With “S” for “Sortija” (Ring)

A ring is hoop thick or thin that is used as an accessory to decorate fingers. The original name is anellus, coming from Latin.

We have proof that many ancient civilizations already used this piece along the History, like Egyptian, Greek, Persian and Roman. Back in the beginning rings were made of gold, silver, bronze and iron. Nowadays it is more common to use only the two first materials, that is gold and silver. However you’ll find a very especial pieces made in ivory, cristal or even precious stones.


Here are the different types of rings:

Weddign or nuptial ring. The old name came from the word “join” or “alliance”.

Engagement ring: This is the ring a bride-to-be gets the day she is asked to be married. The hand where you should wear it depends on the country. In Spain, for example, is in the left hand. In UK and the US, in the right one.

Marquise ring: This kind of jewel has a squared or rectangular shape and it usually rather is narrow than long.

Seal ring: Those rings you saw in old families with a legacy. It has a seal or engraving with the badge of the family.

Solitaire ring: It only has one unique stone, usually a diamond.

Three-stones rings: It’s exactly what the name indicates: a ring with three stones, usually in the same color and size. The most used pieces are made with diamonds.

“You-and-me” rings: It’s made with two equal stones linked in an asymmetric shape.


Imágenes: María Vintage Photopraphy

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


“P” for “Peineta” or Spanish Haircomb

A “peineta” (the Spanish term for “haircomb”) is a female accesory similar to a comb with a convex boday linked to an area plenty of teeth. This accessory is meant to be put in place in a upsweep or low updo.

There’s proof of the use of this piece since Iberian women used it when living in the Iberian Peninsula. The flirty Roman women didn’t want to be less and also used to wear it on top of their complex and worked updo and hair braids.

Did you know they already used hair curlers back then? They were called “calmistrum” and it actually was a metal pipe that they placed over coal to warm it. Then the ointments did the rest of the work.

So yes, the beautiful Roman women used small combs to dress their hair.

The Spanish “peineta” were usually tortoiseshells. These pieces were very popular in some kind of celebrations like weddings, Holy Week processions, bullfightings, traditional parties and flamenco or copla shows.


The “peineta” is the perfect accessory for the laced shawls or “mantillas” since it highlights the beauty of the embroidery.

The most common comb models have ornamental curved (or squared somtimes) forms made in shell. Most of them have beautiful miniatures on them on shell. Nowadays however is mostly made in acetate or similar materials since turtles are in danger of extinction. Today there are only very few authentic shell-made tortoiseshells left.

Even more common today is the use of haircombs in silver to decorate the brides’ updo. Those were popularized back in the middle of the 19th century.

Nowadays you’ll easily find “peinetas” in silver with zircons, enamel, coral, semiprecious stones and even brass or gold.

The most valuable “peinetas” for collectors are those made back in the Imperial time in Golden brass and coral and also the art-nouveau style pieces from the beginning of the 20th century

With O: Object d’Art or Bibelot

An “Object of Art” is a small high quality decorative ítem, very valued by collectors. They are pieces often made in reach materials like gold, silver, semiprecious stones, porcelain, mother-of-pearl, coral or enamelwork.

Some of these pieces are made with the only purpose of staying over a display cabinet and being exhibited. Others, however, are made for the personal use of the owner but ended up in a glass cabinet anyway, due to the fineness of the piece or the high value.


The perfect cabinet to be placed on are elevated, to avoid being touched and covered by glass. These kind of cabinets are closed furniture that back in the past were used to keep safe silverware, porcelains or vintage books.

This way these especial pieces can be exhibited to the public in museums or personal houses, so they are protected against damage, dust or inexperienced hands.

The most frequent collections across the world are fans, little boxes or miniatures in porcelain, silver pieces, golden little statues with semiprecious stones and many other distinguish and exquisite pieces worth of being kept safe and well protected.


With N for: “Nacre

The nacre (also called mother of pearl) is the internal layer of the mollusc’s shells.

The seashells with the most beautiful nacre are the haliotidae and the nautilus. This material is so precious because it has gorgeous iridescent reflexions that make it proper to embellish jewelry, accesories and other very special decorations.

Within jewelry, the nacre is a material used for a long time, since the old civilizations like the iberian, Egyptian and Romans among others, started using it in order to decorate combs, swords handles, buttons or pieces of jewelry.

earings- nacre - mother of pearl in jewelry  Vintage By López-Linares (3)

It was during the 19th century when the use of nacre was popularised. Soon enough you might find it in bags, powder compacts, frames, cufflinks or missals. Since nacre is a material easy to sculpt many other jewels started coming out like beautiful cameos or delicate sculptures in earrings, crosses and buttons.

