Ruby Lane's Past Times Newsletter for January 2011

In This Issue
  • Ruby Plaza Promotion: Sell for Only $9/mo. Through 2011!
  • Ancient Jewelry and the Treasures of Egypt
  • Tomorrow's Collectors Look A Lot Like Us by Jack Becklund of The Pottery Nuts
  • Shop Sampler: Postcards on Ruby Lane!


If you aren't already aware, this promotion has been extended! Are you looking for a venue to sell your home decor items (both contemporary and vintage) ranging from furniture and accessories to lighting, bedding and window coverings? Or perhaps you, or someone you know sells new and vintage fashion and accessories, and/or jewelry. If so, spread the word - as now you can try out our sister site, Ruby Plaza, just launched in April - for only $9 a month through 2011 with no set-up fee!

Through December 31st 2011, Ruby Plaza is making it easy and affordable for sellers to join Ruby Plaza. Already over 750 shops have joined us with over 160,000 items added to the site.

There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and the only expense out of your pocket is $9 a month.

Spread the word!

For more information visit, then under SELL, choose Open A Shop. We hope you'll join us!


Elizabeth Taylor for Avon Egyptian Collection Earrings Jewelry items, made for personal adornment and ritualistic wear, are among the oldest artifacts of civilization. While less permanent traces of ancient societies have vanished, decaying and rotting back into the earth, gemstones and metal objects have withstood the wear and tear of the years far better than other materials. Fashioned into tools and items for personal adornment, these items are often our strongest connection to the past. The creation of them seems to be encoded onto our DNA, something that raises us up above other life forms.

Jewelry dating back to the third millenium BCE has been found, creating a 5000-year catalog of the work of jewelers and metal smiths. The items we encounter today, mostly created within the last several centuries, are simply the latest chapters in a long story, one that stretches back into the mists of time.

Early civilizations often sprang up on the waterways of the world. It is not too hard to imagine early man, wandering to the shore of the lake or river near his small village of primitive huts, staring in wonder at a gleaming water worn pebble, or the iridescent shell of an oyster. He takes it back and shows it to the others, and carries it with him as a talisman. He slowly works a hole through the shell, strings it on a small length of vine, and jewelry is born. As the tribe harvests animals for food or kills the more aggressive ones in self-defense, their teeth and tusks and bones are fashioned into ornaments, signifying
their mastery of nature. It will be centuries before they can fashion harder gem materials, or work with metal to create settings for them, so softer organic materials are the first choices for adornment.

All ancient civilizations display this skill and desire. Artifacts from Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley, Mesoamerica, and Asia all give testimony to this. Beads formed from shells have been dated back 80,000-to 10,000 years ago. These Nassarius shells, from Algeria, are no longer found in that part of the world, the closest source being 800 miles away. This may indicate early trade in beads, and these artifacts are older than known cave art.

Gold jewelry was being produced in Eastern Europe and South America 3000 to 4000 years ago. Turquoise mines in the Sinai were producing Turquoise for the craftsmen of Egypt at this time. The Egyptians often used glass or ceramic products in jewelry and ornamentation, finding it easier to work with than natural stone. Copper, which can be worked more easily than gold for many things, was probably used for jewelry as much as 7000 years ago.


The jewelry of ancient Egypt has been an inspiration for many jewelers of later periods. Treasures from this period represent some of the oldest and finest examples of jewelry.


Beads have been found, from pre-dynastic times, and the early Egyptians undoubtedly made beads of seeds, shells, teeth, horn, bone, and stone. An old bead production shop from around 2000 BCE has been
uncovered, and reveals that drilled stone beads were made at that time. The beads were ground between two large flat stones, with abrasives, to create a more regular shape or better finish. Additional polishing was done to the beads, with existing technology.

Egypt is renowned for the quality of the beaded jewelry they produced. From early simple strands of beads, the Egyptians advanced to fancier collars, with complex patterns of stringing. Few examples exist intact, as the beading material decayed over time. However, images of these pieces are preserved in Egyptian artwork.


Egyptian  800 Silver Pin W Alexandria Hallmark, Egyptian Motif The Egyptians worked with a variety of metals, and artifacts show that they could solder copper by around 2500 BCE. Within a thousand years, by the time of the New Kingdom, they had mastered refining. Preserved artwork makes it clear that metal smithing and jewelry shops existed. Much of the gold available to the Egyptians was in the form of electrum, a naturally occurring mixture of gold and silver, often containing as much as 20% silver. The Egyptians could duplicate this alloy, as well as produce alloys of gold and copper. The addition of some iron produced some unique rose-purple color in the alloy.

Shapes were formed on wooden stakes, and metal could be tapped into a wood or stone die, making production of repetitive pieces easier. Hammer heads similar to those used today, have been found, but ancient artwork only shows the workers forming the metal with tools made of
stone. Finer work , such as chasing or repoussee, could have been done with tools made of bone or wood. The high karat golds used by the Egyptians were soft and easily workable.

The Egyptians also mastered joining metal, using blowpipes and braziers. The process they used often did not involve solder, but actually fused the materials together, a process known as colloidal hard soldering. Other times, it appears that gold solders were used. This skill allowed them to make large hollow tubular jewelry and to produce elaborately formed and joined metal beads. They could produce wire, but were not as advanced as some other cultures in wirework. They also seemed to lack the ability to cut metal cleanly, possessing no tools resembling shears. They appear to have used chisel like methods to cut gold sheet.

The Egyptians are also credited with developing the lost wax process, which made the creation of unique forms possible.

Copper has been used and altered by humans for at least 9000 years, and was used in early Egypt. Elaborate copper work exists from around 2500 BCE, and the Egyptians had mastered bronze work within another thousand years.


The Egyptians favored carnelian, turquoise, and lapis for gem use. Carnelian was found in the eastern desert, and turquoise was mined in the Sinai. There were no local sources for Lapis, which appears to have been imported from present-day Afghanistan. The Egyptians had mastered the art of glazing stone, including stone beads, and
were producing faience pieces. Glass beads were made, and inlay work exists in stone and glass.


The metal workers of ancient Egypt produced a wide range of pieces, including statuary, vessels, tools, and other utilitarian items, along with jewelry.

Some of the most popular forms include collars, large pectoral necklaces, chokers, and bracelets for upper and lower arm, along with anklets. Earrings existed in pierced and non-pierced versions, though piercing seemed more popular with women, Earplugs for the earlobe were popular, proving that everything old is new again. Hair ornaments, crown-like circlets for the head, and special ornamentation for wigs are also known to have been made.

Leaf like forms, hammered of gold, were used in designs and various forms of the lotus were popular. The scarab, the form of the Egyptian dung beetle fashioned in metal, stone, and ceramic, along with the wedjet, a stylized representation of the eye of the sun god Horus, are the two most common motifs in Egyptian jewelry. The sign of the ankh was also used, along with some other signs that are not as commonly reproduced today: the Sa, Syet, and Djed. These also saw use as talismans or amulets for protection.


Signed Egyptian Revival Miriam Haskell Demi-Parure Earrings Brooch Egyptian styles were copied by every culture that ruled or dominated the country after the fall of the kingdoms. The first great Egyptian Revival period started with the French, then British, occupation of Egypt in the late 18th century. The second
quarter of the 19th century saw a renewal of interest, and the start of the Late Victorian era saw another peak in interest. Any new archaeological discovery could trigger renewed interest. Furniture, ornament, jewelry, silver, and architecture all show strong Egyptian influence at times during the 19th century.

The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 created a flurry of Egyptian inspired design, some of which took on the flavor of the new Art Deco styles. Pottery, porcelain, and commercial packaging of cosmetics was produced with Egyptian inspired motifs. Some perfumes came encased in beautiful Egyptian-made bottles in the early 20th century.

When the treasures of King Tut's tomb went on a tour of the United States in the 1970s, another wave of Egyptian inspired designs came on the market.

While original complete pieces of ancient Egyptian jewelry do occasionally come to market, wonderful revival pieces are readily available, along with many more contemporary pieces that are inspired by these classic designs. Items will range from masterpieces of gold work by 19th century masters, through jewel encrusted Art Deco era creations, and right on down to Egyptian style pieces made for companies such as Avon and Sarah Coventry. Many name designers have added Egyptian style items to their collections, including Larry Vrba for Miriam Haskell, whose work coincided with the 1970s tours of the treasures of King Tut.

Egyptian inspired pieces are available in a wide range of
materials and prices, and you will find a wonderful selection on Ruby Lane.


Gorgeous Amphora Figural Parrot Is the antique and collectible business dying? That's what some dealers are saying. Over the past few years, we have seen numerous articles, reports and letters to the editors of various trade publications that proclaim the antiques and collectibles business is withering away because current customers are aging and young people are not interested. They urge fellow dealers to somehow cultivate the youth market to keep the business alive and healthy.

All this fear and hand-wringing is basically nonsense. The worriers are not even looking in the right place for their future.

Young people generally have little money. They are up to their eyeballs in debt. They have little kids to raise, soccer games to attend, car and house payments to make. And when they do get out with the kids to a show or an antiques mall, it's a hassle for the parents and a heart-stopping experience for the dealer with a booth full of breakables. So if they harbor the collecting urge they're more likely to satisfy it on line, which they can do while watching the kids.

