Q& A with Costume Jewelry Collector, Carole Tanenbaum

September 5, 2013

This season we are proud to announce the addition of beautiful pieces of vintage costume jewelry curated by world-renowned collector, Carole Tanenbaum.  This collectable jewelry is available in-store, as well as online.  We asked Carole a few questions about her deep love of vintage costume jewelry, celebrity collectors and advice on starting your own collection of vintage costume jewelry.  Click here to see what M. Flynn currently has in-stock.

Carole is one of the most important collectors of vintage costume

Carole Tanenbaum is one of the world’s most important collectors of vintage costume jewelry.

MF – Instead of collecting fine jewelry, you choose to focus on costume jewelry. What sparked your interest in costume as opposed to fine?
CT- I was inspired by the creative design, the scale and the colors used in costume jewelry that could not be achieved in gemstone jewels. To me it is all about the visual. Vintage adds a WOW factor to accessorizing as well as  a personal fashion statement.
MF: Over the years you have collected so many fabulous pieces. What is one piece from your collection that you’ll never part with?
CT:  I am constantly asked what my favorite piece is in my collection. If the truth be known, I do not have 1 favorite piece. I have designers who I love such as Schreiner, Coppola e Toppo etc. And I love Bakelite and Scottish jewelry which I collect personally.
Schreiner of New York

Henry Schreiner was a designer of costume jewelry who worked with Dior in the 1940s.

MF:  What makes a piece truly stand out to you?
CT:  What I look for when purchasing vintage  is originality, creativity and excellent craftsmanship.
MF: Vintage costume jewelry always finds its way onto the red carpet.   In your opinion which celebrities have a good eye for costume?  
CT: Most of the celebrities select what i call “safe” costume jewelry- either pieces that look real or are small enough not to make a statement. Some exceptions are S.J. Parker, who wears volumes at a time and is truly a collector; Beyonce who loves and collects Chanel;  Mrs. Obama, who actually selected a piece from our collection  to wear for President Obama’s first  inauguration. These people can well afford gemstone jewels. However they select Vintage as a sophisticated fashion statement.

Chanel Bracelet

Chanel is a favorite of many vintage collectors.

MF: You started collecting based on your own love of jewelry. What advice would you give to an aspiring collector just starting out?
CT: For New Collectors  ensure that a piece is in good ORIGINAL condition. Find out as much as you can on pieces that interest you  manufacturer, material, date…. Buy from vendors you trust and enjoy the hunt.