I met Anya, aka Eat Jewels, awhile back when I was in DC giving a talk to the GIA Alumni chapter located there. I loved having some familiar faces in the crowd and they consisted of women who are also a part of our vintage loving community on Instagram. These collectors have a huge passion for jewelry and for Anya, that is very much true. She is a full-time lawyer by day and jewelry collector by night, and a mother all day, everyday. She created her @EatJewels moniker because jewelry and eating are her two favorite things. Amen to that! I was excited when she agreed to share her collection with us on here, so without further ado…
“Since childhood. My parents often gave me a special piece of jewelry for my birthday from a local family-run jewelry store called Patton’s — an amethyst (my birthstone) ring when I turned 12, drop earrings when I turned 14. For my sweet sixteen, they let me choose my own piece from Patton’s. I immediately was drawn to the vintage and estate case because the pieces looked more substantial to me, different from the delicate contemporary items. I chose a chunky gold ring from the 1970s and remember the owner asking why a young lady with small fingers would choose such a big ring and it only made me want it more. I consider that ring the first piece I “collected” on my own.”
Some of my favorite pieces I’ve sourced are inspired (sometimes subconsciously) by my mother’s collection. The sapphire ring on the left is hers (a gift from my father during my childhood); the old cut diamond pear on the right is mine. Both have tapered baguette side stones and are set in platinum. I didn’t realize until after I purchased it that it was almost identical to her ring in style and proportion.
My mother passed on her love of jewelry to me and I’m doing the same for my daughter. She has already claimed the pink sapphire and rose cut diamond cluster ring on her index finger with hallmarks from 1909 as her future sweet sixteen present. Right now, at age 6, she calls it her “cupcake ring”.
Another mother / daughter shot. I love emeralds (my mother’s birthstone) and bezel set stones because of her ring on the left. The pear cut emerald on the right is the first ring I posted on Instagram when I started EatJewels on Etsy.
“Absolutely the sentimentality of jewelry makes it my passion. I love that fine jewelry pieces are often passed down from generation to generation, that big life events are celebrated with jewelry and that important pieces of jewelry can sometimes act as emotional armor for the wearer. The story and meaning behind any piece can make it so much more valuable that its mere weight in precious metal.”
“I try to hit estate sales, pawn shops and antique stores in any new city I visit. But some of my favorite pieces have been purchased from fellow antique jewelry lovers and dealers on Etsy or Instagram. It’s surprising and wonderful how many real people I’ve met in person after first meeting via an online medium.”
These Victorian wedding bracelets are a rare find because it’s very difficult to find them as an intact pair. Wedding bracelets were often gifted from fiance to future bride or parents to betrothed daughter. The bride would wear one during her engagement period and wear both on her wedding day. After marriage, they were passed down to the daughters in the family and were thus often separated. This particular set is inscribed “1886” and in a strange twist of fate with my own initials “AK”. Upon seeing the inscription, I immediately purchased them with the intent to pass them onto my own daughter when she comes of age.
All of my favorite things — antique signet ring with the prettiest monogram, mos maiorum ring and an old mine cut diamond in a buttercup setting.
[from top to bottom] (1) a bespoke gypsy ring made for me with the amethyst pears that were originally in earrings my parents gifted to me when I was 14 (big fan of recycling materials to make jewels more wearable); and (2) the chunky gold ring from the 1970s that I chose as my sweet sixteen present — the ring that started my collection.
“I love the symbolism and subtext of the Victorian era, for example, how an ouroboros represents endless love or a swallow can represent returning home to a loved one. I recently collected a very special pair of Victorian wedding bracelets in their original leather case. The wheat depicted on the bracelets in tri-color gold — invoking Victorian ideals of fertility, abundance and long life — practically had me swooning when I first saw them. What could be a more wholesome symbol to wear on your wedding day if you lived during the 19th century? I also love finding a good engraving — monograms, dates, inscriptions to loved ones — on any piece of jewelry. Engravings are very hard for me to resist when adding to my personal collection!”
Dated from the turn of the 19th century, the inside of the locket is inscribed, “always yours” in French.
Some of my most favorite charms: [from left to right] (1) I found the rose cut diamond locket at a flea market in Paris and it has the most exquisite inscription inside (see above); (2) The “plus qu’hier moins que demain” charm is a unique shape from the usual round ones that you find; and (3) I converted the evil eye charm made from a Victorian banded agate stick pin. Many followers have asked to purchase it from me but I think it will stay in my personal collection forever.
I generally prefer the quirky charm of old cut diamonds but this modern round brilliant is special to me because it’s a family stone. I had it reset in an Art Deco style target mounting with a ruby halo.
You can follow Anya here –> @EatJewels