Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry and it is a good one! Kate is a full-time art teacher and part-time jewelry enthusiast and collector. You may already be following her on Instagram, but if not you must. Her collection is pretty amazing and her story may resonate with many of you. So without further ado, I give you Kate’s collection story:

I’ve always loved jewelry. I have early memories of playing “dress up” and “jewelry store” with my grandmother Louise. She kept her jewelry in the top dresser drawer. Oh how I loved looking inside those little boxes and seeing all the sparkly jewels inside! We would arrange her jewels on top of carefully arranged bits of pretty fabrics and embroidered handkerchiefs and take turns “shopping.” It was so much fun trying on her white dress gloves and high heels and playing with all those pretty things.

When I was around 10 years old, my dad started giving me jewelry every year for Christmas, mostly rings. One year, I received a topaz ring that had the most amazing shade of bright blue. I adored that ring! Another favorite ring given to me by my dad was a gold signet ring that he had monogramed with my initials. I think I was around 15 at the time. It’s a classic look that will never go out of style and one I wear often today.

One of my favorite early jewelry memories was when my family went out to dinner before my high school senior award night. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to win the top artist award in my class, and my parents bought me this beautiful southwestern sterling bracelet and turquoise ring to mark the occasion. For high school graduation, I received a large, modernist sterling and gold ring. At the time, I wasn’t into yellow gold, and these bold sterling pieces were among the most beautiful pieces I owned. Luckily, my parents have continued the tradition of gifting me jewelry for special occasions, and I cherish them all. These pieces help to serve as reminders of special times in my life. My sweet husband has also joined in on the tradition and I have received many beautiful pieces from him now over the years, including my very first (and favorite) Victorian bird bangle bracelet and my beloved antique turquoise and diamond halo ring.

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As a teenager, I was really into second-hand shops–mainly for vintage clothes and small decorative items, but eventually I started picking up inexpensive jewelry and odds-and-ends; like pendants, chokers, chains, etc. At about the same time, I started making beaded jewelry and even gifting and selling pieces to my friends.

Years later, I decided to try my hand at selling handmade jewelry on Etsy. It was a fun, challenging, and creative outlet. Those were the relative early days of Etsy, and I grew as it grew. I did this for a couple of years and slowly started incorporating more and more vintage jewelry components and findings into my pieces. Eventually, the competition increased and my enthusiasm waivered, so I put my shop on hold.

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My love affair with antique jewelry began about eight years ago when my mom and I were antiquing at one of my favorite stores in Richmond, IN. My mom fell head-over-heels for this old gold cameo ring. At first, I was like, “What? Cameos? Ugh, I don’t get it.” Then much to my surprise, my mom professed her life-long love affair with cameos, citing stories from her youth. The shop owner quoted her a low price and my mom quickly bought the ring. She wasn’t one to make fine jewelry purchases on our excursions together, so I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I couldn’t stop staring at this unusual reddish-orange cameo ring on our drive back home; I was fascinated by it. It didn’t look like the girly, pink cameos I was used to seeing. It was more masculine in style and the gold was a rich rose color. The shop owner estimated the ring to be about 120 years old.

To my knowledge, I had never seen a ring that old before and now I wanted one for myself! The more I researched, the more I realized what an amazing deal my mom got on that ring. Sure, it was more than I was used to spending on random antique mall purchases (about $85), but still affordable. This made antique jewelry seem obtainable to me for the first time ever. I started reading jewelry books, researching online, and educating myself on antique jewelry. I liked learning the history behind each piece. It’s a perfect fit for me– combining my love of history, research, sentiment, story, etc.

Inspired by my new passion and focus, I reopened my Etsy shop–selling only vintage and antique jewelry. I absolutely loved hunting for old jewelry, even cameos! Thinking back to that special trip to Richmond with my mom, I believe this was the critical moment that later turned this new interest into a full-blown hobby and part-time job for me.

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Today I have such a deep and sincere appreciation for antique jewelry; I tend to collect a little bit of everything. All in all, I tend to go more for Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco pieces. Rings are probably my favorite type of jewelry to wear and collect. I love everything from dainty to bold, statement rings. I also love antique bangles and Deco necklaces in all sorts of finishes, metals, and styles.

