Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beach Reading: On Our Bookshelf

Looking for some crafty inspirational summer beach reading?
Check out On Our Bookshelf on the Bumbershoot Supplies website, where you will find recommendations for books about the history of beads, vintage costume jewelry, and books of vintage beading inspiration. We’ve just added a section about the Business of Art and Craft.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What’s in a Name? History of the Word “Rhinestones”

Have you  ever wondered how the word “rhinestones” came to be used to describe the gorgeous glass and crystal baubles used in jewelry designs, buttons, and for so many other purposes?

We sell so many beautiful vintage rhinestone treasures at Bumbershoot Supplies, so I did a bit of research to learn about their name, and here is what I discovered:
“In the early decades of the twentieth century, a few tourist shops along the banks of the Rhine river [in Austria] sold jewelry with stones called “Rheinkiesel”. These were water clear stones which were cut like diamonds, and had red, green and blue blotches inside. They were made from glass molded and cut in Bohemia, and the red, green, and blue patches had been ingeniously fused into the clear glass during the molding process.

“Rheinkiesel, literally translated, means “Rhine pebbles”. Whether the tourists believed that the “stones” had been fished out of the river, or simply bought them for their attractive appearance as souvenirs to take home from their trip cannot be known. At some point a businessman, probably an American importer, gave the small imitation diamonds from Austria the name “Rhinestones”, and to this day the public recognizes them under that name.” (From: Rhinestones! A Collector’s Handbook and Price Guide by Nancy Schiffer)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Antiqued Brass Head Pins and Jump Ring Findings at Bumbershoot Supplies

Newly available at Bumbershoot Supplies, jump rings and headpins to match our line of antiqued brass settings, drops, connectors and other findings. Eye pins are being plated as I write this.
Yee haw!
It would seem like it should be a simple task to locate these findings, but I have been working for months to identify the right source to be the perfect complement to our line of high quality antiqued brass findings, so Jim and I are really excited about these new additions. 
Here is what we now have available for your designs (and mine):
Jump rings in 4mm, 6mm and 8mm in standard wire thicknesses.  We’re working on thicker ones and perhaps even some in twisted wire, sound good?
Head pins and (any day now) eye pins in standard thickness of 21 gauge, 2 inches long.  We plan to add thinner 24 gauge soon.
All in the highest quality yellow brass, plated in a rich golden honey antiqued brass shade to match all our other antiqued brass.
Plus, sealed with a jewelry grade non toxic lacquer for gloss and durability.
No lead, no nickel, and for you folks in the European Union, no cadmium either.
Quality shows! 

These beautiful findings are American-made by a family company in business since the 1940s.  They are plated by another American company, in business since the 1950s.  Both companies are such a pleasure to work with, the search for the right fit was worth it!
It’s the small things in life.

Next on our list, American-made chain!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: Miriam Haskell Jewelry

The bottom line on this book: Miriam Haskell Jewelry by Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamfiloff is THE resource if you are interested in Miriam Haskell jewelry.  Gordon and Pamfiloff discuss the history of the Haskell company and include valuable information on identification and dating of Haskell jewelry pieces, such as how the jewelry was constructed, how it was (or was not) signed, the types of clasps that were used, and so on. The book then dedicates several chapters to examining the work of key Haskell designers, organized in chronological order so you can see the progression of the company’s designs over time. 
This book is an incredible resource for learning about Miriam Haskell designs, and is also a wonderful resource for jewelry design in general.  We turn to it all the time to learn more about the vintage Haskell metal components, beads, and vintage glass pearls we offer at Bumbershoot Supplies. Highly recommended!