Some Lovely Things on Ebay

I guess Ebay is having a cycle. Sometimes it’s dead for what seems like years, as in, “If I see this comb listed for way too much money one more time I’m going to scream.” Other times, beautiful pieces come on the market.

This week, a white-gold hair pin with diamond stems and pink mother-of-pearl flower buds is selling for $1439.99 in a Buy It Now. It was made in the 1960′s. The hair pin shape with two curved prongs surrounding a straight one imitates French style in the late 19th Century. You may refer to auction 130649801556.


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The comb in this ad

sold for $102 on Ebay France, a pittance. Hand-drawn geishas wearing kanzashi grace a French ivory comb, as they are framed by floral kanzashi ornaments. One of our authors wanted it, but lost by a snipe bid from an unknown account. My guess is the person who put the picture of this ad in the Bonaz section of her store got the prized, rare Bonaz.


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An 18th Century silver hair ornament with rubies and a bird in the center is selling for $700. It has the original patina, is in excellent condition, and was part of the traditional decoration worn by classical Bharata-natyam dancers in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. You may refer to auction 190153693139.


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The same dealer is also selling a superb Yao hair pin. The Yao people originated in the hills of China and settled in the Golden Triangle, which overlaps the mountain ranges of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. It is the second-largest opium-producing area in the world next to Afghanistan. This ceremonial pin has real hair and wool on the back and was made c. 1900. Price: $1550.


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This Chinese ivory export comb with three floral stems over an intricate lacy background sold for $643.78. It came in its original box. Sellers who list antique ivory combs on ebay describe them as “ox bone” because too many people have tried to sell modern poached ivory, which is a crime and should be prosecuted.


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Our last item is a beautiful pair of French Art Nouveau hair pins with painted pink flowers. The seller believes they are blonde tortoiseshell. I would have to hold them in my hand, but tradition dictates the material could also be clarified horn. The auction has one day to go, there are no bids, and the starting price is $331.52. You may refer to auction 200716111321.


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For more research, please examine


How to Buy, Sell, and Profit on eBay

How to Sell on Ebay for the Computer Shy – 2nd Edition

Estate Sale Prospecting for Fun and Profit with craigslist and eBay
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Alexandre de Paris Spring Collection: Haute Couture Hair Ornaments

Alexandre de Paris was a hairdresser, who said, “I did the hair of royalty, politicians and stars of this world. I offered my customers perfection, demand and beauty with a mastery of the hair in its purest form.”

This is my absolute favorite corporate brand of modern hair ornaments. They make limited editions, and their designs are taken from French Art Nouveau and Art Deco history. The combs are hand made in Paris by special ateliers, which means the company’s rare pieces can be labeled haute couture. Also, because they use modern, durable materials, you can wear them.

Sometimes they make only two pieces of a design, as with this example:

Here are some roses inside camelias. :-)

These two butterflies would make a wonderful pair of side barrettes.

Papillon

Alexandre de Paris brings to life one my favorite movie quotes of all time. It was spoken by Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, when she first speaks to her new assistant: “‘This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”

I bow down to the Goddess.

Anyway, ALL over supermarket hair sections, you see headbands with big flowers on them. Alexandre de Paris was the first company to make this idea for the haute couture market perhaps about 8 years ago. Here are some of the head bands from this year’s Spring Collection:

Look at the modern elliptical hole in this headband. We’ve seen them in comb tines since the 1950′s. Let’s study how long a modern-tine design in a headband takes to get to Wal-Mart.

Total BarbaraAnne. :-)

Branches swing over as the wind blows. I love this, and it also comes in white.

And look, they also put their butterfly design on a comb. Notice the elliptical holes in the tines, just like the headband.

The prices of these are anywhere from $300 to $800. In the stores, they have other design variations and rare pieces, which cost thousands now. People in Europe flock to New York to take advantage of the weak dollar.

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If you want the real thing, go to the Alexandre de Paris Online Shop.

If you want an haute couture piece, which will never be available online, call Jovy in the New York store at 212-717-2122.

If you would like something that will allow you to keep your home :-), I have picked a few barrettes from France Luxe, a good quality brand that looks up to Alexandre of Paris, is quite wearable, and much less expensive. Their two-butterfly design is almost an exact copy of an Alexandre de Paris barrette I have from the 1980′s.


