NewslettersRuby Lane's newsletters are designed to celebrate the antiques and art, vintage collectibles and jewelry communities around the world. Our Past Times newsletter focuses on antiques and collectibles. Our Creative Hands newsletter celebrates fine art and handcrafted jewelry on Ruby Lane. Our shop owners are frequent article contributors, sharing their expertise and their passions for the items they collect and create. Enjoy!
Subscribe Now to our Newsletters
Ruby Lane's July 2011 Past Times - Now & Then
In This Issue
- Sister Site Ruby Plaza - FREE to SELL Through December 2012!
- Legacies of the Roadshow by Jack Becklund of The Pottery Nuts
- Yesterday and Today - A Look at the Jewelry Trade in 1931
- Shop for Antiques on Ruby Lane - Fashionable Then and Now
- Travel in Style with Ruby Lane
SISTER SITE RUBY PLAZA - FREE TO SELL THROUGH DECEMBER 2012!
If you're not familiar with Ruby Plaza, it is Ruby Lane's sister site specializing in home decor, fashion & accessories and jewelry. Unlike Ruby Lane, Ruby Plaza allows for brand NEW items to be offered.
And in case you haven't heard - we are now offering both current and new shops the opportunity to sell on Ruby Plaza for FREE - through December 31st, 2012 while we work to grow and expand the site. That's right - it's absolutely FREE.
Here's a summary, effective now through December 31st, 2012:
- Monthly Fee: FREE
- Setup Fee: FREE
- Listing Fee: FREE
- Additional Blocks of Items: FREE
After the Free Period
The anticipated fees after December 31st, 2012 are:
- Monthly Fee: $4.95
- Commission: 4.95%
- Setup Fee: FREE
- Listing Fee: FREE
- Additional Blocks of Items: FREE
Skype Just Added
Both Ruby Lane and Ruby Plaza now offer Skype as a free, optional new feature. Skype allows buyers and sellers to communicate in real time if they choose via instant messaging, audio and/or video, while the buyer browses the site. Please note that not all shops offer Skype yet, however we expect the number of shops who offer it to grow significantly in the future. Stay tuned!
We hope you'll stop by and check out Ruby Plaza today!
Visit Ruby Plaza or go to:
LEGACIES OF THE ROADSHOW BY JACK BECKLUND OF THE POTTERY NUTS
Most Monday evenings, we join the more than 15 million Americans who watch Antiques Roadshow. We've been doing so since 1997, when the Roadshow came to our country from England. If you buy or sell on Ruby Lane, you're no doubt very familiar with the show. Maybe, like us, you're a fan who enjoys learning about new and unusual antiques and collectibles. Maybe, also like us, you're a detractor who hates the deceptive pricing designed to shock and amaze. Either way, the Roadshow has had a major effect on the business of buying and selling antiques.
Because of the Roadshow, many people have at least some idea of what good things look like. People travel hundreds of miles to attend the show and they bring their best stuff. Consider that and the fact that only one out of a hundred items gets onto your TV screen and you know the things you see will be first rate. After hearing about them and seeing them from different angles, you'll be able to recognize them if you ever see them at a flea market or a mall or on-line. This provides a dissemination of knowledge that you simply can't replace. We're pottery people. Most of the Roadshow art pottery is handled by David Rago or his wife Suzanne Perrault. They know their stuff and you will learn from them. The same goes for other subjects such as furniture with the Keno brothers, folk art, toys, military items, jewelry, etc. The experts are there and you can learn things.
Now let's talk about the pricing. You must first
understand that the appraisers are competing for slots on the final edited version of the show. The producers would much rather have a $30,000 Navajo chief's blanket than a measly $2,000 chief's blanket. They want to wow the audience, make them weak at the knees. They want the owner of the item to clutch his heart and say, "Oh my God! Did you say thirty thousand?" They want tears and hallelujahs. They want Ed to holler at Annie to come quick and see the $200,000 national treasure.
Because of the crazy appraisals, we know many dealers who simply dismiss the program as a scam, the worst thing to happen to the antique business in memory. But Roadshow is not something you can simply dismiss or ignore. It has a powerful impact on everyone who has inherited six pieces of Roseville from Aunt Mable or an old signed Louisville Slugger from Uncle Fred. Having something in your possession that might be worth quite a bit stirs the curiosity and triggers the search. Whether you go to the internet or watch the Roadshow or any of its spinoffs, you will be influenced.
