All posts filed under: featured

So You Think You Bought New Jewelry?

Some Filipinos have an aversion to wearing old jewelry especially if they don’t know who wore it before.  I heard that some believe that if the person who previously owned the jewelry had violent tendencies, then the next person who wears it will be like that too.  How strange. It’s funny though.  Oh, if they only knew where some of the “new” jewelry they buy in retail shops come from. We, Filipinos love to buy jewelry.  Not only it is a good investment but when times are hard, it can easily be converted to cash.  Some do this by going to pawnshops.  Just look around in the Philippines, there’s always a pawnshop near you. But what happens if you can’t redeem what you pawned due to lack of cash?  Well, the pawnshop includes it in their items for auction or locally referred to as “subasta”. The pawnshops put them in lots according to their value.  These lots are then auctioned off to jewelry dealers or volume buyers.  When I say “volume buyers”, I mean jewelry …

Vintage Reliquary or Relikaryo Pendant

You probably have seen them around.  Those unusual looking vintage pendants that have something inside them- some are flat while some are bulky with glass-encased designs in the middle.  They are called reliquaries or locally known as “relikaryo”.  In simplest terms, these are containers for holy relics made popular during the medieval times. Reliquaries were made to hold sacred items such as the bones or hair of a saint or a religious figure.  Yep, you read that right.  It may also contain a piece of material that the saint used or touched such as a piece of clothing.  Older versions of reliquaries kept the relic hidden but later on, glass was added on the pendants to show what was inside. Similarly, the “relikaryo” pendants that usually accompanied the old traditional Filipino tamborin necklaces were originally hidden inside the garment.  Later on, these necklaces were worn in full display. These relikaryo pendants are ornate and meticulously handcrafted.  The quality of the antique ones are especially breathtaking.  They are usually oval-shaped.  Older versions of the relikaryo contained …

What is the value of an antique jewelry?

One of the challenges in selling antique jewelry is making the prospective buyer understand why a certain piece could fetch a high price. Bear in mind that it’s not like fine modern jewelry where majority of the price is factored in the gold or silver content along with the weight of the item.  While gold is definitely more expensive than silver and brass, craftmanship plays a big role.  Some things just can’t be duplicated anymore.  If you hear someone say “antiquity”, it’s not just because it’s old but they are mostly referring to the fine craftmanship that is so hard to find nowadays. One time, I asked a jewelry shop if they can make vintage-inspired gold-plated silver pendants for me.  I was surprised at the prices they quoted.  When I asked if it would make a big difference in the cost if I change the material to gold-plated brass, they said it wouldn’t bring down the price much.  Bulk of the cost is labor.  Not only does it take a longer time to make but …

The Creepiness Factor

Hello!  Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile.  With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be apt to talk about the perceived creepiness surrounding antique jewelry. Whenever someone finds out that I sell antique jewelry, the inevitable question pops up, “Aren’t you scared? You don’t know who wore it before.” I guess that’s the reason why I initially targeted foreign buyers.  Foreigners generally embrace the rich history behind each piece.  Some of them don’t even want it cleaned and like it as is. A lot of us, Filipinos on the other hand are a little wary of wearing something really old especially if we don’t know who wore it.  I guess some of us are still very superstitious.  I suspect that it one of the reasons why some local buyers like to have the antique jewelry pieces cleaned to look like new.   Or maybe that is just how they remember their grandmother’s jewelry to look like. It’s so funny I had my first bazaar early this month and the most common question I …

Finally, my very own antique star pendant!

An avid antique collector recently commented that since I sell vintage jewelry, I must have a to-die-for old jewelry collection.  I laughed at the comment.  The truth is, I don’t have any old jewelry- not unless you count my Php400 ($10) brass tamborin necklace which I bought more than 10 years ago in Balikbayan Handicrafts (a tourist/Filipiniana store).  While I love vintage jewelry, business comes first.  A business-savvy mentor advised me not to get attached to my stocks. But it’s hard not to get attached.  I acquire items that I like so in case it doesn’t sell, then I wouldn’t mind keeping them personally.  In fact, I do have a favorite item in my online shop- an antique gold star with diamante (small rough cut diamonds). It’s so beautifully made.  Looks dainty yet sturdy and has a bit of weight to it.  I told myself that if it doesn’t get sold within a certain period then it’s meant for me. That waiting period has long passed.  I get nervous whenever someone “favorites” that item- thinking …

Lansadera Rings

I was so fascinated when I first saw this ring.  I thought it was of Indian origin until my mom pointed out that it’s a “lansadera” ring.  Apparently it’s a local vintage design that was very popular in the 1930s to the 1950s. “Lanzadera” is a Spanish word for shuttle, a boat-shaped piece of wood used as a device in the loom. They normally have “diamante” or rough cut diamonds in them which were considered lucky in those days.  The pointed ends make for good self-defense too. ;P Here are some more designs: These rings and even the earrings version normally come encrusted with diamante but I was able to acquire one that has pearls instead.  Looks a little different from the ones I usually come across with. These rings look like armor or knuckle rings that are very fashion-forward now.

How to tell if a Philippine tamborin-style jewelry is an antique

Is that antique, vintage or new? With the revived interest in vintage and antique jewelry, it’s getting more difficult to tell if a Philippine-made tamborin-style jewelry is antique.  When I first started my online shop, I had to rely on what the antique dealers told me.  They would either say, it’s an antique, at least a hundred years old or the vague answer, “Luma na yan” (meaning “That’s already old” ).  Um, okay.  I can’t really blame them, there are very few reference books on these things.  So how do you tell? The more seasoned sellers would say that antique tamborin beads are very smooth when you run your fingers through them. Same goes for the relicario (or reliquary pendant that usually accompany this tamborin style jewelry).  While this is probably true, I’ve seen some antique tamborins that are not really smooth.  Maybe they were hardly used by the previous owner or the wearer took really good care of the piece. Another way is to look at the finish.  This one refers to old gold-plated …

Welcome to Tambourine Jewelry!

Hello!   I’ve always had an aversion to old things.  I like new things, they are uncomplicated, unused and something I understood.  Those primitive “bulol” figures, old huge Chinese jars and “baul” or wooden chest creep me out. Superstitions and local horror movies inspired by these things don’t help either.  Then I saw the “tamborin” necklace. Well, they don’t look creepy, in fact, they look very nice. So that began my love for antique and vintage jewelry.  They have so much history.  Oh, if these pieces can only talk. This blog is all about vintage and antique jewelry.  I’m no expert but I am having fun learning along the way.