Thursday, December 19, 2013

Art Deco/Art Nouveau Dangle Earrings (1910's-1930's)

Good morning!

How are you guys doing on your Christmas shopping? Enjoying the "it's-almost-HERE!" holiday seasonality yet? I've been riding a shuttle from a free parking lot across the river (free! Rapid! Beats paying $6 to park by a country mile!), and my favorite thing about it other than the speed with which it delivers me to and from the library's doorstep is the fact that the radio is set to some 24/7 holiday channel. No, I'm totally serious. Yesterday, I heard Frank Sinatra swinging some yuletide standard on my ride back from work, and this morning, a frenetic version of "We Need a Little Christmas" gave me about the pep I needed to face the world today. I hope I can get all my presents squared before less than a week from now!!

While we're on the subject of Christmas, I was shopping for myself (I am so large hearted) on etsy and ebay the other day, hot on the trail of vintage opal bracelets and earrings. As often happens when shopping for something in particular, I was completely derailed when I saw the phrase "VINTAGE ANTIQUE ART DECO DANGLE EARRINGS". Do, DO tell me more! As I clicked through the listings, I was swept up in a wave of passion for the earrings I saw.

Art Deco Egyptian Revival Czech Glass Dangle Earrings - Turquoise Blue Color
One Etsy store in particular, called OldRiverAntiques, features a number of these completely off-the-charts pieces of antique jewelry. The pair above boasts not only four and a half inches of eyecatching, ear-bob magnificence, but are also topped off with an Egyptian revival sphynx? AAAH! You want attention, you would surely get it with these chandelier trinkets swinging off either lobe. I love that the sky blue of the Czech glass baubles at the end of the earrings contrasts beautifully with the aged patina of the main piece.While the prices are far north of my normal expenditures, I might have to just pull the trigger and buy a pair of these somewhere on the internet. Life's too short for me not to have these.

King Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in 1922, which may date these pretties back to the Egypt-o-mania that swept the globe following Howard Carter's archaeological boon. It warms my cold heart to think of 1920's people being interested in the mystical powers of ancient Egypt and wanting a bit of that exotica with which to adorn their persons.

According to the listing:
These earrings were made in the 1920s / 1930s in what was known as Northern Bohemia, in the Jablonec Nad Nisou region which was part of Czechoslovakia. This area is now part of the modern day Czech Republic. The region has always been known for its beautiful glass and jewelry. The drops were made from glass rods that were hand-pressed into molds almost 100 years ago. 
While there are many dangle-earrings, and even earrings in this style on Etsy and Ebay, there's something whimsical while still being stately to these pieces that other reproductions seem to miss entirely. A hundred years ago! I like to think of the tiny, Gloria Swanson like girl who might have worn these in the teens' or twenties', maybe wearing a robin's egg blue fashion turban to accent the glass.

I am not a person who is any way, shape, or form into fairies, but check out this next pair:

Art Deco Czech Glass Dangle Earrings w/ Fairy / Fairies & Amethyst Purple-Colored Drops
Looking at this, I thought about something I'd read in one of those Tales of the Unexplained type publications I used to gobble up as an imaginative, ghoulish little girl--do you remember the Cottingly Fairies hoax ? I think they made a Disney movie based on the true story of a set of photographs that were published in 1919 of English school girls interacting with tiny, winged creatures purported to be "real live fairies". No less a celebrity than Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes, and an occult/supernatural hobbyist) investigated the girls' claims to have captured photographic proof the existence of these "little people". While the pictures are pretty obviously faked, and the girls themselves admitted in their old ages that they'd staged the images by using cutouts of fairy illustrations propped up by hatpins, I love the idea of the English press and public going into a furor over these possible mystical creatures existing in the world. Maybe these earrings were inspired by the craze!

Speaking of inspired by, this pair, and the next, reminds me of Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha's work. Don't the mermaid-haired, undulating tresses of the girls look like Mucha's late 19th century/early 20th century illustrations?

In each of these pair, it's interesting that you have a decorative piece at the top, two side-jewels, and a longer pendant piece as composition. The purple and red pair in particular is so colorful! I've been loathe to wear these kind of dangly-earrings in adult life because they're so "loud"-- wearing chandelier earrings means committing to having people comment upon your chandelier earrings all day, all day, ALL DAY. I feel more comfortable with a less jangly accessory--though I do wear charm bracelets a lot of the time, something about the personal decoration swinging so close to your face makes me uncomfortable. However! I think a change is going to have to come if I can spot a pair of these in the wild. I can't get over how VIVID they are!

ART NOUVEAU URANIUM glass Dangle earrings Large Authentic Antique jewelry pierced earrings Repousse Czech
Afraid, like me, of looking like someone's fifty year old, jodhpurs-and-oversized-embroidered tunic-wearing, wackadoodle liberal arts professor in these earrings? Not to worry. Here's a quartet of 1920's actresses wearing almost shoulder grazing jewelry while looking soigée as sin. Clockwise, Mary Astor, Louise Brooks, Norma Shearer, and Myrna Loy:

I tried like heck to find a picture of La Swanson in similar earrings; as I mentioned before, she was the first thing that came to mind when thinking of this style, but I grew too impatient with Google search. You get the idea. The implied decadence and glamour of these accessories!

I have to get back to work (MUST. STOP. LOOKING. AT. EARRINGS.), but what do you think about these little numbers? Are you into long, long earrings, do you have items like this in your collection, or do you draw the line as far as accessory length/volume? What kind of finishing touches do you put on an outfit that make you feel particularly "put together"? Which pair of earrings would you want to take home and just hug? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow for Photo Friday (it's almost the weekennnnnnd!). Take care, talk then!


  1. jablonec is just around the corner from here.
    from time to time some glasswork from there pop up at the local fleamarkets. but the the prices are "far north" for me too......

  2. Those are gorgeous...especially the third pair. I only wish I had a longer neck and pierced ears...yes I am the only adult woman who can't keep earrings in her ears long enough for them to heal. I have gotten them pierced about 4 times and just can't keep em in.

  3. Very pretty! I love fancy earrings on people with short hair....mine is so long that they just get tangled and it's not worth the trouble.

  4. I've got a pair of tiny little Nefertiti head clip on earrings. Thay are made of what appears to be nickle silver and have traces of paint on them. Egyptian revivial has come and gone many times, but I'm guessing these were from the 20's.
    I was digging in the dirt in the back yard when I was a kid and I found a bronze paperweight in the shape of a scarab. My father confiscated it and it sat on his office desk for over 30 years. Our neighborhood sat near a creek that served as an unofficial dump in the olden days. We were always finding old bottles (tincture of laudanum, Milkweed Cream). The creek bed contained hundreds of old porcelain canning jar lids.

  5. Those are all lovely! I've never seen anything like them before. The first pair is definitely my favorite. I'm thinking you should totally pull the trigger and get a pair, they would look great on you!

  6. Hey, shopping for yourself, you always get what you want!



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