When we talk off spinoffs, we know right now they include American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Buried Treasure (with the Kenos), Storage Hunters, Hardcore Pawn, Storage Wars. American Restorations, Flea Man and Auction Packed. There is also the British version of Antiques Roadshow, which started the whole thing in 1977, and a couple of others from across the pond. All the shows in this mini-industry are based on the idea that greed
is great and many old things are worth big bucks. After that, they kind of blur.
As we buy and sell antiques, we see the influence. Mother hands down her prized sugar shaker. Daughter sees one sort of like it on Roadshow for $850. She sends us an email photo and we offer $45. We never hear again from daughter, who no doubt thinks we are cheats, thieves and the scum of the earth. People trust what they hear on Roadshow and the others, even if they don't know what it means. It doesn't help for us to explain there are many different kinds of sugar shakers or muffineers. They know what they know.
When you hear the Roadshow appraisers price an item, listen closely to exactly what they say. Are they quoting insurance value? High retail? Well advertised auction? All these quotes are different. Insurance values are double auction value and 50% north of high retail. Auction values are quoted for top of the line auctions in major metro areas. Think Skinners or Bonhams or Heritage. The appraisers do not quote for rural areas. They do not quote for places like Maine, Florida or Ohio. As a result, when other viewers may be gasping in amazement, we are guffawing in equal amazement at the high comedy. National treasures, indeed!
Still, we are avid viewers. We are constantly learning the business and Roadshow is a good place to do it, even if we don't buy and sell many civil war buttons or French opera glasses. Hey, you never know. We too might stumble across a national treasure.
Nice to know it when you see it.
We invite you to "hit the web" and shop for your next treasure with The Pottery Nuts.
YESTERDAY AND TODAY - A LOOK AT THE JEWELRY TRADE IN 1931
As a dealer and collector of vintage jewelry items, one of my favorite references is a 1931 edition of The Keystone Jewelers Index. I found my copy decades ago, in the back room of my family's jewelry shop, which dated back to the 1890s. I am sure that my great-grandfather and his son, both involved in the business in 1931, used this reference when it was the cutting edge of news in the jewelry industry. This edition reports on sales and trends for 1930 and half of 1931. It contains quite a bit of useful information, but it's primary use for me has always been the identification of manufacturer's marks and silver pattern identification. These are illustrated in the volume.
The periodical was published by the Keystone Publishing Company. Sometime in the early 1930s, this publisher merged with the Jeweler's Circular, another trade publication. The resulting magazine, The Jeweler's Circular Keystone, has been a jewelry industry standard ever since.
Noticing that my volume is now 80 years old, and more than a little bedraggled from use, I was recently struck by some of the similarities and differences between the 1930s and the current times, and by the similarities and differences in the jewelry industries of the time.
This volume was the first one published after the stock market crash of 1929. Vast amounts of wealth that existed on paper disappeared. The country did not yet know that they were in a decade long economic downturn, deeper than anything
experienced before. The introductory review compliments the industry for withstanding the stress of the last 18 months, and sees an upturn "as soon as general conditions improve." This improvement is a decade away, when the industrial demands of World War II will jump-start the economy. The jewelry industry, due to war time production restrictions, will not be back to anything resembling normal until 1945.
One noticeable difference is the reaction of precious metal prices to these tough economic times, as compared to today. Gold prices are set by the government at about $21 per ounce, by the Gold Standard Act of 1900. This would continue until 1933, when the government would make private ownership of gold illegal, and reset the price to around $35 per ounce. However, platinum and silver prices declined 30-50% over the few years following the 1929 crash. Investment in precious metals has come to be seen as a protection against economic uncertainty these days, but that was not the case in the 1930s.
The publication also indicates that most production of items was down, and retailers were selling from existing inventory, re-ordering only what was needed. While I have been out of the regular storefront retail jewelry industry for about 5 years now, my friends in those retail and manufacturing sectors assure me that this is the case today, as well.
The Fashion Trends
There were no "hot" fashion trends indicated in this edition. The one bright spot in industry related
manufacturing was expansion of the production of electric clocks, a recent commercial innovation. While the electric clock actually dates from about 1840, the invention of the synchronous motor in 1918 made the electric clock practical. The development of the electric power grid in the 1930s helped create a much larger market for electric clocks and other devices. Electric clock sales went from less than 100,000 units in 1927 to 1,200,000 units in 1930, with an increase in sales from $2.5 million dollars to over $15,000,000.
