Start Your Own Holiday Tradition
Many of us celebrate the holidays by decorating our homes, entertaining friends and family and making homemade cookies and treats. It is a nostalgic time of year where we reflect and settle into our traditions.
Through the 50's and 60's, holiday themed jewelry was a mainstay of the season were women would adorn their coats and finery. Holiday jewelry represented the spirit of the season and since it was relatively inexpensive it possible for most to purchase and wear. This post will explore how you can incorporate vintage jewelry into your modern holiday traditions.
A Brief History of Holiday Jewelry
From decorating trees to Christmas cards, many of our holiday traditions started during the Victorian period. Wearing of decorative seasonal jewelry and exchanging gifts also started during this time. Fast forward, by the 40s the 'Christmas corsage' was very popular generally made from foil leaves, glitter, beads and bobbles, ribbons, and plastic decorations. Corsages were commonly pinned on the lapel of a winter coat and worn on the wrist or sash. Corsage materials were fragile and generally required a new one to be purchased every year.
The Christmas corsage was slowly replaced with more sturdy and re-usable jewelry pieces. By the 50s, most costume jewelry manufacturers produced holiday jewelry with only a handful that did not. Holiday jewelry added the sparkle and glamour to the fashion of the time. Demand for seasonal jewelry increased along with the popularity of costume jewelry. Even though jewelry could be worn year after year, many women would add to their holiday collection each season.
Popular holiday jewelry included earrings, charm bracelets and brooches & pins. Necklaces and pendants were made in Christmas colors such as green and red. Materials used in holiday jewelry included rhinestones, lucite (plastic), enameling, beads and crystal embellishments.
Although themes of holiday jewelry are expansive, common motifs included wreaths & holly, Santa Claus, bells, reindeer, stockings, angels, candy canes, ornaments, candles, and snowmen. Bows and ribbons, although not specifically holiday jewelry, were another option to enjoy during the season.
By far, the most popular form of holiday costume jewelry was the Christmas tree brooch. Each manufacture had a unique perspective that evolved as the styles changed throughout the years. From traditional to abstract and minimalist to ornate, there is a Christmas tree brooch that will suit everyone’s taste. Christmas tree brooches & pins are most the most collectible vintage holiday jewelry today. There are numerous books dedicated specifically to vintage Christmas tree jewelry as well as online collector exchanges.
New Holiday Traditions
There are many ways to incorporate vintage jewelry into your modern holiday traditions. As with any vintage costume jewelry, there are endless possibilities on how to wear your holiday vintage brooches and pins. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Brooch set: Pin several brooches on your jacket or coat
- Pin a brooch on your hat or scarf
- Add a brooch to your ponytail
- Pin a brooch on your canvas bag or use a ribbon to attached to your handbag
If you like crafting, you can use vintage holiday jewelry to create one of a kind decorations and gifts. This is the perfect option for broken jewelry and inexpensive pieces.
- Decorate your stocking
- Use as embellishment to your gift wrapping
- Make custom napkin holders
- Make holiday magnets
- Create collages in holiday shapes to hang on the wall
- Upcycle into “new” holiday jewelry such as a charm necklace
- Embellishments for ornaments, tree topper or holiday wreath
For more ideas visit our Pinterest board Vintage Jewelry Upcycling.
Purchasing Vintage Holiday Jewelry
Holiday costume jewelry is easily accessible on online, at your local antique shop or holiday fairs. Check out Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy or search online for vintage holiday or Christmas jewelry. The price of vintage holiday jewelry, just like vintage costume jewelry, will be based on the age, rarity and condition of a piece. When buying vintage jewelry, always verify the condition of the piece. Check for missing stones, excessive wear and make sure all clasps function if you intend to wear the piece. If buying online, examine pictures and ask questions.
Whether your passion is collecting, wearing or making homemade treasures, there are limitless possibilities when it comes to celebrating the holidays with vintage costume jewelry.