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Thursday, April 3, 2014

History of the Livery Button

 A Short History of Livery Buttons and Preserving Them in Recycled Sterling Jewelry


Bunny Livery Button  Your Daily Jewels Necklace
Happy Bunny on Labradorite Chain - 1850's  Your Daily Jewels

Invicta Pendant Livery Button
Invicta -" Undefeatable" - estim. 1790.

Sometime in the 13th century the idea of a buttonhole and button was conceived.

In the 18th century, buttons were truly tiny works of art. Button making became a profitable sideline for many of the starving artists of the day. Typically, the most exquisite of these buttons was about the size of a 50- cent piece. 

A “livery” is an insignia, symbol, or uniform button worn by one who provided service to a noble or aristocrat to represent their relationship to their employer.

My passion, my quest, my contribution to history:

As a card-carrying member of the National Button Society, one of my favorite pastimes is scouring the earth for 18th and 19th Century relics in order to preserve them. I cast from them, in order to create beautiful modern heirlooms for you, to be worn and passed on for centuries more.

Livery Initial Button
Initial Pendants are Made from Wax Seal Stamps and Livery Buttons at Your Daily Jewels

The word itself comes from the French “livrée”, meaning delivered. Most often it would indicate that the wearer of the livery was a servant, depend-ent, follower, or friend of the owner of the “livery.” Like heraldic Crests, a livery button was a fast way to identify friend or foe in a time of war.

Notre Dame Pendant by Your Daily Jewels Religous Medal
Notre Dame - Early 1800's - Made to Order at Your Daily Jewels

The fashion for livery buttons started among the upper classes in the mid-eighteenth century, and lasted as an accepted practice into the Edwardian era of the early twentieth century. 

After the first World War, new income tax and changing social and economic conditions quietly put an end to the era of the livered servant among the wealthy upper class. 

latin Livery Coin
Scottish Livery, "I Ready Myself with Arms"

Beyond the prevalent use of Latin, there is a whole cryptic language  and symbolism to livery buttons, heraldry, and crests & shields. I am having fun learning the meaning behind many of them. 

For fascinating history you can read The Big Book of Buttons by Hughs & Lester, http://www.ukdfd.co.uk, and Fairbairns Book of Crests, London : T. C. & E. C. Jack.  I will be more sharing as I learn.

latin Livery Coin
Scottish, Cuff button

Thank you for reading,

Visit Your Daily Jewels on Etsy, here:

Latin Livery Coin Pendant Your Daily Jewels
Spero Melior - Hope for Better Things - 1832


Sunday, March 30, 2014

5 Fantastic Ways to Celebrate Spring's Late Arrival

Yellow is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Spring.  The earth comes alive in shades of yellow.

The first bursts of Spring (in the North East,US, anyway)Forsythia and daffodils. Next, and not far behind...rainbows of tulips. 

We've earned this Spring. Let’s truly celebrate the arrival of this glorious season:

bluebird in forsythia

1. Let the outdoors in. Crack the windows in your car.  Open the windows in your home. Move the curtains, let the sun in. Buy yourself a bunch of fresh flowers until there is an abundance to pick from in your yard.

 Forsythia vase
From Things That Fall

2. Begin the wardrobe transition. 

I am still cautious in saying pack away every coat and heavy sweater but you can start!   Make way for those lighter beauties that have been patiently waiting through this overly long, cold Winter.  If you haven't already, its time to treat yourself with a Spring shopping fling.
And don't forget  your jewelry box.  
Winter has its own beauty, but it is definitely the season where we might allow ourselves to get weighed down, caught in a rut. In our cozy rut, we're happy wearing heavy jewelry with our warm, heavy sweaters.  

Dig yourself out of by pulling some of the jewelry pieces that have been hiding away all Winter and wear them in fresh ways with your new Spring-Fling outfits.  Make sure to add some new jewelry to your shopping spree list!

Lemon Quartz  - YourDailyJewels.com
Sparkling Lemon Quartz on CZ Studded Sterling Chain - Your Daily Jewels on Etsy

Sending a strong signal to celebrate Spring doesn't have to mean strong  bright colors,  you can scream "Yay Spring!" in pastels - head to toe!

Pastel Periwinkle Gemstone Earrings YourDailyJewels.com
Pastel Periwinkle Gemstone Earrings - Your Daily Jewels  - on Etsy

3. Look at your home with a lighter eye.  Have fun with color: change up throw pillows, and  artwork. Freshly painted walls is the best way to make a room feel light and new. Rearrange the furniture, focusing on the windows and away from the fireplace or TV. Don't forget fresh flowers.

4. Spend more time in the moment. Observe the miracles of Spring all around you.  Yellow everywhere.  Notice the tops of the first flowers as they push their way through the still-hardened soil; birds chirping earlier each morning; the daylight lasting a little longer; lovely April showers.

5. Turn off the television...
Go for a walk. 

Fly a kite.

Climb a tree.

Play in the Daffodils


Read some poetry
 William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Daffodils by the Sea in Cornwall, UK
Daffodils by the Sea - Cornwall, UK

Happy Spring!