France Luxe Small Double Butterfly Barrette with Swarovski – Black/Crystal

France Luxe Bailey Bow on Tige Boule with Swarovski Crystals

France Luxe Bloom Barrette

France Luxe Rectangle Volume Barrette with Little Daisies

France Luxe Long Skinny Barrette with Daisies

France Luxe Double Butterfly
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Creative Museum: Recent Acquisitions

The Creative Museum has acquired four new pieces:

This is one of the greatest Auguste Bonaz combs I have ever seen. I don’t even know what to say. For me, when I look at this, I see a mythical griffin with real ruby eyes, as in the English tradition, or a Japanese water-god dragon with real-gold accents, as in the Japanese gold maki-e tradition — or both! There are gold-button accents as a picture frame on the Art Nouveau part of the comb. Around that is an Art Deco celluloid design, which was cut on a comb-making machine in Oyonnax. This is a masterpiece. I think any museum thinking of doing an Art Deco exhibition could make this Bonaz a centerpiece, and viewers would gasp.

I will date this comb as late Edo / Early Meiji. It is painted lacquer with a sumptuously colored tree with red and gold berries or buds. The tines are also painted gold, and the comb is signed. I can’t wait until they create their own photographs of it.

What makes this French Empire comb special is the combination of design elements: cones made out of wrapped silver wire, cut steel “jewels” dotting the silver frame, and clear aquamarines. The comb is imaginative, unusual, original, and an unknowingly prophetic nod to modernism.

Marquetry is the furniture maker’s and jeweler’s craft of applying pieces of veneer onto a smooth surface. This technique allows the artist to create pictures and sumptuous designs. In this early 19th-Century comb from Russia, a master jeweler used gold marquetry to create delicate garlands amid thicker gold circles and arches on tortoiseshell comb.

This kind of taste and buying ability, combined with writing and photography, is what makes a museum. Bravo.

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For more scholarly research, please see the publications and exhibits of the Creative Museum, as well as the books in our Resource Library.

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Aron Wiesenfeld: The Crown

Born in 1972, Aron Wiesenfeld had his first solo exhibition at the Timmons Gallery in San Diego in 2007. He paints enigmatic, lonely people in empty spaces, making the viewer imagine an unseen backstory. He writes, “If something is going on behind the surface, people are drawn to it but don’t know why. They’ve connected to something in it. And that is a constant theme through my work, the ability to paint something to suggest something that isn’t shown.”

In “The Crown,” he draws a woman wearing a crown of candles without feeling the flames. Indeed, the smoke gives her a royal height. Do you think she looking inward, or at someone?

Mr. Wiesenfeld says his figures “are refugees, pilgrims, and wanderers, trying to get to the other side of a river that is forever out of reach. I think they are answering a call that is not consciously understandable, but resonates somewhere inside them. It draws them to a place they forgot that they knew about, something like a return to Eden.”

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For more scholarly research, please examine aronwiesenfeld.com.

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Jen Cruse: Rolled Gold on Victorian Hairpins

The process of producing rolled gold, invented in Birmingham in 1785 by a London manufacturer, was known as gold plating until the 1840s, when electro-gilding methods were introduced. Rolled gold is produced by fusing a thin layer of gold alloy over a base metal, or more often, over a brass or copper alloy. It is then rolled out into sheets of varying thicknesses, depending on the intended use. Rolled gold wire is extruded by enclosing a metal core inside a rolled gold tube and drawing it out to a desired diameter, in either a solid or hollow state.

Rolled gold is often marked RG indicating its authenticity, and is sometimes qualified by a figure to show which carat gold has been selected. In the USA in the 1870s, a double form of rolled gold was introduced, particularly for making pocket-watch cases. Termed gold-filled or rolled gold plate, it was simply a base metal with a gold alloy soldered to both sides.

Rolled gold is relatively light in weight, a property which helps to identify it. It was considered to be a form of embellishment that produced the same effect as solid gold. When applied as a decorative material, it offered a lighter and less expensive alternative.

These three hairpins have coiled rolled-gold headings with attached tines of blonde tortoiseshell (2) and brass (1). British 1870-90. Between 4 & 5 inches (10 –12.5 cm) in length.

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The Comb: Its History and Development

You may also examine the website of the Antique Comb Collectors Club.

