Society

A real good ‘head’ for antiques

Local expert to appraise old jewelry in Houston
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

Elaine Van Horn displays part of extensive collection feauring ‘Elzac lady heads’ made by company that created Barbie doll. Reporter/Mike Brown Elaine Van Horn displays part of extensive collection feauring ‘Elzac lady heads’ made by company that created Barbie doll. Reporter/Mike Brown When Houston’s upscale River Oaks Friendship Club went looking for an appraiser to stage their own version of an antique road show, they knew just where to turn.

Elaine Van Horn of Rockdale w ill conduct a day of appraisals Tuesday, April 27, in the River Oaks Apartments Claremont Room, a major charity fund-raiser to raise money for nursing scholarships.

She will also be interviewed for an hour on KHOU-T V’s Great Day Houston morning television show April 23.

It won’t be her first time before the cameras. Van Horn was in the uncut version of “The Wizard of Oz.”

No, that’s not a joke.

Expert

Van Horn is owner of Elaine’s Emporium and has been a Rockdale resident for 10 years but she’s a Houston native and has built up quite a reputation as an antiques expert.

Van Horn points out 65-year-old World War II antique memorabilia. Locket at lower left had soldier’s portrait on one side, his mother’s on the other. Van Horn points out 65-year-old World War II antique memorabilia. Locket at lower left had soldier’s portrait on one side, his mother’s on the other. She began her interest in antiques while working as an executive secretary at Sakowitz. Van Horn is a well-known designer, collector and lecturer on the history of costume jewelry.

A free lecture will precede her evaluations which w ill cost $5 for one item and $10 for three.

She’s quick to point out what she’s doing is not affiliated in any way w ith the popular Antiques Road Show series on PBS.

“One of the appraisers on Antiques Road Show is a friend of mine,” she laughed.

Costumes

Ten minutes with Van Horn is an education in antique costume jewelry, which can be almost any item that’s withstood the test of time and become a collectible.

She will show items from her own extensive collection in Houston, items that are definitely not for sale.

“I started collecting from the time I graduated high school,” she said.

Van Horn is probably proudest of her large collection of Elzac lady heads.

Which are exactly what they sound like, lavishly sculpted female heads made by the company which created the Barbie doll.

Her favorite is Josephine Baker, an African-American dancer of the 1920s and 30s who at one time was the toast of Paris.

“I think I liked her style, her costumes,” Van Horn said. “I used to own a costume shop.”

History, TV

She also has extensive collections of World War II memorabilia and sure enough jewelry.

Van Horn’s lecture will include not only the history of costume jewelry but also give tips on what is collectible and what is not.

“I’ll also look at broken pieces to see if they can be repaired,” she said.

The television appearance was originally scheduled to be three minutes.

“Now, they’ve told me I’ll be on for the entire hour,” she said.

Yellow brick road

Oh yes, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Van Horn’s home is like a museum/antique store but when a vistor asks about one framed, yellowing newspaper page hanging on a parlor wall, the answer is a bit of a shock.

Two-year-old Elaine Clauder won the Houston Post’s Beautiful Baby contest in 1938 and was sent to the MGM lot in Hollywood to be on the set of a movie which became an all-time classic.

“I was in a scene from ‘The Wizard of Oz’,” Van Horn said. “It didn’t make it into the movie but it’s in the out-takes in the 60th anniversary DVD of the movie, released in 1999.”

Of course she doesn’t remember much but the family has photos of two-year-old Elaine with Judy Garland and Spencer Tracy, who wasn’t in the movie but was under contract to MGM.

“And Bert Lahr, the cowardly lion, picked me up, tossed me in the air and caught me,” she said.

Evaluation, lecture

Her April 27 antique jewelry evaluation and lecture will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the River Oaks Apartments Claremont Room, 3435 Westheimer, next to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

The 10:30 a.m. lecture, preceding the item evaluations is free.


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2010-04-15 digital edition



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