Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hidden Treasure: Wearing Vintage Medals

Have just had a splended ten minutes cruising around the heavy medal division on eBay. Keywords: militaria, collectables. For a woman who likes to think laterally in terms of her adornment, these gorgeous decorations, previously retired with honors, can once again serve active duty as pendants or pins.

Here's one of the prettiest: a WWI Order of Leopold of Belgium, whose price reflects the detail and distinction of its enamelwork.

But there's no need to push out the boat on price . . . just a few dollars or quid can win you something winsome, like this wonderfully graphic version from an English shooting club . . .

Bear in mind before you buy:

1) If the link is at all dodgy, your beautiful piece may be lost to the trenches. A firm squeeze with a pair of pliers will ensure a secure hold on a chain.

2) Real pearls will be scratched if you pin a medal in between. If you want to create a Chanel-style pearl necklace-with-central-brooch effect, take her example and use fake pearls instead, preferably glass.

3) Most importantly, military medals are symbols of high valor, religious medals are demonstrative of faith, Masonic medals are filled with mysterious secret cult powers that emit lightning bolts if worn by the uninitiated (not really, but they'd like you to think so). The point: don't offend somebody needlessly by taking their medals in vain (unless they're Belgian! I'd risk it for the one above!). As a general rule, the more obscure the medal, the better.

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