Remembering Mom's "Junk Jewelry"

When I was a little girl, my mother had two large Buxton jewelry boxes.  In one she kept all her "junk" jewelry and in the other one all her "good" jewelry.  For me her "junk" jewerly was the most fascinating.  My mother would never let me play with her "good" jewelry box items, so I was content with her pretty and colorful junk jewelry.
 
My mother differentiated between the two jewelry boxes based on the price that was paid for the pieces contained within.  Her junk jewelry was all costume jewelry, with most of it having  been acquired through gifts for birthdays, Christmases, Anniversaries, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, and so on.   Her good jewelry box were heirlooms passed down and jewelry my father had bought her over the years. 
 
My mother was never particular about the names attributed to her jewelry.  Names like Coro, Sarah Coventry, Trifari, Bogoff, Kramer, and Marboux were in her junk jewelry box and treated equally when it came to wear.  I however, liked examining the jewelry and sorting the jewelry into piles on the floor. There were the really pretty ones that sparkled with rhinestones and crystal beads.  There were the brightly colored ones that looked painted and the carved ones in cream colored roses.  I didn't know the names of these different types and styles but I knew what I liked and what I didn't. 
 
Mom didn't have a lot of the Bogoff pieces but I liked those the best.  I also liked the little cats, and birds, and funny men pins and found out later they were Coro and Trifari pieces.  I should have guessed back then that my fate was to be linked with costume jewelry forever.

 
I always paid attention to the jewelry around me.  At church (in the mid-later 1960s) I would sit and entertain myself by looking at all the ladies wearing "junk" jewelry.  Really pretty and ornate jewelry oftentimes.   I was in "junk" jewelry heaven during that hour and a half at church.
 
I got interested in jewelry with names in the mid-1970s.  I purchased Avon and Sarah Coventry with my hard earned dollars in those days.  As I got older, I began looking more at the Coro and Trifari sets that were still plentiful at that time.  And for the past almost 12 years I have had the pleasure to purchase and sell some of the great jewelry designer pieces out there.

 
My mom has long since done away with her Buxton "junk" jewelry box, but has kept her jewelry all together in a large jewelry chest.   Not long ago, I was speaking to my mother on the phone and she said she had thrown out her "junk" jewelry.  I nearly screamed when she said that.  I asked her when, and she said "just that morning".  I told her to go and get the shoe box that she had put it all in and to put it away until my next visit.  Fortunately, mom's trash didn't run until the next day and she was able to retrieve that box of "junk" jewelry.   I told Mom that I sell that "junk" jewelry and to Never throw Any jewelry away.
 

I have tried to educate my mother on how awesome and expensive her "junk" jewelry is.  But to no avail.  In her 88 year old mind, the only "good" jewelry is the 14Kt and 18Kt kind with diamonds and rubies.  How lucky I am that Mom considers all that lovely costume jewelry as "junk".   How blessed I was that I got to play with all that lovely costume jewelry as a child.
 
 
Kathryn Atkins
GoGo Vintage


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