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Creative Museum: The Riches of the French Empire

Multimedia exhibitions on comb scholarship are the hallmark of the Creative Museum. “The Riches of the French Empire” shows us how fashion expressed the tragedy of revolution, themes of antiquity brought back a refined aesthetic, Napoleon recognized a business opportunity, and how men put women in charge of exhibiting their wealth. The comb was an essential fashion element in every development.

When the monarchy was overthrown, the voluminous hairstyles of Marie Antoinette disappeared. During the Reign of Terror (1793 – 1794), the guillotine took the lives of 16,594 people. In 1795, many women of noble descent cut off their hair to honor those condemned to death. Hairstyles had evocative names such as “The Sacrificed One,” and “The Victim.”

When we juxtapose this painting of Marie Antoinette from the Musée Antoine Lecuyer and this portrait of a woman after the Revolution (painter: Louis-Léopold Boilly, Musée du Louvre), we can see the traumatic effects of terror, when it follows a revolution.

However, the French admiration of antiquities shaped the Directory Era (1795 – 1799), and women grew their hair long again. Napoleon saw a business opportunity. Classical tendencies could give a boost to the trade in luxury goods. With this aim in mind, he proclaimed himself Emperor of France in 1804 and gave the job of making French fashion cross the bridge between pre- and post-Revolution to his wife, the Empress Josephine.

Neo-classic style became refined in French society. “Hair was parted at the side, swept back, and edged with kiss curls. A comb held up a high bun.” Josephine’s innovations gave birth to the French Empire comb. Its harmonious shape and splendid decoration make them museum pieces today.

Iconic women were essential to spreading this new fashion. Besides Josephine, there was her daughter Hortense de Beauharnais from her first marriage

Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister,

and Madame Tallien, who wore the favorite diadem decoration, coral beads.

The Creative Museum has an outstanding collection of French Empire combs. Some have rubies, others have pearls. You’ll have to see the presentation to get all the information on them. But they are absolutely gorgeous.

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For more scholarly research, please see the Creative Museum’s presentation The Riches of the French Empire.

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Georges Fouquet Hair Combs

Sotheby’s is selling two combs by Georges Fouquet. One is a piece with different fittings, enabling the wearer to choose whether she wants a pendant, brooch, or comb, and the other is made of tortoiseshell. Final sale prices have been posted.

For our first piece, fan-shaped green, black, and white enamel lotuses elaborate a turquoise frame. The center jewel is a turquoise cabocohon, on top of which is a triangular opal. The piece is edged by diamonds and set in 18K gold, c. 1910. Signed signed G. Fouquet, # 2349. It comes in its original rose-colored leather, silk and velvet box, which is also signed G. Fouquet, 6. Rue Royale, Paris. Price estimate: $60,000 – $80,000. Sale price: $74,500.

On the second comb, look at the translucence in the blonde tortoiseshell. The artist chose an Egyptian theme by carving lotus and papyrus designs. Dotted by opals and accented with black and green enamel, the comb is signed G. Fouquet, #4680. It also comes in its original box. c. 1905 – 1908. Price estimate: $10,000 – $15,000. Sale price: $22,500.

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For more scholarly research, please examine these books, which can be found in our Resource Library.


Sotheby’s Catalog: Fouquet Jewelry

Art Nouveau Jewelry

The Comb: Its History and Development
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Gina Hellweger: Incised Bone Hair Pin, Li Ethnic Minority, China

The Li ethnic minority lives mainly in the center and south of Hainan Province. According to historical records, they have been on Hainan Island for over 3000 years. The Li people have the earliest weaving techniques in Chinese history. They are skilled in spinning and weaving silk cotton. Today, their traditional clothing is only worn at festivals or ceremonies.

Hair pins were favorites of men when they presented gifts to their lovers, and women often took them as tokens of love for their boyfriends. China’s ethnic minorities have a tradition of using hair pins to fix up their hair. The hair pins are of diversified varieties with long histories, rich national features and cultural implications.

In Hainan, Li women wear a decoration where they once carried a weapon. This is called a “virgin’s hair dress.” The incised ox rib is an adoption from the blade which women once wore to protect their honor. Ornamental patterns like waves, fish, flowers, fruits, and geometric designs cover the pins.

These pins are made by craftsmen using ox or other long gently curved white bones, which are polished, then carved. Lampblack and melted beeswax are used to make the pattern stand out against the white bone. The decoration on top is a helmet, turban or hair that is coiled. Then the bone ornament is adorned with either one or two heads, and the body extends to the feet or the end of the pin.