One of my favorite things to collect are watches. My favorite makers are Longines and Bucherer. I have everything from watch pins, watch rings, wristwatches, and pocket watches. And I really love long enamel watch necklaces. My love of watch necklaces probably began when I scored an amazing Bucherer red guilloche enamel watch ball necklace for $60 in a small, local antique shop. I later learned this was a remarkable deal for one with its original enamel chain in perfect condition. I’ve since added about 10 more to my collection over the years. I just can’t stop myself when I see a beautiful one for a good price. I have such a weakness for fine guilloche enamel-work.

In addition, I love bird-themed jewelry and have many bird bangles, lockets, etc. I tend to favor cool-color pieces in general (it must be the Pisces in me!). I am very fond of blue–sapphires, lapis, zircon, and turquoise to name a few. Pale lavender chalcedony, dreamy moonstones, and that particular shade of green commonly used in Art Deco pieces–are all personal favorites. I have a growing collection of snake rings, too.

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I enjoy shopping at small, local places best. The Midwest is a gold mine for antiques of all kinds. The big jewelry enthusiasts seem to live on either coast and being stuck in the middle has its advantages… lower prices and less pickers. But this seems to get harder every year. My favorite display cases and shops seem to be shutting down. The old dealers retire; some pass away. I think part of me has also wanted to open a brick and mortar shop, but the risks are scary.

Currently, I seem to have the most luck shopping at antique shows and online auctions. I’m always on the hunt for new pieces. I would love to own more niello jewelry, antique enamel bracelets, and gutta percha bangles inlaid with gold. I have a thing for portrait paintings but oddly, own no portrait jewelry. I interned at the National Portrait Gallery right after college and it’s a subject I’m really interested in. I would love to find the perfect emerald ring and more “name” or “initial” jewelry to represent the important people in my life.

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Recently I celebrated a milestone birthday (hello, 40!) and had been hunting for the perfect aquamarine birthstone piece of jewelry for months. Then it finally happened…a huge, honking, 14-carat, Victorian, pear-shaped aqua ring in 15K gold popped up on my Instagram feed. Its large size, unfussy setting, and perfect pale-blue color, stopped me dead in my tracks. A direct quote from the seller was, “a mesmerizing, dreamy, huge piece of magic.” Indeed it was. I sold three personal collection rings to make room for this special ring, the latest addition to my jewelry box.

Back when I started wearing, selling, and collecting antique jewelry, I was the only one I knew who did. I just bought what I liked and what I could afford at the time. It wasn’t until I joined IG a couple of years ago that I found other like-minded people who loved and appreciated old jewelry as much as I do. Like most sellers/collectors, I am searching for more high quality and unusual pieces nowadays. Lately, there seems to be more competition, more reproductions, and higher prices on the online auction sites, making it harder to “score” a deal. While I may not be selling forever, I know I will be wearing and enjoying my jewelry for the rest of my life. It brings me so much joy. Marking special occasions and making new memories with jewelry are so important to me. Jewelry has a way of keeping our memories alive…providing a tangible reminder… connecting us to the people, places, and significant moments we cherish in life. Happy hunting!

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Emily of @GemCircus

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We are kicking off July with an incredible jewelry collection story from Emily, also known as @GemCircus. If you’re a part of the jewelry Instagram community, you’ll easily recognize some of the jaw-dropping pieces in Emily’s personal collection. From the way she styles her necklace layers, to ring stacks, arm parties, and everything in between, we love her taste and enthusiasm for antique jewelry. I’m so excited she has agreed to share her story with us, so let’s sit back and enjoy:

My love for vintage and antique collecting started when I was a teenager, after my family moved to Vancouver, Canada, from Hong Kong in the early 1990s. I remember it was July when we arrived and I would walk to the nearby library every other day to borrow books to read (our container didn’t arrive almost a month later so all I have in my room were merely a bed, a built-in closet and my backpack). I started to notice our neighbours’ garage sales in my walks and I was amused at the things people were selling – from snow cone machines to music records, jewelry to stuff toys. That summer of looking through other people’s belongings and engaging in rapports gave me a sense of belonging and connection to the community. Ever since then I have become a frequent visitor to community flea markets, thrift shops and antique shows.

