Saturday, September 4, 2010
Intriguing Historical Jewelry: Vintage Aluminum
You can't keep us ladies from our jewelry. Neither snow, sleet, floods, nor war will stop us.
As I collect vintage jewelry for my GalleriaLindaLoft vintage jewelry shop, I seem to go in spurts of collecting interesting themes that peak my interest. First, I was avidly targeting vintage handmade items by obscure artists that were signed pieces of all materials: ceramic, enamel, beaded, and others.
Now, as I keep running across aluminum jewelry, I became intrigued with its history. Aluminum jewelry is so lightweight that you might think it is cheap plastic. It is not plastic and a good eye will unfold a delightful history of designs that are highly collectible.
I learned from my research that aluminum jewelry got its start during the WWII era. Major metals were all going to the war effort so gold, silver, and other metal jewelry was hard to find at that time. But aluminum, that glorious pliable metal, could be made into high fashion pieces.
Those pieces with a mark of "Germany" were likely created prior to WWII and predates those marked with "W. Germany" by almost a decade.
Aluminum Eloxal, (electrolytic oxidation of aluminum), aluminum jewelry, was made primarily from 1945-1965 (some sources site the dates to be 1950 to 1970). It will not tarnish or rust and the light weight afforded jewelry designers the opportunity to create large and chunky designs that would be comfortable. You will find pieces with color. Although the silver color of aluminum is what we expect, you will find pieces with a gold finish and others with colorful patterns.
Today, aluminum jewelry is sought by collectors who appreciate the beauty and history of this fascinating time in jewelry design.