Vintage rhinestone jewelry is quite beautiful to look at and is intended to simulate diamonds. The best rhinestones are cut from quartz crystal. Vintage rhinestone jewelry comes in many exciting shades and they give off a wonderful sparkle effect.
These pieces of crystal were originally sifted from the Rhine River in Austria and after World War II they became as exciting as diamonds. Over the years, original rhinestones gave way to mass produced glass rhinestones but there are a few features that the finer variety offer. They will be hand faceted, prong set and polished. The sparkle will help to determine the quality. The craftsmanship will often come through in a piece of vintage jewelry as well.
When speaking about vintage rhinestone jewelry there is a lot of different terminology used. There is Art Noveau jewelry that originated in Paris, France and the jewelry from this era is dated from about 1890 to 1910. The Art Deco jewelry era is dated from around 1925 to 1940. Dress clips and fur clips were very popular during these eras and often were made with sparkling rhinestones.
A beautiful type of vintage rhinestone jewelry is the Aurora Borealis. The rhinestones were given a special iridescent coating that was developed in 1955 and the coating produces a rainbow of colors. These stones are beautiful to behold and were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
There are a lot of different designers that made vintage rhinestone jewelry and some of the pieces are very rare. For example, the Alice Jewelry Company of Rhode Island produced some beautiful rhinestone pieces that are marked Alice in script. Miriam Haskell was an artist who began selling jewelry in 1924. Her pieces contained clusters of beads, artificial pearls and rhinestones and are very sought after today. Weiss was a company located in New York City and the company used the finest Austrian rhinestones in their jewelry. The quality and clarity was excellent and the price of a Weiss piece of vintage jewelry continues to rapidly rise.
Many people love wearing (and collecting) what is known as parure vintage rhinestone jewelry. A parure is a set of matching jewelry, typically consisting of a necklace, bracelet, earrings and brooch. Demi-parure consists of a matching necklace, earrings and brooch. It does not include a bracelet.
Some of the most popular vintage rhinestone jewelry comes in red and purple. It can be difficult to find pierced earrings that are vintage, as few women had pierced ears back then and many of those that did have pierced ears, preferred to wear the screw backs that were in fashion at that time. Vintage rhinestone jewelry made of sterling or gold is also more rare as most of the jewelry made with these metals contained real stones.
You will be able to find many pieces of gorgeous vintage rhinestone jewelry on auction sites like eBay and Amazon. If you are interested in collecting the pieces look for designers I mentioned above. Some other names to be on the lookout for are Art, Coro, Eisenberg, Hollycraft and Floreza to name just a few.