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Entries in jewelry collector (6)

Jewelry Collection Stories: Danielle of @jasmyntea

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This month's Jewelry Collection Story comes from a favorite Instagram collector of mine and it's not because we share the same name, although that helps ;) It is because Danielle's style and curation of such a fine collection is unlike any other!  She has a fierce eye for what she loves and I've been wanting to know her story for quite awhile now. We finally got her story (she is a busy San Francisco dweller, with a full-time job that doesn't involve jewelry) and she has provided some amazing photos of her personal collection. Let's dive into her story!

"I have always been a collector. Whether it was collecting vintage jewelry, or vintage clothing, or books on costume and fashion. I’m always looking for unique items that speak to me in some way.   I first fell in love with jewelry when I was about 12 and would ride my bike to the thrift store to look for treasures. I always liked vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and scarves. Old pieces have stories within them. And I always liked to imagine the travels the pieces went through before I became their custodian.

My mother does not really wear much jewelry. Most of the jewelry she wears, except her wedding band, was probably given to her by her sisters or her daughters. She has very few pieces, so I didn’t really grow up surrounded by jewelry. I didn’t know one of my grandmothers as they both passed away before I was born. But I do wear her gold framed glasses from the 1940s every day as my own eyeglasses. I love this connection with my past. My other grandmother didn’t really have much affinity for jewelry either.  So I’m not really sure where my love of jewelry and antiques comes from--but I can tell you that I’m obsessed :-)

When I first started collecting jewelry in high school I liked vintage brooches and small enamel pins. This was what I could afford to purchase. From vintage pins, I branched out to vintage sterling. I always loved going to antique stores and hunting for unusual, inexpensive pieces. My early collection included David Anderson Norwegian pins and bracelets, sterling charm bracelets, bakelite bangles, and funky long beads to layer.  I always liked layering, mixing and creating a story with my jewelry. As my style evolved I also liked to support local jewelry artists, so I would go to fairs and stores that sold the work of local jewelry artists and try to pick pieces I liked.  My modern collection is made of up certain designers – Marla Aaron, Judy Geib, Gabriela Kiss, Louison Rare and Fine (GemstoneGypsy), Jean Jean Vintage, Gillian Conroy, Variance Objects, Dahlia Khanner, Alberian and Aulde, Amali Jewelry and local San Francisco artists Betsy Barron and Alix Bluh. I tend to gravitate towards jewelry artists versus major designer jewelry.  Although one of the first pieces I completely coveted when I was 16 was Tiffany’s Elsa Perreti sterling bean necklace.

In the recent years I have gravitated towards building my antique collection. I love to go to antique fairs and shows, stop in small antique shops when I travel and I follow many antique jewelry sellers on IG. If you are curious, my first IG discovery was Erie Basin and my early purchases were a Toi et Moi Victorian diamond ring and a French link bracelet that many people have asked if they could purchase from me.  Finding the antique jewelry community on IG has been very meaningful to me. I feel like I’ve found a crew of fellow jewelry enthusiasts that I can geek out about Georgian jewels, or old cut diamonds, or how to style antique and modern jewelry together. Before IG I never really participated in social media. Finding the IG community of jewelry lovers has been a nice addition in my life, so I don’t drive my husband and sons nuts with my jewelry interests. I’ve also enjoyed meeting fellow IG collectors on my travels. 

I can’t really categorize what I collect, because I look for unusual pieces or pieces that resonate for me in some way. I feel like I am the custodian of the pieces I collect.  I can’t always articulate why I fall in love with pieces.  Sometimes the piece feels sentimental, sometimes the piece will fill an aspect of my collection that I need for a look I’m striving for. On a broad level, I like Georgian and Victorian jewelry. And then I like modern pieces that provide contrast for the more sweet/sentimental antique pieces. I love to mix antique and modern pieces together. Probably my favorite thing to mix are Marla Aaron locks with my antique necklaces, charms and brooches. Mixing and styling jewelry is a creative outlet for me. It’s self-expression—what I’m trying to put out there on a given day. I mix everything: yellow, rose, green gold, platinum and silver. On most days I have on five types of metal. I actually tend to prefer wearing mixed metals versus monochromatic styling. Although sometimes I like to do all gold or all silver or all one kind of gemstone. 

