Friday, November 15, 2013

IN Fashion Friday: Estate Education

Vintage 1940s watch (Wyler, G. Thrapp Jewelers); Dress (Samual Dong, Enza's Boutique); Boots (; Bag (Alexander McQueen,
Some of my best memories from elementary school and junior high involve field trips.  Whether to Connor Prairie, the local firehouse, the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, or the zoo, a field trip was an opportunity to step outside the ordinary school day routine, experience the unfamiliar, and learn in a different way.  Last week, I took a "grown up" field trip with the Indianpolis Musuem of Art's Fashion Arts Society (FAS) to G. Thrapp Jewelers, where owner Gary Thrapp gave an anecdote filled tutorial on vintage, antique, and estate jewelry.  It was only fitting to wear my own vintage 1940s diamond and gold watch for the occasion.  The 70 year old Swiss-made Wyler timepiece was actually part of Thrapp's estate collection, and found a new home with me last Spring after I received a generous gift certificate as the "Hatastique" prize at FAS' annual Hats Off Luncheon.  I expected to wear this watch primarily with cocktail/black tie attire, but I've actually donned it often and found that it mixes well with many looks and modern era pieces.
The pink-white angel skin coral in these 1950s earrings is regarded as particularly precious, with a name evocative of its ethereal quality; The 100 plus year old brooch is reversible, and the back features a shamrock inset with tiny seed pearls - I hardly wanted to take it off because it added a just-right splash of color to my black dress and was completely unique and very "me".
Gary's presentation to the FAS group covered every major jewelry period from the 1880s onward, and it was fascinating to hear him explain the inextricable relationship between jewelry design and the political and economic environment of the age (eg, metal shortages during both World Wars led designers to get creative with jewelry findings and streamline designs).  Of course, we also enjoyed the opportunity to try on various treasures in the estate collection case.  Playing dress up with our favorite pieces made this particular outing different from a typical museum lecture where no touching is allowed (and it far exceeded my childhood field trip to the zoo, where seeing exotic animals was overshadowed by having to spend the whole day walking around with bird poop on the back of my bright red shorts!).  My favorite items (shown above) were a pair of 1950s angel skin coral, diamond and enamel earrings with matching bracelet; and the antique, turn of the century fleur de lis brooch that featured not only a still working timepiece, but also skilled enamel work in a style called guilloche.  I'd never heard the term "guilloche" or seen angel skin coral before, but I was absolutely smitten with both!  If their own blogs are any indication, fellow FAS members Crystal of Dressed Her Days Vintage and Madison of Preppy Guide to Life were also taken with the angelic earrings.  
Clockwise, from top left:  Gary Thrapp enthralls the group; crystal and diamond pendants; 1950s diamond and platinum clips can be worn separately or as a single piece; vintage Hamilton watch featuring a band of hand painted English crystals; Members of FAS listen intently to Gary's history lesson.
If you're interested in buying, selling, or just learning more about historical jewelry (maybe you want to know more about that ring handed down from your great grandmother!), make a point of visiting G. Thrapp!

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Linked up with: Style Elixir

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