Friday, January 15, 2010

A long, cold winter...thank goodness for jewelry!

We've had a long, cold winter here on the farm in Southeastern Ohio. For the last two weeks, our water and septic have been frozen. We've made due in a primitive style, but boy does it get old! Fortunately, it thawed yesterday...and I am very appreciative of the simple things of life--hot water out of a faucet and toilets that flush!

Another simple thing I love, is mail delivery. The postwoman brings dog jewelry...hurrah!

Here are some new additions in The Dog Jewelry Museum:

Two new additions to the growing mini-collection of Trifari "real breed" dog jewelry; a detailed Pomeranian and a rather clumsily executed German Shepherd Dog. I've noticed that jewelry designers have a hard time with GSDs...they just don't seem to be able to capture the majesty of this handsome breed.

Also newly added is this great ceramic pin by Flying Colors, a 1980s company formed by three artists in San Francisco. I just love the color and the humor of this piece!

A somewhat homely enamel spaniel also joined the Museum. He is a dead-ringer for one of the old Deja (Reja) pieces. He's not signed, but the quality of the enamel and the weight and pinback construction have me convinced he is from the 1940s, probably Deja/Reja.

Finally, make sure to click here to see the set that goes with this Scottie pin. He came as a part of a group of critters which all have similar elements. Very cute bunch of scatter pins!

The Dog Jewelry Museum has had some nice publicity over the last few months. I had about 50 pieces on display at The Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio, as part of an exhibit constructed by artist Mark Dion called "Athens Collects". I also had a lovely interview published by Dogtipper. Check it out and read some of the useful tips for those of you with furry "jewels".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two New Additions to the Museum

This month we add two new designer/manufacturers to the Dog Jewelry Museum. First up is a cute little Dachshund curled up in a basket. The pendant is made by Razza, perhaps best known for the large, funky zodiac pendants of the 1970's. Here is what Researching Costume Jewelry says about Razza:

"Luca began working in the jewelry business in the 1950's. Luca & Lionel Mercier started Raz-Mer Casting Co. which made raw castings for Alice Jewelry [Lillian Vernon], Rice-Weiner, and Weiss among others. In Dec. 1958, Luca & Stanley Conheim started the Ronnie Jewelry Co. They sold Ronnie Jewelry in 1968 to The Certified Corporation, who owned Whiting & Davis and DaVinci Jewelry. Stanley died about 1969; Luca remained with Certified until 1975, where he designed the plastic pieces for which he is known. In the early 1990's Luca formed Plaza Jewelry in North Kingstown, RI. and is still active in the company (Information from the Fall 2003 & Spring 2004 issues of VFCJ.)"

Also new this month, is a little tack pin from the Kreisler company. Kreisler was in and out of the jewelry business. My best guess for the date on fhis pin is the 1950s when Kreisler was making jewelry.

People sometimes ask why there are so many Dachshunds, Poodles, and Scotties represented in jewelry. My take on this is that manufacturers were looking to produce jewelry that would sell the most and these three breeds have been very popular, especially during particular time periods. Also Poodles have always had a link to fashion, the doggie version of an accessory, so the breed remains very popular in jewelry.

I try to balance acquiring a wide variety of breeds, representing as many different manufacturers, and covering many eras when I acquire pieces for the Museum. I am always on the look-out for the unusual, so get in touch if you have something differnt!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Latest Additions to The Dog Jewelry Museum

Two "new" manufacturers just added to the Dog Jewelry Museum. First off, Wild Bryde Jewelry necklace of a multitude of dog breeds. Wild Bryde specializes in animal and nature jewelry. Started in 1980 in a garage by Mike Warner and Tracy Holzman, much of their jewelry has a silhouette look, done in light weight metals. The necklace is great fun, featuring breeds from a long-coated Chihuahua to a St. Bernard.

Here's a close up of a couple of the dogs:

Next, the Lang company was in operation from the mid-1940s to about the mid-1970s. Just added to the Museum, is this sweet Spaniel puppy in sterling silver. This piece can be found now and then on websites or Ebay. I expect it is from the 1950s, a time when Cocker Spaniels were especially popular in the US.

Finally, another addition to our growing collection of "real breed" jewelry from Trifari. Here's a gold tone smooth-coated Chihuahua, delightfully detailed. Just when I think I've got all of the dogs in this series, I spot another breed! Check out the other Real Dog Breed pieces in the Trifari section at the Museum.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Whys and Wherfores of Collecting

Some of you have asked why The Dog Jewelry Museum exhibits low-end pieces as well as better, more valuable items. Here's a few reasons:

First, some of the less expensive pieces are quite remarkable. The range of dogs from a manufacturer like J.J. (Jonette Jewelry) is impressive. For those interested in collecting a wide variety of breeds or humorous canine jewelry, J.J., though inexpensive, is a good choice.

