Ever since the 7th grade, when Jennifer Crager gave me the most fabulous pair of hand painted barrettes with my name on them in rainbow colors, I fell in love with monograms. I treasured those barrettes more than anything and wore them until my name finally wore off and the metal rusted. Years later, when I discovered antique and vintage monograms, I fell in love all over again and yep, you guessed it, another obsession was born.
For this first posting (Part 1), I hope to inspire you with visions of old and fabulous monogrammed treasures for you to consider incorporating into your modern day décor or to give as a special personalized gift. At the end of this posting, I am providing instructions and helpful hints on where to find these unique items online. In Part 2 of “Monogram Madness” next week, I will share with you some creative ways to create monogrammed projects on your own. So let’s jump right in to “Part 1”, antique and vintage monogrammed treasures.
What I love most about antique and vintage monograms are the elaborateness of the letters and the workmanship used to create the monograms, which were almost always done by hand with the finest silks and paints in the world. Today, rarely are monograms done by hand but rather computer generated images superimposed onto items, usually mass produced. Don’t worry, I’m not going to break out into the history of monogramming but I do think it’s important to keep in mind that in the early 1900’s, monogrammed china, silver and linens were only opulence afforded to the very wealthy and they were the epitome of lavishness. Knowing just how special it was back in the day to have these items created, makes finding these treasures today even more special. Below is just a small sampling of the types of antique monogrammed items for sale online today.
Even though back in the day, these elaborately monogrammed treasures were very expensive, today they are amazingly not when you consider the rich history, age and workmanship of these items. In fact, you can find an antique monogrammed- bone china plate or vintage linen guest towel online for under $10.00. The great thing is that something like a small and inexpensive set of antique monogrammed salad plates, incorporated into your own set of china/dishes can really uniquely transform a place setting like the picture below. Think about finding one antique dinner plate with your family initial and mix it with your dishes in your china cabinet or consider hanging the plate on the wall in your dining room or kitchen or simply display the plate on a plate stand in a book shelf or on an entry table. Antique monogrammed linen guest towels are wonderful for the bathroom and a framed monogrammed handkerchief or handkerchief made into a small pillow adds a wonderful touch to a little girl’s room. The possibilities are endless and here are some pictures below showing how I have incorporated these found treasures into my place settings and home.
We are very fortunate today as there are some terrific online stores and auction Websites that make it very easy to locate and purchase antique and vintage monogrammed treasures. You can go to Ebay, Ruby Lane, Etsy and 1st Dibs to begin your search. I search almost weekly on all of these Websites to make sure that I don’t miss out on something fabulous with an “A” monogram. You can find ANYTHING imaginable. To narrow your search, I recommend that you use the exact word “monogrammed” or “initial” in the search box in the antique category. If you’re looking for antique monogrammed china, use the same keywords above but search under “Pottery and Glass” (on EBAY) or “Porcelain” (on Ruby Lane). I do not recommend searching under your initial as many of the listings do not contain the letter itself. You may have to surf through several pages but it is worth it if you find something wonderful with your name written on it (literally) or maybe you’ll find something wonderful with a friend or sister’s monogram for a special gift. Don’t forget to look through your local antique stores as well and ask around your family to see if something is packed away just waiting for you to discover.
I can’t wait to hear what treasures you are able to locate, so please share with us! If you can’t find something immediately, just check in and look through the above Websites and you will finally be rewarded.
I hope you’re inspired and look forward to sharing some creative ideas for monogramming projects next week in “Monogram Madness-Part 2”.