With “H” for “Hebilla” (Buckle)

Every belt needs a piece to be closed and tight to the wrist. In the antiquity it was very common to see these jewels in silver decorated with semiprecious stones or pearls.

Buckles are formed by a movable part with the shape of a spike to fit the few holes in the fabric or leather part. That way you can enlarge or shrink the belt to your needs.

In jewelry, it’s a piece to embellish and enrich coats and gowns for parties and ceremonies.

Although nowadays it’s more frequent find belts made in cheaper materials, we love the chance we have to use vintage buckles in modern belts. This way, we’ll be beautifying the accessory with an exclusive and probably unique piece.



The Herculan ruins inspire Ruhamah Smith’s wedding dress

Ruahmah Smith from Worcester got married with James David Jr in September 1801, in Massachusetts.

In her simple wedding dress can be seen traditional details from the time. The skirt is a little tidied up in the back. The edge of the bodice draws the shoulders backwards and push the breast onwards. Although the piece seems to be light and comfortable, the fact is that it forced an uncomfortable posture. The gown is embellished with a beautiful brunch-shaped embroidery.

By mid 18th century, the Discovery of the Roman ruins in Herculano started a period of interest for classicism.The concern for the perfect beauty, a Greek and Roman old idea, inspired the rejection of the over decorated things. The fashion was then stark geometrical shapes. Actually the dresses were similar to Greek columns. The high waist pushed up the breast. The favourite fabrics were white cotton and linen, because of their simplicity and the similarity to the marble sculptures found in the ancient ruins.


The last years of the century came marked by the French Revolution, which influenced the fashion of the time. The perfectly organized dresses worn by the aristocracy were banished. Instead a fashion style based on classic dresses that let the body be revealed was born.

About Ruhama and James we only know a very few more things: they had two children, James and Rhama. Their descendants prospered and stayed in the area.

Ruhama and James’ granddaughter Ada M Davis was married near Worcester too in 1874.



D” for “Damascene”- Crafwork from Toledo

Toledo is a Spanish city known by the famous damascene craftwork. Paying a visit to Toledo will show you places where still today you’ll find the most jewelry businesses totally dedicated to create and market pieces made out of this ancient technique.

The Damascene, also known as “the Toledan gold” is a technique based on the art of insetting metals into one another, like gold or silver into iron or a darkly oxidized steel background. Many centuries ago, this technique was used not only to decorate jewelry but loads of other objetcts.


The process is slow and very arduous since masters have to make first the background piece in steel and then mark it with little lines and shapes, according to the desired design. After that, the hardest part will come: to inset a extremely thin thread of gold or silver with the help of a small punch.

The next step would be to put the piece to the fire, which will oxidize the main piece in order to give it that unique black tone. Still a few steps to go, though: to scrape, polish, burnish and finish the piece until it has the beauty of the lights reflecting on the metal and causing stunning shadows.

In jewelry we can find this technique in pendants, earrings, rings and necklaces.

Filippo Lippi and his Madonna pearl brooch

Let me show you today a jewel inspired in one of the Filippo Lippi’s most emblematic paintings. A small pearl brooch that the Madonna wears in Madonna and Child. It’s a 135 cm. tempera on panel the Renaissance artist created about 1645. Today it’s part of the Palatina Galery Collection, in Florence.

Filippo Lippi’s story

He was from a very humble family. In 1421 he joined the Santa Maria del Carmine monastery in Florence, very close where his family lived.

Therefore, the young friar had the chance to admire the frescos that within the 1420’s decade, Masolina and Masccio painted in the Brancacci chappel, in the close church. That experience was crucial to encourage Lippi to pain. Some said once the Masaccio’s spirit was dancing inside Filippo Lippi.


It was in 1434 when Filippo left the monastery to move in to Padua.  By the end of the decade he had already his own studio in Florence, where he could show his talent soon enough. In a letter from April 1st 1438 to Piero de Medici, Domenico Veneziano mentions Filippo Lippi and Fra Angelico as the best artists in the world (by the time).

Filippo made many religious paintings with smart and elegant symbolism: the “Pietá” (piety) theme and the Annuntiation as well as portraits. From 1440 Filippo evolved to a courtly sytle, with brighter colores, soften lines, more complex and more spacious around his main characters. That was the style wished by those who ordered a painting from him, mainly the Medici family and close friends. He also painted the communion table for Cosimo il Vecchio (before 1459).


Between 1452 and 1466 Filippo focused on his most ambitious project: the frescos of the Prato Cathedral. During his stay in Prato he fell in love with Lucrezia Buti, who lived in the Santa Margarita convent. Through the Cosimo de Medici intervention he got Lucrezia out of the convent in order to marry her. The couple had a child, Filippino, who followed his father’s steps as a reknown artist.

In 1467, when he was ordered the fresco “Scenes of the life of Virgin Mary” he moved to Spoleto with the whole workshop. He worked on this project until his death in 1469. Later, where Lippi was buried, Lorenzo il Magnifico made a monument to the artist, designed by his son Filippino.

Among his pupils and contributors were Fra Diamant, Filippino Lippi and Sandro Boticelli.





María Vintage Photography

With “E” for “Estras” (Strass or Rhinestone)

A flint glass with a high lead content, used to imitate gemstones

A flint glass used to imitate gemstones and create therefore fantasy jewelry. The name comes from the creator’s family name, Georg Friedrich Strass. (1701-1773).

Back in 1750, he Alsatian jeweler Strass invented a piece of glass with a high lead content and a shine very similar to the one in the gemstones. This creation was quickly spread all over the world, reachable by any level of society (since the price was very affordable. Strass invented the concept of “precious stone imitation”. He spent his life to manufactuing these “fake” gemstones.


In 1810 Lançon improved the invention by making the imitations with an outstanding brightness and harder, by placing a metal with mirroring shine in the base to reflect the light. Although in the beginning they were manufactured only in white, after a little while and a few technical advances, they added more colors to imitate rubies, emeralds or saphires.

Any woman wants to shine on her own, and this creation allowed any woman from any class to have access to “jewelry”, at a very affordable price. Strass popularized this way the use of gemstones.

Years after, these gem imitations have been used to decorate clothes, shoes and all kind of fashion accesories.

Images: María Vintage Photography

“Janus a principio ad finem”

A Still Life is the modern name for the “dead nature” art: a painting or a picture that represents animals, flowers and other objects that may come from the Nature (fruits, groceries, plants, stones or shells) or built by the human being. The purpose of this part of Art is producing an effect of calmness and confort by using a special composition and playing with lights.

And this is exactly what I’ve decided to study this year.

The still life paintings have a long story behind, since the Egypt era, when they were used to decorate tombs. The Egiptian’s believed these groceries would be real beyond life. Later, Plinio the Old painted animals and shoe shops, barbers or other kind of places. That’s why he was called “the artista of the common things”.

bodegones-barrocos-maria vintage-vintage by lopez linares (1)

We also find still life art in the old Rome, in mosaics from Pompeii, for instance. During this time it was a tradition to use a skulls in paintings as a symbol of mortality and fugacity.

From 1300 onwards, Giotto and his supporters resumed the still life through religious paintings, although it was a minor habit until the Rennaissance.

With Leonardo da Vinci, the still Life art was separated from the religious meaning. Leonardo studied the Nature through his watercolor system. Jacopo de’ Barbari stepped forward with his Partridge, gauntlets, and crossbow bolt  (1504). Religious relations had already been diminished in size.

During the 16th century the interest for Nature considerably rised including great spreads of still life material with figures and often animals, due to the New World disconvery. Natural objects began to be appreciated as individual objects of study and collections.

bodegones-barrocos-maria vintage-vintage by lopez linares (4)

In the 17th century, Caravaggio played an important role, since he was one of the first artists who painted dead nature as a Wall art. He also applied his naturalism art to the still life. His Fruitbasket (1595–96) is the first painting using only dead nature.

My inspiration this year will be the still life masters from Caravaggio onwards: Frans Snyders, Osias Beert, Clara Peeters, Jacob van Es, Willem Heda and Pieter Claesz, Samuel van Hoogstraten, Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts, Georg Flegel, Juan Sánchez Cotán, Zurbarán, Blas de Prado, Mateo Cerezo o Antonio de Pereda, Juan van der Hamen, Juan de Espinosa, Antonio Ponce, Francisco Barrera or Ignacio Arias, Francisco de Burgos Mantilla, related to Velázquez; Pedro de Camprobín and Pedro de Medina, Alejandro Loarte, Juan van der Hamen,  Valbuena, Tomás Yepes or Juan Fernández

Also genius at flowery still life like Jan Brueghel the Old and Daniel Seghers in Flanders, Mario Nuzzi or Margarita Caffi in Italy and Spain, Pedro de Camprobín, Gabriel de la Corte, Juan de Arellano and his son-in-law Bartolomé Pérez de la Dehesa, will join me during this 2015.

These artists were inspired by the Greek sleights of hands, which I’m willing to study in detail in order to try to reproduce the work with my Nikon, my illumination equipment and the many old objetcts I’ve been gathering at home over the years.

I’ll be inspired by the “vanity” painting, the one where fruits and flowers mix with books, jars, coins, jewels, paintings and devices, always accompanied by symbolic pieces. I’ll use the meaning of decadence by picturing dead nature scenes. Each month will be different, but always with a given style behind, a style and an inspiration that I won’t say until the end of the year, so you can guess.

bodegones-barrocos-maria vintage-vintage by lopez linares (5)

12 Baroque still lives, 12 still even (according to how they called them back in the 17th century in the Netherlands. I rather will call them this way, instead of “dead nature”. It has a special meaning to me and gets much better what I’m lookinf for.

Many evenings studying, reading calmly and composing photographs are ahead. I’ll focus on lights and shadows. I’ll be entering in a world I love.


Images: María Vintage Photography

With “B” for “Brooch”

The root of a brooch is the fibula, a piece as old as the Bronze Age.

The use like we know it today – piece of jewelry – started during the Classic period. It was used to hold or fasten the traditional heavy clothes.

Over the years, this piece became into an ornament with the only purpose of decoration. Nowadays it’s a considered a vintage jewelry for women to be worn over the lapel, dresses or a scarf.


It’s made of two solded pieces: the decorative part and the safety pin to clip it to the fabric. And I say “safety” because brooches usually have a security system to help keep it fastened to the clothe and therefore avoid the loss.

It’s also usual to find a hidden piece into the brooch. We have a few of the kind in our vintage collection. It’s a sort of ring that can be opened in order to pass a chain that will allow you to use it as a necklace.

Many women collect them, and it’s frequent to find brooch collectionists specialized in just a given form of the piece, like bows, ladybugs, dragonflies and the kind.

It’s a gorgeous piece of jewelry that will always match your gown to help make it more elegant and timeless.


In oder to show you how a good choice of a brooch can be your ideal accesory to finish your attire more elegant, let me use the well-known saying “to close with a golden brooch”, which means that the matter you are talking about needs that final touch to make it just perfect.

Images: @María Vintage Photography


Virginia Woolf: The art of writing that only lost against illness

The big screen brought to us a few years ago the image of one more woman ahead of her time: the British Virginia Woolf (played by Nicole Kidman). She was a novelist, essay writer, editor, an active feminist and one of the most representative personalities in London in the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays, she is considered among the best and most innovative writers of that time.

virginia woolf- vintage by lopez linares5

Born within a well educated family, she was in constant touch with the cultural environment. “A woman should have money and own a room if she means to write fiction”, she said, because her life wasn’t easy – in spite of the fact that her family was wealthy – The life of the writer of Orlando (her biography) was troubled with mental illness. Her parent’s death (specially her father’s) was the beginning of several mental breakdowns and a depression that lead her to commit suicide years after.


Virginia Woolf always suffered from bipolar disorder, but the severe moral in the time stopped her from talking about these episodes in her autobiographies. However, she was strong enough to beat the illness for a while only with her writing. Her husband, Leonardo Woolf also was always a big support. He was an economist and writer, member of the well-knkown group Bloomsbury. They got married whe she was 30 and they always had a huge affinity. They both together launched a publishing house that published, among others, Sigmund Freud or T.S. Eliot’s biggest hits.

virginia woolf- vintage by lopez linares2

In 1941, with Europe in the middle of a war, Virginia Woolf threw herself to the river Ouse. In her emotional suicide note she showed once more time her loyalty to her husband with these words: “You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer (…) If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been”

Despite her important literary work and her being in the cultural life of the time, after her death Virginia Woolf’s writing dissapeared, until the feminist movement recovered it during the 60’s. It was then when her work revived to become into one of the English biggest novelists. She was terribly engaged wiht her time and other people who, like her, loved the writing. Virginia Woolf was a model of personal and professional development and she passed on us a magnificent work of fiction writing and essays.







With “T” for “Tiara”

First of all, I’d like to differentiate “tiara” from “diadem”, although the origin is the same. The best place to wear a tiara is the front of the head, where it’ll be better seen. A diadem is placed on top of the head to hold the hair.

This is an elegant and fascinating jewelry usually linked to old European royal families that played a relevant role in History. Many of these tiaras were dissambled when they stopped being in style and added the gems to other jewels.


Romans played a very important role in the evolution of the tiaras. They started this fashion and used precious stones like amethysts, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds to make them. In Greece, on the contrary, they were made out of leaves and flowers. Their designs are used still nowadays.

Lately, the tiara has been adapted to be used in weddings. It’s the most elegant and sophisticated jewel for a bride since it’ll give her a especial shine that day. In my humble opinion there’s nothing that can make the bride feels so especial like tiaras. For many this is the only time in their lives when they’ll wear a jewel like this.


This habit – top the head of a bride in her wedding day, that is – has a meaning: The loss of her inocence and the triumph of love.

It’s also frequent to see how has been used the “language of flowers” through the years, as well as the “language of the stones”. That is something a jewelry artist has in mind when makeing new designs. The selection of the stones is particularly very important, since according to the old tradition of the lapidary, each stone has a meaning. Exactly the same happens with flowers. That is why the flower design and colors are so important in making tiaras, especially those made for brides.

tiara-diccionari-vintage-by-lopez-linares-(7)Let me give you a bite of the principal meanings:




Images: María Vintage Photography 

With “R” for “Rosary beads”

A rosary is a strand of beads ending in a cross that is used to lead the prayer. Back in the past the beads were made with dry roses, that’s the reason it was called “rosary”. Currently it’s one of the most important symbols within Christianity.

The knots or beads are used to count sequences of prayers. Each prayer is formed by 15 equal parts called mysteries.


However sometimes the ter mis used to refer to a strand of beads itself. In vintage jewelry there are many silver and Golden rosaries, with beads made of mother-of-pearl, pearls, or semiprecious stones. It’s a very common gift for children who receive their first communion.

Something that in the very beginning was just a Christian devotion object is today inspiration for many jewellery masters to create their necklaces and bracelets. You’ll find designs with different sizes of beads of all colours, or others more vintage from the 19th century.

As usual, the jewelry inspires in popular habits.



Images: María Vintage Photography