Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dreaming of a Sterling Christmas

I must admit that I have developed a serious weakness for antique sterling silver, and I think every girl deserves at least one fine piece. My favorite source for sterling happens to be eBay, where you can strike some really great bargains if you know how to shop. You’ll find exceptional pieces that are just not available in such variety anywhere else, and they make gifts of unparalleled elegance.

Mirror, Mirror

A hand mirror is an important accessory for checking your makeup outside to make sure you’ve blended properly, and for designing brows with precision. Bathroom lighting can be deceptive. Learn to occasionally step outside and check your makeup in natural light with a hand mirror, where you can see how others are seeing you. In addition, a hand mirror is valuable for looking at the back of your hair after styling.

I absolutely adore vintage sterling hand mirrors. Not only are they perfect for the aforementioned, they also turn any room into an elegant space when placed on a dressing table or in the bathroom. Here are some eBay mirrors that would make the perfect Christmas gift for any femme fatale.

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This is an antique floral repousse hand mirror, $200. Repousse is a technique used on softer metals, where the design is hammered on the reverse side of the metal to achieve a beautiful raised effect.

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My favorite mirrors have antique etched monograms like the one above. Nothing can compete with such elegance. I always wonder about the name and the woman attached to the initials; it’s part of the charm.

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Look for the mark, “sterling.” Only sterling will have this particular mark, or that of .925. This guarantees that you are getting pure sterling silver. Because sterling is a soft metal, most of the mirrors have a few dents and dings around the edges of the mirrored area. This does not bother me at all; it simply adds to the character of the piece.

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The handle of the mirror may make a rattling sound because the handle is weighted with cement inside of it, and this sometimes separates with age.

Check out this beauty, below, another repousse stunner circa 1890. I just love the shape of the handle. In this style you will not find a weighted handle, which guarantees that the mirror will not rattle.

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At $599, it’s a bit of an investment, so make sure you read all the seller’s instructions regarding returns and the details about the piece. Also check out the seller’s history on eBay to make sure you are dealing with a reputable and experienced seller.

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The vintage Gorham purse mirror, below, is $89.99, and has a 3″ diameter. I have one exactly like this that I carry in my bag. It’s the perfect investment for any lady.

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Of course there are many more beautiful sterling pieces that you can find on eBay, it just takes some looking. I love sterling candlesticks, compotes, frames and jewelry boxes, but I also have a particular fondness for vintage Mexican sterling cuffs from Taxco, Mexico.

As you peer at your own reflection in a vintage mirror, however, you may find yourself reflecting on the woman who held it in Christmas pasts.

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