Monthly Archives: August 2015

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Layer on the Beads this Fall

We’ve been seriously crushing on the brilliantly bold look of layered beaded necklaces here at Heirloom Finds lately. Their potential for adding playful pops of color to any ensemble is highly appealing, while the chunky construction is perfect for making a fabulous statement when dainty chains simply will not do. What’s not to love?

If you’re feeling the attraction of this exciting trend, we have an extravagant array of beaded necklaces that are sure to tickle your fancy. Prefer to go retro? We’ve released a collection of vintage multi strand necklaces and sets that will fit a range of occasions. Searching for some inspiration for your fall fashion lineup? This style guide will have you rocking the beaded layered look in no time!

Fall Colors

We’re in love with how these layered necklaces evoke brisk autumn glamour.

If your cool weather cardigans need some extra shine, try tricking them out with crystal necklaces in earthy brown and orange colors that fit the fall season. The shimmer of pretty glass beads will sparkle up any outfit, while the caramel, chocolate and pumpkin hued palette will evoke changing leaves and tasty autumn treats. How scrumptious! For an added touch of drama, try including a strand of bold black beads with an entrancing opaque gleam.

Orange

You don’t have to stop loving boho just because summer’s ending.

Were you in love with summer’s bohemian trend as much as we were? You don’t have to let the festival stop! Simply layer bold beaded necklaces in brisk autumn shades for a hippie chic vibe that will last all fall. Avoid colorful prints and opt for an elegant black blouse if you prefer a more modern look while still letting that free spirit shine.

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Amethyst hues and late summer blooms. What more can you ask for?

Don’t feel obligated to wear only earthy neutral colors for autumn. The Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall 2015 indicates that the season’s style landscape will be filled with bolder, more vibrant hues. Feel free to experiment accordingly! We’re especially thrilled that Amethyst Orchid is included in the Pantone Color Institute’s fall lineup, because we’re totally in awe of this curated set of vintage amethyst beaded necklaces.

We hope you’re ready to start building your own beaded necklace collection! Remember, the possibilities for styling beaded necklaces are limited only by your imagination. How are you going to rock the layered look this season?

by Sarah Clark

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How to Restore a Piece of Vintage Costume Jewelry – And Whether You Should

Perhaps you gasped at the title of this piece. After all, any serious vintage collector or fashionista knows you should leave vintage jewelry in its original state. Right?

In general, I agree with that rule and almost all of the vintage jewelry we offer at HeirloomFinds.com is in its original condition, just as we find it at estate sales and flea markets. We simply hand clean the surface and tighten jump rings and clasps as necessary.

However, as the buyer of all the vintage goodies that appear on the site, I will confess that there are occasions when nothing but a complete cleaning and restoration will save a tired piece of otherwise wonderful old jewelry.

I employ the 3 R’s when out shopping and sometimes actually buy less than perfect pieces. As I examine each piece of jewelry before buying, I ask myself where it falls on this scale:

  • Resell – Yay! This item is beautiful, stylish, wearable and ready to offer on the site.
  • Rubbish – Well, that one is obvious, right?
  • Restore – I use this categorization infrequently, but I want to discuss that here.

When should you attempt to restore a piece of vintage jewelry? On rare occasions, you may find a mistreated or neglected piece of vintage jewelry that is so striking in its design or use of materials, so evocative of an era or a designer that you are driven to find a way to restore it and find it a new home.

Before

Sometimes, restoring vintage jewelry is worth the effort.

I acquired the necklace pictured here in a box lot at a recent auction. It was so dingy at first that I really showed it no love. A second glance as I unpacked my treasures of the day revealed the true nature of this gem. Stunning pre-war style? Check! Quality materials? Check! All parts present, intact and working? Check!

This 1930’s Brass and Prystal Bakelite Drop Festoon Necklace was really showing its age in a bad way. The reverse of the book chain had green gunky tarnish and the Bakelite baubles were so dirty and oxidized that they appeared opaque.  However, it had great “bones”.

Funk Before

This necklace was basically unwearable prior to restoration.

Given the choice of leaving the piece dirty (and basically unwearable) or restoring it to something very close to its original condition, I chose the latter. Please note that the techniques used in this restoration project will not work with all vintage pieces. They do work very well with brass and Bakelite.

Tools

Gathering the tools you need is an important first step in restoring old jewelry.