I’m sentimental when it comes to jewelry. I always wear a Marla Aaron lock which to me symbolizes to hold fast to what’s important. I once did post on IG about how my modern jewelry spirit animal is my engraved Marla Aaron lock that has all family initials hidden within the engraved design. If I had to pick an antique spirit animal it would probably either be antique chains or signet rings. My thorn necklace (by Gillian Conroy) symbolizes that life has thorns to deal with but I am strong enough to weather the thorns. My hand bloodstone signet ring from Metier with the word “confido,” which means trust, reminds me to trust myself. And then on any given day, my other jewelry represents other items of importance to me or things I’m trying to stay centered about.  My Mizpah ring from TheOneILoveNYC is for my husband and me, and my Souvenir bangle from Lucy Verity hasn’t left my wrist since I got it last year - I look down and remember. My Lenore heart rings: to remember love, my signets: to remember the people who are important to me, my memento mori ring from Nvitblanche: to remember to live in the moment, my ruby locket from Circa 1700 has diamonds in it from my mother-in-law in the amount of Pi carats (ok I’m a definite geek).  Recently my husband and I gave each other Gabriela Kiss eye rings to symbolize us watching over each other. 

You may wonder what pieces I am on the hunt for next.  I try to keep an open mind when I am hunting for jewelry, because you never know what you might find. I always ask myself does this resonate for me, will I really wear it and reach for this piece everyday?  I like to purchase pieces that I will wear, I don’t like for jewelry to just sit in my jewelry box. I don’t necessarily keep a running wish list. Although at the beginning of 2016 I did an IG jewelry wishlist post and when I look back on it now, I did end up collecting some of the items on my wishlist during 2016, (like my French cut eternity band from Platt Boutique Jewelry).  Right now I’m coveting high carat gold items - 22K gold bands (I just got one from Metier) and poesy rings, a Georgian memento mori ring and chains, always more chains.  Recently, I've been loving layering a lot of gold watch chains.

In closing, almost every piece I wear holds meaning for me of something I want to remember or a story I want to tell that day with my jewelry. Jewelry wearing and styling is my personal storytelling."

 

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Danielle --> @jasmyntea

Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @heartofsolidgold

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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.

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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!

HeartofSolidGold Collection

(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.

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(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!

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(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!

HeartofSolidGold Collection HeartofSolidGold Collection

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!

HeartofSolidGold Collection HeartofSolidGold Collection

(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.

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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!

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Kate --> @heartofsolidgold

Jewelry Collection Stories: Alisa of Erstwhile Jewelry

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Today's Jewelry Collection Story comes from one half of the Erstwhile Jewelry duo, Alisa Klusner. Inheriting a love for gems and antiques from both her grandmother and mother, Alisa is now enchanted by gems and antiques found by her husband Jared.  The married team have a great eye for beautiful, drool-worthy pieces--anything from a sapphire and diamond Art Deco ring, to a retro ruby and diamond piece, they have all the best. More recently the two collaborated on their own vintage-inspired line By Erstwhile, which features wedding bands, engagement rings, a really cool ear cuff, and some pendants.  Excited to share Alisa's story:

"I’ve been collecting my whole life. My grandmother and I would thrift and go to flea markets together every weekend. She had little boxes of gems found at flea markets and brought from the mother land, Russia. I loved how carefully she cared for these little treasures. I think, for me, the romance began there. My collecting began probably from my grandmother’s first few little gifts that were small but very sweet. My mother has always been a lover of fine jewels and over the years she’s also gifted me with jewels commemorating special occasions."

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"Now my husband, an antiques dealer, gifts me with gems. So my collection consists mostly of jewels he’s given me, little relics from my childhood, and pieces I “borrow” from Erstwhile."

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On her favorite motifs...

"Anything that brings about a feeling of nostalgia I love. My favorite motifs are found in Georgian and Victorian Mourning rings. They’re jewels made and worn to remember lost loved ones. Usually inscribed with the name of the deceased and date and place of death. These were worn to remind the wearer of mortality as in those days it was a constant threat. Many times you can find ‘memento mori' inscribed on these jewels, a Latin expression meaning ‘remember death’. Typical motifs and looks were black jet (the stone in the ring below), black and white enamel on yellow gold, and painted weeping willows."

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"I am passionate about bringing back the concept of treasuring your possessions. Everything in our culture is so disposable now. I get caught up in it myself. But you get on that merry go round and forget to appreciate the things you have. Unlike my grandmother, who treasured those few bright little jewels. Many of the rings we find may have gotten scraped or melted and lost. When you see 100 rings at once, all thrown together, they can lose their individual luster. The work comes when you need to spot those special pieces and put them in a context/curate them in a way that let’s their light shine. And instead of someone buying a disposable trendy piece of jewelry, they can buy this special piece, hand made using precious metals and gems over 100 years ago. A piece that can and should be loved for a lifetime. That’s my passion, the possibility that these jewels will outlast all of us. And we’re just stewards of them for now."