Sources: not otherwised noted:
Dancers Add Imagination in Unexpected Places
Jordan Matter Photography - His Book, Dancers Among Us is Available on his website.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mens Jewelry: 7 Tips to Do it Right (part II in a series)

Marlon Brando

A few weeks ago I wrote  "Man Up and Wear Your Jewelry", in which I detailed a history of men and their relationship to jewelry over the past few thousand years with fun examples, both historic and modern. If you missed it, read that one first.

Note to readers: this is one woman's perspective, guided by my own cultural influences, (ok, likes and dislikes.) I am aware that different cultures view the wearing of jewelry differently. With this said, I have been gathering great examples of jewelry to highlight the tips I have been working on for those men who have always thought about it, but never quite saw themselves as the "type" of man who wore jewelry.  

My goal is to convince you that you are the type, because there is no type. 

Why should women have all the fun, (and they do), when it comes to accessorizing? I am hoping these few tips and examples will give you the needed push for when you see a piece of mens jewelry that is very cool, stylish, edgy, elegant,  but you just can't take that first big step. I want to free you from the wristwatch and wedding band and introduce you to a whole new world that originally did belong to men and women equally.

Just last month in the Wall Street Journal, I found an article on this very topic. It quoted Robert Bryan, author of the book "American Fashion Menswear," who makes several points that I could not agree with more:

"With men's jewelry, There are so many ways to go wrong." "Generally, silver is the safer choice", said Mr. Bryan, who also advised caution when it comes to decorative stones. "Gemstones should be small and discreet."

This is good! A very respected mens fashion expert has started us off with our first two tips!

Tip 1.   Stick with silver, which,  these days includes all tones from black to grey, with the various patina-techniques used. I expound on this tip a little and say, avoid gold. 
Well, I think of antiqued brass and copper  along the same lines of antiqued silver and all are very "manly", and most importantly, not ostentatious.

Oxidized Copper Chain Bracelet - Rough Magic Creations on Etsy


Tip 2. Gemstones. Well, just look at the last word of the above paragraph. 'Nuff said. Unless... you do something like this Lava Rock Bracelet, earthy, matte black, and very "all man"

Earth Energy Gemstones on Etsy


Another great choice with gemstones is Black Onyx, perfectly masculine and so well paired in this chunky man's ring:

Jewelry24Seven on Etsy, and Jewelry24Seven.com

Tip 3. Also touched on in the WSJ article,  is that for men, it seems more right when a piece of jewelry has meaning for the wearer; i.e. a piece passed down, a  family crest, military service, a fraternity or university. 

The Signet Ring Layered Over a Wedding Band - A perfect example, (just not on your pinkie)

9-11 Never Forget Pendant Perfect for a War Veteran - YourDailyJewels on Etsy.

Perfect starter piece  for a lifelong musician - Handmade Music Note in Recycled Sterling

Wearing jewelry with meaning is different for women, who can find jewelry to  love that is meaningful or not, bank breakingly expensive, or bargain basement perfect. I am one of those women who sees no reason to ever stop accumulating more jewelry. Whether I buy it, make it, or hope it is given to me, (the best, of course). This will be me one day.

Iris Apfel - by Bruce Weber

Tip 4:  Start with a wrist piece, such as a cuff, and add to it over time with a ring, or two, if you feel you can pull it off. It is best to take your time and add to your repertoire of jewelry, slowly over time.

Golden Brass Mens Woodlands Cuff - Capital City Crafts (also in Sterling)

Double Twisted Cuff - Travis Ogden - Dsma- Denver School of Metal Arts

Willow Creek Jewelry - Mens Copper Cuff Bracelet

Tip 5Mens jewelry should not look precious or new. Try and go for the "What?  I have always been wearing this." look .

You can't go wrong with any of the mens items here: SilverSmack (or Goldsmack) on Etsy

Tip 6. This is just in case you missed the part about the no gold or gemstones, and the subtle pinky ring comment: nothing bright or blingy. 

On the Artofmanliness.com website they go as far as to write " NO, Grills, anklets, toe rings, belly piercings, engagement rings,  or armlets.". I  think they must have a different readership than the Wall Street Journal's site.

To summarize Tip 6:  It must be masculine.

Also from YourDailyJewels:
Simple Sterling - Oxidized Ball Chain - worn plain or with a pendant

Tip 7.  Maybe most important as you start out trying new waters, its all about attitute. 

Silver "Lost at Sea" Compass YourDailyJewels - Celebrity Style

Manly company who wear this pendant: Leonardo DiCaprio, Sting,  Woody Harrelson, and
Edward Norton

Hand Carved Arrowhead  at YourDailyJewels.com

Claws, teeth, talons, and arrowheads are all perfect talismen to connect you to your Paleo-man roots.

Handmade Cast "to-scale" Wolf's Claw - Your Daily Jewels on Etsy - made to order

Hopefully these tips have given you a little push to go for that first piece of jewelry. Or to buy your guy his first piece of jewelry. 

Lets review the highlights: 

-->Stick to one piece to start, like a cuff-bracelet, (unless you're Johnny Depp or  Steven Tyler - then pile it on. Regular folk, maybe add  a ring or necklace over time.  

--> However you jump in, choose a piece that looks so natural on you that you can easily say "What? you never noticed this? I have had this for years!"

You are now officially the 'type' of man who wears jewelry.

Thanks so much for reading  (and hopefully commenting and sharing!)