10 Minutes With: Carole Tanenbaum

Vintage Jewelry Connoisseur

Connoisseur, collector and dealer Carole Tanenbaum has amassed a rather large amount of vintage costume jewelry. The rumor is that her collection takes up most of her lovely Toronto home.

Carole knows there’s something very special about vintage costume gems. It might be the way they’re crafted. It might be the unabashed over-the-top mix of motifs and stones that surprise even today. Or it might be that each piece feels unique and totally one-of-a-kind.

Carole recently discussed her lifelong obsession with us and how brides (and even grooms) can join in on the fun.

How did you end up in your profession?
My primary field was in the arts as a consultant. I started collecting vintage costume jewelry about 25 years ago and approached Holt Renfrew (Canada’s leading luxury department store) after three years of collecting; the business grew rapidly and became my primary one!

What is the best part of your job?
Waking up to a completely new day! Every day presents a new set of experiences, so we never get bored. We meet and collaborate with lots of interesting people. I also love sharing my passion by lecturing on the subject.

What is your favorite look right now?
My favorite look has always been layering. Twenty years ago, people would look at me strangely as I sported a cluster of three or so brooches, several bracelets and a few necklaces. Now, multiples are the fashion trend.

Who, what and where inspires you?
Bill Cunningham, New York’s gift to the fashion world, inspires me. Like him, I always look for the original and creative in fashion and in jewels. I am not interested in a good copy of a “Picasso,” I am interested in individual style and fashion statements.

What do you love about brides?
Brides reflect complete optimism to me. They are the jewels!

What is the one thing every bride needs?
Every bride needs to wear something old to keep them connected to the past. Vintage jewels are the perfect solution.

Can you give us a bridal do?
Since brides are known to pay attention to detail, every bride should consider wearing a piece of vintage. It makes the look more educated and unique. In time, they can pass the piece(s) to a daughter, niece, or someone they love when it’s their turn to marry.

And a bridal don’t?
Don’t be afraid to embellish your beautiful gown with the right accessories for fear that it will detract from the “whole package.” It’s an added attraction to what is being worn.

What’s next?
I see vintage as continuing to be the go-to fashion accessory. As trends go full circle, perhaps reflecting the ‘20s and ‘30s.

Finally, tell us a style secret that can make a wedding look magic. (We promise we won’t tell.)
Brides should wear vintage jewels in a unique way, i.e. on the back of a dress, at the waist or in their hair. Try bouquets of vintage flowers or antique brooches as part of the place settings. The groom might wear a vintage boutonniere.

Thank you Carole.

--Juli Alvarez

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