Tag Archives: vintage jewelry

How to Style Brooches

Scarf Brooch 2

Dazzling combinations of brooches and accessories give vintage baubles a whole new life.

When we start to pull out our favorite hats, scarves, and jackets in the fall, it’s time to dig into something else, too: brooches. Whether dainty or big and glittery, brooches aren’t just artifacts that grace the lapels of grandmothers’ blazers. This season, we’ve spotted statement brooches all over, from runways to spreads in our favorite glossies.

While a brooch gracing a collar at the base of your neck will never lose its classic appeal, it’s smart and fun to embrace this essential jewelry piece’s versatility. Anywhere you can pin it, you can wear it.

  • Spruce up a basic knit toboggan.
Hat Brooch

Glitz up your favorite chapeau with a pretty brooch fastened above the brim.

  • Make an even bigger statement in an asymmetrical gown with a brooch right at the top of your shoulder. Or pin a matching pair of rosettes at the base of each strap on a sleeveless dress.
  • Glam up a plain gray sweatshirt, boyfriend sweater or denim jacket with a cluster of statement brooches. Grouping together multiple, complimentary brooches brings an edgy new flavor to contemporary or timeless brooches.
Denim Brooches 2

Pin several brooches onto your denim jacket, and add crystal clip-on earrings to the buttonholes for maximum appeal.

  • Pin a brooch at the front of a sash belt, or to the side of a drop-waist dress.
  • Add a brooch to the closure of a cardigan or the center of a collar on a  sweater.
Sweater brooch

Sport a gorgeous brooch at the center of your sweater for an alternative look that’s absolutely stunning.

  • For an unusual keepsake wedding bouquet, check out these brooch bouquet arrangements that swap live flowers for crystal or enameled brooches.
  • Lend sparkle to a clutch or handbag with a simple or elaborate brooch.

Pin a multicolored crystal burst brooch onto your bag for glamour on the go.

  • Keep a scarf in place with a brooch fixed at the knot.
  • For grab-and-go fashion, pair a brooch with all of your favorite fall and winter coats and jackets, and keep them pinned on all season.
Coat Brooches 3

Glitzy baubles and a fabulous color scheme make this arrangement a real success.

  • Lend your Annie Hall-style menswear a feminine tough with a strategically placed, elegant brooch.
  • Add a retro brooch to the lapel on a cardigan. Mix in a graphic tee for added flair.
Cardi Brooch 2 stitched

This 1940′s swallow pin combines perfectly with a comfy cardigan and a graphic tee.

Iconic animal brooches laden with crystals harken back to 1930s and ‘40s style icons like Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. Looking for something especially distinctive? We also have vintage brooches galore.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously wore brooches as a “diplomatic accessory.” She told Smithsonian magazine in 2010, “I was the only woman on the Security Council, and I decided to get some more costume jewelry. On good days, I wore flowers and butterflies and balloons, and on bad days, all kinds of bugs and carnivorous animals. I saw it as an additional way of expressing what I was saying, a visual way to deliver a message.” Why not take a cue from one of the most powerful women in American history? Enjoy yourself when you rock your brooches your way, every day.

by Sara Bir


Quintessentially American: The Romance of Native American Jewelry

Silver cuffs set with smooth, giant turquoise stones. Copper bands ringed with thunderbird icons. Roadrunner pins and bolo ties. They evoke cacti and adobe dwellings, Route 66 and tumbleweeds, Georgia O’Keeffe and John Wayne.

We’re thrilled to offer a new-old find: an eclectic assortment of vintage Native American jewelry made by The Bell Trading Company of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  You may be surprised to learn that this style of Native American jewelry—ubiquitous with the American West—only dates back to the late 1800s.  And from the get-go, it was made for tourists: first train travelers, then road-tripping Americans on vacation. This was before truck stops and the Interstate system, when two-lane highways offered glimpses of the scenic, untamed nation that was already becoming a thing of the past. Trading posts sprang up to capitalize on souvenirs-seeking tourists, who couldn’t get enough Native American jewelry.

It’s not hard to see why. In Navajo beliefs, turquoise is a piece of the sky itself, bringing good thoughts to its wearer. In combination with silver or copper, it calls to mind wide, open skies and the vast bronzed rockiness of the landscape below it. This is not just jewelry. It’s a state of mind.

