JUST DUG THIS UP – A PRETTY NECKLACE OF POLISHED AMBER

Amber, in itself, is a very mysterious substance. Eons old and full of many clues encased in it’s golden depths. Earth historians love it, for many reasons, and the lore regarding its spiritual and medicinal powers will delight any anthropologist or sociologist. However, that’s not significant for our purposes.

Amber jewelry is not commonly found in investigations, though it has appeared in the general marketplace much more often since the fall of the Soviet Union. A lot of amber comes from countries which were previously isolated inside the U.S.S.R. The best example may be Lithuania, which produces Baltic amber (the best type) and can now sell it freely. When I do come across a vintage clue made of amber, it tells me that the owner was likely a traveler and/or shopped in exclusive stores. In the case of this particular piece, though the suspect was probably a traveler, it is much more recently made which is demonstrated by the lobster clasp. Fortunately, my files do contain older specimens in the vault. This one, though, does have the beautiful and sought-after intense color that makes this “stone” powerful and valuable.

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

PRETTY MID-CENTURY AND ANTIQUE COSTUME JEWELRY

Since I’ve veered into the area of accessories a bit, I decided to open the jewelry archived evidence file. It’s a big one, as jewelry pieces are often found at investigation sites. That’s especially true when it comes to mid-century pieces, which were so popular during the 1950’s and 1960’s and considered an essential part of the wardrobe of any well-dressed woman of the time. However, items always appear from years before and after, since women have always loved jewelry and will never stop.

Here’s an assortment of bling that might have been seen on any given day in 1960. All are costume and most are unbranded. These everyday types of clues are not as likely to be the element which makes or breaks a case but agents know better than to leave any stone unturned, and you just never know . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

BEAUTIFUL 1950’S WOOL COAT IN CLASSIC BLACK

Surprising as it may seem, coats of this type were often more commonly seen in beige, brown and colors than in black. Those alternatives certainly would have been easier to keep looking clean – we all know what lint-magnets black garments are! So, maybe this just became a market-driven issue among the general population. At any rate, it’s true to my sleuthing experience and a clue for the file. However, market characteristics like that can sometimes vary by location or even by year so never ignore a mundane-seeming piece of evidence. That’s especially true when no other signs of its origin can be found.

This particular item, with its de rigueur big sculpted buttons, also has interesting design in back with a big welt seam and a somewhat distinctive collar shape and color, disguised as mink. These little design features are what differentiated one coat from another, as the general style of the time was quite uniform, and can make or break a case whenever witnesses can be found. I guess that’s always true with coats that are built for warmth and outdoor wear. No operative could ask for a better element of disguise while carrying out her daily routine now that our old stand-by, the trench coat, has lost its cover in film noir.

Tomorrow, another example that’s just a pretty fashion piece with no occult interpretations attached. But, you just never know –

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

SING, SING, SING AND SWING, SWING, SWING. A COUPLE OF 1940’S SKIRTS FOR THE DANCE HALL

Sifting through the archives is so much fun. These photos look very much alike, but they’re actually two versions of the same style – made for swing dancing and the jitterbug. Gotta have freedom of movement! At least one was sewn at home. I wouldn’t be surprised if most gals had at least one skirt or dress like this during the wartime 1940’s and many had been swingin’ since the ’20’s. So interesting to note that they are both made from a heavy twill fabric which will keep the skirt very much in place as long as your body is upright. Being off your feet dressed in a clingy fabric can lead to some embarrassing situations and a difficult recovery. Still, it would be a disguise challenge, even at a popular venue with great opportunity to blend in with the crowd – stick to the Lindy or there’s no place to conceal your espionage tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

ANOTHER VERY SPECIAL VINTAGE DRESS – A PARIS KNOCK-OFF BY NELLY DON

When I discovered this clue in an out-of-the-way place I thought “Hmm. This is interesting. Not sure I’d ever wear it, but worth picking up.” It hung in the evidence room for some time until one day, as I was traveling to Europe, I saw a poster with examples of iconic Paris designs from various years and Guess What! 1952.

The Nelly Don label, made in Kansas City, was very popular with mid-century women in the U.S.. This was, in part, because of their up-to-the-minute designs and they weren’t shy about mimicking the famous couturiers. This example is very well-made and leave it to American marketing savvy to think practically and make the peplum removable and to use an easy-care fabric. I also love the subtle basket weave print, which shows up vividly when exposed to the camera flash and digital imaging but is less obvious in ordinary light. Just my cup of tea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

MORE TRUE VINTAGE PURSE ACCESSORIES – SOUVENIR HANKIES

Before small packets of tissues became available (and even afterward – humans don’t like change) every woman carried a hankie in her handbag and collected dozens of them over her lifetime. Like ties, many friends and family selected handkerchiefs as a standard gift item for birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s Day, etc. They also became popular souvenirs of places where she’d traveled, as we see above – or someone may have brought them back from a trip as a present. Usually these weren’t used every day and were kept as mementos.

These types, especially, can be powerful clues when working a case. However, there are many categories of handkerchiefs in my archive files so you may be seeing more. Stay tuned . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

VINTAGE 100% SILK CHEONGSAM DRESS

Beautiful, beautiful. Worthy of Mata Hari, it’s classically hand-tailored – but wait – in Japan?! This is a traditional Chinese style frock. Also, because of it’s classic design and the handcrafting techniques used in it’s construction, I can’t tell it’s exact age. So many mysterious and conflicting clues – like when agents are “hiding in plain sight”. Perfect disguise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anyway, after hats off to my craft and fellow operatives, I don’t have to worry about those twists and turns because this case is closed. Now all that’s left to do is declassify the file and enjoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

WHEW! FINALLY DONE GOING THROUGH ALL MY TRUE VINTAGE HANDBAGS & PURSE ACCESSORIES

I THINK I’ve got it all done. From the 1930’s through the 1960’s these bags, some handmade (I LOVE hand-tooled leather) and the little accessories that women used to carry were so much fun to sort through again. A fine leather billfold with matching key-case. A tapestry-look eyeglass or cigarette case. A padded silk holder for a few tissues. Little pads for organizing phone numbers (with attached pen) or writing little notes. A plastic rain bonnet folded up in a plastic case and distributed by a local funeral home.

Such a varied assortment of evidence. Imagine all of the suspects and witnesses who may have carried them – lots of stories. But, again, the cases are closed so it’s time to clean out the files. However, there are still so many archived items as well as those currently being investigated. As ever, occasionally something “new” turns up. So, stay tuned for further intel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

JUST IN TIME FOR PROM OR SOMEBODY’S GALA – ELEGANT MID-CENTURY EVENING BAGS

Oooh, I had so much fun going through this file. It was hard to separate out the redundancies, but the case is now closed. Gold and silver beauties from the 1950’s U.S., several from WWII Japan and one that probably came from eastern Europe at about the same time. So much history here. Next I’ll be examining some files from the era of post-war prosperity, the Cold War, domestic tensions, Korea and Vietnam.

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

MORE 1940’S HANDBAGS TO GO. MM, TOWN & COUNTRY, DOVER. BRANDS LADIES USED TO LOVE.

The use of fabric, reptile skin and vinyl saved resources which were needed in the wartime 1940’s to make uniforms and supplies. These three purses were by well-known makers which maximized style and craftsmanship as much as possible during the time of rationing. Touches like the little attached coin purse and the fashionable designs helped women to put aside, for a while, the worries and deprivations that this time in history brought. Fashion has always served this purpose for us.

More to come. I’ve just vetted a box of beautiful evening bags. Stay tuned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM