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Friday, July 4, 2008


Until I began buying, collecting and selling gold jewelry, I had no idea that way back when, ladies wore pendants that were actually pens or pencils. Furthermore, some of them were made of real gold. These charming pendants dangled from a long chain around their necks but were far more than an interesting piece of jewelry. And if they were made by the famous TIFFANY & Co., as was the one shown above right (and available in our SHOP at RUBY LANE) then today, they have become a very valuable collector's item.

This incredible mechanical telescopic pencil pendant is fashioned of 14k rose gold. It's a beautiful pinkish rose shade. Closed up, as shown in the first photo, it's a neat 2 1/2 inches long but when it's extended to become a writing instrument, it is a full 4 3/4 inches. And here's the great part when you consider the current high price of gold: this fabulous collector's item weighs a hefty 19.3 grams! Below is a view of the pencil when it's ready to use:

Incidentally, an item like this wasn't just for the ladies. In fact, it's entirely possible that this was a gentleman's piece and was worn attached to a fob chain. There are other names too for pieces like this: they are sometimes called a "Chatelaine Pendant" or "Magic Pencil".

The other Pencil/Pendant shown here is also available from our RUBY LANE SHOP. It's also 14k gold, but this time it's yellow gold and weighs 8.5 grams. It's less expensive than the first item but then it's not a "Tiffany".

But both are indeed collector's items and wonderful conversation pieces. After all, how many people do you know that own a 14k gold pendant that hides a mechanical writing pencil inside?!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


With gold currently running at $944 an ounce, silver seems like a weak cousin to investors. But as an investment or in jewelry, silver is definitely more affordable. And there are some of us, myself included, who love the look of silver. If you're one of them, and if you like vintage jewelry as well, then let me introduce you to Am Lee Sterling Silver.

The Am Lee name was first used by a company in Providence, Rhode Island in 1946 and appeared on their brooches, bracelets, pendants and earrings.

If you haven't seen a lot of Am Lee jewelry, that's because it's quite scarce, especially the pieces in Sterling Silver, like the one shown here. But it's reasonably easy to recognize. The pieces I've owned are so similar: they all had clear rhinestones and absolutely beautiful and detailed filigree in their designs. Their logo, as shown in the second picture always reads "Am Lee Sterling".

But there are other designers whose designs are so close to Am Lee you really have to look for a signature. I have one on my site at VINTAGE JEWELRY SHOWCASE that bears such a striking resemblance to the design of the Am Lee above, but this one is made by "Espo". It's a lovely piece too. Slip over and take a look. It's only $25.

The thing about Am Lee that makes it valuable to a collector is its scarcity. I once read in a book on vintage costume jewelry that if you come across a piece signed Am Lee Sterling, snap it up. They are so hard to find. Well I've proved that for myself: each time I found an Am Lee Sterling piece ... and I've only found 3 ... they were sold within days of my listing them in my Ruby Lane Shop. The one shown here is the only Am Lee Sterling set that I have left. With matching screw-on earrings, it's just been reduced to $28! Go grab it before someone else does. It's a rare beauty in great condition! Click any photo to go there now.