Entries in antique jewelry collection (9)
I was lucky enough to meet Heather before our Instagram community of collectors came into formation. It was during a time when she was in search of the perfect antique engagement ring and I was working full time at a local antique jewelry store in Nashville. We had been emailing back and forth and had a few contenders. What better way to seal the deal than a 12-hour road trip to Nashville?! I got to meet Heather and her future husband, help her try on some gorgeous jewels and it was a great day! Four years later she is sharing her jewelry collection here with us! Take it away Heather:
When and why did I start collecting jewelry? For weeks I couldn’t get my jewel story rolling because the answers were evading me. I cannot recall a time when I didn’t love jewelry and have memories as little girl sifting through any jewelry box or drawer I encountered, much to the chagrin of the women around me. I swear I’ve recovered from this behavior or at least ask permission before rifling. I thought it was my paternal grandma who sparked the collector in me since she was an avid one herself, but I was missing something or rather someone.
It should have been obvious since I worked for him for almost a decade - my Dad is the reason I am a collector. Classic cars, particularly Cadillacs of the 1950s and ‘60s, are his passion. He instilled in me an appreciation for the past and a desire to preserve relics of history. I often find there is an unspoken bond between those of us who collect vintage and antique no matter the category. The way he reflects on the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program through which many classic cars were destroyed echoes the horror we jewelry collectors feel when thinking about scrapping and melting. He understands why I collect antique and vintage jewelry and for Christmas a few years ago gifted me my first loupe with my initials engraved on the side – it is something I cherish. I hope one day I can pass along to my children the same tinkerer and antiquarian heart he has given me.
My Dad’s interest in and confusion of eBay is when I really started collecting. Years ago he was restoring a 1962 Cadillac Series 62 and it became part of my job to locate vintage chrome tail fins, hubcaps, hood ornaments, etc. etc. you name it. It was through hunting down his car parts I found the vintage and antique jewelry category. I came in at the tail end of the eBay glory days, but it was enough to give me the jump-start I needed.
I still cruise eBay from time to time, but many of my recent acquisitions are sourced directly from the wonderful collectors and sellers on Instagram. I also like to get out and actively hunt because it’s important to touch and interact – you never know what you’re going to find or who you’re going to meet. Travelling the US throughout the years has given me the opportunity to explore new hunting grounds and connect with collectors. i.e. In 2012, boyfriend/fiancé/cool dude (whoever he was to me at that time) and I set out on a roadtrip to Tennessee to pick up an engagement ring sourced through the expertise of Gem Gossip – cowboy boots, antique jewelry and partying in Music City? It was a fun way to get engaged.
I am also lucky to have a great store in my area– Sarah’s Vintage & Estate Jewelry – with a vast inventory of jewels and knowledgeable owner. One of my first fine antique pieces came from Sarah’s – an 18k white gold Art Deco garnet and diamond die-struck ring with floral details. It was a birthday present from my then boyfriend (now husband). It is something I’ll never sell and hope it passes down as an heirloom in our family. I’m passionate about antique and vintage jewelry because it connects us not only to the past, but the future. I often times wonder, especially when a ring has an inscription, who owned it before me and what was her life like? Where did she wear the ring and who gave it to her? Then I think about who will wear it after and hope he/she cares for it as much as I did.
I appreciate and covet pieces from all time periods, but Edwardian/Belle Époque and Art Deco are tops and not just because the style and craftsmanship are extraordinary (all the lacy, flowing, filigree, geometric, platinum detail work and diamonds?! I mean, come on!) It’s also the optimism, opulence, rebellious attitudes and glorious cocktails of these times that call to me– hey, my handle isn’t speakeasyewels for nothing. It’s no secret that one of my favorite pieces is an Edwardian c. 1910s elongated ring with OEC diamonds in a scrolly platinum setting. It’s just fun to wear and when I have it on I like to think about crafting and consuming classic cocktails with bitters or egg whites, but then I remember I’m not a mixologist. Happy hunting and holidays to you all. Cheers!
