand of pearls. Does it all sound like too much? Yes, on paper it probably does. But in real life the look was astonishing , dazzling. I couldn’t take my eyes off her ~ nobody could. It’s not that the woman was young and gorgeous, you understand. But she was, in a word, magnificent. She outshone the candelabra, the place settings, the company, the food. Her presence added so much to the evening that she was kind of a centerpiece unto herself, and it seemed as though that party would have been nothing without her.

            Now, that’ only one side of my dinner party story, because the Woman in Pearls did have competition, style- wise. And that competition came from a young woman at the other end of the table. She was wearing a simple, one-shouldered gown, and her long hair was brushed to one side, like Veronica Lake’s, so that it curtained part of her face and curled against one bare shoulder. On her one exposed ear that woman wore a single spectacular earring, with more facets and colors than a stained glass window at Notre Dame. It was the only piece of jewelry she wore. It was the only piece of jewelry she needed. Now, anybody who looked very closely could have seen that this young woman was no ravishing beauty. But who knew? Her style was so breathtaking and so complete that those little flaws ~ the slightly crooked nose, the too- high forehead ~ looked entirely intentional.

            The moral of the story ? Make your own style. Yes, you can mix gold with silver. Yes, you can pile on the jewels, lead the eye on a merry chase, make a game of hide and seek. Yes, go ahead, cluster pins, stack rings, and dangle bangles from both arms, or take them all off and wear a single stunning piece. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. "

~ In Praise of Earrings ~

"Never underestimate the power of earrings ~ they are the jewels that dress your face. Earrings can accentuate the line of your neck or make your checkbones stand out ; they can draw attention to your hairstyle, your jawline, even your smile. Perhaps most important, earrings reflect the beauty of your eyes. Look at yourself in the mirror : first you’ll notice the sparkle and glow of your own eyes, those God-given jewels in which so much can be seen. Second, just beyond and slightly lower, you’ll catch a second set of twinkling gems. When you think of it, earrings not only frame your face but really are like another pair of beautiful eyes. Like our eyes, they speak volumes about who we are. Unlike our eyes, we can change them as often as we want.

            When buying earrings , take good look at your face, hairstyle, and neckline. If your features are small or your bone structure delicate, you’ll probably look best in petite button earrings studs or drops. Conversely, if your features are strong or your bone structure is pronounced, larger, splashier earrings will probably flatter you best. Hairstyles are important to consider, too : short, chic ‘dos area a natural showcase for earrings and look great with everything from twinkling studs to shiny show stoppers. Longer, fuller hairstyles are more of a challenge ; they call for earrings that stand out from the face yet don’t get lost in the length.

            Now examine your neckline : is it long and swanlike or shorter and more athletic looking? While women women with very long necks can wear almost any style with ease, shorter-necked women should avoid extremely long earrings that “ connect” the space between the ears and the shoulder. In any case, no earring should crash against the collarbone.

            Besides choosing the right shapes and styles for your face, there are some great little tricks that can be played with earrings. For instance, no matter what color your eyes may be, they will be ultra-enhanced by earrings that match. Want to play down a less-favorite facial feature ? Long, dangling earrings tend to slenderize the face because they accentuate the length rather than width. A less-than-firm jawline will tighten right up with the addition of large, strong clips, especially if they’re geometrically shaped. And how about those earlobes? One of Mother Nature’s less charming gifts is that, as we age, our earlobes tend to become elongated. Button style earrings are a brilliant way to disguise that problem, and many earrings combine both bottons and drops – so your options are almost unlimited.

            While we should always wear what pleases us, there are, in the land of earrings, certain combinations that almost always work. For a fun, casual look, try slim hoop earrings with a velvet baseball cap or woolen beret. Sporty outfits – even tennis whites or ski gear- look great with a simple studs. On special occasions, fancy up- ‘dos practically beg for big, dramatic earrings that glitter by candlelight ; if you’re into back swept hairstyles, such as French braids or ponytails, try some short drop earrings.

