Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Peacock by any other name.

Chanel is said to have called it the “sincerest form of flattery”. Imitation that is and the world of fashion has been rife with it since…ummm…probably forever. Vintage is no exception, From every era, for every authentic designer piece out there, there are thousands of inspired look alikes.

Vintage costume jewelry is no different. In the 1930s Marcel Boucher became a cutting edge costume jewelry designer and the Boucher look was copied over and again for decades. In later years when Boucher pieces became highly prized as vintage collectibles they were again copied. Most of the time the quality of a knock off is inferior to the real thing even if they are cast from an original piece but sometimes the copy is beautifully executed making it hard to tell. Since the price difference can be astronomical it’s important to be careful before you buy.

Below are two brooches that look very much alike. The one on the left I picked up years ago at a flea market. It is a 1980s copy of the famous Marcel Boucher peacock (on the right). The original was designed in the early 60s and examples in good condition are prized by collectors. At first I thought mine might have been created later from an original mold since the company was sold in the 1970s but there are subtle differences in the design. Can you see them? Look closely they are easy to miss. Mine is not signed but the original is and the pin back is longer on the real Boucher. Both brooches are lovely but the value of mine is under $50 and the original is worth well over $200 and that’s a BIG difference!

Photo of the original brooch, courtesy of Howard Wideman at the Jewelers-Guild

Can you spot the differences? Click on photo to enlarge