My jewelry obsession started around early twenties with vintage jewelry, in particular charms and silver filigree bracelets. I love to style them on mixed metal chains and I still love styling them now.

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I wasn’t picky and didn’t have a favourite period at that time so I usually picked up quirky little things like brooches, pins, jewel “plaques” (which I found out they were called “clasps” later) etc. Even though my collecting seemed to be random at that time, I was already drawn to jewelry that have motifs, like this brass crescent with hand and arrow and the clasped hand ring that I found in a thrift store. Looking back, I believe my love for antique sentimental jewelry originates from this pair!

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A lot of my Instagram followers already knew that I adore Georgian and Victorian sentimental and mourning jewelry, as well as portrait jewelry. This probably relates to my “innate sensitiveness” (as Carl Jung coined it) and the way I see jewelry as not merely an adornment but also a medium for expression, an art, an identity of who we are.

After I started reading books on lover’s eye, portrait miniature and mourning jewelry, I became obsessed with researching stories behind the jewelry that I collect. I realized that the brass crescent and the hand motif ring are not ‘funky little things’ as I thought in my teenage days, they actually carry specific meanings – love, new relationship and friendship – in the Victorian era. As my jewelry collection matures over time, I began to search for jewelry with motifs or meanings, like the urn, masquerade (masked lady), hand (figa, clasped hand, claddagh), heart (double-heart, flaming heart), star and crescent, buckle, swallow, snake, fern, acoutistic (“REGARD” and “DEAREST”) and Halley’s comet etc.

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I like to think that every piece of antique jewelry carries its own story of those before us, and I’m a custodian carrying on its legacy while creating my story with my collection. I love styling and always try to mix and match, experiment with different stacking and mixed metal, and do simple conversions to make every piece wearable. You can see from my Instagram photos that I’ve worn a big opal crescent brooch with another monkey brooch in the middle, stacked seven Art Deco wedding bands to make a statement ring, wrapped my wrist with antique chains and added a micromosaic brooch on top, stacked an Art Deco paste bracelet with a Hermes red enamel bangle, wore brooches on hats, and layered antique gold chains with watch chains. The fun is endless!

I shop everywhere but recently it’s largely online as there aren’t any antique jewelry shops in Hong Kong. I love the Instagram community as I’ve met so many wonderful souls (many of whom have become friends for life) around the world that share my obsession in antique jewelry. I always visit antique and jewelry shops when I travel too. It has been a tradition to bring back a piece of jewelry from each city that I visit.

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One of my obsession is Georgian masquerade jewelry: masked lady ring with ruby bonnet and rose cut diamonds from @karendeakin.antiques ; locket from @abrandtandson and the most recently acquired oval ring from @bijouxvictim

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Ring stacking is a daily essential for me: Georgian blue enamel rose cut diamond urn ring from @lenoredailey ; the moonstone on the mourning ring was a gift from my jeweler in Vancouver (he has kept it for 40 years!) and it fits perfectly on the bezel of the once empty mourning ring; flat cut garnet band from @antiqueanimaljewelry

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Mourning rings and figas: these enamel mourning rings are too big to wear so I usually wear them on gold chains as pendants. The twin coral figas were acquired from different continents yet they look so much alike. The one with emerald and diamonds was found in a UK auction and the one with seed pearl top was found in an antique show in Vancouver.

