She is your modern day hunter-gatherer, but we’re not talking wild plants and animals–we’re talking about something much more refined and ideal. Lisa Kramer has been foraging for vintage things since she was old enough to ride the subway, which she thinks was around the time she became a junior in high school. Growing up in NYC was influential from the start, but it was the old movies she remembers watching on TV which had an impact on her love for all things antique. Riding the subway to Manhattan, combing vintage shops for clothing and jewelry, as well as checking out Greenwich Village’s artisan jewelry shops for inspiration became her favorite pastimes. Lisa Kramer began making her own jewelry and even taking some metalsmithing classes, where the allure of metal and gemstones began to enthrall her. In college she majored in Anthropology (and worked for a summer on an archaeological dig at a Chacoan site in New Mexico, so cool!) and has a Masters in Architecture (go girl!). A long career as a construction project manager was in the books, but jewelry was calling her name! Lisa explains, “All of these careers inform how I look at antique and vintage jewelry. The decorative details on historic buildings are often similar to the motifs used in jewelry. I love learning about the construction methods and materials used in the manufacture of jewelry during different eras and look for visual clues indicating changes made to a piece, a sort of jewelry archaeology. Working in the construction industry also led to my collecting more jewelry: while I couldn’t wear vintage clothing to construction sites, there was no problem with wearing antique earrings!”
And that’s when the travel bug bit her and her treasure hunting instincts kicked in! Lisa began selling antique and vintage jewelry in the late 90s and started scoping out auction houses, flea markets and estate sales for her buying trips. Before long she began setting up herself at a couple shows–she started at the Vintage Expo and Art Deco Show in San Francisco. Lisa Kramer Vintage remained a side business until three years ago! That’s when Lisa decided to make her vintage and antique jewelry gig a full-time business. The first step was opening up her shop on Ruby Lane. Her latest happenings include adding additional antique shows to her roster including the Hillsborough Antique Show and the Palm Springs Modernism Show. In November she will be selling at the Pier Show in New York for the first time! Lisa is so excited about this because, “it feels like I’m coming full circle, going back to my origins in New York!”
What I like most about Lisa’s attitude when it comes to selling jewelry is her “no-regrets” thinking. I always enjoy asking people who have been in the business if they have any pieces that they regret selling! Lisa doesn’t and says that with every item she sells, it is a learning experience and loves the hunt just as much as finding a forever home for each piece. Anyone that has ever been to London to go antiquing knows that it is one of the best and Lisa agrees! She’s excited to be going in October and hoping to bring back lots of goodies for her shows and Ruby Lane shop, so stay tuned!
Lisa and I only missed each other by a room full of people–YES, we were in the same room, actually the same conference and never met up. We both attended the ASJRA Conference up in Chicago and I had left early, so I didn’t get much time to talk to anyone. Both her and I are on the same page when it comes to recommending education and connecting with fellow sellers and collectors by attending these professional development events. Lisa recommends Jewelry Camp, ASJRA (Association for the study of Jewelry and Related Arts), and being a part of a local GIA Alumni chapter and WJA chapter. I agree!! She also recommends for new collectors to start out by collecting a library of reference books on topics that appeal to oneself. Auction catalogs are also a great reference, especially for appraising and attending auction previews is beneficial for learning and handling pieces. Lisa recommends attending antique shows to learn as well–dealers are often willing to teach to those who are equally passionate and willing to learn. She warns if you’re attending a show to learn rather than buy, to ask a dealer when they are not busy with customers! Good tips!
If you want to know more about Lisa Kramer Vintage you’re in luck because she has her own blog which is filled with great information for like-minded jewelry collectors. Anything from book recommendations, to conference recaps, and my favorite–her travels and finds, which even have restaurant recommendations! You can check out her blog here.
To shop Lisa Kramer Vintage on Ruby Lane, click here.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Lisa Kramer Vintage.