Monday, March 12, 2012


Gustav Manz's jewelry archives at Winterthur record many of the pieces he produced for Tiffany & Company from the Edwardian period through the Jazz Age. Shown here is a jade, enamel and seed pearl bar pin fabricated in spring 1923—about two years before Fitzgerald finished his Great American Novel. Sufficiently vintage, we'd say, for a stroll down the red carpet. (If you have information on where this "broche" might be found, please write to us!)  

Raising the bar: jade and enamel brooch 
Gustav Manz for Tiffany & Co, circa 1923
Photo (c) Gustav Manz LLC 

The Tiffany & Co jewelry archives recently proved an invaluable resource "in looking back at this Golden Era of affluence..." according to costume designer Catherine Martin, who is collaborating with husband/filmmaker Baz Luhrmann on a remake of The Great Gatsby. Tiffany & Co has been tasked with recreating period bling for the film's star-studded cast led by Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan), Leonardo DiCaprio (Gatsby), and Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway). 

Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan) having what appears to be a bad wig day on the set of The Great Gatsby; but love her pearl and diamond ear-vices 
Photo via CelebBuzz 

While jewelry hardly gets mentioned in Fitzgerald's novel ("It's the funniest thing, old sport"), one of the saddest, most memorable scenes in the book occurs when Daisy smoothes her hair with a brush from Gatsby's "toilet set of pure dull gold..."

An Edwardian lady's gold toilet set
(image courtesy of Christie's) 

Women of the pre-World War One decade began to shift away from the oversize collars favored by stylish turn-of-the-century ladies: "It may be surprising to hear that Dutch collar pins have gone," observed The New York Times' fashion correspondent.  It is only the name, however, that has passed. Pierrot pins have taken their place. The fan-shaped Pierrot pin has the advantage of following the lines of the frock where it meets the throat. Bar pins are in the ascendancy."

This silk crepe dress from the 20s, advertised on Etsy (@ Veronica in Canada), has small holes at the neckline and on the front left side—brooch stigmata

By the 1920s, fussy collars were totally out and dress brooches or clips became popular, sometimes offered as door prizes or, if a hostess was particularly generous, as party favorsPin stems in any era inevitably do damage to garments, so it probably took a Daisy Buchanan mentality to wear them on diaphanous flapper dresses and not worry about rending the fabric ("They were careless people, Tom and Daisy...")... 

On the red carpet at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony, Michelle Williams cinched the Oscar for Best Accessory with a diminutive diamond bow pin 


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