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Nathalie of @NathaliesDesk

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We are back with this month’s Jewelry Collection Story and it comes from Nathalie whom I discovered on Instagram! She has been posting eye-catching and droolworthy images of her personal collection, including her incredible and rare antique ring case collection. It was awesome to see that she found my #JewelryRoadTrip to Ohio alluring enough to buy two of the rings I featured–I love when people are able to connect that way with items that I showcase, it is honestly why I started the #JewelryRoadTrip project in the first place! I had to know more about her and her story, as well as see first-hand her gorgeous collection. Take it away Nathalie:

My journey with jewelry began with a 24K yellow gold bracelet. It was a Sweet Sixteen birthday gift from my mother, my first jewelry piece from her – and I was disappointed. At that age, I was hoping for new clothes, new shoes, or the latest coolest CD player. I thanked my mother and tucked it away because I thought yellow gold was for old ladies. Every year after that, she continued to bestow yellow gold to me on my birthdays. They came in the form of more bracelets, necklaces, and pendants. Each time, I would thank her, put away the pieces, and never wear them.

On my 21st birthday, after receiving another piece of yellow gold jewelry it finally occurred to me to ask my mother why she chose this as my annual gift over other things. To this she replied, “When you were 7 months old, your father and I had to escape our mother country (Vietnam) and when we arrived to our new country (France), I had to sell my jewelry in order to get things like food.” And she kept on talking and sharing. And I felt shame for being ungrateful, heartbreak for the hardships my parents endured. I also started to see and love my mother in a whole new light. She is my Wonder Woman. And this was also the day I truly fell in love with jewelry and became a collector.

A while back, there was a question floating around in the Instagram world asking “Does jewelry make you a better person?” To that I say “Yes, it does!” It can lift your spirits up, it can create a bond between people, it can commemorate the loss of a loved one, or punctuate a special occasion. Sometimes it is just downright magical. If you are reading this blog, then I am sure you have chased or currently chasing some unicorn in the form of a ring, bracelet, necklace, or earrings.

I look for treasures in all kinds of places: at my local shops, fairs, and online (eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane). Collecting has its ebbs and flows. I have gone years without buying a single piece, and other times when that is all I can think about! What attracts me also seems to have its cycles which is why I rarely part with any of my pieces. I am an equal bling opportunist, but I tend to gravitate towards rings. I do think I am at a point where I need to par down a bit to make room for some new fabulous pieces. Discovering the Instagram community truly enriched my knowledge and appreciation for past and current jewelry, in addition to making some lovely connections with others who understand this passion.

When I became a mom two and half years ago, I started daydreaming about what stories I would share with my daughter. Every time I bring out my jewelry to play she is always by my side asking to play along. It is so fun to see her light up as I let her try on my pieces. Little does she know that she is already the owner of something very special. When she had turned one month old my mother had gifted her the sweetest 24K gold bracelet. And there will be many more treasures waiting for her.


xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Danielle of @jasmyntea

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This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from a favorite Instagram collector of mine and it’s not because we share the same name, although that helps 😉 It is because Danielle’s style and curation of such a fine collection is unlike any other! She has a fierce eye for what she loves and I’ve been wanting to know her story for quite awhile now. We finally got her story (she is a busy San Francisco dweller, with a full-time job that doesn’t involve jewelry) and she has provided some amazing photos of her personal collection. Let’s dive into her story!

“I have always been a collector. Whether it was collecting vintage jewelry, or vintage clothing, or books on costume and fashion. I’m always looking for unique items that speak to me in some way. I first fell in love with jewelry when I was about 12 and would ride my bike to the thrift store to look for treasures. I always liked vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and scarves. Old pieces have stories within them. And I always liked to imagine the travels the pieces went through before I became their custodian.

My mother does not really wear much jewelry. Most of the jewelry she wears, except her wedding band, was probably given to her by her sisters or her daughters. She has very few pieces, so I didn’t really grow up surrounded by jewelry. I didn’t know one of my grandmothers as they both passed away before I was born. But I do wear her gold framed glasses from the 1940s every day as my own eyeglasses. I love this connection with my past. My other grandmother didn’t really have much affinity for jewelry either. So I’m not really sure where my love of jewelry and antiques comes from–but I can tell you that I’m obsessed 🙂