Another innovation was the development of non-tarnishing silver items. The industry had great hopes for palladium plating and silver and cadmium alloys, to produce items that would be tarnish resistant. Almost as a side note, the article indicates that a few manufacturers had licensed a new process involving rhodium as a plating material for silver. This dark horse would win the race, and become the standard for a tarnish resistant finish for the rest of the 20th century.
The advertisements from the manufacturers are one of the great features of the edition. Many of these manufacturers did not survive the Great Depression, and most have changed hands since the 1931 edition.
J. R. Wood and Sons was an old time manufacturer by 1931, having been founded in 1850. The company produced pieces with a number of different "line" names, including Artcarved. They changed the company name to Artcarved in a 1975 merger with Lenox Brands. Commemorative
Brands now produces the Artcarved line.
Traub Manufacturing Company of Detroit has some ads for their Orange Blossom Line of rings. This popular line was later marketed by Josten's in the 1970s, after an acquisition. While Josten's no longer seems to have any association with the line, a Canadian firm was still producing the pieces some time ago.
Most of the great American watch companies are featured in advertising-Hamilton, Waltham, Elgin, and Illinois-along with a number of lesser known companies. All have disappeared or changed ownership. Some turned into licensed names, put on lower quality watches from foreign sources, with no relation to the older quality American made pieces.
Most jewelry was sold through distributors at the time, with few manufacturers of fine jewelry or watches dealing directly with the retailer. J. R. Woods, the jewelry manufacturer mentioned above, seemed to be an exception. In addition to the jewelry the firm made, Woods also served as distributor for Omega watches in the United States.
Byard F. Brogan, a quality American manufacturer, is also featured in advertising. This firm, although never a household name, has made quality pieces for over 100 years, and is still producing them.
Most of the silver manufacturers in the directory have fallen by the wayside, either out of business or merged beyond recognition.
Pens and writing instruments were part of any jewelers inventory in the 1930s, and Sheaffer Pen occupies the back
cover, and both inside covers of this annual edition. Walter Sheaffer had developed a lever mechanism for filling fountain pens. Starting the back room of a jewelry store in Fort Madison, Iowa, Sheaffer had turned this innovation into a major commercial venture. Some of the first colored pen bodies were used by Sheaffer, bringing a burst of color to an industry dominated by pens made with black rubber bodies. By the 1920s, Sheaffer had 25% of the American pen market, and held onto this market share through the 1930s. The line is now produced by BIC.
While most of the jewelry is American made, some distributors offer fashion jewelry made overseas, and the gift sections include many importers ads. The retail jewelry stores of the United States are starting to open gift departments, and much advice is given in articles on this matter. I found the ads for imported Russian lacquerware rather surprising.
Some interesting comments revolve around radio advertising.
"No particularly notable merchandising or advertising trend has been seen in the jewelry and allied industries during the past 16 months, excepting that a number of leading manufacturers in the silverware, clock, watch, and allied lines have been experimenting with radio broadcasting. Time will tell whether an advertising medium that consumes the advertising appropriation so rapidly as radio does, can be employed with profit for products of so slow consumer turnover, or whether radio is better adapted to
stimulating the sales of low price, quickly consumed articles."
Merchants were not sure how to deal with this new medium, or the value of it. National brand advertising was a new concept to most jewelry manufacturers, one which would be developed during the 1930s. A number of manufacturers promoted their advertising mats in their ads in this volume, advertising mats that promoted their name, along with space for the local retailer to add his name. Newspaper was the preferred method of advertising, capturing nearly 60% of the jewelry industry's advertising dollars.
Another concern with radio was its impact on the watch and clock industry. There were concerns that radio programs, which often announced the time, would diminish the demand and need for timepieces.
This periodical proudly announced that domestic jewelry sales were nearing the 1 billion dollar mark. The Department of the Census reported U.S jewelry sales for 2010 as totaling $63.4 billion.
There were about 21,500 jewelry retailers in the U. S., and 2400 manufacturers. 74 jewelry chains, a rather new innovation, were operating 427 stores. Any operation with more than 4 individual stores was considered a chain. The largest chain in the country had 39 stores. Most of the chains offered jewelry on credit, also a rather new innovation. Most jewelers offered limited and short term credit to some customers, but the concept of selling items on a regular installment plan was new to the jewelry
The Zale brothers, Morris and William, had implemented their "penny down and a dollar a week" payment plan at their store in Wichita Falls, Texas, and would have a dozen stores by 1938. The chain currently has over 1900 stores. A number of articles address how to move into the "installment jeweler" segment of the industry.
