Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Finding Nemo: Signed Dog Jewelry

Nemo pointer back and mark
Nemo Signed Pointer Pin

Nemo was a brand name for Brier Manufacturing Company of Providence, RI which operated from about 1910 until 1978. Nemo brand dog jewelry dates after 1955 and was most likely manufactured in the sixties and seventies. The Nemo dog jewelry in The Dog Jewelry Museum are realistic representations of various dog breeds.

Each Nemo dog is a smaller pin, around 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches square, in a gold tone finish with clear rhinestone collar and red rhinestone eyes. Breeds represented by Nemo include the Boxer, Collie, German Shepherd dog, Borzoi, Pekingese, Spaniel, Pointer and Terrier. Other breeds may be out there, these are the ones we've seen. Below are some examples from the Museum:

Nemo terrier pin

Nemo Terrier Pin (A gift of Terry Matuszyk of Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry.)

Nemo GSD pin

Nemo German Shepherd Dog pin.

Nemo Collie pin

Nemo Collie pin.

Nemo Pointer pin

Nemo Pointer pin.

Other brand names were made by the Brier company. One of the rarer brands was Little Nemo (LN/25). LN/25 jewelry is reminiscent of Czech jewelry and often used a variety of rich, royal colored rhinestones. The Dog Jewelry Museum has one example of LN/25, this delightful Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound) brooch:

LN/25 Borzois brooch.

LN/25 mark

The quality of LN/25 is superior to that of the Nemo pieces, but LN/25 tends to be quite a bit more expensive. Caution is advised when buying Nemo dogs as the gold tone finish tends to be worn on the high points and some of the rhinestones may not be well set. Still, these small breed pins are endearing and inexpensive to collect.

More information

Brier Manufacturing Company

To see the complete Nemo and LN/25 dog jewelry collections type Nemo (or LN/25) in the search box at The Dog Jewelry Museum.

Finding Nemo
Nemo dogs can occasionally be found on Ebay, Ecrater, Ruby Lane, and individual jewelry sale sites. Expect to pay $10-15 for Nemo and $50 to $150 or more for LN/25 dogs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dog Jewelry Museum Featured Breed: The Dachshund

The Dachshund (which means badger dog) has been reported in history as early as the 1400s. The breed was used in its native Germany to hunt badgers, foxes, and even wild boar. Dachshunds come in two sizes, miniature and standard, and a variety of coat colors and types including long hair, wire hair, smooth, with colors ranging from black to cream (to see all the variations, click here.)

Op-art Dachshund pin
Op-Art Enamel Dachshund Pin, 1960s

Dachshunds are extremely popular in the United States, ranking first in American Kennel Club registrations in 2006. The popularity of the breed is reflected in costume jewelry, with a vast number of pieces available in a variety of media. However, the Dachshund was used to represent Germany in editorial cartoons during the World Wars, and this may be why we see fewer examples of Dachshund jewelry from the WWI and WWII time frames.

The following is one of the few Dachshund pieces we've found from the 1940s:

1940s Dachshund and hydrant chatelaine pins

Dachshund jewelry comes in a variety of materials. The Dog Jewelry Museum currently has over 40 Dachshund pieces made from base metal, sterling silver, wood, and plastic. Here are some fine examples:

Gret Barkin copper Dachshund pin
Gret Barkin signed copper Dachshund pin.

Bakelite and plastic Dachshund pin

Base metal and rhinestone Dachshund pin

West Germany made wooden Dachshund

Because Dachshunds are so popular now, it is quite easy to find some lovely contemporary pieces. The Dog Jewelry Museum shows contemporary Dachshund pieces by Coyote Rose, 1928, and Dorothy Bauer. Below is a contemporary sterling silver pin of a smooth-haired Dachshund from the Jezlaine company.

Jewelry designers love creating dogs and there are many signed Dachshunds in the Museum collection. Below is a fantastic stylized piece signed Bergere.

More information about Dachshunds and where to find Dachshund jewelry.

Dachshunds in Wikipedia

Famous Dachshunds

Buy contemporary Dachshund Jewelry

Find vintage Dachshund jewelry on Google

To see all the Dachshunds, type dachshund in the search box at The Dog Jewelry Museum.

We need your help! We are looking for donations of long-haired and wire-haired Dachshund jewelry for The Dog Jewelry Museum collection. If you can donate a piece (or funds to help us purchase examples), please email us.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wonderful Wooden Woofers

Perhaps some of the most creative figural jewelry may be found in the medium of wood. Many pieces of wood jewelry are hand-crafted miniature works of art. Some were made by companies, some by individual artists, and some as craft projects in the home. Mary Jo Izard documents the history of wooden jewelry in her book Wooden Jewelry and Novelties.

Wooden Dogs from The Museum

Dogs are well represented in wooden jewelry. The Dog Jewelry Museum currently houses 37 wooden dog pins. Here are some highlights of this collection.

Manufactured light wood Borzoi pin

The two Borzoi dogs above and below are examples of machine manufactured wood pins.

Manufactured dark wood Borzoi pin

Hand painted wood artisan Doberman pin

The hand-painted Doberman, above, and the hand-carved Husky, below are good examples of pieces made by individuals. The Doberman dates from about 1970, the Husky is probably from the 1940s.

Hand carved wooden Husky dog pin

Below is an example of how clever wooden jewelry can be! The dog in this pin is dynamic, it's head moves up and down as it "howls".

Dynamic dog and cat wood brooch

Wooden figurals are sold by many online jewelry dealers. Prices vary considerably, with machine manufactured and home-craft pieces being the least expensive, while those pieces that incorporate bakelite and other unique materials and are masterfully carved garnering in the hundreds of dollars.

Wooden jewelry is as stylistically varied as jewelry of other materials. Here's an Art Deco greyhound pin made of ebony wood:

Art Deco ebony wood greyhound dog pin
Click on the image above to see the listing in The Dog Jewelry Museum to take a look at the back of the greyhound.

Clues to Collectability -- Look at the Back

The backs of wooden pins are quite helpful in determining the merits of the piece. The optimal fastener for wooden brooches is a pin back where the clasp and the hinge are screwed as two separate pieces into the wood. These fasteners are usually quite long and sturdy, holding the pin properly in position when attached to clothing. It takes a measure of skill to attach the two pieces at proper spacing and so the brooch hangs correctly. See the back of the Pekingese brooch below for an example of this type of fastener.

Back of wood Peke brooch

Our hand-crafted Husky friend from above illustrates another type of clasp, the "all one piece" hinged pin with safety clasp. While this is common in the more mid-range wooden pieces, make special note that it is screwed into the wood, preferable to having the pin back just glued in place.

Hand carved wood Husky dog pin with screw attached pin backing

Glued pin back on hand-painted wooden Doberman dog brooch

There are numerous variations in the all one piece pin backing. Better wooden pins have longer, heavier pin backs and, if glued, are neatly attached. Some have safety catches, others simple C-clasps.

One final pin type is the embedded safety pin clasp shown below.

Embedded safty pin backing

Wood Dachshund dog pin with leather tail

Where to find wooden figural pins?

The usual places, antique malls, Ebay, and online stores are all good places to shop. Here are a few favorite links:

Lori Kizer's Vintage Jewelry

Morning Glory Jewelry

Barbara B. Wood's Antique Jewelry