I’ve been working on this blog post for an entire month! Thanks for being patient and thanks for all the questions you’ve suggested. There were SO MANY deep and relevant questions for me to answer — some of them even need their own blog post, so if that was the case, I’ll be saving certain topics to focus more on in upcoming posts. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get right into it!
How did you start collecting? When did you start/what age?
I’ve loved jewelry since I could remember — I guess you could say I first started collecting back when I was in grade school and my grandparents would bring back gold jewelry for me and my sisters from their trips to Italy. Those pieces became the first jewels in my collection and what lead me to appreciate fine jewelry. It wasn’t until I was in high school when I started to buy fine jewelry myself and collect rings.
What was the first piece you bought and do you still have it?
Some of the first pieces I bought were when I was in high school and would buy from a chain store called Ames in my hometown. I would get the Sunday newspaper and grab the store’s flyer, flipping it to the jewelry section. They always had sales on their jewelry and I wouldn’t go until their sale went to 70% off (it was typically 50%) which happened once a year. My dad would bring me and let me pick out a ring for 70% off. One time when I was a senior in high school, there were so many that I liked and my dad let me get all of them! I don’t have any of these pieces any more but when I look back at pictures, I can see them in photos. My favorite was a graduated marquise cut ruby band with tiny single cut diamonds in between.
Favorite places to buy charms?
I love constantly checking out Charmco because charms are their specialty — if you’re in search of something very particular, there’s a good chance they’ll have it! I also like bidding at auction, especially buying full charm bracelets because they’ve been lovingly collected by someone else over the years and it is nice to appreciate others’ collections. Fox & Bond also has fun charms and always a great selection of zodiac charms. And off instagram in general — there are so many great sellers on Instagram that have some great charms to add to your collection.
Five of my most coveted pieces?
1 — my engagement ring
2 — my wedding day opal ring
3 — my grandparents’ wedding bands
4 — my David Webb panther bracelet
5 — my figa collection
What are you currently into?
I’m really into charms and collecting ones that mean something to me, whether it’s significant toward motherhood or representative of a special milestone. I mostly wear necklaces right now, since I’m constantly washing my hands or playing with/taking care of Gino, so rings are hard to wear. Same goes with earrings — Gino likes to grab my hair and sometimes he grabs my ears, so I never want to be wearing earrings at the wrong place/wrong time. I can’t imagine what it feels like to get an earring ripped out! Yikes.
Any piece that haunts you as “the one that got away”?
There are so many pieces! A lot of them came from the store that I worked at for 5 years — I would often do inventory, so I saw the pieces that came in and there were some beautiful jewels that got away. I did buy quite a few when I worked there, but I didn’t have the funds back then. There’s a lot of pieces online that got away — especially at auction. I remember eBay in its hay day and a giant pear shape emerald ring that got away. There was a really cool snake ring that I missed out on in Vegas one year at the show — I took a picture of it and then only realized how cool it was until I was on the plane going home. When I was in Brimfield one year, I stumbled upon a jeweler’s booth and it was SWARMED with people. I wasn’t able to to get to it, but I saw some insanely beautiful pieces out of the corner of my eye!
What is the most sentimental piece you own?
I would say my grandparents’ wedding bands, my Gram’s ring she used to wear everyday and my dad’s St. Anthony medallion.
What are your top three favorite gemstones?
Tough choice but I would say opal, malachite and turquoise
What’s your oldest piece?
My oldest piece is a fede ring which dates back to possibly the 1700s. Fede means two hands clasping.
Are rings your favorite or necklaces? Bracelets? Earrings??
Rings have and will always be my favorite category of jewelry, although charms/necklaces are both a very close second, especially because of motherhood/postpartum swelling that has led me to (I think?) permanently be a 1/2 size larger each finger than I was before. So now all my rings are slightly messed up with what fingers I used to wear them on, etc.
How do you decide what to keep or sell?
A lot of the time when I first buy something, I want to keep it! Which I sometimes let myself do and every so often I go through my collection and sell things that I never ended up wearing or “don’t speak to me” anymore. I want my personal collection to bring me as much joy as possible, so each piece has to be really special, mean something to me or represent something.
What piece did you really have to hunt for?
Any pieces that I bought from Brimfield or Portobello market because in those cases I’m looking through lots of stuff in order to find the jewels! It usually entails long days and tired feet! I guess I wouldn’t consider deep scrolling or finding a ring on the 87th page of a website a “hunt” but it could be!!
What is your rarest piece?
I guess my peg doll charm — I have two, I know, hate me all you want lol. I found the first one by fluke at an antique jewelry store in Buffalo, NY called Sarah’s Vintage & Estate Jewelry. I was there doing a jewelry road trip feature and took a “test” photo for lighting. I didn’t even notice the charm until I got home from my trip and was looking through the photos to create the blog post. The per doll charm struck me and I had to have it — luckily Sarah still had it in her case! The second one I found on another jewelry road trip visit, this time in NYC at Alice Kwartler. Anytime I post them, my DMs blow up with people trying to buy them off me.
What was the best “deal”?
Anything I bought off eBay around 2008-2010 was a deal of the century my God! If I could turn back time I would go back to this eBay era where people were selling some gorgeous jewelry and starting bids really low. I have a few $40-$80 14k gold rings that I still have from then!
Do you collect your birthstone?
I love sapphires and I have quite a few pieces of jewelry with sapphires in them. I guess I don’t really have a “big” sapphire or a significant sapphire. That should be on my wish list 😉
Do you resize your rings or if they’re too big, those are the ones you sell?
YES, a lot of my rings have been resized smaller since I have size 4 1/2-5 fingers as my biggest size. I know there are people out there that don’t believe in resizing antique or vintage pieces and I say to each their own! I won’t resize something if it has a special engraving or enamel/stones along the shank. I’ve also opted to use ring sizers in place of actually cutting/sizing the ring by a jeweler for a few of my rings.
Where do you find your ring holders?
My jewelry box (my big cabinet) can be purchased here. My ring trays and boxes have been purchased at many different places — the mint green, purple and pink ones that are all the same size I bought off Amazon; they’re called Stackers. The rest are vintage boxes I’ve bought at antique shops and malls or off people on Instagram.
Do you have any Georgian jewelry?
I don’t! I’m not a huge fan of this time period, especially foil-backed stones or hair jewelry.
Show us your opal rings!
I have lots of opal rings — I’ll leave a space here to take a photo and post on Instagram. If I haven’t linked this yet it is because I’m still waiting to do it, but I will 🙂
How do you clean your softer gemstone pieces and enamel jewelry?
I am mindful or not wearing them too frequently and when I do, I wipe them with a microfiber cloth.