Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vintage/Antique Lingo & Terminology - Fact, Fiction and Adaptations

I first want to mention the inspiration for this post.  While researching terminology, I found a wonderful article from
in which they mention the dreaded "flea bite" term.  I'm not sure who decided that "flea bite", was a good way to describe a chip to porcelain, but it's such a visual "yuck" that I can't ever imagine using it.  That being said, today's post is on the changing terminology and lingo of vintage & antiques from a customer or new seller's view.  When I first started selling vintage, I truly thought that a flea bite on porcelain, was actually a mark made by a flea bite...why would I not?... and more importantly why would our customers not think that.  Not everyone who purchases our lovely items, is an antiques professional.  My generation (we'll say 45+) was very connected to the older ways, sayings, styles and histories of all things antique & vintage.  With the onset of technology, the younger generation is learning as they go.  Thankfully, their love for vintage & antiques has brought an entirely new customer base to our shops.
Thank you Mad Men!!
However, with this resurgence of all that is vintage, comes the responsibility (as purveyors of such), to do our research, explain our terminology (believe it or not there are people who don't know what a "flower frog" or "epergne" is!:)).
Both are means of displaying flowers, click below for a list of both on Ruby Lane



  As keepers of the past, it is our duty to explain these things when we list an item.  Thereby teaching the meaning of term, that may have been otherwise unknown.  "But you can "google it", people will say.  Yes you can, but every click away from your site is one click too many.
And for the young, new or just uninformed sellers out there...try to stick with the originals, creating new names will only create confusion down the road.

Here is a list of some of my favorite terminology sites










There are many more wonderful sites to assist in the learning process...I will be adding more to my Vintage/Antique Reference Link Guide on G+

As always, thanks so much for reading!

~Pam

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Allure of The Department Store

Photo via Pinterest via NYMag.com
Modeling Dior, 1962 / Photo Credit - Ormond Gigli


Scrolling through some vintage NYC pics lately, brought up one of an old department store sign...one letter missing and looking somewhat lost in this new world, I began to think about the department store experiences of my childhood.  Once that thought process was formed, I began to think how interesting it would be to hear from my fellow vintage sellers from all around the country (or worldwide, as the case may be), as to what their favorite stores were.

Department Store's can be a very regional thing.  You may pick up a vintage hat or dress with only the store label and if that store wasn't/isn't in your geographic area of knowledge, this series of posts may help to give you historical info, as well as a personal slant, as to what these stores were all about.

Saks Fifth Avenue, NYC
Photo via thepursuitist.com

My story begins as a 6 year old girl, shopping with her mother, to find a dress for a very important wedding that I was attending.  As we walked down the street of my suburban NYC town, my mother said, "Let's try here".  "Let's try here" was Sears.  I looked...then gazed across the street to the most beautiful store I had seen in my young life.  Pointing, I said, "Mommy I want to go there!!" 
"There" was Saks and a long history of caviar taste on a, not so caviar, budget would begin!  She bought me the dress from Saks and years of complaining would ensue, as the dress was for my father's second wedding!  From there, I grew to love Saks more. They were and are (along with Lord & Taylor) my "go to" spot when I'm looking for something special.  Their Christmas windows, to me, were magical and the feeling that you got when you walked in the store...well, it took your breath away.

The original "Saks & Co.", founded by Andrew Saks in 1867, was located on 34th St.  When Gimbels moved in across the street in 1923, Adam Gimbel purchased his rival and expanded the business to 5th Avenue, forming "Saks Fifth Avenue".  A partnership of Bernard Gimbel and Horace Saks.  The first expansion store was Palm Beach, FL.  Between 1926 and 1952 more expansion stores followed -  Southhampton, Chicago, Miami Beach, Beverly Hills, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and numerous resort towns.
Saks is currently owned by Hudson Bay Holdings (also the parent company of Lord & Taylor).

 Sophie Gimbel (wife of Saks President, Adam Gimbel) was the in house designer for Saks Fifth Avenue from the 1930's through the 1960's - see the NY Times article here for more info


and don't forget to visit
Vintage Saks Fifth Avenue Fashions on Ruby Lane

Thanks so much for reading!

~Pam





Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Elephant In My Shop - Part 3

Dealing in vintage & antiques is always interesting and sometimes perplexing.  I've called this post The Elephant In My Shop, not because the pieces that you'll see are truly undesirable, but because, as purveyors of the past, occasionally we come across incredible finds that, for some reason, decide that they are going to keep a permanent residence in our shops.  They can be perfect in every way...no flaws, a complete set, priced competitively, great pics...and still they sit.  As shop owners, we scratch our heads and wonder, "Why is this still here?".

I have found, personally, that touching one of these items and saying to my husband, son or dog, "I can't believe I still have this!" seems to have an amazing way of it selling within the next couple of days.  "So why don't you do that with all of your items?", you ask...well, it just doesn't work that way.  It has to be spontaneous.  "She's nuts!", you say...maybe, well probably:) but every business does have it's superstitious side!

All items listed on The Elephant in my Shop, are at sale prices!  

This week's selections are from 2 of my absolute favorite Ruby Lane Shop Owners - Please take a moment to peruse their shops, you won't be disappointed!


Vintage Trifari Madeira Topaz Rhinestone Flower Pin Earrings Rare Book Piece


Hattie Carnegie Hematite Rhinestone Earrings



**Click on the title link, above the picture, to go directly to the listing**

Thanks so much for reading!!

~Pam


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1940's Flashback

The 1940's!!  Although, it was before my time, this decade feels like home to me:)  People had true style and panache, an air of sarcasm and humor hung in the air, big band music filled clubs with swinging sounds and big movies were on the silver screen.  
The 1940's was an incredible time of change.  Women became more of a force in the workplace, we were at war and the stakes were high, technology was in full swing and government (not only in the US but Worldwide) was changing, implementing and enacting laws and organizations that would shift our thinking and way of life forever...

Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell and Ralph Bellamy in His Girl Friday

1940
Nylons Make Their Debut, Billboard's Inaugural Chart is Released

1941
Pearl Harbor is Attacked, Mt. Rushmore is Completed and The Jeep is Invented

1942
Casablanca is Released, The T-Shirt is Invented and The Congress of Racial Equality is Formed

1943
The Casablanca Conference is held to plan the next course of action for Allied Forces, Oklahoma Opens on Broadway and The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire in Boston Kills 492 People

1944
Anne Frank is Captured by German Forces, FDR becomes the First President to be Elected to a 4th Term, The GI Bill Becomes Law, Allied Forces Cross The English Channel to Land in Normandy, The Dialysis Machine is Invented and Sunscreen is Invented by Benjamin Green (to protect the troops)...he then went on to create the Coppertone Company!

1945
FDR Dies in Office, V-E Day Signals the end of WWII in Europe, Annual Wages for the Average American were $2400.00, Cost of a Gallon of Gas - 15 cents, Truman Releases the Horrific Power of the Atomic Bomb on Japan

1946
Bikini's Make Their First Debut in Paris, AT&T Announces the Release of the First "Car Phone", Jackie Robinson Makes His Debut with the Montreal Royals, The US Army Establishes the first Radar Contact with the Moon in Belmar, NJ (Go Jersey!:))
...and speaking of Jersey...


Good Old Frank (Not so old here:))...Singing, "One For My Baby"

1947
The Average Cost of a New House was $6,600, The CIA is formed (uh-oh), Roswell (uh-oh, again), The First of the Dead Sea Scrolls are Found and Polaroid Demonstrates the first Instant Camera

1948
The Average Cost of a New Car is $1250, Israel is Declared an Independent State, The First Transistor Radio is Introduced from Bell, The First Nightly Newscast Debuts on CBS and Christian Dior's "New Look" Collection Debuts in Paris (view the Life Magazine Photo's here)

1949
South Pacific Opens on Broadway, The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) is Founded after Allied Occupation, Ireland becomes The Republic of Ireland, The First Record "Single" is Released and many local TV Stations (Across the Nation) Begin Broadcasting for the First Time.

There are many sites that list US and World Events by Year.  If you have time, I recommend giving them a look.  Some events you'll know and some will surprise you, at the very least, it's an interesting read! 

and for the 1940's Fashionistas

Vintage 1940s Trifari Sterling Aquamarine Rhinestone Bracelet Brooch Earrings from The Vintage Carousel on Ruby Lane


Vintage 1940's Saks Fifth Avenue Goldtone Purse Clam Shell - Made in Italy at WhimsicalVintage on Ruby Lane


Thanks so much for reading!