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"I like to join Jared on shopping trips to London, Paris, and even Upstate NY. Antique jewelry shows are fun too! Treasure hunting for jewelry has massively changed in the last few years with the internet and Instagram. It used to be that you could find amazing jewels in pawn and antique shops in little towns around the US. But everything’s online now and the romance of the hunt has gone a bit."

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"My engagement ring is my most special and favorite piece. Jared just happened upon it and immediately knew it was for me. Surprisingly he didn’t agonize over dozens of rings. It was just this one from the start. And it’s perfect."

 

Erstwhile Jewelry

 

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The Life of a Collector: Inside the Mind of Gem Gossip

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It's 5am.  Your alarm you've titled "Get Up, It's JEWEL-TIME" sounds off and you quickly fling yourself out of bed. You can barely open your eyes, but you easily type in your username and password and get ready to go head-to-head with buyers who are actually at the auction house which you've just virtually logged into, bidding live somewhere in England.  

Yes, that is a normal week day in the life of an avid-obsessed collector.  A jewelry collector, that is...and to be even more specific--antique rings.  These little, sometimes sparkly, golden hoops of joy.  I can't imagine anything else that I feel so much allure for--the charm and temptation is overwhelming at times.  How can something so unnecessary be so...well, NECESSARY?!  

And since you collect antique rings, you've got that annoying saying, "wow when will I ever see one like that ever again?!  I need it!"  

From one morning bidding session, to another.  I frantically check eBay and my "Watch" list gets longer and longer.  I spend over an hour browsing and realize I shouldn't be spending, rather $aving... So, I've devised my own Savings plan--cut back on what I spend most on, FOOD.  I decide on a new meal plan called, "whatever is in the refrigerator."  A couple handfuls of scredded cheese, a scoop of peanut butter and some leftover walnuts in the pantry.  That should hold me over.  

An hour goes by and I realize that is the worst plan ever.  I then take matters into my own hands and delete my eBay application from my iPhone.  There!  No more bidding.

So where did this undying love for jewelry come from?  I try to think back to when I was little and I do have some fond memories of playing in my mom's jewelry boxes.  Most of her stuff was costume jewelry, but I loved draping on necklaces and piling on bracelets.  My paternal grandmother loved jewelry and still does today.  She would travel to Italy when I was little, and come back with a piece of jewelry for everyone.  I remember being so excited every time she came back from Italy, I always would wonder what she brought back for me. One time it was a heart charm, another time it was a gold bracelet...I still have each piece of 18k Italian gold. Now, my maternal grandmother...it was her that I know I got the collecting bug from!  It is almost a borderline collector/hoarder.  She collected lots of things--owls, wolves, teapots, trains, miniature houses (which she formed an entire mini-city), tin boxes, plates...I know there's more.  The best part of her collecting, which I definitely inherited, was the way she displayed things.  Her small cabin in the woods was basically a mini-museum.  It was so fun to look at each thing and she loved going to garage sales, which was where she bought most of her collectibles.  She now lives in a small townhouse, which she has shelving throughout the entire house in order to display her enormous teapot collection.  

As a collector, I think my favorite things consist of:

1. finding new hidden places, full of the coolest/neatest antique jewelry

2. finding others that share my obsession and talking with them

3. planning my next adventure/buying my next acquisition

So, no matter how broke I become or how much sleep I lose over these little things we call Rings, I have never had an inanimate object bring so much happiness, purpose and drive to my life.  I will always have a memory or story behind each and every one.  And I will continue to collect, and venture to far away places in search of new pieces to add to my special collection.  

Happy collecting!  

 

Jewelry Book Review: Rings by Rachel Church

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Rings is a perfectly proportioned helping of history and meaning behind these keepsakes we call rings. The book is written by Rachel Church, who has the most sought-after (in my opinion) job ever created--she is a curator for the Victorian & Albert Museum in London, with "a special responsibility for the rings collection." That responsibility has allowed her to write this book, which chronicles the museum's amazing collection of rings. Through various acquisitions--from donors to collectors--the vast majority is impeccably displayed. Donors like: Edmund Waterton, Reverend Chauncey Hare Townshend, Joan Evans and Patricia V. Goldstein. The book also describes historical eras in terms of ring design, illustrated with examples which are a part of the V&A Museum Collection. I highly recommend this book to any jewelry or ring collector--up next is a much need trip to see this in person! (Hopeful sigh)

 

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