It’s Not Vintage, It’s Second Hand

Queen Elizabeth brooch (photo credit: Dolly Jamila)Usually when we come across something previously worn by another being, we, well I, and most of my friends, state it as ‘vintage.’ The use of the word has become a noun;  a category of clothing, furniture, paraphernalia. It is no longer a term used to describe things, but a word categorically known for all things of a past decade, which have been worn previously.


Under this rusty old title, we have connotations of a musty smell and a feeling of excitement. Most of the time, these items I find in second-hand stores are one-offs; no one else has this piece, and if they do, they have probably been on this earth a good few decades more than me and have very little chance of turning up in my usual student hotspots.


And now, it appears that even these second-hand selling stores are cashing in on the ‘vintage’ trend and producing well, non-vintage items. Sound familiar?


Rails and rails, amongst the reworked dresses and jean shorts, we have garments that look vintage but are new, and a lot of them.


That idea of having an item which is a one-off, a prize to be cherished, has faded slightly, as businesses want to cash in on this era and cash out on being proper vintage.


As a second-hand-item fiend myself, I was thrilled to be given a brooch of my nanas, that although belonged to her for a large amount of time, I never saw her wear. Ever.


There were a lot of items I coveted of hers recently, most of them being sparkly brooches and a tub of a ridiculously large amount of beads, in all different colours. What my nan used this for, I do not know, as she never wore costume jewellery or anything that would draw attention to herself.


The brooch I found, reminded me of a cameo brooch.


Cameo brooches are found in two colours, a coral colour or duck-egg blue and have cream detailing. They are in a very particular oval shape and the most famous, are those featuring the silhouette of a woman, from the side.


‘Cameo’ is a form of carving, and this is how we get the cameo brooch. The carving creates two separate levels, the second one being in direct contrast to the background, as you can see from the picture. This can be found on any type of jewellery or artwork, but it is when the background and foreground is contrasting, that we can call it a cameo.


Queen Victoria had numerous cameo jewellery, in various carats of gold. These days you can get plastic cameos, buttons… which are not as expensive but still look just as classy.


Anyway, back to the brooch I found at my nana’s; it is in an oval shape, with gold detailing and, reminds me of a cameo in its appearance. The speciality of this piece of jewellery is that is has an image of a woman in the middle of it, and that woman is Queen Elizabeth II.


Now, I’m not talking about Queen Lizzie, the one all haggard, sipping Ovaltine at night and stroking her Corgies. I’m describing a young Queen Elizabeth, one who looked stunning and a bit mischievous – thoughts of a young queen being naughty here pop up into mind but are instantly dismissed, but yes, I’m talking about the age of the queen where even my brother described her as being ‘fit.’


Therefore, her youthfulness has lead me to the conclusion that my nana must have got this brooch sometime around Queen Lizzie’s silver or golden jubilee, how long.


Such a poignant image of the queen looking fresh faced and fancy-free has made a connection with me; my nan must’ve also been fresh faced and fancy-free once, and got this beautiful brooch. When, where and why, I will never know, but my imagination is officially opening up every time I wear it with my white collared shirt, wondering and treasuring.


Surely this is the best thing about second-hand ‘tat’?


Check out our ‘vintage’ T-shirts, plus loads of others, in the LoveScene store: