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Entries in jewelry collection (39)

Jewelry Collection Stories: Emily of @GemCircus

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We are kicking off July with an incredible jewelry collection story from Emily, also known as @GemCircus. If you're a part of the jewelry Instagram community, you'll easily recognize some of the jaw-dropping pieces in Emily's personal collection. From the way she styles her necklace layers, to ring stacks, arm parties, and everything in between, we love her taste and enthusiasm for antique jewelry. I'm so excited she has agreed to share her story with us, so let's sit back and enjoy:

My love for vintage and antique collecting started when I was a teenager, after my family moved to Vancouver, Canada, from Hong Kong in the early 1990s. I remember it was July when we arrived and I would walk to the nearby library every other day to borrow books to read (our container didn’t arrive almost a month later so all I have in my room were merely a bed, a built-in closet and my backpack). I started to notice our neighbours’ garage sales in my walks and I was amused at the things people were selling – from snow cone machines to music records, jewelry to stuff toys. That summer of looking through other people’s belongings and engaging in rapports gave me a sense of belonging and connection to the community. Ever since then I have become a frequent visitor to community flea markets, thrift shops and antique shows.

My jewelry obsession started around early twenties with vintage jewelry, in particular charms and silver filigree bracelets. I love to style them on mixed metal chains and I still love styling them now.

Gem Circus | Gem Gossip

I wasn’t picky and didn’t have a favourite period at that time so I usually picked up quirky little things like brooches, pins, jewel “plaques” (which I found out they were called “clasps” later) etc. Even though my collecting seemed to be random at that time, I was already drawn to jewelry that have motifs, like this brass crescent with hand and arrow and the clasped hand ring that I found in a thrift store. Looking back, I believe my love for antique sentimental jewelry originates from this pair!

Gem Circus | Gem Gossip

A lot of my Instagram followers already knew that I adore Georgian and Victorian sentimental and mourning jewelry, as well as portrait jewelry. This probably relates to my “innate sensitiveness” (as Carl Jung coined it) and the way I see jewelry as not merely an adornment but also a medium for expression, an art, an identity of who we are.

After I started reading books on lover’s eye, portrait miniature and mourning jewelry, I became obsessed with researching stories behind the jewelry that I collect. I realized that the brass crescent and the hand motif ring are not ‘funky little things’ as I thought in my teenage days, they actually carry specific meanings – love, new relationship and friendship – in the Victorian era. As my jewelry collection matures over time, I began to search for jewelry with motifs or meanings, like the urn, masquerade (masked lady), hand (figa, clasped hand, claddagh), heart (double-heart, flaming heart), star and crescent, buckle, swallow, snake, fern, acoutistic (“REGARD” and “DEAREST”) and Halley’s comet etc.

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I like to think that every piece of antique jewelry carries its own story of those before us, and I’m a custodian carrying on its legacy while creating my story with my collection. I love styling and always try to mix and match, experiment with different stacking and mixed metal, and do simple conversions to make every piece wearable. You can see from my Instagram photos that I’ve worn a big opal crescent brooch with another monkey brooch in the middle, stacked seven Art Deco wedding bands to make a statement ring, wrapped my wrist with antique chains and added a micromosaic brooch on top, stacked an Art Deco paste bracelet with a Hermes red enamel bangle, wore brooches on hats, and layered antique gold chains with watch chains. The fun is endless!

I shop everywhere but recently it’s largely online as there aren’t any antique jewelry shops in Hong Kong. I love the Instagram community as I’ve met so many wonderful souls (many of whom have become friends for life) around the world that share my obsession in antique jewelry. I always visit antique and jewelry shops when I travel too. It has been a tradition to bring back a piece of jewelry from each city that I visit.

Gem Circus | Gem Gossip

One of my obsession is Georgian masquerade jewelry: masked lady ring with ruby bonnet and rose cut diamonds from @karendeakin.antiques ; locket from @abrandtandson and the most recently acquired oval ring from @bijouxvictim

Gem Circus | Gem Gossip

Ring stacking is a daily essential for me: Georgian blue enamel rose cut diamond urn ring from @lenoredailey ; the moonstone on the mourning ring was a gift from my jeweler in Vancouver (he has kept it for 40 years!) and it fits perfectly on the bezel of the once empty mourning ring; flat cut garnet band from @antiqueanimaljewelry

Gem Circus | Gem Gossip

Mourning rings and figas: these enamel mourning rings are too big to wear so I usually wear them on gold chains as pendants. The twin coral figas were acquired from different continents yet they look so much alike. The one with emerald and diamonds was found in a UK auction and the one with seed pearl top was found in an antique show in Vancouver.