The hair pins that are very delicately carved into the shape of a human being are said to represent a warrior ancestor and tribal leader protecting his people. The beautiful incised bone pin is inserted in a typical “Run-Style Hair,” worn in a bun, by Run-dialect-speaking women. When the women marry, they wear numerous hair pins depicting their ancestors to bring good luck and blessings.

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For more scholarly research, please examine these books, which have been added to our Resource Library.


Ethnic Minorities Of China

The Art of Silver Jewellery: From the Minorities of China
Article: Among the Big Knot Lois of Hainan: Wild Tribesman with Topknots Roam Little-Known Interior of This Big China Sea Island
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Charles Loloma Hair Comb

What does an innovator do when his soul, land, and religion belong to a race who survived genocide? How does an artist feel when his genius compels him to consider all cultural ideas equally, even those of the countries responsible for the genocide?

Early in his career, Charles Loloma realized that many traditional Native American designs, such as the squash-blossom necklace, came from Spanish influence, so he reached outside the Hopi Nation. He was the first jeweler to combine Mediterranian salmon and oxblood coral, gem-quality Lone Mountain turquoise, ivory, gel sugulite, exotic woods, silver, and 14K gold into jewelry. His bracelets and necklaces sought to express the texture of Hopi land and water, as well as the sacred masks of Kachina dancers. The groundbreaking way in which Loloma combined ideas made new art, which allowed people to understand the Hopi ethos more powerfully.

Here is a bracelet of a kachina face, symbolically interpreted in 14K gold, ivory, coral, turquoise, and charoite. Price on request.

In 1941, Rene d’Harnoncourt included a mural by Loloma at the highly successful exhibition, “Indian Art of the United States,” at the Museum of Modern Art. However, in the 1950s, as Loloma’s artistic courage was redefining Native American art, breaking down regional barriers, and bringing Hopi artists out of isolation, an all-white consortium of hotel and restaurant owners called the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial rejected his work three times for not being “Indian enough.” In other words, Loloma didn’t make stereotypical pieces white business owners thought white tourists would buy.

He made only three hair ornaments in his career. One of them is on sale at the Indian River Gallery. It uses his mosaic motif and combines stones with ironwood and silver. Price: $22,000. The valuation is correct. You may examine other Loloma pieces at Christie’s.

Charles Loloma was born near the village of Hotevilla on the Third Mesa of the Hopi Reservation on January 7, 1921. The reservation covers 2500 square miles of Northeastern Arizona and is made up of three “mesas,” flat table-top-like portions of land surrounded by cliffs. This terraced farmland is just beneath Hotevilla.

Loloma belonged to the Honani, the Badger phratry (fraternity) of the Hopi, which included many clans: Miunyan (porcupine), Wishoko (turkey-buzzard), Bull (butterfly), Buliso (evening primose), and Kachina (sacred dancer). He was also a snake priest, a revered status in Hopi culture. Every two years, snake priests dance to worship ancestors and bring rain. This is Loloma’s signature gold badger-claw ring coupled with a silver, coral, and silver snake pin.

He would travel from world to world, Paris one week, back on the reservation to perform religious duties the next. To explain the disparity, he said, “Two times I’ve been to Europe and Paris and have experienced what fine things are, but in order to create valid art, you have to be true to yourself and your heritage.

“I feel a strong kinship to stones, not just the precious and semi-precious stones I use in my jewelry, but the humble stones I pick up at random while on a hike through the hills or a walk along the beach. I feel the stone and think, not to conquer it, but to help it express itself”

This necklace, which was featured in a 1978 exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, is priced at $75,000.

“I wish to create a relationship between the earth and myself,” Loloma says. “Sometimes we do not realize what we are kicking over.” He selects a piece of rock from the red ground. “I want to make the soul come out.”

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For more scholarly research and jewelry enjoyment, please examine


Loloma – Beauty Is His Name

Sterling Silver Authentic Native American Bear Claw Bracelet

Squash Blossom Necklace with Earrings
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Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry Sale: The Mike Todd Tiara

In 1957, she gave him a daughter.

Abandoned to love, he gave her this:

Nine scrolls with larger terminals, spaced by latticework motifs, c. 1880. It sold for $4,226,500, but that doesn’t matter to me. Love is still priceless.


Tiara

Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry

Elizabeth Taylor, A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend
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