Endless talk of all things sparkly.

How to Hunt Down Stick-Pins & the Best Conversions Out There!

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Lately I’ve seen stick pin conversions EVERYWHERE!  From necklaces to rings, even bracelets and mix/match earrings.  Rewind to five years ago, and stick pins were one item antique dealers couldn’t give away!  Now with them being popular as ever, here are some tips to finding a deal and the right one for you:

When I’m treasure hunting, whether I’m at a flea market or searching on eBay, I make sure to look at items from more than one perspective.  This is especially important when browsing for antique and estate jewelry! There’s the perspective of being able to take it home that day, with the fit being perfect and all the gemstones being in good condition, with no repair work necessary.  And then there’s another perspective of reinventing, remixing or repairing before it’s wearable.  The later can be like a hidden gem amongst others, where one is able to get an item that needs some work for less money, and it is sometimes fun to reinvent a piece in your own way.  It makes it almost one-of-a-kind!  

I’ve been doing this with antique stick pins for several years now and some of my most favorite rings were once stick pins I had converted into rings!  The stick pin once held a proud place in the jewel boxes of most victorian men and women. Placed in cravats (neck ties of the time) or gracefully accenting a frilled neckline they were often masterpieces of miniature artistry. Animals, flowers, mythological creatures, enamelwork, mixed metals, gemstones- there isn’t a motif or a jeweler’s method that wasn’t employed in their manufacture. Today some still collect them but for the most part they are overlooked! Online auctions are an amazing source for stick pins from all across the United States, even the world! 

What to look for:

  1. States that it is 10k, 14k or 18k whether it is stamped or acid tested to be 100% guaranteed
  2. The gemstones are genuine–no synthetic or glass/plastic
  3. Look for or ask for dimensions, maybe even a photo of the item next to a ruler 
  4. Narrowing the category to “Vintage & Antique Jewelry” and “Fine” is helpful

In addition to searching for your own stick pins that you want to collect, there are some great jewelry designers and websites that sell all-original converts that are gorgeous.  Estate of Grace by Beth Bernstein is a great example.  Beth goes treasure hunting and buys only original antique pieces, and converts them into wearable jewelry like pendants, bracelets, earrings and rings.  Her line was one of the first to take this concept and run with it…with themes like Love, Lore & Legend, as well as Royalty Reigns.  I am a huge fan of any snake she has made into a ring.  And I am dying for the aquamarine crowned heart!!  Check out more on her website.