 

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Emily --> @GemCircus

Jewelry Collection Stories: Nathalie of @NathaliesDesk

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We are back with this month's Jewelry Collection Story and it comes from Nathalie whom I discovered on Instagram! She has been posting eye-catching and droolworthy images of her personal collection, including her incredible and rare antique ring case collection. It was awesome to see that she found my #JewelryRoadTrip to Ohio alluring enough to buy two of the rings I featured--I love when people are able to connect that way with items that I showcase, it is honestly why I started the #JewelryRoadTrip project in the first place! I had to know more about her and her story, as well as see first-hand her gorgeous collection. Take it away Nathalie:

My journey with jewelry began with a 24K yellow gold bracelet.  It was a Sweet Sixteen birthday gift from my mother, my first jewelry piece from her – and I was disappointed.  At that age, I was hoping for new clothes, new shoes, or the latest coolest CD player.  I thanked my mother and tucked it away because I thought yellow gold was for old ladies.  Every year after that, she continued to bestow yellow gold to me on my birthdays.  They came in the form of more bracelets, necklaces, and pendants.  Each time, I would thank her, put away the pieces, and never wear them.  

On my 21st birthday, after receiving another piece of yellow gold jewelry it finally occurred to me to ask my mother why she chose this as my annual gift over other things.  To this she replied, “When you were 7 months old, your father and I had to escape our mother country (Vietnam) and when we arrived to our new country (France), I had to sell my jewelry in order to get things like food.”  And she kept on talking and sharing.  And I felt shame for being ungrateful, heartbreak for the hardships my parents endured.  I also started to see and love my mother in a whole new light.  She is my Wonder Woman.  And this was also the day I truly fell in love with jewelry and became a collector.

A while back, there was a question floating around in the Instagram world asking “Does jewelry make you a better person?”  To that I say “Yes, it does!”  It can lift your spirits up, it can create a bond between people, it can commemorate the loss of a loved one, or punctuate a special occasion.  Sometimes it is just downright magical.  If you are reading this blog, then I am sure you have chased or currently chasing some unicorn in the form of a ring, bracelet, necklace, or earrings.

I look for treasures in all kinds of places: at my local shops, fairs, and online (eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane).  Collecting has its ebbs and flows.  I have gone years without buying a single piece, and other times when that is all I can think about!  What attracts me also seems to have its cycles which is why I rarely part with any of my pieces.  I am an equal bling opportunist, but I tend to gravitate towards rings.  I do think I am at a point where I need to par down a bit to make room for some new fabulous pieces.  Discovering the Instagram community truly enriched my knowledge and appreciation for past and current jewelry, in addition to making some lovely connections with others who understand this passion.

When I became a mom two and half years ago, I started daydreaming about what stories I would share with my daughter.  Every time I bring out my jewelry to play she is always by my side asking to play along.  It is so fun to see her light up as I let her try on my pieces.  Little does she know that she is already the owner of something very special.  When she had turned one month old my mother had gifted her the sweetest 24K gold bracelet.  And there will be many more treasures waiting for her.


 

 

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Nathalie --> @NathaliesDesk

Jewelry Collection Stories: Laura of Maejean Vintage

Maejean Vintage Collection Maejean Vintage Collection

Continuing on from yesterday's Jewelry Collection Story, today we are peeking inside the personal jewelry box of Laura--the other half of Maejean Vintage. Just like her sister, Laura has a love for sentimental and family heirloom pieces. She also added a very important piece into her collection last fall--an engagement ring! And just as expected, it is stunning in every way possible. 

If you're new to Gem Gossip, you may have missed my visit to the Maejean Vintage offices in Pennsylvania in July of 2015. No worries, I've got the link for you right here -- so make sure you read it or revisit it; it's a must-see!

We hope you enjoy a look at Laura's collection and if you missed yesterday's post, here is the link to her sister Amanda's collection story.

Laura's Collection:

Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection Laura | Maejean Vintage Collection

Above: Laura’s engagement ring! It took almost two years of searching until we found my dream ring. With being in the industry myself, I couldn't let him purchase a ring at normal retail prices. We ended up getting an amazing deal on it! Marty proposed to me on my 30th birthday, September 22nd 2016, before leaving for our beach trip.

From a very young age, I was completely enthralled with jewelry; It’s hard to recall back to a time I was not collecting it! When I was a little four month old baby, the first thing I “reached for” was my Mom-mom’s vintage 14k gold garnet cluster ring, which she often wore. When our Mom-mom passed away, I inherited the sentimental ring around 10 years old. Also around this age, my grandmother (on my father’s side) gave me a 14k gold sapphire ring for Christmas. Since then, I have been officially hooked on jewelry and have been collecting for two solid decades! (Guess I am giving away that I have hit the age 30 milestone!)

I am a huge fan of filigree designs in jewelry. The ornate scrolling metal work gets me every time! Lately I have been on the hunt for special figural animal jewelry that speaks to me. I am hoping to add a special antique fox and / or dog design ring to my collection soon!

Vintage jewelry is my passion because of its beauty, history, sentimental value, and craftsmanship. The history of vintage jewelry is so fascinating - from the design periods, symbolism, provenance, and decoding maker’s marks.

I love to pick up special vintage jewelry wherever I go! Whenever I travel to a different area for any occasion, I absolutely have to check out the coin shops, antique malls, auctions, and flea markets. Each marketplace has its own special perks. There’s the thrill of bidding at auction, excitement of finding a valuable piece for a few dollars at a market, and the satisfaction of “saving” a piece destined to be melted down for its precious metal at a coin shop.

My family heirloom jewelry is all extremely special to me! Interestingly enough, some of the jewelry passed down to me has unknown origins. Part of the collection was given to me by an unknown family member when I was extremely young to “play” with. We believe the family member must have thought the pieces were all costume jewelry, without value. I am extremely thankful that I somehow managed to safely keep these pieces over the decades. As I gained more knowledge of antique jewelry years later, I realized the pieces were mostly fine antique jewelry including 10k rose gold Victorian Era jewels!

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Maejean Vintage --> @MaejeanVintage

Jewelry Collection Stories: Amanda of Maejean Vintage

Maejean Vintage Collection Maejean Vintage Collection

I'm so excited to share this month's Jewelry Collection Story with you all because I know how much we collectively love the Maejean Vintage sisters! You probably own at least one piece from their Etsy shop, with over 12,000 sales made to date, I'm more apt to say you probably own several pieces! I know I do! It is fascinating to think over 12,000+ items have passed through these sisters' hands--it leads one to be curious as to what is in their personal collections?! What pieces have they come across over the years that they just couldn't bear to sell?! What jewels struck a chord with Laura and Amanda?

We are so lucky both were eager to share and put together these photos and stories of their collections. We decided to do a two-day, back-to-back event featuring the collections of both sisters--first up is Amanda's collection, the younger of the two sisters!

Amanda's Collection:

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

These are some of the necklaces in my collection. The most special one is the dog tag that belonged to my Pop-Pop when he was in the USMC. I feel honored to have inherited it. The garnet cluster pendant was a Valentine's Day present from my honey. I adore it! Sometimes I wear it on a long gold chain and other times I wear it as a choker.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My most recent acquisition: an antique pale amethyst with a seed pearl halo which I wear in memory of my Aunt Cindy.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My favorite bracelets are the gold filled bangles that I love to stack, and the two silver bracelets I inherited from my mother (the charm and the cuff), which she use to wear when she was in her twenties. The platinum and diamond pin is a family heirloom that I occasionally wear on a chain or a dress for special occasions!

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

Left: I don't wear earrings often, but when I do I keep it simple with the Victorian paste stones, or dress it up with my garnet dangles. Right: Vintage and antique rings in my jewelry collection. I am always on the look out for rings that feature sparkly old cut diamonds, endearing terms (my PET ring is one of my favorites!), or unique shapes!

My vintage jewelry collection really started around the time my sister and I opened our online vintage jewelry store, Maejean Vintage, in 2010. My collection is definitely smaller than I would ideally like, because I have such a hard time keeping pieces for myself! I know a lot of other sellers have that same guilty feeling when keeping a piece instead of selling it! Because of this, I only keep a piece in my collection if I absolutely ADORE it and it speaks to me on a personal level.

When I first started collecting, I was drawn to dainty and intricate pieces, mostly from the Art Deco Era. As my knowledge of different eras developed, so did my collection! My jewelry consists of pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Mid Century, and Modern eras. I am finding myself more drawn to bigger and bolder pieces as time goes on. I especially have a soft spot for rings!

Being a student at GIA has introduced me to the wonderful world of gemstones, so I am definitely drawn to gemstone jewelry -- especially diamonds, garnets, emeralds and sapphires!

I have had the best luck finding jewelry for my personal collection at antique flea markets - especially the large flea market that happens three times a year in Brimfield, MA! I love flea markets because it really is like a big treasure hunt and I also enjoy the ability to haggle ;). eBay and Etsy have also been great marketplaces for finding unique pieces from all over the globe!

A lot of my pieces have strong sentimental value to me and represent people, places, or different times in my life. I recently acquired this amethyst and seed pearl ring which I wear in memory of my aunt, who adored the color purple. Seed pearls can represent tears, which is also very fitting.

Antique jewelry is my biggest passion - I love imagining where the pieces have been, and who cherished them before they came to me. I feel so lucky to have a career in connecting other people with sparkly old gems! <3

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Maejean Vintage --> @MaejeanVintage

Jewelry Collection Stories: Leslie of @PinkPirahnah

PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah PinkPirahnah | Gem Gossip PinkPirahnah | Gem Gossip

This month's Jewelry Collection Story comes from someone I've actually met in person, which doesn't happen too often since so many people from our lovely Instagram community are from all parts of the world. Leslie came to the GIA Alumni meeting when I spoke in DC last summer and I recognized her right away because of the opal ring she was wearing! Funny how sometimes that happens. It has been fun getting to know her on Instagram and am so excited she agreed to share her personal collection story with us--take it away Leslie:

"I am a total museum junky by nature and my love for classical art and history runs deep. However, jewelry as art was not on my radar until about 12 years ago when I found my first vintage piece, the pretzel ring. Yes, I had a few token pieces of mall jewelry but I never really thought there was much substance to jewelry until I discovered the vintage and antique world. A golden pretzel with diamond salt appealed to my sense of humor and art. It was also meaningful to me as a Speech Pathologist working with my special needs children on requesting items, one of those items was actually pretzels! I can’t tell you how many kiddos have actually tried to lick it over the years! This one ring started an obsession but also introduced me to my friend Lara from Icon Style in NYC. I learned so much from her over the next few years and with her help I really grew my collection and love for all eras.

My current collection includes Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau. Art Deco, Vintage and a few Georgian pieces. I don’t necessarily have a preferred era but I think the biggest appeal of antique and vintage jewelry is how unique and detailed the pieces can be. Color is a big factor for me but most importantly I like quirk. If it’s funny or unique, I have to have it! I love to mix and match eras and pile it on pretty thick. Certainly, no one would accuse me of neglecting my jewelry.

One thing I wear every day is obviously my Art Deco engagement ring. I had always assumed I would get a Victorian cluster ring but when I tried this piece on I fell hard for its lively black opal.

The one motif that I am magnetically drawn to is snakes. I can spot a serpent in a jewelry case like a shark scenting blood in the water. In fact, I found my tiny snake earrings despite their purposely discreet location in my friend’s display case. In the histories of various civilizations, snakes have come to symbolize many ideas but my favorite is that of eternal love. Symbolism aside, snakes have the unique visual impact that I find hard to resist.

Charms are another obsession I have. I try to limit myself but I just love some of the funny and super detailed pieces you can find. My favorite charm is my vintage gold ghost. He is perfectly crafted and has the most beautiful brown marquise diamond eyes that peek from behind his sheet.

Another style of jewelry I desperately love is Art Deco era “pools of light.” Layering these rock crystal orbs is addictive but also causes some serious neck strain. I have several pieces but the most interesting one is a rock crystal orb the size of a jaw breaker. It is completely encased in an open silver work shell depicting bunnies paddling in canoes.

Rings are my go-to to buy and again I don’t discriminate. I collect a variety of stones, styles, and metals. One thing I don’t like to do is size my rings. I have a few exceptions but in general I try not to alter the finger bling that comes into my collection. If one is too big I simply stack it with gold bands to adjust the fit.

When I was first collecting I would shop at Icon Style in NYC and I would go to all the big NYC shows religiously. Having relocated to the DMV area I have had more opportunities to go to antiquing in rural areas but also go to the bigger shows like the DC flea and the Baltimore Antique Show. I don’t shop online much but I have found several lovely pieces through the Instagram community."

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Leslie --> @pinkpirahnah