Department stores were a force at the time, with 500-700 department stores with special jewelry departments. While some prestigious, and non-prestigious, department stores are still a factor in the jewelry business, the peak years for this business model happened somewhere between 1931 and the present day.
The Keystone Index also shows sales by state and city. What leaps out is the low sales for the Southwestern States. The total sales for Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah combined was less than the sales for individual states such as Alabama and Mississippi. Only the development of the southwest after World War II would increase these numbers.
Yesterday and Today
Amazingly, over 90% of U.S. jewelry stores are still independent family owned operations. Many of the prestigious names in retail have been absorbed into the major chains. Corrigan's, Bailey, Banks, & Biddle, along with many others were acquired by Zales over the years, and rebranded under the Bailey, Banks & Biddle name. The division was sold, went bankrupt within about a year, and has just been reborn, with 5 stores.
Manufacturing, once a smaller family owned area of the
industry, has changed quite a bit, through mergers and acquisitions. A much larger percentage of the jewelry sold in the U.S. is now made overseas. India and China are now major manufacturing countries, something a 1930s jeweler would never have considered, and many of the factories there are state-of-the-art facilities.
Silver, about 30 cents per ounce in 1931, is now around $35 per ounce. Gold has gone from $21 per ounce to $1500. Platinum has gone from $36 to over $1700.
Jewelers no longer are clustered in "Jeweler's Row" in our larger cities, as they once were. Some of today's major players have no physical presence at all, existing only as internet sales operations. Television, which played a major role in brand development, has emerged in the interim years and has changed into a completely different medium for advertising than in the days when your big spectrum of 13 channels was dominated by 3 networks. And the internet has changed the nature of business completely, opening markets that no 1930s jeweler would have dreamed of. It has also opened a world of information for collectors and dealers researching items.
The economic uncertainty of the 1930s may be revisiting us, to some extent, but people bought jewelry in the 1930s, and they will buy jewelry now. Humankind has always adorned itself with bright, shiny objects, and always will. It may be made differently than the jewelry of the past, using new and different materials, and it may be sold in a different
venue than the trusted family jeweler in Anytown, U.S.A. Perhaps the next customer will be looking at my inventory on their iPad, flying over Anytown at 20,000 feet, perhaps paying for his selection with PayPal. I bet my great-grandfather, the watchmaker that started my family's involvement in this business, would just shake his head in amazement. And smile.
SHOP FOR ANTIQUES ON RUBY LANE - FASHIONABLE THEN AND NOW
Maire McLeod: Fine Textiles, Vintage Clothing, Linens, Antiques, Fine Art, Photography,
c1900 Vintage 14 Ft Cathedral Wedding Veil *BREATHTAKING
14 foot antique or vintage Cathedral Wedding Veil from the early 20th century. c1900. If you are looking for the ultimate in antique Heirloom wedding...
Suzy Lemay: Antique and Vintage Treasures - from Great Britain, France and Scandinavia
Vintage Circa 1910 Faux Tortoiseshell Pastes Hair Comb
I believe that this pretty old hair comb dates to circa 1910. It is made of faux tortoiseshell . It is decorated with clear pastes and tiny silver ...
Pauline Street: God gave us memories so we could have roses in winter and parents forever
Antique Lace Camisole
Wouldn't the Victorian ladies have blushed to think that their under garments are being worn as blouses today. This beautiful antique camisole will ...
Giddy: Exceptional vintage and antique clothing, jewelry and collectibles
Etruscan Revival Gilded Brass and Turquoise Blue Enamel Belt, Victorian
This is one of two very special late Victorian era belts that we are delighted to present today. (Much too large for our dress form, we have ...
Antiques Uncommon Treasure: RARE 17th to 19th c European treasure: antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing etc
Antique French Aubusson-Woven Purse, Silk and Tassels
A fabulous find for purse collectors or for you ladies who go out to elegant events and need just that perfect evening bag (Oscars, anyone?). This is...
VIGNETTE: Offering The Beautiful, Unique Charming Each Piece Carefully Selected !
Victorian Cut Steel Tiara Circa 1870-80
Add a length of tulle to this Antique Victorian Tiara of Cut Steel for a gorgeous wedding head dress,.......... or , simply wear it in your hair, ...
mmmoonchild Vintage: Exquisite Vintage clothing and accessories Victorian era through 1960
B2555 Antique Shawl Victorian Civil War era WOOL
Fabulous piece of wearable Victoriana. This is a Civil War era Victorian wool shawl. It is striped and has fringe on 4 sides from the ...
