A Love for Vintage Jewelry by Lynn Rae

From Christina: I was fascinated by Lynn’s post today. I think you’ll enjoy it, too. 

A Love for Vintage Jewelry

by Lynn Rae


There’s a small component in The Secret Ingredient that’s easy to miss, but nevertheless very important to me. My heroine, June Sinclair, collects vintage jewelry. It’s not a major part of the novel and none of the plot hinges on it, but as I crafted her character, she just started to wear it, which led me to do a lot of research on vintage costume jewelry.

I had a passing interest in it already, since in my younger days I was a keen costume history buff and collected a lot of period clothing, especially from the 1940’s, but jewelry had always been a mere component of the ensemble, nothing I focused much attention on. That changed when June was in my head.

An Eisenberg brooch

An Eisenberg brooch

She works in a school and in a burst of inspiration, I realized she would wear colorful jewelry pieces as a way to entertain the kids and keep them guessing. I ended up giving her some really expensive pieces in the story, like a Hattie Carnegie sardine tin pendant, which could set you back over five hundred dollars if you could find one, and some Eisenberg rhinestones which  again, run into the hundreds at an antique store.



But it’s fiction and in my world, a school secretary deserves to run across gorgeous jewelry at a garage sale priced at a dollar or two. Come to think of it, I deserve to run across some stunning sparklers too!

Jewelry tells a story when you wear it. Take, for example, my latest find, a Trifari ‘dearest’ circle pin. The circle pin is a classic design, you can find them in eighteen carat gold with diamonds all the way down to base metal and glued-in paste stones. The interesting thing about this pin, which I snagged at my favorite source for inexpensive vintage jewelry, the local Volunteers of America thrift store, is that in addition to being a circle, symbolizing eternity, the stones also spell out ‘dearest’. Start at the clear ‘Diamond’ and pull out the first letters of each gemstone as you make your way around; Emerald, Amethyst, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, and Topaz. It’s a tiny message hidden in a pin about an inch wide, very similar to the way I hid one of June’s character traits in the lines of the book. In the photo, you’ll also notice the great price it had. Makes it easy for a humble writer to afford her hobbies!



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