Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Toy Chest Tuesday! Jewel Secrets Barbie!

So Toy Chest Tuesday is all new! And since yesterday was a nice look at the new Jem, I thought it would be fun to follow up with looking back at an old Barbie. Now I have a love/hate relationship with Barbie. Growing up that was pretty much my doll of choice. I wanted only Barbie and nothing else. This of course meant that I missed out on other great doll lines, like Jem and the Holograms or Maxie. Of course I had other dolls that were in smaller scale, but the tall super-dolls of the world were always just Barbie.

So even though Barbie refused to share shelf space with other dolls, I still loved collecting that damn doll. The clothes and box art were always fun. She had a really cool house and at bright pink corvette at one time or another. What's not to love?

One doll I loved growing up with was the Jewel Secrets Barbie. She was released at the end of the 80's, and I think I ended up owning her about 1986 or 1987. Jewel Secrets Barbie was one of those dolls that was all about expressing the best things about the 80's: Big jewelry and even bigger fashion. Let's look!

The box art for JS Barbie was really fun. A big window featured the doll as well as some nice art of the doll. The coloring and overall look for this image is really pretty. I love the sparkle effect. Around this time in Barbie history Mattel was really pulling out all the stops for gimmick Barbies. When Barbie first came onto the scene she was just a doll with different outfits. In time though Mattel would create special themed Barbie sets with a unique selling point. Jewel Secrets Barbie's gimmick was that her big ball gown also doubled as a purse for the owner. Plus her jeweled bib necklace had a spinning dial on the back which could reveal three different colored "jewels." Aside from the ball gown and necklace, JS Barbie also came with shoes, skirt piece, brush, and a storybook.

This Barbie had one of my favorite looks. In fact the Barbie dolls that came out in the late 70's until the mid 90's were probably my most favorite era of Barbie dolls. The font for the Barbie logo was simply the best. Also I loved the face sculpt for the Barbie dolls during this time. Originally Barbie had sultry bedroom eyes. Her eyes were looking off to the side, almost as if she was searching for the gaze of an admirer. This continued for awhile. Barbie's eyes may have opened wider in the late 60's, but most of the gazes always seemed to be off to the side. What I loved about the era of Jewel Secrets and other Barbie dolls, was that she was looking in front of her the most part. Her eyes were big and bright as if the world was awaiting her next move. Or her next job.

The back of the box showed off the other doll releases. There was a Jewel Secrets Ken. I totally love that silver tux with holographic cummerbund and tie. Oh my goodness, what I wouldn't give to be at a dance and see a guy walk in wearing that. You just don't see men sporting silver tuxes these days. There was also a Skipper and Whitney doll to collect as well. Whitney was Barbie's friend and had a more subdued dress. The storyline for this set was that Barbie was invited to three different parties in one night. How she will travel to London, Paris, and Washington D.C. in one night to attend three different parties is beyond me, but she had an outfit that could be changed up just enough so that she'd be wearing something new to every party.

Skipper was to the side and her outfit reminded me of the movie Can't Buy Me Love. Remember when Amanda Peterson's character Cindy Mancini wears her mother's white suede outfit to a party and spills something on it? This outfit just totally reminds me of that. I never had any Skipper dolls though. I was going to ride or die with Barbie. In fact, I think I only ever owned one Ken doll (which was actually Derrek from Barbie and the Rockers.)

