Friends, antique shop owners and flea market vendors often ask me what I collect and my answer is that I collect memories. In a tangible form that means vintage black and white snapshots and photo booth photos, wedding cake toppers, scrapbooks, greeting cards, antique diaries, charm bracelets and my favorite, antique and vintage lockets. Currently I own over 50 lockets dating from the Victorian era through the late 1970s and I rotate them out to be worn with my thrifted / vintage warddrobe.
Lockets have a long history that actually pre-dates the invention of photography. The word “locket” derives from the idea that the pendant was originally intended to hold a lock of hair from a sweetheart or relative, or in memory of someone that had passed away. Queen Elizabeth I of England was reported to have worn a locket ring containing a painted miniature of her mother, Anne Boleyn. It wasn’t until the advent of photography, however, in 1839 that lockets gained widespread popularity. During Victorian times they often were worn as a piece of mourning jewelry and during WWII women included photos of their brothers, sons or sweethearts in their lockets.
There’s a mystery to lockets, especially when the original photos are still intact inside. Lockets were treasured gifts that were deeply personal to the wearer so I wonder how these mementos ended up at the flea market; fortunately I’m happy to carry forth these small, lost histories through my collection.
I found this hand tinted photo booth photo of a young girl in the 1940s wearing a heart shaped locket in an Indiana junk shop.
The most special locket in my collection is not the most valuable or rare but it’s a family heirloom that my grandmother gave me when I was 10 years old. It was given to her by my grandfather in 1939 on their first anniversary.
The locket contains photos of my grandparents on their first date, since they grew up in the Chicago suburbs their first date was at The Pickwick Movie Theatre in Park Ridge; the theatre still shows movies today.
More amazing pieces after the jump!
When Liz Holder wants a new dress she meticulously searches out a paper pattern and materials, then constructs it herself from supplies sourced at flea markets, antique shops and thrift stores. Unlike a majority of Americans who shop at department stores or retail chains, Liz creates both her everyday wear and special occasion dresses based on traditions and methods popular in the 1940s and 1950s, when it was common for entire families to be clothed in garments made at home. Author of a popular sewing and knitting blog, Zilredloh, Liz shared with me how she came to wearing only vintage and “me-made” clothing the past 2 years.
When did you first get interested in vintage and antiques? What did you initially purchase or collect and how has that evolved over time?
I’ve loved vintage (namely the ’40s and ’50s) as far back as I can remember; my mother has always told me that I was born in the wrong era. It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I started collecting knickknacks and pieces of furniture. With each new apartment I’ve live in I seem to collect more and more pieces of furniture, dishware sets, and odds and ends.
Most recently, my love of all-things-vintage has materialized itself through clothing and accessories. I remember attending the very first Vintage Bazaar in Lincoln Square’s Dank Haus back in 2010 and I felt like a kid in a candy store. Come to think of it, I feel that way at every Bazaar. During that same time period is when I started hoarding I mean…collecting vintage sewing and knitting patterns. Attending these events has and continues to be a great way to build up my personal stash of fabrics, patterns, and sewing notions. There’s nothing better than using vintage sewing notions to completely make a 100 percent vintage garment in 2012.