Archive for March, 2010

Why Vintage Farberware Is Collectible Cookware

Monday, March 15th, 2010
vintage Farberware cookware logo

Vintage Farberware – the old stuff – is a solid vintage cookware bargain. While not as well known as vintage Revere Ware, it has definite collecting and cooking merit.

Vintage Farberware History

The Farberware brand has been around since the turn of last century. The company was first known for giftware and then moved into small appliances.

In the 1950s Farberware became one of the great American cookware brands riding the post-WWII prosperity wave. The result was the high quality, made in USA, vintage kitchen cookware of the type now prized by collectors.

Farberware’s  Bronx manufacturing plant was closed in 1996 and the Farberware name licensed to a company that manufactures a wide variety of products overseas.

vintage Farberware skillet

Five reasons to snap up that old vintage Farberware

1. Even heating

Vintage cookware made by Farberware has an aluminum base that distributes heat evenly across the bottom of the pan. This minimizes hot spots whether you are searing steaks or simmering sauces.

2. Heavy duty build

Solid construction was a given on vintage Farberware cookware. In almost all of the vintage pieces I have seen, the handles are still tight and the bottoms of those Farberware pans are still flat.

3. Bargain price for the quality

As of this writing vintage Farberware pans present a relative bargain compared to modern and vintage kitchen cookware of similar quality. If vintage Farberware was a stock, it would would have a “buy” rating.

vintage farberware pot lid

4. Practical handles and knobs

While I am a fan of many types of vintage cookware, I personally find the high knobs on vintage Farberware knobs easy to grip, even with a thick potholder. I am also fond of the practical double handle design on the extra large skillet and the metal hooks at the end of long handles that enable wall storage ala Julia Child.

5. Stainless steel construction

With the exception of the aluminum base, vintage Farberware pans are made of easy clean stainless steel. Always a plus.

So enjoy cooking up a storm in some “new” vintage Farberware pans. Just like vintage Revere Ware, Descoware and others, this vintage cookware can be a solid addition to your vintage kitchen collection. And right now it’s a relative bargain.

Collectible Jewelry – Guide To Building Your Collection

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

vintage aqua glass and clear rhinestone pin brooch

Vintage costume jewelry is fun, wearable, uniquely stylish, and can grow in value. These tips can help you become an expert collector.

1. Identify what kind of collectible jewelry you like

This may be the hardest challenge of all due to the wide variety of vintage costume jewelry that is available. Collectors may specialize in a particular time period, material, manufacturer, or a specific type of jewelry like rings or necklaces. Pick your poison.

2. Learn more about your collectible jewelry specialty

Informed collectors have the edge in putting together a great collection. Take the time to learn about manufacturers, designs and prices. You can spot nice pieces and swoop first.

There are many vintage costume jewelry books that cover every specialty. The blogosphere can also offer lots of wonderful information.  Here at Penn Polly Vintage we will also keep writing about our collectible jewelry passion.

3. Condition, condition, condition

Vintage costume jewelry is glorious but was never created with decades of wear in mind. Vintage costume jewelry pieces are likely to have some wear on areas that had contact with clothing or skin. That perfect condition Weiss brooch may actually be a counterfeit. That said, avoid jewelry with green corrosion – the finish is a goner beneath the green gunk.

Another thing to watch out for is repairs as they can affect value. Nothing good can come from someone messily gluing in a replacement rhinestone.

If you are looking at a piece of vintage costume jewelry in person, bring a jeweler’s loupe. Inexpensive loupes can be found on Ebay and will allow you to look at potential purchases under much higher magnification than a normal magnifying glass. Some loupes even come with lights. If you spot a flaw or something unusual, ask the seller.

When buying online, walk away if there aren’t muliple, clear, close up, and well lit photos that show the front and back of collectible jewelry pieces.  If you absolutely have to have a piece where you can’t see it all,  ask the seller for more detailed photos or specific descriptions of wear.

pink vintage aurora borealis necklace

4. Clean with caution

Dust and dirt can scratch collectible jewelry so it is important to keep it clean. But be careful, you can inadvertently do damage. I handle items gently and use compressed air to dust them.

Some collectors will gently clean vintage costume  jewelry using Windex on a clean soft cloth, toothbrush, or qtip that has had almost all of the moisture squeezed out. I use this method only if absolutely needed and always allow the cleaned item to air dry for several hours before I put it away. And I don’t use this liquid method on rhinestones.

5. Store your collectible jewelry properly

You don’t want your pieces pushing against each other or caught up in a tangle. That can cause scratches or other damage.

The best bet is to separate pieces. Wrap individual  items in acid free tissue paper or fabric pouches, then put them away. You may not be aware that storing vintage costume jewelry in wooden boxes is not the best solution. The boxes can offgas causing jewelry damage over time.

So there you go – five easy tips to help you grow your own vintage costume jewelry collection.

Good luck!