The wedding dress inspired in the Queen Victoria’s gown

Angelina Russell was married only six weeks after the Queen Victoria of England did. This wedding was a highlight of inspiration for bridal fashion in the time.

I have decided to write a post about the queen’s bridal gown, a jewel that still today is an inspiration for designers and a truly icon in the bridal fashion. However, let me focus today in the Agelina’s design.

Although the piece is quite similar to the Queen’s, Angelina knew how to be special and she gave the gown a personal touch only brides are able to do.

The fabric was a very light silk decorated with a damask floral motive very popular back in the time. Angelina’s dress was completed with a beautiful bodice with an open neckline finished off with a hand-embroidered flounce. The top of the bodice is tight to the chest with wide casings. The front has a simple decoration though, with five beautiful laces made in the same silk.  This sort of details are still today in fashion. We still see modern brides with laces decorating a noted part in their designs.


Sleeves in Angelina’s dress are pleated ending around the elbow with another hand-embroidered flounce.

The skirt is linked to the bodice through a tiny 55 cm diameter waist. Please, go ahead and grab a meter so you can imagine what a diameter of 55 cm is. To me it’s so extrange that those women could fit in a waist of a little girl.

Angelina Russel was married with James J. Faran (1808-92) in 1840. They both moved to Cincinnati, James’ home city.

Faran became into a successful lawyer and editor. For 23 years he worked as a manager of editors in a local newspaper, The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The couple lived in a modern area within the center of Cincinnati where they grew five children and enjoyed their marriage for over 50 years.


Wedding Perfection- Two Centuries of wedding Gowns- Cynthia Amnèus

With R for Rascamoño (Ornamental Hairclasp)

Let me put this image in your head: long needles usually decorated in one of the two ends with stones in different colors. Women used them both to hold a bun on top of the head or to just dress it.

The term describe perfectly the use we give to this vintage jewel.


It’s a piece of jewelry women use still today, specially in the Spanish are of Valencia, thanks to their popular tradition. In fact, the pics we are enclosing are about a few pieces from Maria Casanova’s family collection.

Images: María López-Linares Vintage Photography

The Rothschild family treasures now in Boston


This month Boston is the heart of our recommended exhibition. Restoring a Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures bring us to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston – opened until next July 5th – a magnificent European show with beauties looted by the Nazi during the II World War, but returned to its owner in the last years: the Baron and Baroness of Rothschild of Vienna.

The exhibit consists of 186 objects of art, and among them you’ll find jewelry, decoration objects, furniture, miniatures and even books belonging to the Viennese family. What we’ve found specially interesting though is the Baroness’ personal collection with 80 objetcs, including an outstanding and beautiful jewelry from the time.


We’d like to highlight out of all jewels exposed a tiara – and necklace at the same time – from 1920 made out of 9 pear-shaped diamonds and also an Art-Decó brooch with two emeralds from 1937. However all pieces are worth of being admired since they are an excellent working of precious metals, like gold, agate, lacquer, enamel or gemstones.

The Rothschild family

The Rothschild are descendants of a court jew (kind of banker from the time) from Frankfurt who set up a very prosperous banking business in Austria in 1760. However his greatest success was to stablish an international banking system through his 5 sons, who finally became nobles and received the titles of Barons.

They reached so much power and influence that in France and Austria the Rothschild pressured to build and fund the railway and in general, all of them were somehow involved in the precious metals business, with a special taste for gold. It’s said they brought together the biggest private fortune in recent history.


In 1938 the Rothschild lost all their interests in Austria to the Nazi, what meant the end of over a century of being the heart of banking in Central Europe. After this happened, the family broke apart.

Nowadays, even though they are equally (or more) well known, their patrimony and dedication is now headed to a different field: banking and investment.

Thanks to the efforts of this family and some other movements like Monuments Men and Woman in Gold, it is known the pillaging made by the Nazi during the II World War. And thanks to them this amazing collection has been able to be shown.



Bibliografía e Imágenes:

Fabergé Revealed: The fall of the Russian imperial family through his jewelry

If Vegas already is one of the most visited destinations worldwide, it’s lately becoming into one of the cultural preferences as well, due to the many exhibitions and cultural activities the city is displaying at the many luxurious hotels across the Strip.

This time we want to recommend a beautiful show that will be open until May 25th, so if you happen to be around Vegas, don’t hesitate to go a pay it a visit. We are talking about Fabergé Revealed. This exhibition shows almost 240 artifacts from the time, which means this is the biggest Fabergé collection shown outside Russia. The history behind these pieces tells us a lot about the Russian imperial family over the 19th and 20th centuries.

Faberge Revealed 2 - Easter Egg

The House of Fabergé designed and manufactured about 150,000 objects of art, jewels and articles made in silver. Most of them were unique and very rare, made exclusively for a distinguished client. The most famous series he did were the Easter Eggs, about which we’ve talked already in our Vintage Dictionary.

The luxury of his jewels and the refine craftsmanship he applied took him to the service of the Russian imperial family by the end of the 19th century. In this show, among other wonders, you’ll see 200 pieces this celebrated jeweller realized for the Russian Czars Alexander III and his son and successor, Nicholas II, including four Imperial Easter Eggs, unique in the world.

Faberge Revealed 3

Tarissa Tiberti, the gallery’s executive director – the show is displayed in one of the most luxurious hotels in Vegas, the Bellagio Hotel – said, as quoted in LA Time “these treasured objects encompass the beauty of art while also telling one of the most powerful stories in history: the fall of the Russian imperial family”.

The exhibition, whose pieces are a loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will remain open in the Bellagio Hotel until May 25th. If you are planning a visit, don’t miss it!

Find tickets and more info here:


Joan Crawford’s jewelry collection

Most of the Joan Crawford’s jewelry collection was auctioned right after her death. Although other part had already gone before she left us, Joan Crawford kept her most loved pieces (not the most valuable though). This collection is mostly from the decades 30, 40 and 50 (20th century) when the style was daring and the trend was to wear big pieces with huge ornaments.

Among al her pieces let me highlight the following:

  • A wonderful set of jewelry formed by a necklace, two twin bracelets, earrings and a ring, all by Raymond C Yard, one of the most acclaimed jeweller in the States in the time.
  • One of Crawford’s favourite ones: a set in aquamarine and diamonds signed by the French house Boucheron (Verger Freres). Joan bought it in 1935 and since then she wore it in many occasions both, for the screen and her personal life too. After this set was acquired by Andy Warhol (for his “Collecion of Jewelry and Watches”) it finally ended up in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in the exhibition “Hollywood Glamour Fashion and Jewerly from Silver Screeen”


  • Alfred Steel, Pepsi’s CEO, was the husband who gave Joan most of the jewelry. One of these pieces was a tiny brooch in gold with rubies and bottle-shaped diamonds that she received as a wedding gift. Years after, this piece was auctioned for $5000. Other spectacular piece she was given was a wrist watch in platinum and diamonds, by Ruser. The design was quite daring for the time decorated with closter-shaped diamonds and a bracelet in similar stones. The jewel had this inscription in it: “To my love, Xmas 1958, Alfred”.
  • Impressive is also the set of brooches she acquired from the famous jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura. She used to wear them in her lapels to improve her look. Years after she started wearing them close to a diamond necklace she received, since the piece itself wasn’t enough sparkling.
  • By the end of the 50’s she added an amazing pair of earrings in diamonds to her collection. The design was also a closter in baguette, with diamond cut like markasites, each of them holding a little drop in diamond too.


  • Joan Crawford was so in love with the sapphires that she was known as “Joan Blue”. One of her favourite pieces was a set of bracelets with three starred sapphires (up to 70 carats each). She also had an engagement ring in the same form and stones and a superb emerald-cut 72 carats sapphire.

Her carisma, feline eyes and her ability to play dramatic roles made her one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.  She deserves to be part of our biggest jewelry collectionists.










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