~Pam




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Elephant in my Shop - II

The second installment of, "The Elephant in my Shop"

Dealing in vintage & antiques is always interesting and sometimes perplexing.  I've called this post The Elephant In My Shop, not because the pieces that you'll see are truly undesirable, but because, as purveyors of the past, occasionally we come across incredible finds that, for some reason, decide that they are going to keep a permanent residence in our shops.  They can be perfect in every way...no flaws, a complete set, priced competitively, great pics...and still they sit.  As shop owners, we scratch our heads and wonder, "Why is this still here?".

I have found, personally, that touching one of these items and saying to my husband, son or dog, "I can't believe I still have this!" seems to have an amazing way of it selling within the next couple of days.  "So why don't you do that with all of your items?", you ask...well, it just doesn't work that way.  It has to be spontaneous.  "She's nuts!", you say...maybe, well probably:) but every business does have it's superstitious side!

All items listed on The Elephant in my Shop, are at sale prices!  

Six Gorham Sterling Silver Dinner Forks Luxembourg 



from Antik Avenue on Ruby Lane

"Six Sterling Silver Gorham Luxembourg Dinner Forks feature a lovely ornate design with cartouche. The Luxembourg pattern was first introduced in 1890 and discontinued in 1991. They measure 7 1/2 inches and weigh about 10.4 troy ounces. The condition is excellent and they have a S monogram."

**Click on the title link above the picture, to go directly to the listing**

Vintage Large Pink Rhinestone Starburst Brooch

from WhimsicalVintage on Ruby Lane

I love the design of this brooch from the inner circle to the nicely sized 10mm outer rhinestones. All stones are prong set and in excellent condition.  Brooch measures 2.5" (63mm) in diameter.
**Click on the title link, above the picture, to go directly to the listing**

Thanks so much for reading!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Flashback 50's

The 1950's...a time when kids played in the streets, rode their bikes and waited for the ice cream man!  Teenagers were adopting new music..."rock 'n' roll" was coming to town:) and Hollywood glamour was in full swing!  Before my time, but I always felt that I belonged, more to the 1930's to 1950's time period, than I do to this one.  I believe that sometimes, the defined roles of men and woman during that time period, are perceived as a negative thing.  It takes an equally strong woman to raise a family as it does to run a business and there is nothing negative in either of those choices.

...and can you imagine, back then they didn't do it in yoga pants:).  Everyday was fashion perfection, from the dress to the jewelry, makeup and hair.  Unless you were gardening or cleaning, you were in full 1950's fashion mode!


Events of the 1950's

1950
Beginning of the Korean War, President Truman orders the construction of the hydrogen bomb and the first credit card was introduced.  

1951
Peace Treaty with Japan is signed, ending WWII and the first color TV is introduced.

1952
Polio Vaccine is introduced and Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen (what a run:))

1953
DNA is discovered and Peter Pan premieres

1954
The Boeing 707 is introduced, the Miss America Pageant airs on TV for the 1st time and Sen. Joseph McCarthy begins his hearings on American Communism (starting with the US Army)....Nice guy that McCarthy (please note sarcasm!!)

1955
Disneyland opens (screams of joy heard far &wide:)), the first McDonald's opens (more screams of joy and the sounds of arteries clogging everywhere begins) and actor James Dean dies in a fatal car accident.

1956
Elvis Presley hits the US music charts for the first time with Heartbreak Hotel, the Andrea Doria sinks off the coast of Nantucket and the first hard disk drive is created by IBM.

1957
The Brooklyn Dodgers move from NY to LA, West Side Story opens on Broadway and Sputnik is launched.

1958
Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Act into law, Nabokov's controversial book "Lolita" is published in the US and Domenico Dolce is born in Sicily (big things to come for him:)).

1959
Castro takes control in Cuba, The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS (thank you Rod Serling!), Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum opens in NYC

Obviously, there were many more illustrious and tragic occurrences during this time period, but in an effort to keep this post relatively light, I chose those listed above.

1950's Fashion & Home Trends







Peruse 1950's Home Decor, Fashion, Jewelry, Furniture, Art and so much more...on Ruby Lane!

Thanks so much for reading and stop by tomorrow for the 2nd installment of "The Elephant in my Shop":)

~Pam