You can follow Heather --> @speakeasyjewels
Undoubtedly in love with jewels, Mia launched The One I Love NYC in 2013, a place where fellow jewelry lovers can go to shop for fine vintage and antique jewelry all from the comfort of their home. Her jewelry collection story is shaped by the people she loves, both family and friends, and even people in the biz who have become her family and friends over these past few years. Excited to share Mia's personal collection story with you today:
"Ever since I can remember I‘ve had a love affair with jewelry. As a child, I would rummage through my grandmother’s jewelry box and try on every single piece, until there was no more room left around my arms, fingers or neck. This infatuation carried on into my adulthood, when I began collecting antique rings during college.
That being said, I’ve always had more of a dealer’s mentality when it came to my own purchases, meaning that I barely ever buy pieces for myself. My love of jewelry stems from an appreciation of its sentimental value before all else. I fell in love with the rituals of the Victorian and Georgian era, and the belief that every milestone, happy or sad, should be decorated with adornment. Antiques are a piece of history; a legacy that carries on the story of those before us, and our story, long after we’re gone.
My jewelry obsessions tend to mature over time. I have a strong admiration for Georgian era jewelry, particularly pieces that are embellished with flat top garnets and rose cut diamonds, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t? The workmanship of this era is beyond comparison: being forged by hand, and under candlelight no less! It’s impossible to look at a piece of Georgian jewelry with all its intricate detail, and not be amazed that these pieces have withstood the test of time.
As for motif, I am drawn towards snakes, skulls, and pretty much all symbolism of eternal life. I have an affinity for cards, which most definitely comes from my grandfather, who taught me every game in the book.
One basic theme throughout all my jewelry is that every single piece holds the memory of a moment in time, and was given to me as a token of love and friendship by someone I hold dear to my heart. Jewelry memorializes those we love, as it has for centuries before now, and that's what has always driven my passion for adornment.
Of course, my love of all things jewelry grew into a need to understand the details of stones, metals, and fabrication. Understanding the details of such things adds not only to the personal value of each piece, but the ability to truly respect its creation.
When it comes to modern jewelry, I tend to be geared towards designers who are inspired by my favorite eras. The majority of our Designer Collection at The One I Love is filled with pieces I saw and loved, then wanted to carry. Almost every designer piece I own, I also sell, because I honor and respect the craftsmanship of the designs and the history they symbolize."
Pictured above: My grandfather's wedding band & my grandmother's class ring. Their bond symbolized the sweetest love I’ve ever known. Alongside it is my grandmother’s diamond necklace, given to me right after she passed. It is the only piece that never leaves my body."
I love watches, and my Rolex Daytona was a gift from my family when I graduated college. On the back it is inscribed with “You Are My Sunshine”, a song my grandmother would sing to me as a kid. Pictured beside it is a French Victorian sterling silver chain bracelet.
Pictured is a Victorian onyx and turquoise Figa with gold detail. This was given to me by Edon (@littlewolfcollective), my dear friend and photographer. Also, a Victorian agate specimen set in 15K gold, once a brooch turned into a pendant. Lastly, an antique coin found by my friend Elizabeth, who fabricated the 14K gold setting herself.
Ahh, the cards! Perhaps my most swoon worthy pieces. The bracelet is a Georgian era charm bracelet, hand fabricated in 22K gold with cards painted on ivory. The detail on this piece is absolutely incredible. A gift from a wonderful friend and colleague, and since it’s too delicate to wear I’m actually having it framed in a shadow box. Call me crazy but I could literally stare at it for hours; that is art! The necklace is a vintage card charm that rarely comes off my neck.
The skull eternity band (by @vulpeculajewelry) was also a gift from my friend Elizabeth. She had it engraved with “E.K. to M.M. with love.” Something I did not realize until far after it was given to me! The @Nvitblanche All Seeing Eye Ring is a piece I’ve been obsessed with for a long time, and was designed by my friend and mentor, David Hines. Funny story: There is a super talented little old man who does the enameling for the eyes, and let’s just say that asking him for specific colors should be considered a suggestion rather than an requirement. You may go in there with a vision, but you never quite know what you’re leaving with. Somehow, it always comes out looking perfect in its own right. The Art Deco emerald eternity band is set in 14K gold, and was a birthday gift from two of my closest girl friends. The Ouroboros ring, a friendship ring between me and my BFF (people still do that, right?), is adorned with sapphires, diamonds, and rubies. She shares my love of pretty much everything, but particularly all things shiny and old.
