Dear Lee,

To keep track of collecting trends, I read most of the major decorating magazines, skim through dozens of auction catalogs in print or online, many club publications, and all of the major antiques publications. I never know which comes first when it comes to trends: an article or exhibit or an auction of a collectible or antique that has been ignored or forgotten. But last week I was surprised to see a long article claiming antique jewelry is back in style. Of course! It never went out of fashion.

What you wear, including if you love vintage jewelry, sends a message. A lot of “old-fashioned” jewelry such as charm bracelets are still popular. My charm bracelet always attracts attention!  People like to examine each charm and ask why I chose it. And all kinds of cameos are still in style, regardless if they are big or little, shell or layered stone, with or without a fancy border. Big crosses, originally religious, then startling when worn by Madonna, are now everyday jewelry. Plain circle pins the size of silver dollars were a must in the 1940s and ’50s. They were pinned on the collar of a jacket. Definitely not showy, but suggesting “class.” They are still worn, but often in groups. Many are covered with precious stones or pearls. Beads never lost favor, just grew longer. The necklace of the 1950s hung loosely on the neck. Today the bead strand is twice as long and hangs almost to the waist. Just hook two into a big loop and wear it as the latest style. Necklaces of graduated pearls are out of style, but strands with big, single-size pearls are very much “in.”

What’s old is new again. There are still a variety of poodle pins, the kind worn by teens in the past. Now older dog lovers like to brag about their pets. Don’t forget hoop earrings from the 1960s. They are still worn but are much bigger. All old Mexican and Indian jewelry and midcentury modern pieces are so much in style they are being copied. If you still have some of your teenage costume jewelry, begin wearing it again. A Mickey Mouse pin is still a conversation piece. It will probably get comments from those who think you are wearing a unique, new, ultra-stylish piece. If you don’t believe me, read our story in this issue about costume jewelry!

Large figural pins were popular when, in the late 1990s, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright turned pins into messages with snakes or eagles or flags. When she was on State Department business, her pin gave a clue to how she felt about the person she was meeting. It all started when she wore a snake pin.


P.S. It’s here! Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2020 – featuring 16,000 prices, 2,500 photographs (multiple photos on every page), and 500 factory marks to identify and date your antiques. This year our special insert section reviews a “hot” area of collecting – “Collecting Trends: Iconic Designers of Twentieth-Century Furniture.”

Everything has been carefully edited by experts for accuracy and easy reading. Includes actual prices from 2019, not estimates or “buy now” asked-for prices. These prices reflect major changes in the “buy” and “sell” world. All new!

Call 800-303-1996 to order by phone. Or send your book order by mail (check payable to Kovels) to: KOVELS, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122-0900.

Kovels’ subscribers receive two gifts: a bookplate personally autographed by Terry Kovel and this years’ Fakes, Fantasy’s and Reproductions” booklet.