By the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, the industrial revolution caused in Britain a boom in manufacture of buttons in nacre. In addition, this material has been always linked to fashion and accesories. It’s been used for ages to make buckles, bags or beautiful set of buttons for men, certainly very appreciated back in the time.

By mid of the 20th century, with the discovery of plastics and the termination of many of the mother of pearls deposits, the gorgeous nacre was replaced by imitations in plastic and acetate.

What you probably don’t know is that nacre is also very valued in cosmetic, since it’s commonly used to make lotions, soaps and to whiten unwanted spots on the skin.

Within jewelry made in nacre we can highlight the hand-sculpted crosses, the flowers used to decorate earrings, bracelets or cufflinks and the different pieces used to make brooches.

earings- nacre - mother of pearl in jewelry  Vintage By López-Linares (1)

With M: Miniature

It seems the name comes from the word “mimium” (red lead oxide), a substance used as a component to make the ink for the illustrations in the old codex.

The history of these miniatures dates back from the beginning of the writing. During the Middle Age this sort of artwork was used to decorate manuscripts and books with illustrations. This type of decoration keeps being used along the Renaissance and Baroque. However, when the printing press the miniatures stopped being useful and the art almost disappeared.

We are going to focus in what means miniatures for jewelry: small illustrations usually made over ivory, shells, metal or any other material that were used to decorate bracelets, pendants or lockets. You also can find these tiny and creative paintings in fans, medallions, watches, jewelry box or earrings. The miniatures are usually made with oil painting over copper, tin or similar metal.

This art stamps a very special nature to the piece and makes it unique and a once-in-a-life-time jewel. Wearing a bracelet with a tiny decoration over ivory, or a pocket watch with little illustrations made by a master makes you feel different, important, unique. You are wearing a piece that you could easily find exposed in an exhibition.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy nowadays to find an artisan able to create these miniatures. We actually spent a lot of time looking for a reproduction that was really worth being included in our collection. The only two workshops we finally found in Italy and Spain make tiny pieces in Golden brass, those that I’m including in this post, and decorations over fans .

We keep looking for more pieces with miniatures as decoration, but they are very special jewelry worth being part of our historic jewels collection…



With L: “Lapis Lazuli”

“Blue Gold” – Lapis Lazuli:

Sacred stone for antique Egyptians and commonly used in their temples, decorations and funeral ornaments. They actually thought it was a celestial material. It intense twilight blue and the white spots on it make it look like a starry sky.

After the Middle Age, the dust from the lapis lazuli – commonly named Azurite – became into a pigment very appreciated by artists and the fabric workshops.

However, it was during the Renaissance when this stone reached the condition of “blue gold” – four times as much as the price of gold – when masters started using it as a proper pigment in their paintings. Leonardo da Vinci or Alberto Durero were some of the distinguished artists who inmortalized its delicate colour. Then, the use of it spread out across the workshops of the epoque. There it was used to dye fabrics thanks to the quality and beauty. Among the most well-known cabinetmakings also started using it with decorative purposes.

The name came from the latin “lapis” (stone} and the arab word “azul”, with the same meaning. It was considered as a symbol of purity, health, good luck and nobility.

Let me give you a piece of advice for you not to be mislead when buying an original (or plastic) lapis lazuli: The authentic lapis lazuli doesn’t burn easily, so if you put a lighter on close to the edge of the stone won’t get any damage.




With H: “Huevo de Pascua” (Easter Egg)

A “Huevo de Pascua” (Easter Egg) is a unique jewel for exhibits made by the Russian jeweller Carl Fabergé. Those eggs were made in gold, glaze and precious stones.

This artisan created 69 easter eggs between 1885 and 1917. 61 out of them are still well preserved.

By Easter in 1883, Tzar Alexander III ordered to the artisan jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé a very special egg to give away to his wife, the Tzarina Maria. The eventual gift was an egg with a Shell in platinum that had a smaller egg in it, this time in gold. This last egg had inside a hen in miniature wearing the Russian Imperial Crown. The Tzarina liked it so much that Alexander III ordered Fabergé to make a new one every Easter.