J.J. Basset Hound Pin with Moving Ears

Second, both collectors and dealers may not realize how common or uncommon, a piece may be. Enamel scatter pins come in a huge range of breeds, colors, and manufacturers. There is some value in knowing that a good example of a Har enamel dog is quite a bit rarer (and worth more than) one made by Gerry's.

Rare and Valuable HAR signed enamel above, more common, less valued signed Gerry's below.

Third, we all start somewhere. The nice thing about collecting costume jewelry is that you can get your feet wet without drowning. For a few dollars you can start a collection and learn about condition, values, scarcity, and what you really like. A collection can always be upgraded.

Finally, collectors are often "completists" ... wanting to get a representative sample of every variation. High or low end doesn't matter, it's getting the whole range that counts.

Bottom line...when startng a dog jewelry collection, collect what you like and what you can afford!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

All better now!

Thanks to the help of an excellent support staff at my web host, I've recovered all the data and got The Dog Jewelry Museum back up and running! If you come across any issues, please let me know.

Good news! The Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio is planning the following:

Collections Collected: The University Collects and Athens Collects Miniatures A Project by Mark Dion with Kennedy Museum of Art
September 24 – November 29, 2009
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 24, 6 – 9 PM

We've been invited to loan over 50 pieces to the exhibit! So the dog jewelry will be in a physical Museum in late September. Athens and the SE Ohio region is a beautiful place, especially in the fall, so if you are looking for a mini-vacation, you might consider coming out this way. See the exhibit, the leaves, and enjoy some Appalachian hospitality!

Here's a page with the pieces we've selected to go to the Kennedy Museum The curator asked for pieces that covered a range of periods (ours are from about 1900 to the present) and a wide selection of dog breeds. The Kennedy folk were really excited when we brought the bin by with our selections.

I do plan on getting back to the topic of bulldogs. Just added a WONDERFUL piece, circa 1924 carved wooden bulldog representing
Sargent Jiggs
the US Marine Corp. mascot who joined the core in 1922. Read more about this piece at the listing here.

Also just added a fantastic Mid-Century Modern copper Scottie dog by Renoir, a Trifari real look Miniature Schnauzer (the very first piece of dog jewelry I ever owned), and coming this week is an enamel cartoon dog from the show Two Stupid Dogs (an incredibly silly cartoon, that makes me laugh just thinking about it!)

As always, just go to The Dog Jewelry Museum and click on Enter the Museum.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Over the July 4th weekend some people with way too much time on their hands hacked websites all over the world. One of those hacked, was the server that hosts The Dog Jewelry Museum.

After much angst, the great support staff at Webmasters managed to recover my database of images and restore the software that runs it. We are still ironing out some glitches, but the Museum is back up and running.

Four new dogs were added today. A beautiful Bogoff rhinestone Wire-haired Fox Terrier, a rare Sandor signed Christmas poodle pin, an Accessocraft hunt club style pin, and a 1940s potmetal sighthound. Check out the new additions and the other 640 pieces at The Dog Jewelry Museum (click on Enter the Museum).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Breed Jewelry: Bulldogs and Their Cousins Part I

Bulldogs are a humorous and fascinating category of collecting. There is a great range of costume jewelry featuring the pugnacious canine, as designers find the "so ugly it's cute" face irresistible.

The English Bulldog harks back to butcher's dogs, used to control cattle. They were then adopted to the "sport" of bull and bear baiting, and the dog was bred for ferociousness and physical traits which would allow it to catch the bull by the nose, hang on, and survive the experience. In 1835, the practice was banned in England, and those that loved the breed began breeding for a more sedate temperament. (For more history of the bulldog breed, check out this website.) The modern bulldog is a sedate animal, with the characteristic pushed up face and wrinkles.

Bulldogs have been found in fine jewelry for centuries. Particularly intriguing are the reverse carved Essex glass pieces and hand painted enamel pins.

Essex Crystal from the Cathy Gordon collection.

Costume jewelry bulldogs come in a variety of materials and designs. Wood and plastic are favorite materials.

Wood & Leather Bulldog from the DJM

Black vintage plastic comic bulldog pin set from the DJM

Designers & Bulldogs

Perhaps the most famous costume jewelry bulldogs are from Joseff of Hollywood (1938-present, see Researching Costume Jewelry for more information.).

Joseff of Hollywood stamped bulldog front and back from the DJM.

Coro's Mrs. Dog is a bulldog. This is part of a set (Mr. Dog has a top hat.)

Coro Mrs. Dog from the DJM.

To be continued...