Hall Marine Aladdin Teapot in Standard Gold No, young people are not going to suddenly start buying antiques and collectibles no matter what dealers do. They may have been collectors as kids and they may collect again, but for now they need to age and get rid of the impediments. Pay down the mortgage, pay off the car, get the kids safely out the door. Then they will have more time and more money. They will start to get interested. They will start buying.

are many things that trigger collectors. Did they collect dolls or coins or stamps or baseball cards or comic books as a kid? Have they seen an appreciation in the value of these childhood collections? That's a trigger. Do they use pottery or glass in decorating their home? Another trigger. Do they look at early, well-made furniture and realize they can buy it for less than the new, disposable stuff? Yet another trigger.

Empty nesters have more time and money. They become much more likely to collect things. Also, because they are 40 or 50 years old, their parents are old and probably retired. Maybe the parents are collectors. Perhaps they're needing to downsize and pass things along. Maybe someone passes on and a collection is inherited. You see how it's like a snowball rolling downhill?

Aqua Clothespin Laundry Sprinkler There are many examples of how this works. Recently, we were contacted by a lady whose mother had passed, leaving her with collections of Roseville, laundry sprinklers and pie birds. She learned a bit about Roseville and the sprinklers before selling them to us, but decided she wanted to really study the pie birds. She has dozens of them. When she gets to know them, we'll bet she begins to add to the collection. Voila, another collector is born.

Finally, there is retirement. If the unlimited time comes with a bit of money, the collecting will accelerate, possibly into something serious. And as retirement progresses, the golf and tennis diminish and the more sedentary hobbies,
the collecting, will increase even more.

So we come full circle. We're looking at customers who look like us, not like kids. That's the heart and soul of the antique and collecting business, just like it's always been. They'll go looking at shows, malls and flea markets, just like we do. But most of all, they'll go online. It will be second nature to them. Be prepared.

We invite you to visit The Pottery Nuts.


Bright Antique Post Card   Postcard w  Kittens   Cats Pristine Time in a Bottle: Specializing in Antique Vintage Perfume Bottles, Compacts, Purses, Inkwells, French Boxes

Bright Antique Post Card Postcard w Kittens Cats Pristine

Oh my gosh! This postcard is one of the cutest I have ever seen in person, and I've seen a lot of them. These kittens are great, and the postcard is ...

Antique Dog Postcard  A Quiet Pipe The Antique Pooch: Offering rare and hard to find antique dog collectibles

Antique Dog Postcard A Quiet Pipe

Measures 5 1 2" x 3 1 2". Good condition. Tiny amount of rubbing on corners. Printed on bottom, A Quiet Pipe .

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Lacework in Iron Royal Street New Orleans Louisiana Postcard

This delightful c. 1950s card shows us the delicate lacework patterns in wrought and cast iron, characteristic of the Vieux Carre. This lovely ...

Vintage Lovely Lady Plum Hat Signed Postcard Kalyn`s Paper Haven Antiques: Lots Old Paper: Postcards, Ladies Patterns, Books, Photos, Jewelry Smalls, At Reasonable Prices

Vintage Lovely Lady Plum Hat Signed Postcard

Outstanding art work and coloring on this card. Very unusual hat and elegant dress and cape. Titled I`ve Got My Eyes On You . Left bottom corner ...

1910 Winsch Embossed Gilded Textured Postcard, Stylish Lady with Parasol Collecting Memories - Antiques Collectibles: Antiques Collectibles: Porcelain, china, glass, perfume bottles, vintage tins, postcards more

1910 Winsch Embossed Gilded Textured Postcard, Stylish Lady with Parasol

This wonderful To my Valentine card features a beautiful, turn-of-the-century lady in flowing gown and ruffled parasol. The lightly textured gold ...

Fantastic German Die Cut Valentine P Card TDF Bonnie Boswell Antiques: Quality Vintage items for you and your home

Fantastic German Die Cut Valentine P Card TDF

This is a terrific Valentine post card. I personally have never seen another one like it. The heart,boy and girl,flowers and all the written words ...

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Sweet vintage postcard, delightful image, some lt. wear. A most welcome addition to a collection. We are always happy to combine S H and discount ...

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A super cool old 3-D valentine from the early 1940's, Made In USA. Standing in the background is a happy porter with the number 14 in a heart on this ...

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Sweet little Animated Valentine

Here is the sweetest little Valentine that can stand up. the The stand says To my Valentine. It has two children on a rose seesaw (or ...

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Darling vintage unsigned Clapsaddle postcard that features a boy pulling a cart filled with small hearts and a wishbone around his body for good luck....