It doesn’t take long after reviewing The Napier Co.’s 1940 fall collection to be thrust onto the battlefields of medieval warriors where warfare decided the fate of empires worldwide.
With our war underway, the epic battles of the Middle Ages where men fought midst the horrors of war and since romanticized—created an element of escapism from our reality, and these war-time representations found their way into fashionable jewelry. The collection represented the noblest and purest of all knights, Sir Galahad. The knight who achieved the Holy Grail, and as the Napier name implies, was without equal.
The two images here are part of Napier’s “Sir Galahad” collection. The collection was inspired by the display of old armor and coats of mail on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Drawing inspiration for new collections from famous museums, particularly in Europe, was a long-held practice of the jewelry firm. The armor-inspired collection featured necklaces, bracelets, pins, and earrings. Designs included ornate spear points, battle-ax heads, and breastplates–while other designs adapted flexible parts of the armor. A collar of silver beads with long lapels simulating the collar on a coat of mail featured one example. Pins represented as miniature medieval weapons included lances, a battle hammer, swords, and shields. Small buttons reproducing motifs in flat designs characterized one element of the collection’s earrings with hoops and winged” styles that stood out and away from the face rounding out the grouping.
Napier had extremely diverse jewelry designs? It designed metals, color (rhinestone), pearls, and use multiple manufacturing techniques. It had its own modelmakers, toolmakers, and design department. Everything was in-house so that it could be responsive to the market and its customers’ needs. Napier often made small runs of designs, and hence it can be challenging to recognize the depth and scope of the company as a design house.
Choosing the right piece of jewelry for your sweetheart can be a fun and rewarding experience, both for you choosing that special piece and for your sweetheart to receive it. There are 5 things to keep in mind when looking for that special piece.
Choose a Gift She will Feel Confident to Wear Often
Selecting a piece that piece that represents her style isn’t as difficult as you may think when it comes to vintage jewelry. Most dealers have an inventory which spans about 110 of years fashion adornment. Dealers often offer a wide variety of basic-style considerations with even more sub-genres within style groups from which to choose.
Buy a Piece in Her Favorite Color
Vintage jewelry offers the biggest selection of color and texture ever imaginable. Stones, crystals, cabochons and beads were often imported from Europe using sophisticated manufacturing and cutting techniques. Today’s jewelry is frequently adorned with plastic and hard resin stones simulating the old rhinestones and more expensive glass used in vintage jewelry. However, the durability and sparkle cannot match the old-world components. Note: many sophisticated couture designers with a connection to vintage jewelry do understand this and use only vintage components in their designs.
Purchase a Glitzy Rhinestone Stone Suite
With a gift of a glitzy rhinestone suite, your lover will always be ready for an evening out wearing her “little black dress.” Besides making her feel sexy, a well-designed glitzy rhinestone set is an instant conversation piece—a perfect segue for unexpected introductions.
Decide on a Vintage Novelty Piece if She’s Playful
If your lover isn’t the glitzy type or isn’t into bold jewelry, a playful “novelty” piece can be a fun gift. Vintage jewelry from the 1930s and 1940s offers many fun and wacky pieces from silly figural pieces to “motto” jewelry from the war. Pieces are often constructed in unusual or unexpected materials, such as wood, nuts, plastic, cork, raffia and more. Jewelry selected from this era offers great insight into America during some of its most challenging industrial times. The cleverness of manufacturers to fulfill a woman’s need for adornment and expression have never been as ingenious as this period of time.
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
To impress a lover, one can also share about organizations that study vintage jewelry and its history. Everything from the period of manufacture, to the designer and components used in manufacturing is studied by jewelry enthusiasts, jewelry historians, collectors, and dealers. Since the gift can represent a favorite decade or era, theme, or color, collectors groups can provide a continued meaning and history to the special gift. Costume Jewelry Collectors Int’l (CJCI) is one such group.
By Melinda Lewis -July 30, 2014
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