Endless talk of all things sparkly.

Jewelry Road Trip: Circa 1700 Goes to Texas!

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Circa 1700 recently went on an awesome road trip to Texas and on up through Tennessee.  She graciously takes us on her journey through these two antique-filled states and let’s us in on her finds!  Let’s travel along as she brings us on this TWO PART blog adventure:


Upon realizing that neither my Canadian nor British passports would be renewed in time for a European gem hunt over the holidays, my husband and I decided, while eating a yummy breakfast at Little Flower, to hit the road instead!

So we mapped out our route and the first stop was my husband’s family in rural Texas. After that, we drove to Austin, flew on to Nashville and then moseyed on down to Memphis in our rental car.

My first adventure was with my sister-in-law, Theresa. We were out exploring the pawnshops (plenty of guns, if that’s what you’re after) and antique stores of Whitney, Texas. The jewel hunt turned out to be a bust, but the Hill County Courthouse definitely wasn’t.

I just wanted to take some pictures of the beautiful building, but my curiosity got the better of me when we discovered a suspended staircase that dead-ended at an outside window. I asked a gentleman about this staircase and he explained that the window opened to a balcony where two presidents – including LBJ – had given speeches. And when he couldn’t open the window for us, he insisted we follow him through a courtroom that could have been a time capsule from To Kill a Mockingbird – one of my favorite books – where he proceeded to open the window behind the judge’s bench so we could all crawl out onto a tiny balcony.

I was amused that LBJ would have had to do the same at the other window. But that balcony had a history dating back to the 1800s carved, with some flair, into its limestone building blocks. Sweethearts testifying to their undying love – or former sweethearts scratching out the name of their once beloved.

It was amazing to run our fingers over such a unique monument to the history of a community and to know that each of the writers had to sneak out on the balcony to leave their mark on the courthouse. 

On the way to Austin, we drove through Waco so we could visit Show and Tell Antiques. I had read about the Dr. Pepper Mansion, which now houses this boutique that is equal parts store and museum. The neighborhood is no longer what it was when the first CEO of Dr. Pepper had the house built, but that’s no reason to miss this treasure trove. It is lovingly curated by James with the able assistance of Dotty.

Had we, but money enough and a van, I would’ve absconded with much of their incredible crystal stemware. And for any bride-to-be looking for a unique china place setting, a visit to their upstairs is in order. Also in the mix are antique books, furniture, rare artifacts, some jewelry and one or two pieces of Tiffany and Lalique glassware. I hope to return soon – I have my sights set on some crystal ice tea stemware.

From there we went to Austin where we settled in to the historic Driskill Hotel. The first night we ate at the 1886 Café & Bakery – also known as “Austin’s Original Socializing Parlor.” More importantly, though, it’s known for its mouthwatering 1886 Chocolate Cake.

Over the next couple of days we explored various spots including Uncommon Objects on South Congress Avenue, which has a never-ending supply of, well, uncommon objects that are both antique and vintage. Uncommon Objects is definitely not a quick in-and-out. You’ll want to meander through all of its various nooks and crannies.

Besides all the funky shops and the awesome malts (and more) at Big Top Candy Shop, 

South Congress Avenue is home to many talented street artists. One in particular – Karren – captured our imagination with her ink and gauche color drawings that put a new twist on Alice in Wonderland. She was willing to part with an original of the cowardly lion asleep amongst a field of red poppies. As a cat rescuer, it was love at first sight for both my husband and me.

We also had two terrific culinary adventures in Austin – dinner at Arro and breakfast at Walton’s Fancy and Staple. My only regret was not getting to explore Bell and Bird – they were closed for the season. Bell and Bird curates some of the most stunning antique jewelry I’ve ever seen – well to date, only online.

And be sure to check out Circa 1700‘s shop on Ruby Lane!  She has some gorgeous staple pieces within the Circa 1700 jewelry line, as well as one-of-a-kind antique jewels and lots of conversion pieces that were once pins or brooches, made into wearable necklaces, rings and bracelets.  You can also find pieces from her road trip for sale!

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