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Jewels Still Shine Decades Later

July 21, 2013
By Terry Kovel , The Post-Journal

Jewelry has been worn for centuries as "totems," religious or good luck pieces, or just to add beauty and color to an outfit. Brooches, often called "pins," were made in many sizes and shapes. At first they were made of gold and precious stones to show the wearer's wealth, but by the 17th century, imitation jewelry made of glass, faux pearls and gold-colored metal made it possible for the not-so-rich to own a pin. Designers made jewelry in the fashion of the day, from Victorian cameos to Art Nouveau enameled women in flowing gowns. Often women chose a pin that represented something in her life. Madeline Albright, the former U.S. Secretary of State (1996-2001), became known for her pins. She wore an eagle for patriotic meetings, a snake when she distrusted her visitor, a bee-shaped pin when angry and zebras when she met with South Africans. Many pins have been designed to express a personal thought: a typewriter for a writer, an apple for a schoolteacher, a ballet dancer for a performer. Designers made solid gold tigers with diamonds or copies with rhinestones. Did a prospector for gold or the owner of a gold mine order a pin sold recently that looked like a small pickax with a real gold nugget? It is made of rose gold and has added engraved designs. It was owned by someone in Colorado who sent it to Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago to be sold. An Australian bid and got it for $1,600.



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