Tuesday, February 16, 2010

collecting and organizing: vintage costume jewelry

I used to own a vintage store, and one of the hazards (and joys) of buying for a shop is bringing home a lot more loot.  Costume jewelry has always appealed to me, but my collection really took off while I was in the business of buying.  Despite my recent purging and simplifying, I still allow fairly unlimited jewelry purchases.  Such small things don't take up much room, right?  Well, actually, in my case, they take up an entire room.  It is a very small room, more like a large closet, but we refer to it as "The Jewelry Room". 
My jewelry used to be split between two homes, jumbled into boxes and bins and generally in disarray.  When we settled into our current home, I decided that it was time to really get my collection organized.  I want to be able to look at and enjoy it everyday, and more importantly, I want to be able to wear it.  Whether you have a dozen favorite pieces or many dozens, having everything in plain sight makes it easier to grab what you need in the morning rush of getting ready for your day.
I use a variety of vintage items to organize and categorize (by length and color) my necklaces.
Tractor belt display racks.
 wood bit display rack.
 wooden crib part
If you can't locate the perfect vintage piece, hang new hooks individually, or attach a row of them to a finished piece or wood or moulding to create your own necklace display.
Sewing forms hold a selection of my favorite necklaces....
......and a wicker form looks festive loaded with colorful beads.
For my large collection of 1950's-70's flower brooches, I fashioned an extra large display board.  I used a thrift store bulletin board for the base, padded it with batting, then covered it in a neutral  fabric.  A ribbon down the middle adds a little detail and hides a seam in the fabric.
I nabbed a couple of these similar, but much smaller, display boards on clearance at Target. 
They were meant for use in an office to hold papers and such, but they work perfectly for jewelry.
They hold another collection of brooches.....
.......and keep my earring selection in order.
It would be easy to make your own version of these as well.  Use a small bulletin board or picture frame as your base, pad, cover with fabric and add rows of ribbon or bias tape.


  1. Absolutely fantabulous. Love the pieces, the organization, the display. I've been wearing the pieces I bought at your holiday sale and the office gals LOVE them. :)

  2. drool! swoon! what a wonderful collection!

  3. Christine- you have an amazing collection and I love how artfully and creatively you have it displayed! Love, love, love your display of flower brooches...this would make a great magazine feature!

  4. thanks everyone-as you can tell, this stuff makes me happy, and I loved sharing it with you.