Cheap and cheerful, base-metal, costume jewellery from Topshop and the likes is fun, but it just doesn't last, and I can't bear throwing it away. Occasionally I'll cave and spend a few pounds on some silly gold thing, but I try not to get too attached. Wear the bangles for a few weeks solid, or accidentally spray some perfume on your necklace, and the "gold" or "silver" plating wears off, exposing a different colour metal underneath. This is especially true for pieces you wear directly on your skin, rather than on your clothes.
That's why I'd rather save-up for sterling silver jewellery. It can survive a lifetime of bathing, sweating, swimming and exposure to cosmetics, and because it's a solid lump of silver it never wears away ("sterling" means at least 92.5% silver, which explains why it is stamped with the 925 hallmark). Over time it does become dull, even blackened, but this rust-like "patina", is considered quite desirable in vintage pieces because it supposedly gives them character. If it's not to your taste however, you can restore the shiny-bright look with a quick dip in some standard silver polish available from most supermarkets..
|Vintage silver bangles. Yes, that is a hand grasping a heart: my fave.|
Most of my silver jewellery is vintage stuff, and there are thousands of pieces on eBay at any given moment. There are certain makes which collectors go mad for, like Danecraft and Nuvo. Here is my collection of vintage silver charms worn as pendants.
|The jaw is really cool because it's articulated, so it chatters.|
|I love this guy. He is weight-lifting massive crystals.|
At first I thought it was romantic to have just one necklace that I wore always, my signature, trademark piece. But I'm just too greedy for that. Sometimes I will stick with one for an entire holiday, or even a whole season. Then it always reminds me of that time, the same way that a perfume brings back memories.
|Modern day charms. The Miffy is by Jaci Jenkins at Tinsel, and the swinging sloth is from Mary Walke on Etsy.|
|This silver rabbit ring with a goldish crown and crystal eyes is by Geraldine Fenn (?) at Tinsel. The rings on either side are vintage silver.|
|Some of my favourite silver earrings. The foxes gave me an excuse to buy something from an equestrian shop. The cubes are from a jeweller at a craft fair, and are probably what started my love for things geometric. The bubbles are from Betina Hansen Vahab, and I love them because they remind me of mercury and ball bearings. The pyrite in brass bezel are from Laura Treloar. Both pyrite AND bezels have become super trendy I've noticed. The pinwheels are a great design from MXM Jewelry. They even have a larger design which spins! Finally, the little people were a gift. They are dark because they were oxidised.|
|LOVE this balloon poodle, but that shiny coating will only wear away and leave me sad.|
|This has more of a characteristic matte look to it, indicating it's pure brass. What confirms this is that the manufacturers say it can be cleaned with Brasso. Win!|
So here is my collection of brass:
|I wear them every day. they are all vintage or vintage reproductions, except the wonderful measuring tape by Galibardy.|
|The space invader and big bad wolf were market finds. The lovely silver and brass acorn is by Barbara Moore.|
I really hope that contemporary jewellery makers will catch on soon. More brass please.