I was planning a scarf post, and then my friend KnitYarns put up a comment on my post about certain expensive costume jewelry just happening to resemble the product of kindergarten crafting using multicolored cereals. KnitYarns' comment was exactly the perfect summing up of what I was blethering on about in the post (yes, I blether. Don't judge me.) What you would spend on a couple of pieces of junk that won't live more than one season, if that, you could tuck away and by the time you've made 2 or 3 shopping trips, you will have the wherewithal to indulge yourself with a piece of real jewelry.

Clearly no matter how long you abstain from the purchase of cereal bits, you won't achieve the purchase of, say, a ring with diamonds that can be seen without a magnifying glass. What you can achieve, however, is a string of real pearls, not plastic. Or a real gold chain, by which I mean 14 Karat or 18 Karat. Accept no substitutes. If the chain is at least 18 inches long, you can add a pendant - or if you want to get cute, an antique charm.

If you collect two or three chains, of whatever length, you can wear them together - like the "layered necklaces" that are popping up all over the internet. Or you can string them one after the other, finally close them into one very large loop, and double the loop around your neck with a "shortener."
Here's a good starting place to look for components. If you don't keep a pair or two of needle-nosed pliers in your desk drawer, a local jeweler can attach things for you. Or you can order a length of chain and the clasp of your choice, which is more fun.

If you like a more antique look, I've found some fascinating things at Nalfie .  Bear in mind that like any dealer in antiques, the stock can vary from day to day. Note that one or two antique watch chains make a nice necklace. Or bracelet.

When I buy estate (jeweler-speak for "used") pieces, I'm careful to check for the metal content and for any hallmarks. 18 carat and 14 carat content are usually stamped into a piece by the maker, in an inconspicuous place. Sometimes the maker's name will be shown as well. On the web, look for detailed pictures.

What about scarves? Well, the first time I traveled to France, I decided not to buy lots of little dust-catchers  souvenirs. I figured when we reached Paris, I'd buy one lovely thing. That turned out to be a scarf, and I was instantly addicted. Same analysis - I didn't buy the junky souvenir poncho, mug, other mug, t-shirt, statue... didn't take cabs...

Volumes have been written about the consistent value of a really fine scarf. You don't need that here. The ones that appreciate most in value are generally the ones you wouldn't part with anyway.


14 comments:

  1. I fully embrace my crazy cat lady side, and my H "Tendresse Feline" scarf (with mama and baby tigers, leopards, jaguars, and cheetahs) never, ever gets old. At least not to me.

    Speaking of crazy cat ladies. I really think I am going to get that J.Crew cape jacket.

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  2. P.S. Fred, you'll know the answer to this. I am coming to Manhattan the last week in October. (We already have our tickets to the Met!) Will it be cool enough to need a top layer like that cape?

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    1. Generally high 50's - low 60's daytime, low 50's - mid 40's at night.

      What will you be seeing?

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  3. Great advice! I'm not much of a scarf person but I do like the odd nice piece of jewelry...

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  4. Oh dear, Fred, Cave Felem--yet another item to add to my eBay search! We are going to see Turandot and Tannhauser. The latter is the reason for our trip--it plays so rarely in the US. We also want to see Book of Mormon and Hamilton. We don't have rooms booked yet, but Mr. Hex wants to use his reciprocal club privileges to stay at the NY Athletic Club. Any restaurant recommendations? Mr. Hex loves traditional French bistros.

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    1. I started to make a little list, but ran into a rather long winded dissertation on the subject, which wisps have its own post. Shortly.

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  5. You have one of my faves - I got it in pale pink and I treasure it so - so much I haven't worn it and probably won't. I just stroke it from time to time giddily!

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    1. Mine is greens and blues, rarely worn, often taken out and petted. Mmmm.

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  6. Magical scarf! I have some old "real" pins I used to wear every day when I had a real job--love them! Chainless, though.

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    1. The key to enjoying jewelry is "love."

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  7. Beautiful. I prefer quality over quantity too.

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  8. Great post, WFF! And, thanks for the mention : ) I love your idea of attaching chains end to end and then doubling. Genius!
    This post is so timely, because I have been economizing all summer. Equal parts, financial constraints, lack of interesting merchandise, and my bete noire- sneaky weight gain.
    However, I was sorely tempted by some jools at the JCFactory store. I actually love one of the necklaces, and think it will match many items I own, but I am concerned that it will turn odd shades of color after a few wearings. Did you know that there is no definition readily available online for "Light gold ox flash plating". It doesn't sound very durable does it?
    I love your scarf. Many years ago I celebrated a trip to Europe by purchasing a "starter" Hermes- Les Cles. One day, I hope to supplement that, with both another trip and another scarf.
    Have a great Labor Day weekend (at the manor?)!
    Yes, I just made up a new punctuation sequence.

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