            Finally, consider where you will be when you are seen in your earrings. If you’re, say, giving a presentation at the lawn club or accepting an award for best actress, you may be tempted to wear those tiny diamonds – but who will know except you and a few sharpies in the first row? When you are going to be seen from a distance, go fro drama. Conversely, intimate situations call for intimate jewelry. I could make an argument for wearing little stud earrings with your nightgown, even if your “nightgown” is a football jersey. Why not? Earrings, among their other powers, can make us feel feminine and flirty in almost any situation. "

~ Harry Winston ~

"They called him the “king of diamonds.” He was the man who steamed across oceans of flew across continents whenever a large, rare gem came up for auction or emerged from obscurity. He was consulted by heads of state, heiresses, collectors, and even other gemologists before an extraordinary stone was to be appraised, cut or set. At one time or another, he owned more than a third of the famous diamonds of the world- more than any king or emperor- and it seems as though, for Harry Winston, it was an easy destiny.

            Harry Winston was born in New York in 1896. His earliest training in gemology came from his father, who owned a modest jewelry store, but even at a very young age Harry’s instinct for gemstones was uncanny. He once commented that he must have been born with some knowledge of jewels; one sign of his innate ability occurred at the age of twelve, when he spotted a green-stoned ring in a pawnshop window. Young Harry bought the ring for twenty-five cents, then sold it two days later for eight hundred dollars. It was, as he’d suspected, a two-carat emerald. At age 15, Harry began working at his family’s shop in Los Angeles, but it wasn’t long before he broke away, returned to New York, and opened the Premier Diamond Company on Fifth Avenue.

            Harry’s razzle-dazzle salesmanship and extraordinary eye for gems earned him a reputation among New York’s diamond merchants, but in 1922 an unscrupulous employee robbed him of his hard-won cash and jewels. Though his company was literally cleaned out, the disaster paved the way for Harry’s brilliant future: it was then that he shifted his focus and began to buy estate jewelry. In those days the market was flooded with Victorian and Edwardian jewels that were sorely out of fashion. Harry’s idea was to buy up these bargain-priced “ relics”, re-cut the stones for greater sparkle, then mount them in contemporary settings.

            While accessing and purchasing estates, Harry began to amass a store of unusually large, high-quality gemstones . In 1932 he incorporated under his own, increasingly famous name; by 1949 his collection of rare gems was so vast that he assembled a touring exhibition called the “ Court of Jewels.” The exhibit included the 46-carat Hope diamond, the 95-carat Star of the East, the 126-carat Jonker diamond, the 337-carat Catherine the Great sapphire, and the famous Inquisition necklace, whose stones date back to Spanish plunder of the Incas.

             Harry Winston made a fortune in the jewelry trade. But his lifetime of fabulous acquisitions had, in his mind, much more to do with beauty than with money. He genuinely loved precious stones, so much that he was known to keep one in his jacket pocket just to fondle. ( At one time, his touchstone was the 76-carat Star of Independence, which sold in 1977 for $ 4 million.) his wife, Edna, who often accompanied him on his worldwide buying adventures, referred to diamonds as Harry’s “ babies.” After a particularly large sale, she recalled, he’d often go through a period of mourning.

            It’s no surprise that the house of Winston became known for designs that highlighted the luminosity of great jewels. The Winston signature style, originally inspired by a wreath of holly, employed wires of platinum and gold. These “ independent prong settings ” were nearly invisible and wonderfully fluid; Harry bragged that his bracelets could be “crumpled like a sweater” yet not one stone would touch another. Another Winston hallmark was the framing of large, colored stones with smaller diamonds, as if the central stone were a luminous painting.

            Harry Winston died in 1978, but his name will always be linked with the great stones of the world. The Taylor-Burton, the Mabel Boll, the Louis XIV, the Liberator, the Star of Sierra Leone, and many other famous diamonds were cut to flawless perfection by the house of Harry Winston. Perhaps even more precious are the stones – the Hope, the 127-carat Portuguese, and the 254-carat Oppenheimer-that Harry donated to the Smithsonian Institution as gifts to the American people. "       


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