Nov 4, 2011

Is That Owl Really Vintage?

Owls are back! As you may have noticed owls are a huge trend right now. You can find them everywhere; from home décor and clothing to jewelry and accessories. Particularly if you shop online you will find an abundance of “vintage” owls especially “vintage” owl jewelry. The question you may be asking is “Is that owl jewelry truly a vintage piece?”

Back in the 1960’s and especially the 1970’s owls were extremely popular. There were so many types of owls made back then you could wear a different owl necklace or brooch every day. Hopefully I can help you determine if that owl you have your eye on is truly a vintage piece.
Let’s start with what I call the “Art Deco” owl pendant. In the picture you can see the vintage version in bright gold tone and the contemporary reproduction is “antiqued”. This “antiqued” finish is common in reproductions because they are trying to make them look old. It’s often hard to tell online but the size of the item is often a factor. The items from the 1970’s are usually much larger. Most of the articulated pieces average 4” in length were the new items are usually around 2”.

Next we have the “Spaghetti Arms” owl which can be found as both a pendant and a brooch. The vintage item here is the one with the red tummy. If you look closely at the vintage owl you will notice there are more tiny details in the feathers and the log which is common on the older pieces. Vintage tummies are usually faux gemstones made of acrylic.

Finally we have one of the most common owl pendants out there. This piece comes in many variations. I’ve seen gold and silver versions; rhinestone eyes and flat dangle eyes and some have enamel along the beak, wings and tail. Again size and detail are the key factors. The vintage version is always at least 4” and the original chain will be on the thick side.

General Features to Look For
·         Foil Backed Glass Eyes

·         Acrylic “Gemstone” Tummies

·         Articulated Segments (Often 3 or more)

·         Faux Turquoise (“Southwest Look”)

·         Original chains average 24”

Happy hunting!


Justine said...

Wow. I've been selling vintage for more than a decade and I have to admit the newer retro owls are getting increasingly difficult to determine whether they're the real thing or not.

Great post.

nora - treasurehuntvintage said...

Super post. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I am so not a fan of "faux" vintage.

Three Chicks Vintage said...

Great info - thanks so much for posting it! I love owl jewelry and while some of the new stuff is cute, there's nothing like a vintage hooter!

Cassie's Tale said...

Great post - very informative!

FairyFiligree said...

Very helpful post. Actually here in Europe I've been seeing lots of owls ever since last year. Accessorize (the high street brand) was strong on these & I actually got gifted an owls tote bag from this brand. Great help for the uninitiated in owl -ology.

wonderdiva said...

Excellent post and so helpful!

Lea's Attic said...

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. Great info!