June 6, 2011

Inspired | Vintage Costume Jewelry

There wasn't much that captured my attention at the flea-market yesterday until I walked by this area chock-full of large, gaudy necklaces [I like to call Studio 54 jewelry] and I was totally inspired for about an hour. It's the kind of jewelry that bodes well against my favorite caftans, black tees and white man-tailored shirts. These bold, graphic shapes and glossy metals were de rigueur in the era of the Tutankhamen exhibition, which took The Met by storm in 1979.

As the 70's became the 80's, our peasant blouses and Mexican silver bangles were traded for silk blouses and chunky, Monet necklaces. Big and bold was THE look.

The necklace [just above] grabbed my attention because it reminded me of the necklace Jenna Lyons and team spotted at a Massachusetts flea-market recently and re-created for J. Crew [just above, right]. Maybe this was the inspiration! Madame Bijoux's jewelry [Annie Webster, proprietor] can be found at Brimfield [in the Pavilions], and also at Connecticut's popular Elephant's Trunk. She travels to quite a few shows in the summer and fall and then heads to Palm Beach in the winter. Her market is largest in Palm Beach with women between 40-95 "who love to wear these bold, vintage pieces."

Ms. Webster's collection is just incredible with one amazing piece after another. A collector from Essex, MA was busy buying Yves Saint Laurent and the more fancy [signed] vintage pieces.

Iris Apfel is reportedly a big customer and this did not surprise me because Webster's collection is rich in history, creativity and cultural icon-ness. She sells inspired pieces by Kenneth Jay Lane, Nina Ricci, Gucci, Guy LaRoche, Lanvin, Monet, Lacroix, Iradj Mioni, Chanel, and so many more!

I bought the necklace [below] which I love for its circular, graphic design and the fact that it moves as you lean forward. It reminded me of Alexander Calder.

I thoroughly enjoyed this hour of amazement and stroll down a big + bold memory lane.

Note: Ms. Webster does not sell online. If you are looking for something in particular, you can reach her here: 413-222-4041.


  1. Gorgeous custom jewelry pieces! Loving the eclectic array of lovelies you've shared—especially Ms. Webster's vintage darlings. Big fan of Iris Apfel. Thanks for sharing these aesthetic delights!

  2. What a fun post, Barbara! Hope you are enjoying your summer so far.

  3. Love vintage costume jewelry - what a way to make a statement!!

  4. these are so fab- i love the big gold necklaces!

  5. how could you resist something, love so of these things-costume jewelry mixed with good stuff or not. have lots of it and it is a great pick me up too. pgt

  6. I love vintage costumer jewelry! It looks like you found some great stuff, it makes me want to go flea market shopping to find some of my own!

  7. Hi everyone! It's amazing what you can stumble upon at a flea-market and find yourself truly inspired! There was one great piece after another. I even spot some in these photos that I did not see at the time! ; )

  8. But did you purchase any of those wonderful pieces Barbara? I'm not a big jewelry person but I'm like you, a big piece with pizazz against a simple background is how I would wear something so bold. I wish I had been with you, scouring through all the treasures. Laughing about what they reminded us of; an era, a time, an evening!

    What fun!! Sending you + Billy much love,
    Deb & Buffy

  9. Deb!! I bought the last one shown! Isn't it groovy? Some day we'll treasure hunt together - this was a blast. OX b+b

  10. I just discovered your lovely blog. I'm just new into blogging this year & have just finished off my own blog on fashion, food, travel & interior design.
    I had a lot of fun putting it together maybe you would like to check it out if you have a spare minute.

  11. Hi Melissah! Thank you for your visit and comment... I would be delighted to look at your blog, too! ; )

  12. Oh, wow! I'm drooling! I want it all, but the one with the hands really cracks me up and you know? if all I have to do for a little laughter, is put on a gorgeous whimsical necklace, I'll take it! Thanks for the beautiful pictures!

  13. Hey,
    Nice find- I love that flea market. The J.Crew necklace was inspired by vintage Larry Vrba for Castecliff pieces.


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