We're starting off the year here at Elva with a new feature on our blog, A History Lesson, that grew out of a brainstorm about our vintage adventures and the many unique stories we love about our one-of-a-kind jewels.  Short of inviting each of you to the studio (though you're always welcome!) we thought we'd tell some tales here on the site...sort of walk you through how a design came to be--from discovery of the vintage element(s) to the completion of the creation, giving you a bit of history on some of our favorite finds and the creative process involved.  Think of it as the Elva version of VH1's Behind the Music.  But sparklier.  (And hopefully no stints in rehab.  Yet.)


So, with each collection update this year, we'll highlight one style and give you A History Lesson...hopefully one worth learning and entirely without note-taking or final exams.  First up, our "Better Together" necklace, freshly-added to our Elva Collection today!  In an effort to start out honestly, we must let you know that this design was originally intended (and included) as part of our Holiday 2013 Collection, even making its way to some fun magazine photo shoots and then back to our studio in early December for the launch...but somehow someone (me) skipped over it when writing copy for our Holiday necklaces, and it sat (sadly) forgotten on our shelves for a few weeks.  Here she is now in all her glory, getting her long overdue story told in the spotlight!


I first discovered the pair of ladybug brooches in a favorite antique haunt in South Florida.  I almost overlooked them, nearly-hidden as they were in a tall rotating case filled with sparkly goodies--just around the corner from this beauty that almost came home with me, actually.  Between the beautiful colored rhinestones (likely of Austrian origin) and the costume pearls, these little ladies were too amazing and adorable to pass by, and once I noticed that they were made by Kramer of New York, I knew they had to be part of the Elva fun.  Kramer was a costume jewelry firm founded in the 1940s and consistently made quality, higher-end designs through the 1970s, including some for fashion label Christian Dior.   These beautiful bugs are likely from the 60s, and would have been worn together, perhaps on the lapel of a ladies' jacket or on a sweater...adding just a touch of cheerful glamour to the occasion.  

Just a few weeks later I headed to market for bead-buying, where I quickly snagged a set of vintage glass pearl strands from a vendor who specializes in unique vintage findings and beads, particularly items discovered in a warehouse filled with dead-stock jewelry components from the 30s through the 60s.  (As a side note, I am equally devastated and thrilled I've not yet found my own abandoned warehouse full of goodies...I might never emerge, but it would be a ton of fun digging through the awesomeness, and I might be willing to stay there forever.)



Once back in the studio, I noticed the pearls matched the finish and luster of the jewels used for the bugs' bodies perfectly, and I couldn't resist pairing them together.   Elegant and charming, the arrangement seemed a fun mix, hitting the right notes of sophistication and whimsy, with such a tale to tell!   Can't wait to see who might add the fun to their collection and continue the story of these jewels.      

And that, friends, is your first History Lesson, Elva-style!

  • Posted byEmily Maynard /


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