Here is another side shot of Whitney. Barbie doll boxes were so interesting back then, because sometimes they'd be in a regular shaped box and other times the box would just be shaped in this awkward trapezoid shape.
Smaller images helped the owner also figure out the different looks they could create for Barbie and what the ball gown/purse looked like. This gown was my first purse. When I would go out to dinner with my parents, I'd stash a heart print pouch and She-Ra doll in the bag. I don't know why I thought it'd be a good idea to bring She-Ra with me to dinner, but I was a kid. I didn't really have much else to place in a purse anyway.
So the mint Jewel Secrets Barbie from above is an item I bought from a very lovely seller a few months ago on eBay. These loose items are from my Jewel Secrets Barbie from when I was younger. Sadly some of the pieces have not held up too well through the years. I spilt something on the silver dress that has never been able to come out. The shoes are still in nice condition and one of my favorite pairs of Barbie shoes! They are translucent plastic with glitter flecks inside! Her necklace still spins the different colors but the blue skirt piece is not as stretchy as it once was.
The ballgown/purse has survived through various decades pretty well. Some of the glitter strips are missing, but the drawstring still works really well and nothing has come undone. (Note that I switched the jewel color from pink to blue. Just thinking of you all.)
Here is my original Jewel Secrets Barbie in a more recent outfit. About a year or so ago I decided that I wanted to try and preserve the vintage clothes on my old Barbie dolls, so I purchased new clothes for my old Barbies. It was fun and a bit of a challenge, because I stupidly thought that current Barbie clothes would fit vintage dolls. The new clothes sort of fit the old dolls, but it is a snug fit. I also had to rewash and do my best to fix her hair too. One thing I loved doing as a kid was having Dynasty-style brawls with my Barbie dolls. I can't seem to recall what they were fighting over. I would assume it was my one and only Ken doll, but when the New Kids on the Block dolls came out there was pretty much a date for everyone.

Here is the ball gown on the actual doll. I was never really big on this gown. If only because it was closed at the bottom! I was always concerned from a logistic standpoint on how Jewel Secrets Barbie was going to walk if her feet were all trapped inside a purse. (Though for fun, I'd always stash extra things like jewelry or shoes in the gown and pretend like Barbie was committing the perfect jewel heist.)
Since the Jewel Secrets line was a hit for Mattel, there were also some other releases for Jewel Secrets. Mattel had produced these jewelry case sets that you could stack, or not, and there were new and unique jewelry pieces with each set. I loved this. I felt so sophisticated with these pieces! Rubies and diamonds have never been in my cards, but with these pieces I certainly felt like they were! I think each set had a jewel theme, like rubies, emeralds, or sapphires.

The drawer also opened up to reveal a plush blue lining. There were more pieces to go with this set, but they are completely long gone. I hope to one day find them. (Fingers crossed.) On the secondary market this series is hard to come by. The dolls themselves not so much, but the jewelry sets are rare. Jewel Secrets Barbie was a very fun line from Barbie's history. The series may have been slightly vain with a dash of materialism, but would we have expected anything less from 1986? 
And thus concludes our look at Jewel Secrets Barbie! I am very fond of this doll and thrilled to take a walk down the old toy memory lane. Enjoy the Toy Chest Tuesday and stick around. Rumor has it a favorite villain of just about everyone is going to be coming up soon for an all new Bodacious Baddie! Take care everyone! 


  1. OK, so I'm not the only one who wondered how she was going to get around in a closed-bottom skirt, then! One of my favorite things to do was "walk" Barbie's legs instead of making her hop around ... until her top half toppled over backwards. Oh, memories. This was the last Barbie I owned. Thanks for the memories!

    1. No problem! Thank you for the comment! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought it was odd that her dress was closed at the bottom too. lol I'm really glad you left a comment and I hope you enjoy reading some more!

  2. I was wondering, I have been searching high and low for more info on the jewelry cases... I had three different ones, but I've searched book after book for info on them to no avail. Have you ever seen the cases in a book or online anywhere? This is the very first I have found of any reference to them! Any information you can provide would be much appreciated!

    1. Hey Kate! Thank you so much for the comment. I do not know if there are any books that they are featured in, but I would do a search on eBay. I have seen the sets for sale every now and then, most of the time they are still new. I would check there first, but you could also try searching for Mattel Dealer catalogues. I would have a feeling that Jewel Secrets Barbie and all the items she came with would be feautred in a dealer catalogue. Those types of catalogues usually become rare and expensive, but there might be some information to help you! If I find anything else I will certainly let you know!

  3. I just happened to stumble across the photo of the purse/dress bottom on Google images and I'm so glad I did. ..I loved this article, everything about it. You and I would've been best friends when we were kids lol. This could've been written by me and been completely true! I love Barbie, i think I saved my jewel purse too. I'll have to get one off ebay for nostalgia. :D

    1. Hey Jessi! Thank you so much for the comment! I am so glad you loved this article. I am sure we would have been best friends too! Anyone that enjoyed Jewel Secrets Barbie is worth becoming best friends for! : ) I see some of these items every now and then on eBay, so I am sure you can find something. You'll have to let me know how the search goes. And I hope you continue enjoy reading the Diary! Take care and talk soon.