Entries in jewelry collection story (6)
Instagram is such a great haven to meet fellow antique jewelry collectors and connect with them--most my stories about finding people kind of begin like that, and this story is no different. I posted a photo of my dendritic agate ring and it caught Malena's attention because she has a similar one in her West Chester, PA boutique. She commented on my photo and I checked out her page only to find an insane diamond ring which I needed to see more of! She gladly took some photos for me to show me and our conversation grew from there. Malena's Boutique is aptly named; her shop is filled with vintage and antique finds--from clothing to jewelry, both costume and precious. Her store has been on countless lists concerning "best of Philly" and she enjoys every moment of it. I caught up with Malena and her personal jewelry collection--here is her story:
"Even as a child I felt a gravitational-like pull towards clothing and and jewelry of past eras. By twelve I started buying vintage clothing at thrift shops and dreaming of attending fashion design school. I opened my vintage boutique about a year after graduating from Pratt and will be celebrating 14 years in business this June. On a daily basis sellers bring pieces in that they inherited or no longer fit a need in their wardrobe. I also buy from jewelers who are accustomed to pulling out stones and melting gorgeous old settings (the thought of which makes me flinch!) On some days I sort through items of up to 10 people so I am exposed to easily thousands of items each week.
To me certain pieces romance their way into my collection. I try to be "good" and not keep things that are intended for the boutique, but sometimes it's just love at first sight and they become part of my treasury. Slightly quirky or oversized antique pieces resonate with me. I didn't even realize I had a locket collection until a dear friend of mine commented on how many unusual ones I had! My favorite is oblong sterling silver with simple engraving of the year 1920, but on the inside the owner had written a note where the photo was supposed to go that reads, "DARN YOUR CURIOSITY" I so wish I could have met this woman and learned her story behind the note.
My most recent acquisition is the rose gold watch chain ring with diamond buckle. It articulates and the tab can be pulled to resize the ring smaller. I've always been drawn to the buckle motif, but the pairing of it with rose gold and the unusual construction just made it too unusual to pass up. I purchased the turquoise ring with emerald cut stones from a jeweler who had pulled the center stone and was going to scrap the platinum setting. I had a stone cutter find and set the sugarloaf Turquoise, it's one of my most favorite pieces. Turquoise set in gold or platinum is something I collect, I am restoring some Victorian turquoise Acorn earrings at the moment I can't wait to wear.
My extra long filigree dinner ring is definitely in my top 5 pieces I own. It was originally owned by a teller at my bank. Her mother willed her a collection of rings but this one doesn't suit her style or lifestyle. She went to a few jewelers in our small town to sell it, but was horrified to hear they were going to melt it and pull the stones. One of the jewelers suggested to bring it to me, that I may want to keep it as is and they were right. I bought it and wear it almost everyday. Sometimes we see each other at the bank and it makes her happy to see it being enjoyed regularly and not destroyed.
Vibrant Plique a Jour Egyptian revival jewelry is my latest love. The feminine colors juxtaposed with less-than-lady-like scarab beetle motifs fascinates me. I haven't yet settled on a piece I need to own, but who knows, it could walk into my shop at any moment."
You can follow Malena --> @msmalena
To end out the year, our last Jewelry Collection Story comes from Jennifer, or as many may know her on Instagram, @Dupkaspike. Her collection is eclectic, heavily sentimental and so fun to look at. She captured her collecting essence perfectly in these photos. Now if only I can meet her one day and she them in person! ;) ...take it away Jennifer:
I can’t say that I have always loved jewelry, but I can pinpoint the moment when the love affair began. When I was 16, my Dad took me into Keil’s, an antique jewelry store on Royal Street in New Orleans, and bought me two rings. One was a mother of pearl cameo with an onyx surround, and another was a rose gold carnelian with a gold inlaid intaglio of a Rose of Sharon.
It was an important moment in my understanding of jewelry. My Mom was a big Southwestern jewelry fan (I’ve inherited her collection), but it wasn’t something that resonated strongly with me, though I admired it. I was drawn more to the sentimental, and to the personal.
I did not do a lot of collecting in early adulthood. My husband is Chinese, and so over the years and when we married, I received traditional Chinese 22k gold and jade pieces as gifts, which I look forward to passing on to my children. Traditional Chinese don’t really like lower-karat gold pieces and I liked history and sentiment; so we were in agreement that mall jewelry wasn’t really for me. The jade pieces are my favorites of these, as is a giant 22k dragon and phoenix ring.
Over the years I have gravitated to certain genres. As an amateur painter, I adore portrait miniatures, and greatly admire the skill required to produce them. I don’t have many, but I’m always on the lookout for special pieces. Recently I acquired a large Georgian locket brooch, from CJ Antiques, surrounded by amethysts and plan to commission a portrait of my kids and dog. One piece I wear often I got from Duvenay, a pretty portrait of Marie Antoinette, with a diamond halo that was converted from a stickpin.
I’m a strong believer in personalization, so mostly every new piece I own has some engraving or dedication on it. When my kids were born, I bought heavy Tiffany Lucida wedding bands and had their names engraved on the outside and their birthdates on the inside. Similarly, I had their names and birthdates engraved on the inside of gemstone and diamond stacking rings. I have several stacking rings, which I love to mix with larger pieces. One set I wear all the time is two ruby keeper rings from Jewellery Hannah, as well as a giardinetto from Pocket of Rocks. Last year I worked with Hoard Jewelry on engraving to flat gold bands for them with personalized messages. One has the cipher of a "nonsense" love song my son used to sing to me as a child when he was barely verbal; only he and I understand it. He later told me that it was his love song to his Mom, and so of course my heart melted. Other antique engraved pieces of jewelry with dedications or initials I own are mostly amatory, including a Russian rock crystal locket with diamond initials on the face that once held hair; a tiny acrostic locket with engraving and locket space for hair; a large, double heart picture frame, and a banded agate mourning locket. A favorite bangle acquired from Lenore Dailey spells, “Dieu Vous Garde,” or “God Protect You.” I also have a locket with that motif. One of my very favorite pieces it is really quite special. I got it from Glorious Antique Jewelry. It is dated 1790 and has some interesting initials on the back, and a lovely message on the front, “Pour ma Sophie pour toujours ma petite cherie toût, 1790” which roughly translates to, “To my Sophie, you will always be my little darling, 1790.”
I love LOVE, and as such can’t seem to stop seeking out pansy jewelry. I have several enamel and gemstone pieces—a pendant and pocket watch. Pansy jewelry of course was symbolic of the French for “ Pense à moi,” or “ Think of me.” Similarly a Georgian pendant brooch I find myself wearing often simply says, “ L’Amour,” and is decorated with two seed pearl lovebirds. A garnet and white enamel pendant reads in Latin, “ Dulcis Vita::Tibi Vita,” or “ The Good “ Life; Your Life.” One piece I have, ruby hearts with diamond wings, was acquired from Park Avenue Jewelry and I decided to convert it from a brooch to a necklace. I’m a strong believer that jewelry should be worn, and I realized that it would get a lot more use for me personally as a necklace. I got this piece as my mother was dying, and it will always be very special to me as a remembrance of her.
French St. Esprit pieces are also a love and I get a lot of use out of a French regional cross I found. One of the St. Esprits is probably late 18th century and makes a political statement, with its red and blue pastes. A favorite piece of mine is an 1835 rose cut diamond, gold and silver Halley’s Comet pendant (likely converted from a brooch) that I got from Inez Stodel.
You can follow Jennifer --> @dupkaspike
Hashtags are really useful. I've found some of my best accounts, employees, and purchases simply because of clicking on and searching through specific hashtags. The first ever Instagram post that December Anchor posted was a jelly opal cluster ring that caught my eye after searching through the #showmeyourrings hashtag. A few emails later, I purchased the ring and became great acquaintences with Amanda. Over 200 posts later, she has shared her love for jewelry with nearly 5,000 followers. Can't wait to share her personal collection now:
I've appreciated jewelry for the majority of my life. I've always thought that jewelry is special and beautiful. For me, jewelry also became a part of my family's traditions. Before jewelry, I collected rocks and my parents realized that rock collecting was important to me. Throughout my childhood, my parents and I collected rocks, learned about them, and occasionally, my parents bought me a piece of jewelry. I didn't realize this until recently, but the fact that my parents were enthusiastic about something that I was enthusiastic about really encouraged me to keep learning about gemstones and to of course continue collecting jewelry. We unintentionally created our own sparkly family traditions.
It was my mother who helped me learn to appreciate antiques. Her and I would enjoy shopping at estate sales and garage sales where we would search for antiques. It always seemed that our first question when shopping was, "where is the jewelry?" My jewelry collection is mainly antique rings however, I have a new goal of adding Victorian bracelets to my jewelry box. I think I gravitate towards antique jewelry because they have such unique details. I like studying the different designs that were common for a certain era. I started realizing that when people would tell me that they liked one of my rings, I would thank them along with telling them when the ring was made even though they didn't ask.
Searching for antique jewelry is one of my happy places. I celebrate every time I find a rare ring or a type of jewelry that's on my wish list. I don't remember a time that I wasn't amazed by jewelry.
(Left) Jewelry can hold such symbolism and wonderful memories. The letter "S" pendant was my father's. He wore it every single day. My father passed away many years ago and when I look at his pendant I clearly remember how this piece of jewelry was a part of his every day life. The anchor pendant was a gift my father gave my mother for Christmas in the very early years of their marriage. The anchor ring was designed by the incredibly kind and thoughtful @bethbjeweled. Beth and I were discussing one of the rings she had for sale when she asked me why I named my jewelry shop "December Anchor." I told her about the anchor pendant and my inspiration. My dad was one of the most supportive people I've ever known. When I started to think about selling antique and vintage jewelry I just knew he would have been extremely supportive of my new goal. His birthday was in December, he gave the anchor to my mom in December and the anchor represents hope. My brother and I decided "December Anchor" was the name of the shop. After hearing my story, Beth immediately told me she would like to design a piece of jewelry for me that would represent December Anchor. The ring includes a vintage yellow gold anchor and Beth had the great idea of including turquoise since it is one of December's birthstones. Her kindness was so amazing. The jewelry community on Instagram is fantastic.
(Right) My favorite part of this enamel portrait ring is the daisy flowers in her hair.
Garnets are my birthstone and one of my favorite gemstones. This five stone garnet ring from the Georgian era is one of those rings that I was so happy to finally find. I purchased the garnet flower ring from @bellflowerbay. The pear shape garnets in this ring are so wonderful.
This is my favorite letter "A" ring. I purchased the Victorian sapphire and ruby ring from @apocketofrocks. My favorite part of this ring is that the sapphires are more round-shaped and the rubies are more cushion-shaped.
These date/year rings are becoming rare in my opinion so I'm always super happy when I find these rings. I purchased the onyx and rose cut diamond 1890 ring from @luxcharmjewelry. The 1910 ring was purchased from @vulpeculajewelry.
I was really happy to find this 1929 ring because that is the year my wonderful grandmother was born.
(Left) The very generous and kind @lenoredailey often provides the opportunity to win some jewelry. I won this amazing yellow sapphire and rose cut diamond ring from @lenoredailey last year. @gemstonegypsy created a great ring with this Georgian era rose cut diamond that was in its original sterling silver setting.
(Right) This Victorian era sapphire and diamond ring I purchased from @vulpeculajewelry is one of those rings that I know will always be one of my favorites. The shape of the ring and the way the gemstones are set amazes me.
This mourning/memorial ring is very different from the other mourning rings in my collection. The ring reads "FORGET ME NOT" on the outside of the band. There was a time where I all bought was antique horseshoes and rose cut diamonds. This rose cut diamond horseshoe ring was a great addition to my collection.
Surprising information right here. I collect anchor jewelry. Okay, not surprising at all. I see a lot of vintage anchor jewelry however, I don't find a lot of antique anchor jewelry. Both of these rings are from the Victorian era. The cameo was most likely a stick pin that was later made into a ring. The enamel faith, hope and love ring is my favorite ring.
You can follow Amanda --> @decemberanchor
Kate is no stranger to my blog, in fact she was one of the first collections I documented on here back in January of 2013! Since then we've gotten the opportunity to meetup and spend a few days together in London along with our jewelry bff Jenn (@bellflowerbay) and Kate has gotten married! Her jewelry collection has grown since then and she has not only added some wedding jewels, but a whole lot more! If you haven't read her interview/collection story from four years ago, I suggest you read that first, then check out her amazing collection:
I’ve been collecting jewellery for about eight years, although the passion for all things old and sparkly has been burning for much longer!
I think it all started with my Gran - she’s given me pieces from her jewellery collection over the years, as well as some things from my Great Aunt too. My Gran wasn’t really much of a collector, but the pieces she does have are sentimental and unique. When she was younger she had a real love for stopping and browsing the jewellers’ windows in our local town. She wasn’t able to splash out that much, so perusing these shop windows was often as good as it got. She often tells me the story of how she fell in love with a diamond solitaire ring around the time of her 21st birthday. She was given money by her family as a present which was enough to buy the ring, but she sensibly (she says!) decided on buying a good quality carpet for her living room instead. The carpet apparently lasted many, many years, but she does say to this day that she regrets not choosing the ring. What I’d give to know what it looked like!
(Left: all rings I’ve been given by my Gran. Right: my collection of Art Deco rings, some of the early additions to my collection, all presents from over the years from my parents and husband)
With her lovingly gifted antique pieces, little did my Gran know at the time that she would spark a real passion in me for collecting antique jewellery. As soon as I began working fulltime and had a little cash to spare, I moved quickly from buying sterling silver and vintage costume jewellery, and on to collecting gold and diamonds. It’s taken a few years to refine my knowledge and hunting skills, and my tastes do still vary week to week, but it’s a love affair that grows stronger for me every day – and one my husband has so lovingly accepted too.
I’m lucky that my mum also has a real love of antique jewellery – we often go shopping together for new pieces. We share similar tastes too, which means we pretty much have one large collection between us both.
My jewellery collection spans from early Georgian right through to modern pieces, I definitely like to collect a variety of styles, stones and metals.
One of my favourite eras has to be Georgian – the passion they had for creating such beautiful, detailed jewellery and with minimal tools, it’s something that I think is truly hard to recreate these days. As the years pass, Georgian pieces are harder and harder to find, which makes the hunt even more fun!
(Left: some of my favourite diamond rings although one is an imposter, (L-R) Georgian table cut diamond flower ring, antique Victorian rose cut diamond fox ring, Victorian rock crystal five-stone ring, Art Deco diamond evil eye ring. Right: one of my most treasured pieces, a Victorian rose cut diamond pendant)
People who know me and my jewellery collection know that I have a slight addiction to rose cut diamonds. I think it’s something about their irregularity and one-of-a-kind nature that really draws me to them.
I also have a real thing for antique animal jewellery too. I think it’s one of those loves you don’t really know you have, until you take stock of your collection and realise you can fill a whole ring case with creature-themed jewels!
(My animal themed rings – I think my love for this motif stems from my love of animals. One of the rings above is a close replica of my beloved German Shepherd, Cleo.)
Another love of mine has to be Georgian and Victorian mourning jewellery – the sentimentality behind each and every piece really moves me and I love the idea of having something beautiful made to represent your loved one. One of my most cherished pieces is a sepia mourning ring with a beautiful ruby halo. The words on the front read ‘Not lost but gone before’ and the reverse is engraved with the details of a precious 9 month old girl named Elizabeth who died in 1773 – I think this is actually one of the oldest pieces I own.
(Left: my collection of mourning rings. Right: I love to mix up eras, stones and metals – here I’m wearing an antique opal and diamond halo ring with a vintage silver and dendritic agate ring.)
I know it’s a predictable answer, but without a doubt my most precious piece in my collection is my engagement ring. It’s a Georgian sacred heart ring, made up of foil-back rose cut diamonds set in a beautifully soft rose gold. It was a surprise choice by husband and I was completely stunned when he showed me the ring – it was the day I finally realised that all the years I spent going on and on about antique jewellery, he was actually listening!
(Left: I managed to include my love of rose cuts in my wedding earlier this year - the earrings were a gift from my mum and the gun metal and diamond swallow cufflinks were my gift to my husband. Right: My husband’s antique rose gold wedding band with my floral engraved rose gold wedding band and my Georgian diamond flaming heart engagement ring.)
Since our wedding earlier this year, I’ve added to my most treasured and sentimental jewellery collection. I think when it came to deciding on what I’d wear for the big day, I spent more time picking my jewellery than I did my dress! My mum gave me the most beautiful rose cut diamond and pearl drop earrings to wear. I’m not really much of an earring person but I love how special these make me feel when I wear them.
I also didn’t want to leave my husband out when it came to our wedding day jewels. On the morning of our wedding, I made sure his best man gave him a little parcel from me, containing two antique gun metal and rose cut diamond swallow cufflinks. Swallows are often used in jewellery to symbolise the safe return of a loved one. I thought these would make the perfect gift to make sure he arrived at our ceremony safely and on time!
I collect pretty much all types of jewellery – including brooches, necklaces, bracelets, charms and stick pins. I’ve been trying to wear brooches recently on my coats and scarves – I’ve collected them for years and I think it’s such a shame when pieces aren’t really worn. I’m a big believer in getting enjoyment out of what I own, I hate to think of pieces never seeing the light of day. When I wear pieces, I often try and imagine the sort of lives they’ve had and the sights they’ve seen over the years.
(Left: a selection of antique and vintage brooches – I love the romantic symbolism some of these hold including the garnet witch’s heart and the eternal snakes. Right: my ever growing stick pin collection.)
If I don’t get wear out of items then I try and think of a new way I can make the most of them – I’ve converted several brooches into necklaces, and stick pins into rings. I love how repurposing these pieces gives them a new lease of life and it means they are pretty much unique pieces too!
(Left: some of my favourite necklaces – the arrow and evil eye necklaces are both antique brooch conversions. The middle turquoise necklace is one of my favourite finds from Portobello Antiques Market in London. I fell in love with it during a trip but decided to leave it behind. Luckily, when I visited again a few months later it was still there waiting for me. Right: my gold charm collection.)
I also love to collect antique jewellery boxes too – many of which I’ve picked up with antique jewellery purchased over the years. It’s a rarity now to find a piece and its box, sometimes the boxes are worth almost as much as what’s inside them, but there’s really special about finding a new piece of jewellery to add to your collection and having the antique box thrown in too.
I live in England so most of my favourite places to treasure hunt are in the UK. I’m lucky to live close by to York, a historic city full of quaint little antique shops lining picturesque cobbled streets. They also have the most incredible homemade fudge shop for when you need a sugar boost.
I also love to visit Portobello Antiques Market in London when I can – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wider variety of antique jewellery dealers in one placed anywhere else.
I’m also lucky to be surrounded by several antique auction houses and fairs – although I love to rummage through packed stalls, I think I love the thrill of bidding on an item and winning at auction the most. The first time my mum and I went to an auction, we were so excited by it all we didn’t even feel all that bad when we were outbid.
My best piece of jewellery hunting advice? Don’t dismiss the antique shops, stalls and auctions that don’t offer all that much in the way of jewellery – you never know what you might find, and sometimes these are the places that have the best bargains. I’ve found some of my most favourite pieces in the most unlikely of places!
You can follow Kate --> @heartofsolidgold
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