A Vintage Owl Necklace Guide

vintage owl necklace articulated gold tone

A vintage owl necklace is cute and has been experiencing new found popularity. But what about a true vintage owl necklace? What are the types? When were they made? What about vintage lookalikes? Read on to learn more.

The Vintage owl necklace era

A vintage owl necklace was a hot item in the 70s. I like to call it the owl love period. For me, it was a subset of the back-to-nature movement that was happening at that time. You know when home decor was green, brown, and orange.

Vintage owls were placed on all types of homeware from canisters to pillows, then turned up on vintage owl jewelry as well.

One Piece And Articulated Vintage Owl Necklace

A vintage owl necklace comes in two styles – one piece and articulated. A one piece vintage owl necklace is exactly that, whether it is cast, carved or whatever. Some of the one piece styles also convert into a pin or brooch.

An articulated vintage owl necklace is made of different pieces – the head, body parts, eyes, etc. – that are held together with rings. Because of the construction an articulated vintage owl necklace can sometimes be referred to as a “jiggler” because of the way it dances around.

Main materials

Today, courtesy of baby boomer owl love, you can find a vintage owl necklace in an impressive array of materials. There really is a lot of choice.

Gold Tone And Silver Tone Vintage Owl Necklace

If you don’t like a lot of bling, a silver or gold tone vintage owl necklace may be your cup of tea. You can find them on branches, two of them together, a medallion style, you name it.

The owl at the top of the post is one of the most common owls but is as popular as he was several decades ago due to his large size, nice style and articulation.

The vintage owl necklace below is an example of a silver tone owl that is a bit rarer. He has a very streamlined, graphic style and has a lot in common with similarly styled star-shaped necklaces that were prolific in the 70s.

vintage owl necklace silver tone

Pewter Vintage Owl Necklace

Pewter jewelry was big in this era and vintage owls didn’t escape this treatment. In my experience a good percentage of pewter vintage owl necklaces tend to have a more modernist style. Jorgen Jensen, a son of the famed Danish silversmith, Georg Jensen, and a craftsman in his father’s design house, was a pewter vintage owl designer.

Sterling Silver Vintage Owl Necklace

While quite a few sterling owls are unsigned, you can also find signed pieces. Danecraft, Gorham, Taxco, and other made in Mexico pieces are out there.

Copper vintage Owl Necklace

A little rarer is a copper vintage owl necklace. New Mexico-based Bell Trading Post made one with a primitive aesethetic which makes sense as Bell produced machine-made, Native American-styled jewelry for the tourist trade. The chunky piece that I have seen a few times has a shinier copper frame that surrounds a tarnished looking background. An owl – also more shiny – stands out the from the background.

I have also seen necklaces that combine copper, pewter and other materials. The most recent one was just the head of an owl.

Rhinestone Vintage Owl Necklace

Rhinestones make any vintage jewelry gleam and a vintage owl necklace is no exception. A lot of designers tended to use rhinestones for the owl’s eyes and you will find a quite a few with amber colored rhinestones. Green and darker blue rhinestones are also common although pink, clear, and just about every color of the rainbow are around if you look hard enough. The little owl with green rhinestone eyes in the picture below is a fairly rare vintage owl pendant.

Vintage owl necklaces can also have rhinestones on the owl’s body although they aren’t as plentiful.

vintage owl necklace rhinestone

Cabochon And/Or Stone Vintage Owl Necklace

A more common combination is a vintage owl necklace with a cabochon body and rhinestone eyes. A cabochon is a a stone with a smooth, rounded top and flat bottom. Most of the cabochons used on a vintage owl necklace were synthetic and attached to the owl’s body. Used in this manner some cabochons can be called a jelly belly.

Some owls are also decorated with small plastic “stones” along their body. This type of vintage owl necklace is more unusual.

Enamel Vintage Owl Necklace

Enamel was a popular way of adding color to vintage jewelry. You can find both articulated and solid vintage owl necklaces that have an enamel coating. Eisenberg, the high end vintage costume jewelry manufacturer, made a bevy of enamel vintage owl necklaces that I think are particularly attractive.

Lucite Vintage Owl Necklace

Not very common are lucite owls. I saw one last year that was clear lucite with the owl etched into the lucite to look like frosted glass. These pendants are around but usually not with owls.

Macrame Vintage Owl Necklace

Yet another type of vintage owl necklace were those made out of macrame. They are miniatures of the large owl wall hangings that were a popular when macrame was a big craft. Again, kind of rare but I managed to find one.

Signed vs Unsigned Vintage Owl Necklace

Should you collect signed or unsigned necklaces? Honestly, it’s one of those personal preference decisions. Trifari made some interesting owls. Other big jewelry names that dappled in owls include Napier, Coventry, Coro, Art, and Avon.

Many of the unsigned necklace are just as nice or often nicer. It comes down to the quality and condition of the individual vintage owl necklace.

New Vintage-Style Owl Necklace

With the rise in popularity of these necklaces it’s not surprising that everyone from trendy stores to ebay wholesalers have jumped on the retro owl train. There’s nothing wrong with new owl necklaces, but they are not vintage and don’t have a retained collectible value. Their quality may also not be on par with a vintage necklace although your mileage will vary depending on the manufacturer.

A store stocking new merchandise would clearly sell a new, retro owl necklace so you are sure what you are getting. Some Ebay sellers, largely from Asia, are using the word “vintage” in their listing titles as a means of describing a necklace’s style even though the necklace is new. This could cause you some confusion, particularly as some of these necklaces do look kind of vintage. For example, one articulated owl necklace available at the time of this posting looked similar to a truly vintage piece made by Goldette.

That said, Ebay can be one source of real vintage owl necklaces, but make sure you carefully read an entire Ebay listing if you are hunting down a truly vintage owl necklace. It’s relatively easy to tell the new stuff from real vintage items if you take your time.

Happy hunting.