Squirrels Nest: Unique Collectibles Antiques Packed Home to the Nest
Antique 19th C Grenoble France White Kid Gloves with Floral Beaded Decoration
This late 19th century pair of white kid gloves measure 13 1 2 in length, or just below the elbow. They are in very good condition with tight solid ...
NEATCURIOS: Neat Interesting Antiques Curiosities An Active Online Shop with new Antiques added weekly
c1910-20 Ruffled Velvet Designer Evening Coat, Stylish Elegant
A very beautiful antique Edwardian or Art Deco Velvet Evening Coat. The coat is very elegant and stylish and looks circa 1910-20s, I think it is a ...
Blue Dolphin Antiques: The ultimate in Fine Antique Furniture Lighting Nautical Paintings Porcelain Glass
Vintage Shoes: Leather High Heel Lace Up
Victorian leather high lace up shoes these are incredible as you can see, they are in very nice soft leather with a simple elegant outline and ...
TRAVEL IN STYLE WITH RUBY LANE
Synergy Collectibles: Greetings! Vintage Treasures To Evoke Fond Memories and Make Your Heart Smile!
Sterling Travel Charm Bracelet With 22 Charms
What A Beautiful Travel Charm Bracelet Full Of Sentimental Souvenirs From The Good Old USA and Abroad! This Interesting Historical Bracelet Is A ...
Short1 Eclectiques: Georgian to Modernist - Beautiful Unique Jewelry ALWAYS at Reasonable Prices!
Vintage DANECRAFT Sterling Enamel MAP Charm Cape Cod MA MASS
This is an Older Sterling Silver Cobalt Blue Enamel charm shaped like CAPE COD, Massachusetts. Vintage silver charm is 50 + - Years Old, completely...
Wilted Treasures: Wilted Treasures at Reasonable Prices
Authentic Gucci Leather Weekender Bag
his authentic Gucci weekender travel bag is in excellent condition. Although the bag has been used it shows very little wear. The length of the bag is...
Vanity Flair Vintage: HIS and HER vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories, and estate finds with that added flair!
Andrea Gayle MOD Vintage 1960's Red, White, and Blue Striped Dress
Perfectly timed find for your Independence Day wear! A just-too-cute MOD vintage 1960's sleeveless polyester sundress in red, white, and blue ...
California Girls: Antiques, Bakelite, Wedding Cake Toppers, Jewelry, Advertising, Hawaiiana,Toys and More!
Rare 1940's-50's Catalina Island Tape Measure
There aren't many vintage, Catalina Island souvenir items, and this one is awesome! It's a round, tin and celluloid tape measure that has a different...
Glamour Girl Vintage: Specializing in Vintage Clothing and Accessories - Member of VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
Vintage 80s Does 40s Designer Karen Alexander Tropical Caribbean Vacation Novelty Print Sunshine Yellow Day Shirt Dress - Size XS to S
SALE -- SALE -- WAS 135.00 -- From Glamour Girl Vintage is this beautiful Caribbean vacation novelty print sunshine yellow day shirt dress from San ...
Instant Glamour: Great Vintage Jewelry and Accessories! Great Customer Service!
Wonderful Travins Hat Wig Box Travel Case
Here is a wonderful hat or wig travel case! Outside is a neutral light stone color and the inside is a bright sky blue color. The single handle on ...
The Vintage Merchant: Classic, wearable vintage clothing accessories from the 1930s through the 1970s
Vintage 1960s Op Art Aloha Tiki Hawaiian Shirt Chocolate Brown White M
Here is a fabulous vintage 60s aloha shirt with a shirt jac hem in a huge wild swirl op art wave print of deep espresso brown on white. Labeled ...
Time Machine Collectibles: We Make Your Childhood Memories Come True!
Assorted 1950's 60's New York View-Master Reels
Are you ready for a vacation? How about New York? Why not start with Long Island, next Ausable Chasm, then stop by to see Your United Nations, next ...
Vintage Vault: Purses ~ Jewelry ~ Books ~ Kitchenware ~ Ephemera ~ Toys~ Vanity Items Holiday Collectibles!
Vintage Travel Alarm Clock with Illuminated Hands by Linden
This is an always handy travel alarm clock by Linden. It has hands that glow in the dark and is in a hard black plastic case. It is in great working...
Subscribe Now to our Newsletters
© 1998-2013 Ruby Lane Inc. ® All Rights Reserved.
Press the Back button on your browser to return to the previous screen.