Pictured are pieces that were given to me by Angela (@gemstonegypsy). She’s a very talented designer, and created the rad snake ring and safety pin earring. She gifted me the safety pin earring on my 29th Birthday, and I wear it almost daily. The vintage J.O.B. ring was given to me because I’m “married to my job,“ and to know me is to know that this holds more truth than I care to admit! Something I laugh about every time I wear it.
The Victorian turquoise and rose cut diamond flower ring was given to me by my parents, and is one of my favorites because the craftsmanship is incredible, especially on the petals! This was purchased from one of my favorite stores, @metierSF. The Georgian flat top garnet ring was given to me by a client, and at my own trunk show too! This was a purchase from @vulpeculajewelry. I love how the stones are all set at different angles.
*All Photographs by Little Wolf Collective
We are ringing in the New Year today with an inspiring and gorgeous Jewelry Collection Story from Angela, or what we may like to call her "Gemstone Gypsy." I find her collection entirely intriguing and I love how sentimental and closely tied to her heritage many of the pieces are. Let's get right into it:
"I've loved jewelry since I was a child. My maternal grandmother is a serious collector who worked for Tiffany and Hermes and taught me how to appreciate everything from major Victorian rings to beautiful Chanel costume pieces. She’s real, old New York – always in head to toe black, purple Chanel lipstick and Ferragamo shoes – and I idolized her as a child! I would sit with her in her apartment, riveted, while she showed me what things were made of and explained why they were valued. She really impressed upon me the importance of quality construction, too, and how to spot it. My paternal side is Brooklyn Italian, and they love their gold! So since an early age I had lots of adornment around me.
Anyone who knows me also knows that I'm hugely sentimental, so apart from the aesthetic aspect of jewelry, I love what it means in a personal sense. In the end, regardless of material, a piece’s value is truly in the story it carries, and what it becomes in the eye of the beholder. The simplest, most inexpensive thing can become hugely meaningful if it is loved or given with love, and I find that so magical."
Above: My collection of vintage + antique yellow gold Italian/Catholic protection charms, shown on top of pictures of my grandmothers in Brooklyn in the early 1920s-30s. A Gold Rush-era gold nugget lock, American Victorian 10k carnelian cross, and Victorian goldfill locket.
"My personal jewelry collection is not enormous (though my husband would definitely disagree!) but it is pretty varied - everything from Georgian gold rings to Mexican silver pieces from the 70s. I've also built up a fair amount of contemporary, handmade pieces as well, many of them made by jewelers I know personally and count as friends. It makes the pieces that much more special! I do have certain themes I stick to – eras, styles and stones I love.
I’m drawn to sapphires because they are my husband’s birthstone. I love rubies, just because. Georgian, Victorian + Art Deco are my favorite eras to collect. I always go for big, statement rings over anything else. And, if given the choice, I’d pick any of what I call the “soft stones” – agates, turquoise, lapis, coral – over diamonds (though a few diamonds never hurt anyone ;)"
Above: My wedding jewelry: Bands - Vintage 18k split band, Art Deco 18k and french cut sapphire eternity band from @duvenay, Art Deco 14k-lined platinum engraved band from Metier SF; My engagement ring, a 1920s sapphire + mine cut diamond target ring from London, and my wedding gift, a Georgian rose/old cut diamond cluster ring, also from London.
"My solid gold safety pin earrings from my Jewels for Gypsies line are one piece I literally wear every single day and never take off. They’re like a great combo of a stud and a hoop – you can sleep in them comfortably, they look chic if you want to dress them up but also have just the right amount of rocker edge to lend to any outfit."
Above: L-R: My Jewels for Gypsies 14k Safety Pin Earrings, Vintage 18k white gold and diamond safety pin pendant from @GoldAdore, 18k + Sapphire Indian Snake Hoops from @lisajshuler_apocketofrocks.
"Another favorite would be my necklace of Italian protection and religious charms – some I’ve had since childhood, some which my husband has given me or I’ve collected over the years. I wear them every day and rarely take them off, and all the women in my family do too – we’re very superstitious! If the necklace doesn’t match what I’m wearing (rare!) I’ll pin a few to my underwear, just in case."
Above: My everyday neck game: Jewels for Gypsies large 14k feather pendant in yellow gold with pavé rubies, a french-cut ruby and gold cross I bought in London, my 1940s 18k ruby + diamond A. Augis "I Love You More Every Day" pendant (a gift from my husband), and a 14k + ruby dagger, which is probably the piece people most commonly try to buy off my neck (I say no every time)!
Above: Victorian sterling, 14k gold, diamond and mother of pearl Miraculous medal - my 30th birthday gift from my husband, purchased from @theoneilovenyc.
One of my favorite pairs of earrings - diamond + 14k talons by my hugely talented friend Noriko Sugawara (of N+A New York). She's probably the best jeweler I know and she taught me how to make jewelry way back when.
Above: Assorted stick pin necklaces I made (l-r): a Georgian collet-set diamond, a 14k Tiffany & Co. Fishhook (formerly a tie tack of my dad's), and a platinum + diamond "J" for my husband, from @ishyantiques. The Victorian garnet is from @theoneilovenyc.
"I have a Victorian Garnet cabochon ring with a halo of opals that my husband gave me one birthday early on in our relationship that’s really special to me. Garnet is my birthstone, and I love the symbolism of fidelity it carries with it. It’s the first antique, and the first ring he ever gave me, so it holds a lot of meaning for me. I even make a point to wear it to weddings and family occasions to lend love and positive symbolism to the event."
Above: Symbols of Love: A Victorian garnet + opal halo ring, a 1930s band inscribed "Amor Vincit Omnia" (love conquers all, also from my husband), and a ring I made from a Georgian garnet lace pin I added a hand-carved 18k band and foil back aquamarine to.
Snakes! (l-r) A French Art Deco gold and diamond snake, Victorian garnet + opal snake from @heartofsolidgold, and a Victorian garnet snake scored from Ebay (!), which I wear every day.
"My antique ring collection is still growing - I have about 40 antique rings total, though to be honest I mostly just wear a few favorites daily. I've been collecting pieces my whole life, but really only seriously for about 3-4 years."
Above: Turquoise dreams (l-r): An Art Deco 22k pinky ring, 18k + Persian turquoise Late Victorian band from @_butterlaneantiques, an American Victorian turquoise ring, and a ring I made from a Victorian square-cut turquoise + old-cut diamond horseshoe pin.
Love Gold! (l-r): 1920s 18k "William Tell" signet from @_butterlaneantiques, 14k gold + sapphire class ring circa 1917 (my grandmother's birth year), a Victorian 18k + diamond Gypsy Ring, and a hand-sawn 1946 Half Penny pyramid ring made by my very dear + talented friend @racheleardleysomerset, whose work reminds me that you can still be a quality maker in today's world.
"The best story I have about a personal piece would have to be the one behind this funny Edwardian Sapphire and Diamond ring I inherited. My friends and I refer to it as "The Cat Eye Mask" ring because that's what it reminds us of. My mom found it in the bottom of a box full of trash in my grandfather’s apartment, right before he died. It almost got thrown away! She gave it to me a few years ago and I rarely wear it, but I would never sell it because I just think I was meant to own it. My cousin and best friend even wore it in her wedding as her “something blue,” just in case the good luck attached to it rubs off."
Above: The infamous "Cat Eye Mask" Edwardian diamond + sapphire ring that was rescued from the trash, in its original box.
"My favorite places to treasure hunt are with special dealers I have met over the years and love to hang out with and buy things from here in New York City. I also try to make the trip to London when I can to visit friends and shop at Portobello road at least once a year. As far as non-secret spots, I love Etsy – there are beautiful, quality pieces there at all price points, and a lot of really cool new handmade stuff as well. The Pier Antique Shows in Manhattan are great, too, and open to the public – I recommend going with a friend or two for second opinions! I personally always try to shop with at least one of my girls: Jenn (@bellflowerbay) and Christy (@this_is_ferro) – they’re my posse, and I can barely make decisions without them! As far as brick-and-morter stores, my favorite is Metier in San Francisco – they’re tiny but perfectly stocked with old and new; I always try to pop in while I’m in town!"
Above: My collection of agates (l-r): A Victorian dendritic agate ring from @decemberanchor, an 18k bloodstone intaglio "A" ring I got years ago on Ebay, an amazing Victorian bloodstone statement ring from Metier SF, an Art Deco moss agate dinner ring from Ruby Lane, a 1920s banded agate stunner from @eriecanalcollectors, and my first Instagram purchase - a Victorian moss agate ring from my friend Lauren of @agelessheirlooms.
Above: Part of my collection of silver bracelets (top to bottom): a coin souvenir bracelet from all the countries my filmmaker grandfather visited, made for my mom when she was a child, a vintage sterling silver buckle bracelet, a vintage Taxco Mexican silver buckle bracelet, a Victorian sterling Albertina watch chain bracelet (each individual link is hallmarked!).
"My dream piece? This is tricky – I want so many antique gems, the list is a mile long! I guess if I had to settle on something, it would be the Hermes Boucle Sellier silver bracelet. They reissued a huge version of it three or four years ago, and I’m totally obsessed. I have a vintage Chain d'Ancre (one of the early, super heavy ones) that I inherited from my grandmother, and have since built a stack of beautiful Indian and Mexican sterling bracelets around it, that I wear constantly. My dream has always been to be one of those fabulous old ladies with bracelets up to my elbows, and that bracelet is definitely a piece that I feel like I really NEED to complete my collection. I was visiting the jeweler who apprenticed me not long ago, and he was polishing one for a private client. I was completely transfixed and could not stop staring until he finally let me try it on. All I could think was, “Could I make it out the door in time?” but that thing is so heavy, it would probably drag me down as I ran off with it!"
Above: The two prizes of my bracelet collection: A vintage Hermes sterling silver chaine d'ancre bracelet I inherited, and a vintage 14k + diamond curb chain I bought to celebrate an accomplishment.
There's always those kind of people that you feel like you've known your entire life and for me, Natalie is exactly that kind of person! I got to meet her for the first time on my trip to LA just last month and her passion for jewelry is electric. She has been lighting up Instagram and other social media platforms for Jewels by Grace as their Instagram manager and photographer (as of February 2016, she no longer works for Jewels by Grace). So happy to have her share her new, yet growing collection with us today--take it away, Natalie:
"I have been attracted to sparkly things for as long as I can remember, an attraction that quickly became an enthusiastic hobby, which has since manifested itself into a full-blown love of gems and jewels. It has also helped persuade me to attend GIA in the pursuit of becoming a Graduate Gemologist, which I am really excited about! I’ve been a collector for a long time, but have only recently begun collecting fine jewelry. My first piece of memorable jewelry is a yellow gold necklace with six pearls, it was given to me by my beloved uncle when I turned 6. My next most significant piece was a mother of pearl and white gold ring with a freeform, organic vibe that my mother designed and had made for me when I graduated high school. My third most memorable piece was also my first antique jewel, an early Art Deco-era diamond and sapphire dome ring. This was a college graduation present from my late grandmother, a particularly special gift because it was one of the few remaining pieces of jewelry from my great-grandmother’s estate. These pieces will forever remain some of my most cherished treasures, and they have definitely aided in sparking my interest in jewelry.
Fast forward a few years to when I was newly engaged and searching for thee perfect wedding band to pair with my antique ring. Enter Grace Lavarro of Jewels by Grace, and the platinum french cut and single cut diamond eternity band that started it all. What quickly followed was a custom pair of pear-shaped rose cut diamond earrings that my mother designed for me, as well as a diamond wedding band that I designed for my husband. I was hooked, not only were the jewels beautiful, but so was the amazing, generous woman behind them.
Since that fateful time two years ago, I have had the pleasure of working with Grace as a jewelry photographer and managing the Instagram account for Jewels by Grace. I have been taking much joy in familiarizing myself with this wonderful industry, as well as getting to play with the numerous jaw-dropping pieces that come our way. Given my extreme lack of self-control, especially when it comes to antique jewels, I ended up “adopting” many of the pieces in my personal collection from Grace. I also love to collect pieces from other friends in the jewelry industry, two of my latest acquisitions have been a Georgian diamond pendant necklace conversion piece from Angela of GemstoneGypsy, as well as an antique table cut and rose cut diamond ring from Laurel of LaurelStearns.
Lenore Dailey once told me that I was an “old soul” when it came to the jewels I gravitated towards, and I couldn't agree more. I love antique jewels - the rarity, the unique designs and cuts used, and the undeniable sense of time passed and enduring beauty simply delight me. I will forever be in awe of the level of craftsmanship that exists in pieces that have been on this earth for hundreds of years--don’t even get me started on Byzantine and Medieval jewelry! I hope to add a few ancient jewels to my collection in the near future, but for now I am quite happy with my antique and vintage pieces. My favorite design eras would have to be Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian, though there are some contemporary designers that are also creating amazing designs.
What you see below is much of my humble fine jewelry collection (Please keep in mind I’ve only been collecting for about a year or so!), with the addition of a few pieces from my bling partner-in-crime’s (aka my mother’s) collection for some added sparkle. Enjoy!"
My own gemmy version of an ISpy page, a photo that is representative of the collector in me. to name a few: antique gold pendants, an antique figa (from LenoreDailey), a rose cut diamond and gold claw pendant (from MarketSquareJewelers), a big ol’ pearl, raw almandine garnets, turquoise from the No. 8 Mine, boulder opal specimens from Australia, gold nuggets from a trip to Alaska, vintage and antique gold stick pins, a 17ct bi-color quartz, and a lapiz lazuli standing point (from The Opaque) to name a few!
Current favorites, including the Georgian citrine ring my husband surprised me with and the early Art Deco-era gold signet ring that was found with all three of my initials! Also a Victorian rose cut garnet 5-stone ring, vintage hexagonal opal ring (from Jenn of BellflowerBay), and a new addition: Victorian old mine cut diamond and crystal opal earring-to-ring conversion (from Jewels by Grace).
You can never have too many navettes, including two of my favorites: a perfectly grungy antique foil-backed rose cut diamond navette ring (my score from this year’s Antique Show in Las Vegas) and my mini Victorian old mine and old European cut diamond navette ring, in buttery 18t yellow gold (Jewels by Grace). #nevertoomanynavettes
Ring stacking, one of my favorite pastimes. Clockwise from top left:
- Admiring the attention to detail shown to the shanks of these antique rings.
- Colored gemstones in action in the fading sunlight.
- Some bands from my collection.
- Rings designed by my mother, including the giant onyx and silver ring she manufactured for me! Also shown is a 6-stone August Vintage Round diamond band she & I designed with JbG.
Ring stacking, part two. Clockwise from top left:
- The fleet of navettes in action.
- A sampling of my yellow gold jewelry, including my late uncle’s massively chunky ring, and a sentimental double-row diamond ring from my mother (from my father, who never buys jewelry~).
- Antique rings doing their thing.
- A few more antique rings.
A spectrum of colored gemstones: Victorian rose cut garnet 5-stone ring, antique ruby and diamond navette ring (from Jewels by Grace), vintage pink sapphire and diamond ring (a family heirloom from my husband’s family that was given to me on our wedding day), Georgian citrine shield ring, vintage hexagonal opal ring (from Jenn of BellflowerBay), Victorian old mine cut diamond and crystal opal earring-to-ring conversion (JbG), antique emerald and diamond navette ring (JbG), Victorian bloodstone ring, antique Persian turquoise ring, sleeping beauty turquoise ring (from SkyDogJewelry), aquamarine ring, vintage Native American moonstone ring.
Rings, my favorite type of jewelry, especially when they are vintage or antique: antique faint pink rose cut diamond tablet ring (JbG), Art Deco-era geometric diamond ring, vintage old European cut diamond dinner ring (JbG)
The crème de la crème of my wedding ring stack, an antique cushion cut diamond halo ring (inscribed 1809!) in platinum, on a peachy rose gold shank. This diamond had me at hello; for all the beautiful jewels I’ve seen while working with Grace, this ring truly called out to me. I loved the fact that it was so old, and yet the elongated octagonal design was beautifully simple and timeless.
Earrings; from left: beautiful paste and rose gold earrings (a Christmas gift from the wonderful Grace herself), my great grandmother’s antique amethyst and pearl earrings, the earrings my mother surprised me with on my wedding day, a pair of old European cut diamond earrings my mother had made for herself.
Jewels that belonged to my grandmother who passed recently; I wear the solid gold nugget almost daily as a reminder of her love. The gold cartouche was acquired in Egypt by her many decades ago.
A close-up of my wedding day bracelet, a surprise gift from my mother, with each charm being hand selected to bring us luck. The locket opens up to pictures of my husband and I as kids!
>> You can follow Natalie on Instagram @fortheloveofgems
Continuing this week with Jewelry Collection Stories, the next collection is one I am really excited about. I've known Jenn of Bellflower Bay for several years, as she was one of my first friends I've met through Gem Gossip, and it is also special to see her collection and know that I was present when she purchased of few of the pieces shown. We've gone to London together and attended a jewelry conference in Chicago together...can't wait to see where our jewelry-loving friendship takes us next! What a great connector this blog has been. Take it away, Jenn:
Above: Black collection (l-r): Edwardian onyx & diamond long ring (acquired at Round Top Antiques Fair, outside of Austin, TX);
Middle finger, top is a Victorian agate & snake ring from @theoneilovenyc; bottom middle finger is a 1930’/ 40’s onyx and diamond ring made by Korean jeweler T.Y. Lee (side note: when researching the hallmark on this one, I found that American and other foreign GIs purchased rings from T.Y. Lee during WW2 and brought them home to their sweethearts when the war was over);
Index finger, top is an enamel and rose cut diamond mourning ring which says “in memory of” on the opposite side-- from the Pier Show (NYC); bottom index is a Victorian black & white agate and diamond cameo from a jewelry store in CT.
Dendritic agate & sterling ring: the piece I’m proudest of. After collecting for a few years, my mom and I decided to take a jewelry-making course. We trudged over to the 92nd street Y from our respective homes every Sunday for about six weeks. I highly recommend this course to any collector; it showed us just how much goddamn work it took to manipulate these materials, and gave us a much deeper appreciation for the skill that so many jewelers have.
Garnet collection (l-r): top ring finger is a Victorian garnet and diamond ring, a Christmas present from my husband that he got from @agelessheirlooms; bottom ring finger is a Georgian/ Early Victorian dendritic agate and garnet, found at Portobello road by @heartofsolidgold and @gemstonegypsy;
Middle finger: top is a bohemian garnet ring found in The Netherlands by my friend @quaintlytracy; bottom middle is a Georgian garnet halo mourning ring with a decorated urn in the center surrounded by the names of the deceased married couple “Tho. Blundell a38// Ellen Blundell a34” (Christmas gift from fella);
Index: top is a retro 1940’s “lovebird” ring with garnet center; bottom index is a crazy-ass ring of indeterminate origin—sold to me as a Victorian piece many, many years ago when I was a newbie (aka naïve & trusting) collector, but it appears to be a mish-mash of pieces from different eras. I like it anyhow.
Turquoise & Snakes: top ring finger was originally an all turquoise cocktail ring from the 50’s, but I worked with a lovely jeweler to switch out the center stone for that wonderful old diamond. Bottom ring finger is a Victorian turquoise & accent diamond cluster from in New Orleans, LA. It was our first trip to that amazing city, and my husband bought this for me as a birthday present. We were told that the woman who used to run the store had passed away recently, and when they went through her desk & safe, they found a small bag full of pretty little rings she had set aside (and had been apparently doing so for decades); this was one of them.
Middle finger is all snakes: top is a Victorian ruby & turquoise from Brodney in Boston, MA.; next is a 22k gold & ruby ring from a jewelry store in CT.; under that is a 9k & blue glass snake which was a gift from @heartofsolidgold; and then a vintage 18k wrap around snake from a jewelry store in Astoria, NY.
Index finger: Georgian double crowned gold & silver heart with turnaround, coral and table cut diamonds. I stalked this ring for over THREE years on the Ruby Lane store Robbins’ Roost Antiques, and then put it on layaway for almost a year. Bottom index finger: Victorian diamond and turquoise halo, from the same Astoria jeweler. (Also on layaway after much stalking!)
Bling collection: “Why does she have so many engagement rings?” you may ask. Good question! Well, my fella is very sentimental, and wanted to propose with his grandmother’s ring (third down from the top), but after a bit, I realized it wasn’t quite my style. It’s a difficult topic to brooch, but listen ladies: you’re the one who has to wear the ring! So don’t be afraid to say something. Second down is the one I picked out: 18 ct Edwardian filigree. Top band is one of my wedding bands, an Edwardian diamond “bow” ring. Bottom ring finger was my grandmother’s engagement ring. Sometimes I wear them all just to confuse people!
Middle finger, top to bottom: grandma’s wedding band; ridiculous diamond cluster inherited when grandma passed (made in the 60’s with old family diamonds); platinum, ruby, and diamond Victorian (ish) cluster ring, which was one of my best early purchases.
Index finger: top is an antique platinum oblong mine cut diamond ring from this past Christmas; the next is an Edwardian era platinum, diamond and carved amethyst ring; last is a strange filigree ring studded with rose cut diamonds.
Some more bling collection: ring finger: contemporary emerald snake ring from @gemstonegypsy (goes with EVERYTHING); aquamarine & diamond navette made from an old pin of my grandma’s (my mom has a matching one).
Middle finger: vintage three diamond band; platinum engraved band that was my great-grandmother’s; retro mixed gold & diamond band; Victorian buckle ring; diamond cluster ring that I’m on the process of acquiring from @heartofsolidgold; Georgian blue enamel & mine cut diamond ring from Portobello Road (UK).
Index finger: Victorian gold & silver navette with a mix of rose & mine cut diamonds.
Wild rings, Pt 1: Victorian 18 ct & Banded agate “puzzle” ring with engraved floral band (series of carvings “say” something—haven’t figured it out yet!); Victorian painted ship ring from Brimfield.
Middle finger: Emerald and diamond lion ring converted from a Victorian cufflink (@heartofsolidgold has its twin); Victorian 18k emerald ring.
Index: Edwardian/ Deco Platinum Emerald and sapphire halo ring from Gray’s antiques in London; Edwardian platinum and sapphire elongated ring from the Pier show, NYC.
Wild rings Pt. 2: Victorian boulder opal; retro multi-gem “sputnik” ring (name so as it resembled the satellite).
Middle finger: 1930’s (dated in band) opal and diamond halo ring from Brooklyn jewelry shop; Gold, garnet and opal “fortune tellers” ring (Side note: I first saw this ring many years ago on Ruby Lane and hesitated; my loss—someone snatched it up. I looked for ages and happened upon it one day on eBay, listed so weirdly that it never would have come up on my searches. I made what I thought to be a generous offer on the timed auction listing; the seller declined. I ended up winning it for $100 less than what I offered. I feel like there are so many lessons in this story!) No clue when it’s from. I thought Noveau, but it could be revival.
Index finger: Victorian enamel “J” baby ring; antique gold bird & anchor signet.
Earrings: I have a bigger earring collection than this, but these are a sampling of the more interesting: vintage ruby pyramid studs; French Victorian era jet glass and 9k rose gold star earrings; contemporary earrings by wonderful artist Kristi Sword (@kristiswordjewelry)—I first saw her work at the art jewelry gallery GALERIE NOEL GUYOMARC'H (http://www.galerienoelguyomarch.com/) when we visited Montreal and I fell deeply in love with the otherworldliness of her pieces. My fella got me this pair.
Sentimental: I’m not super mushy about jewelry—as a collector, I feel like you should love your pieces, but keep some distance so you can trade up in the future, but even I fall victim to sentiment! Ring finger is a turquoise and silver ring that my grandma got in Arizona in the 70’s—it was the first piece of interesting vintage jewelry anyone ever gave me.
Middle finger: my mom and I used old family stones to design this white gold, diamond and emerald moon with a jeweler from Queens; the Vintage coral and diamond cameo is from a shop on Cape May.
Index finger: promise ring from my dad to my mom when they began dating (it didn’t work out—they married and divorced each other TWICE, but I still like it); Vintage gold star ring from ebay that I wear as a wedding band most of the time.
Necklaces & charms: my favorites, basically. Antique garnet star converted by @gemstonegypsy from a pin won at Fellows auction; vintage gold & enamel chatting birds charm from my mom; Victorian spider locket.
Necklaces (cont): old diamond necklace, won at auction; huge-ass heavy retro revival locket (inherited from grandma); Vintage diamond & opal necklace won at Rago auction; fire opal bead necklace from Nora Kogan jewelry.
Art Nouveau diamond lady bracelet, won at a Rago auction a few years ago.
Two delicate Victorian bracelets!
Cool antique knife I bought at a garage sale on Long Island; some lady was making her husband sell his knife collection! I carry this most of the time, except (obviously) to the airport, which did happen once it and it cost me $40 to ship it back to my house. I paid $3 for the knife.