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Off The Shelf Review with Gina Smith - Vintage Style Jewelry


With the enduring popularity of DIY jewelry, beading and of course, all things vintage, it’s no surprise Bead and Button magazine just published VintageStyle Jewelry, Inspired Designs from the 1850s to the 1950s ($9.95, Kalmbach Publishing Co., ISBN 978-0-89024-739-6).

      The wider-format book-magazine features a special pull-out color pictorial history of jewelry as well as more than a dozen projects incorporating vintage pieces, antique buttons, self-made findings and new supplies.

      I most enjoyed the feature about and cover project from Diane Hyde, a former graphic artist-cum-jewelry designer who only just took up beading in 1995. Her rapid ascension to a nationally-known, award-winning beader and designer is inspiring enough for us Etsy and DIY wannabe-hers, but I also found in her recommended reading list some books I’d like to check out further.

      Following the interview are step-by-step instructions for her 1920s-style personalized pendant with easily-understood directions and photos that make it seem like “hey, I just might be able to do this!”

      As for the other projects, I had to keep reminding myself the title of the book-zine does say “inspired,” so those looking for pics of a lot of actual vintage jewelry will not find it here. The pull-out, while well organized, is short on photos, too. Even the restoration tips article is brief and not long on visuals.

      With all this in mind, I decided to check out the editor’s letter- not something I usually rush to first. The message reminded readers that the mission of the parent magazine (Bead & Button) is to “introduce contemporary, original jewelry designs,” also noting this special edition is intended to “apply a new ‘attitude’ to classic styles.” Aha! That explains it. So, depending on what you’re hoping to find, I’d recommend some bookstore aisle-reading before you commit to purchase.

      I found three of the 15 projects that I might actually do; the rest were heavy on peyote stitch and other seed-beading adventures. If you love that kind of tiny work, you may want to add this to your reference library.

      As for me, I may be an unsophisticated kid when it comes to publications, but give me pictures! And, if you’re going to call something “VintageStyle” (which they do, making it into one word), then give me vintage!


Next up on the jewelry shelf review: French-Inspired Jewelry by Kaari Meng. And, stay tuned for my review of the new Vintage Vavoom by the editors of Romantic Homes magazine.

- Guest Author, Gina Smith  

{All contributed content Gina Smith © Lilly*s of London*ish}


Lori Eurto

Excellent Review Gina!! You go girl!
Can't wait to read the upcoming review for French-Inspired jewelry!

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