In total, Tzar Alexander gived 11 eggs to his wife. Then, his son Nicolas II kept this tradition ordering more eggs to give away to his wife and mother.

The 57 eggs made by the Fabergé House had a little gift inside: a replica of a Tzar’s belonging.

Lately a Fabergé egg made under the order of the Rothschild family reached a price of 18 million dollars in an auction in the Christie’s House in London.

The surprising anecdote heppened when an American scrap dealer bought with no knowledge one of those eggs: a jewel carved in gold and decorated with diamonds and zaphires ordered by Alexander III as a gift for his wife, the tzarina Maria Feodorovna in 1887. The merchant bought it in a street market with the purpose of selling the gold by weight. Afortunately he couldn’t do it since nobody paid as much as he did to buy the piece.


Over the years, thanks to the Internet, this man found the origin of the piece and decided to travel to London to sell the jewel for the breath-taking amount of 20 million pounds.

Here’s the link to this incredible story: Dailymail.co.uk

We have miniature replicas of this jewel. They are actually among the most liked in our space!



With G for “Gemelos” (Cufflinks)

Cufflink: A fastener made with two pieces linked to a little rod or through a small chain. It’s used to close the cuffs in a shirt.

The cufflinks are designed only to be used when the shirt has buttonholes in both cuffs but they don’t have actual buttons. These cufflinks can be single or double and you can wear them either one in front of the other (like kissing) or overlapped. The most preferred ones are the first kind.

These pieces of jewelry are tipycally used by men. However, women have also adapted them to their style.

According to the National Cufflink Society there is proof of use of cufflinks in ancient hieroglyphs found in the King Tut’s tomb. Nevertheless cufflinks as we know them today started being used during the 18th Century.

It was the invention of the stamping machine with vapor along with the  electrometallurgy and the Guilloché’s turning machine that the kind of cufflinks we know today were able to be created. As for that moment, the process was handmade.

By the middle of the 19th Century this piece was popularize when French cuff shirts were fashionable – they still are today -. In that epoque was common to save a hair lock from a missed lover within the cufflink as a sign of shame and nostalgia.

In 1880, George Krementz registered in America a device to mass-produce buttons and cufflinks. As a consequence, from the mid 19th century onwards men in the middle and upper clases wore cufflinks. All of a sudden, most businesses in the US were ordering cufflinks for advertising purposes or as a gift for their clients.

Already in the 20th Century the fashion was to wear glazed coloured cufflinks made from gemstones. Artisans from Fabergé House travelled to America and Europe trying to teach worldwide this technique to be used in men jewelry.

If you are interested in the history of cufflinks and how they evolved over the years, don’t miss the Cufflink Museum in Conway (New Hampshire) where you’ll find over 70,000 pairs. I couldn’t find the website but if I finally do it, I’ll add it here as soon as possible.

One of the most completed collections I’ve heard of is the one belonging to the English Royal Family. There are three generations of kings in just one show of cufflinks, including the Eduardo VII, Jorge V and Eduardo VIII’s regins and their heirs. Nowadays is being extended by the current Prince of Wales.

Cufflinks are an elegant, discrete and long-lasting gift. It’s a memory for a whole life, a jewel that will pass from you to your heirs. They will live on.


With “F”: for “Filigree”

The word filigree comes from the latin filum, which means “thread”, and “, so a filigree is literally a granulated thread. However it is in fact two twisted threads, and not just one.

The art of filigree is very ancient. We have archaeological remains of this kind of jewelry from over 3,000 years ago: this technique was actually practiced by Egyptian, Phoenician and Greek cultures, who brought it into Spain.

The procedure is made with two threads of a different thickness: The thicker one is used to carve the outline of the piece and the thinner to create the details that are so distintive of this art. The metalsmith has to use a kind of tweezerds in order to make the filler and cover all the holes among threads and it’s in this part of the artwork when you can see how good he is with his hands. His skills are spectacular. The solder must be very light to avoid leaving a mark.

Once the piece has been totally filled it’s placed over a platform of vegetal coal. Then it’s sprinkled with solder powder and welded using an alcohol blowlamp. Now that the solder has been finished, the metalsmith will wait until it gets cold to polish and shine the piece.

The result is a delicate and light piece of jewel that reminds us of a soft and fine lace. An unique and unrepeatable piece.

Still today there are artisans who use ancient techniques and a huge dose of patience to create pieces that will have you in awe.

Filigree is with no doubt one of the most beautiful techniques on jewelry.