Most people buy vintage costume jewelry because, well, it’s pretty and it’s unique and maybe it matches their outfit. People who collect vintage costume jewelry look for specific designers or brands. Then there’s a subgroup I’ll call serious collectors, folks who have some really esoteric knowledge about obscure brands and types of jewelry.
A few months ago I stared getting queries from serious collectors of vintage costume jewelry asking for Juliana. I have to admit, this caught me off guard as I’d never heard of it.
So now I have researched it, explored it and even found a few pieces. First off, it’s really well designed, spectacular stuff. But I think, for truly serious collectors, there is a special allure around the fact that it’s unsigned and was only created for one year (1967-68), making it super hard to find and identify.
You know That Guy at the dinner party, your cousin’s husband’s brother, the one you hope you don’t get seated next to? The one who has a whole lot of knowledge about an obscure topic and want to share every bit of it with you?
I’m going to be That Guy for just a few minutes. I’m going to get into some really granular detail about costume jewelry here. But first, before I geek out, here’s a pretty Juliana set:
Now, to identify Juliana jewelry for yourself you need to look for some specific traits.
Does the piece have:
over the top glitz, breathtaking design
use of art glass
multiple sizes, shapes and colors of rhinestones all in the same piece
Aurora Borealis (rainbow sparkle) rhinestones mixed in
tiered, domed, or are otherwise 3-dimensional elements
one or more rhinestones that float on a wire over other rhinestones
Still with me here? Ok, here one level geekier:
Rhinestones are often backed with foil, which acts like a mirror and creates extra sparkle. Juliana mixes foil backed stones with open back, unfoiled ones.
Is the pin on the back built in, not a separate piece that is glued or riveted to the back?
I can sense that your eyes have glazed over. Wake up, I’m done being That Guy for now. Have a look at these gorgeous Juliana pieces and thanks for being polite and nodding. Next time I’ll try not to get so intense.
Now here is a piece I found just this week. I think we can check all the boxes and call it Juliana, don’t you?