The required tools and materials are:

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Simichrome metal polish (truly the best for this task)
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Toothpicks
  • Soft cotton towel
  • Rubber gloves (your mani will thank you)

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Carefully remove the transparent Bakelite heptahedron (yep, it’s a word) drops from the brass bead drops using the needle nose pliers. Place the original jump rings aside, as you will need to reuse them.

    Be careful when removing the Bakelite beads. Don’t lose them!

  2. Soak those Prystal drops in water with a few drops of dishwater, then gently scrub them with a soft toothbrush and rinse.

    Soap

    Remove the beads and let them soak in soapy water.

  3. Hand polish the Bakelite beads with a dab of Simichrome. Perhaps you have heard of testing Bakelite with Simichrome, but did you know that is also removes the surface oxidation, grime and scratches, revealing beautiful colors and a smoother finish?

    Simichrome

    Simichrome removes grime to bring out the Bakelite beads’ gorgeous colors.

  4. Carefully hand polish the brass chains and bead drops with Simichrome. This step takes patience, care and elbow grease. For the most tarnished or dirty areas, I found the toothbrush to be a very effective tool. Cotton swabs and toothpicks were also useful in crevices. I then polished the entire piece with a soft cotton cloth. Don’t forget to polish the jump rings as well.

    Toothbrush

    Use a toothbrush to gentry scrub off excessive funk.

  5. Reattach the Bakelite drops using the needle nose pliers.

    Clean and Pretty

    Once the beads are back on, you can’t help but admire the brass and beads’ restored gleam!

  6. Marvel at the transformation. I confess that the necklace is not “like new.” No vintage Bakelite piece is ever truly in its original state, as the colors of the plastic change over the years. However, I love the way the Catalin Prystal and brass glow after the facelift.
After

A bit of cleaning has given new life to this fabulous vintage bauble.

As with any restoration project, remember to research the materials in your piece for the appropriate tools, chemical and techniques. Use care and clean/polish gently. Trust me, in the early days I had a few restoration fails that were heartbreaking, which led me to be more careful when studying materials and experimenting with other techniques.

by Jeanne Peters

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This Summer, Skip the Veggie Burger and Just Grill the Veggies

Ah, summer. Parties, get-togethers, and family dinners are all a little more fun when you throw grilling into the works. You’re probably familiar with outdoor gathering invitations that state, “We’ll have the grill going, so bring your favorite grillable and a side and we’ll make it a potluck!”

If you’re following a vegetarian diet or simply want to try out meat-free options, don’t be tempted to show up to your next backyard party with a box of frozen veggie patties or a few faux hot dogs. The grill unfortunately does no favors for fake meat. It dries it out and renders it rubbery, and even wonderful homemade veggie patties tend to crumble and fall through the grates into the grill fire. These non-carnivorous options fare better when cooked in a skillet or baked in the oven.

Trendy cauliflower steaks, on the other hand, are delicious and satisfying, and they’re a great canvas for bold, grill-friendly flavors like the recipe below. Unlike veggie patties, a thick cross-section of cauliflower benefits from a good char on the grill.  Bring along a bean salad like this one as a side to work in some extra protein.

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Get ready to create a delicious alternative to run-of-the-mill veggie burgers.

Grilled Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks
Adapted from Faith Durand, The Kitchn

Serves 4 to 6

You may need to cook your cauliflower steaks in two batches to ensure a good char. If you have a grilling basket, you can cut the cauliflower into 2-inch florets and grill those in the basket instead.

2 large heads cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 cloves garlic, smashed into a paste or finely grated
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
1 tablespoon paprika (unsmoked)
1-2 teaspoons chipotle powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, to serve

Remove the leaves on each cauliflower head and trim the stem end until you can set the cauliflower flat on the cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to trim off the sides, then cut the cauliflower into 3 to 4 thick “steaks” about an inch thick.

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You’ll want to slice your cauliflower heads into 1-inch steaks.

Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, garlic and honey or agave syrup in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the lime zest, paprika, chipotle and salt.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high. Brush each cauliflower steak all over with the olive oil mixture and sprinkle the top surfaces generously with the chipotle powder mixture. Place the seasoned sides down on the hot grill.

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Grill the seasoned side of your cauliflower steaks first, then flip.

Cover the grill and cook for 3 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and carefully flip the cauliflower. Cook covered for an additional 3 minutes or until done to your desired texture.

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.

by Sara Bir

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