Heirloom Finds founders Kim and Jeanne came across this collection while antiquing in Southeast Ohio, of all places. An owner of a Southwestern-style trading post had sold his remaining stock of Native American jewelry, a lot which had been waiting for 30 years to be discovered. So this cache truly is a rediscovered treasure!

The Bell Trading Company employed Navajo silversmiths to create their jewelry and the firm operated from 1935 until the late 1980’s.  The artisans who created this jewelry had well-paying jobs and were held in high esteem. They utilized the silver, copper, and turquoise that was available locally, but they also added other elements, such as jet, coral, and abalone. Popular motifs—thunderbirds, roadrunners, feathers, and the half-man, half-eagle Knifewing deity—pulled from the mythologies of tribes such as the Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo. Like jazz, it’s a truly iconic American art form, timeless yet modern.

The variety in this selection runs the gamut, with a find to suit anyone’s taste: simple metal bands to elaborate bold boyfriend rings, tastefully subtle bolo ties that can be worn as pendants, and roadrunner brooches with rich inlays. The statement pieces can go dressy or casual, be underplayed or emphasized for this year’s hot look-Southwest Glam.  And, in classic Wild West fashion, they always go well with denim. Delicate or bold, traditional or contemporary, it’s easy to make this quintessentially American artistry part of your signature style.


By Sara Bir

toggle rope

Toggle Your Chain

When we look at satisfying your fashion needs, we realize that some ladies love the heirloom feel of vintage looks. So we’re ready with a collection of old and new jewelry finds that will suit your wallet and your fashion fancy. Just take a look at the comparison that we’ve drawn up.

This week’s Vintage to New comparison is all about the toggle chain. Toggles got their start back in the mid to late Bronze Age, but they were used more like the safety pin to hold together cape-like clothing. Their popularity in jewelry is a rather new development that really took off in the 1960s.
toggle rope

Vintage: Starting out as a costume piece in the 1960s, this piece has made it into our Heirloom Finds collection by a stroke of luck, and it’s going for gold with its gold tone pendant and rope chain. Its healthy helping of pastel jewels and faux pearls take center stage, but this 1960’s pendant necklace is really all about its unique toggle chain and flawless vintage quality. Get a good look in full detail here.

Present-Day: Its look-a-like isn’t vintage, but might as well be with its worn look and ‘60’s style. Still sporting that toggle clasp, this costume piece has a worn gold tone that gives it its heirloom feel. Like the ‘60s necklace, it also has a disc pedant with faux pearl embellishments. But it takes a step toward the trendy with its two tone make and iconic Maltese cross. Get a better look at the Better for Wear collar here.

By Melanie Lamb

vintage brooch collection

Four Tips for Turning your Fashion Jewelry into Heirloom Pieces

Your costume jewelry can easily become heirloom pieces with the proper love and care. The staff at Heirloom Finds Jewelry have collected their tips of the trade to help you make your fashion jewelry last a lifetime.

Tip #1 – Make sure your jewelry items do not rub together. Instead of cramming all of your pieces into one small jewelry box, invest in a nice armoire, or get creative with household items. Here at Heirloom, we transformed an inexpensive burlap photo pin board into a beautiful jewelry display piece. You can hang it on the wall or sit it on your dresser. The choice is yours.


Tip #2 – Keep your jewelry from drastic temperature changes. Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause it to warp or crack. Storing fashion jewelry in excessively hot conditions can also cause stones to separate from the setting.

Tip #3 – Avoid water at all costs! Most people don’t realize that the chemicals in tap water can alter the finish of jewelry. Not to mention the chlorine in pools, and the myriad of ingredients in shampoos, soaps, dish liquids, and other beauty and cleaning products. So, if you want to keep your jewelry looking new for years to come, remember to remove it before bathing, swimming, or dishwashing.

Tip #4- Although your fashion jewelry looks like real gold and silver, trust us, it will not shine up with silver polish, brass polish or the like. These polishes can, and likely will, destroy the finish of the gold, rhodium, or silver plating. There are special polishing cloths that can be used for costume jewelry, and we include a free cloth with every purchase at Heirloom Finds!

Happy Shopping!