Wednesday, February 10, 2010

From the Absurd to the Sublime 1989 Revisited

It was a time of extremes.........extreme hair, extreme clothing, extreme TV shows.....remember Dynasty?

The shoulder treatment of the late 80's took the best of the late 30's puff sleeves and put them together with the worst of the 40's Joan Crawford look and came up with this pattern below.........add the Carmen Miranda diagonal ruffle on the hip and what you got was an atrocious silhouette.

And then there was this lovely and flattering dress.......flat front with princess styling and those side hip pleats are soft and swingy. The wide shoulders are softened by the wide scoop neckline and sweet collar. The 3/4 sleeve version is my favorite........but whatever your taste, the 80's had it to offer.

Find these and more in the Patterns from the 80's section at

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Frank Patania Sr Silver Disc Flying Saucer

Viewed from the side, the profile of this simple and elegant pin reminds one of a Mid Century rendering of a flying saucer. This may or may not be indicative of the southwest in the 1950's and 1960s. After all Roswell is close by.

Whatever the influence, this sterling piece by Frank Patania Sr, is stunning in it's simplicity.

If you aren't familiar with the Patania Thunderbird Shop, which has spanned 3 generations and 80 years creating fine art jewelry, you should check out The Patania Family and see what it's all about.

Inducted into the Smithsonian Institution's permanent collection, Patania since the 1920's, the Patania Design Line features the most sought-out designs and illustrates the distinct craftsmanship from each of the three generations: Frank Patania Sr., Frank Patania Jr., and Samuel Frank Patania.

The Smithsonian Institution
Washington DC's National Episcopal Cathedral
Museum of International Folk Art
Paul Newman
Nancy Sinatra
Billy Bob Thornton
Linda Ronstadt
John Wayne
Greer Garson
Princess Margaret
Stanley Marcus of Nieman-Marcus
Georgia O'Keefe
Ansel Adams
Elizabeth Kimberly of Kimberly-Clark

This elegantly simple piece can be found by clicking on the photo.

DeLizza & Elster's Juliana Jewelry

DeLizza & Elster was a costume jewelry design house that was in business from the late 1940's through the 1980's. Today, their "Juliana" line is a favorite of collectors. The line was designed, manufactured and sent to boutiques and department stores with only hang tags to identify the jewelry. The pieces were never stamped or marked. So how do you know a particular piece is a true D&E Juliana jewel?

Juliana Jewelry the DeLizza & Elster Educational Site has pages and pages and pages of albums with pieces that have been verified or declared NOT D & E by Mr DeLizza and a committee of knowledgable experts on D & E jewelry. There are even pages of how to identify particular stones and design techniques.

Don't go there unless you have time to spend and your eyes are ready to be dazzled by all the sparklies.

I was pleasantly surprised when I submitted this piece to the site for verification and received an email the next morning telling me "Congratulations your pieces has been confirmed as a D & E piece" They even added it to the Verified album that very day. These people don't fool around and they really know their stuff.

So if you have a stunning piece that is unmarked.......go visit the site and maybe you'll be in for a surprise too.

This lovely Tiered Brooch with Adventurine Art Glass and Topaz and Peridot Marquise cut Rhinestones can be found by clicking on the photo....

"For years collectors wondered about the mysterious creator of the Juliana line - some of the most colorful and inventive costume jewelry to be found. Here Frank DeLizza, head of DeLizza and Elster Inc. tells the engaging tale of his family’s odyssey in America, their embrace of jewelry-making as their foothold in a new land and the many companies, besides Juliana, they created to sell their wares. Whether he is telling an amusing anecdote about the famous names in this glamorous world, giving us an insider’s view of designer decision-making, discussing the headaches of running a business, or describing the colorful characters in his extended Italian-American family, in the end it is Frank’s warm and generous spirit that leaves an inspiring and lasting impression." To purchase this book with its packed-full pages of highly interesting commentary, copies of designs and pages of colorful jewelry and drawings, just go to Jewelry by DeLizza and order a copy of "MEMOIRS OF A FASHION JEWELRY MANUFACTURER"