Being one of the top forerunners in online antique jewelry, I was eager to know more about the owner behind The Three Graces, Lisa Stockhammer. Gem Gossip has been a fan for a long time and we've featured some jewelry from The Three Graces in past posts. I also like being a follower on Twitter because any new arrival that gets put up on their website gets tweeted on their Twitter page. Enjoy the interview!
Lisa: In reality I have to say it started as early as I can remember. I adored jewelry from the time I could say the word earring (and probably well before). My mother, also an avid jewelry lover, presented me with a shirt box full or her castoff costume jewelry and I was enthralled. Formally, it began in 2002 at an exceedingly difficult period of my life. Not much was heading in the right direction and tragedy was a mainstay, except friends who remained by my side. So, needing to find a job as well, I realized that things were so challenging, that I could no longer submit to working and giving my all to something that I didn't believe in. So, I decided that life was too precious and it was time to do something I cared about deep within me, that I could approach with my whole heart. I kept thinking about advice that you often read where they recommend that you reach back to the things you loved as a child. I came up with two things, jewelry and animals. I felt my work with animals should remain outside of the working sphere. So, jewelry won out.
Lisa: People often relate well to jewelry with direct representations of people or animals, even flowers or other symbolism. These things touch not only the eye, but the spirit and the soul - they have direct meaning for all of us. After all, jewelry has been with mankind as long as we have had even the most basic culture. The earliest jewelry uncovered has been dated to 40,000 years old and I am convinced they will find examples much older. There is a very inherent connection between jewelry and its meaning.
Lisa: I travel a great deal, mostly the the UK and to France. The United States also provides a source for jewelry so about every month or every other month I am off to another destination to uncover treasures.
Lisa: I find the most incredible stories are those that happen by being in the right place at the right time, by intuition and by synchronicity. When you are doing what you are meant to do in life, most things tend to flow to you and with you, rather than you swimming against the tide. Just last week I was seeking something that is incredibly difficult to find. But, synchronicity put me right in the midst of where it actually came to me. What a confirmation that The Three Graces is an expression of joy.
Lisa: I recently uncovered a superb Victorian piece of jewelry in homage to Shakespeare and acting. It was truly a masterpiece. Replete with symbolism, and truly breathtaking artistry, it also held a secret. It contained a hidden compartment with a tiny piece of maroon velvet purported to be Shakespeare's cloak. And while the chances are very minimal that the cloth was actually his, the joy of imagining who dreamed up this jewel, why and why this compartment along with its sheer beauty, has every reason within it why I continue to be entranced by jewelry.
Lisa: When I first became a dealer I learned a great lesson from another dealer of fine miniature portraits. Collecting and dealing are at counter purposes. If you want to be a great dealer, you can't keep the best for yourself. I took that lesson very much to my heart. So, I keep very little. I have to say though that the 17th century enamel slide bracelet with imagery presumed to be a portrayal of The Three Graces is of course, the favorite. It is the inspiration for our logo and our color theme. It was also acquired near the time all my business was beginning.
Lisa: We always have a great many plans - they seem endless. First we are working on a much expanded engagement ring line. That also includes some modern designs by myself sold exclusively through The Three Graces. Also, we are in the midst of some major changes to our website features - one of them is to include personal accounts, wish lists and order history. Also in the works is a greatly expanded information section on jewelry and its history. We also just hired a new photographer to improve our already great photographs.
All photos courtesy of The Three Graces
except maps, courtesy of Google Images