When I first started collecting jewelry in high school I liked vintage brooches and small enamel pins. This was what I could afford to purchase. From vintage pins, I branched out to vintage sterling. I always loved going to antique stores and hunting for unusual, inexpensive pieces. My early collection included David Anderson Norwegian pins and bracelets, sterling charm bracelets, bakelite bangles, and funky long beads to layer. I always liked layering, mixing and creating a story with my jewelry. As my style evolved I also liked to support local jewelry artists, so I would go to fairs and stores that sold the work of local jewelry artists and try to pick pieces I liked. My modern collection is made of up certain designers – Marla Aaron, Judy Geib, Gabriela Kiss, Louison Rare and Fine (GemstoneGypsy), Jean Jean Vintage, Gillian Conroy, Variance Objects, Dahlia Khanner, Alberian and Aulde, Amali Jewelry and local San Francisco artists Betsy Barron and Alix Bluh. I tend to gravitate towards jewelry artists versus major designer jewelry. Although one of the first pieces I completely coveted when I was 16 was Tiffany’s Elsa Perreti sterling bean necklace.

In the recent years I have gravitated towards building my antique collection. I love to go to antique fairs and shows, stop in small antique shops when I travel and I follow many antique jewelry sellers on IG. If you are curious, my first IG discovery was Erie Basin and my early purchases were a Toi et Moi Victorian diamond ring and a French link bracelet that many people have asked if they could purchase from me. Finding the antique jewelry community on IG has been very meaningful to me. I feel like I’ve found a crew of fellow jewelry enthusiasts that I can geek out about Georgian jewels, or old cut diamonds, or how to style antique and modern jewelry together. Before IG I never really participated in social media. Finding the IG community of jewelry lovers has been a nice addition in my life, so I don’t drive my husband and sons nuts with my jewelry interests. I’ve also enjoyed meeting fellow IG collectors on my travels.

I can’t really categorize what I collect, because I look for unusual pieces or pieces that resonate for me in some way. I feel like I am the custodian of the pieces I collect. I can’t always articulate why I fall in love with pieces. Sometimes the piece feels sentimental, sometimes the piece will fill an aspect of my collection that I need for a look I’m striving for. On a broad level, I like Georgian and Victorian jewelry. And then I like modern pieces that provide contrast for the more sweet/sentimental antique pieces. I love to mix antique and modern pieces together. Probably my favorite thing to mix are Marla Aaron locks with my antique necklaces, charms and brooches. Mixing and styling jewelry is a creative outlet for me. It’s self-expression—what I’m trying to put out there on a given day. I mix everything: yellow, rose, green gold, platinum and silver. On most days I have on five types of metal. I actually tend to prefer wearing mixed metals versus monochromatic styling. Although sometimes I like to do all gold or all silver or all one kind of gemstone.

I’m sentimental when it comes to jewelry. I always wear a Marla Aaron lock which to me symbolizes to hold fast to what’s important. I once did post on IG about how my modern jewelry spirit animal is my engraved Marla Aaron lock that has all family initials hidden within the engraved design. If I had to pick an antique spirit animal it would probably either be antique chains or signet rings. My thorn necklace (by Gillian Conroy) symbolizes that life has thorns to deal with but I am strong enough to weather the thorns. My hand bloodstone signet ring from Metier with the word “confido,” which means trust, reminds me to trust myself. And then on any given day, my other jewelry represents other items of importance to me or things I’m trying to stay centered about. My Mizpah ring from TheOneILoveNYC is for my husband and me, and my Souvenir bangle from Lucy Verity hasn’t left my wrist since I got it last year – I look down and remember. My Lenore heart rings: to remember love, my signets: to remember the people who are important to me, my memento mori ring from Nvitblanche: to remember to live in the moment, my ruby locket from Circa 1700 has diamonds in it from my mother-in-law in the amount of Pi carats (ok I’m a definite geek). Recently my husband and I gave each other Gabriela Kiss eye rings to symbolize us watching over each other.

You may wonder what pieces I am on the hunt for next. I try to keep an open mind when I am hunting for jewelry, because you never know what you might find. I always ask myself does this resonate for me, will I really wear it and reach for this piece everyday? I like to purchase pieces that I will wear, I don’t like for jewelry to just sit in my jewelry box. I don’t necessarily keep a running wish list. Although at the beginning of 2016 I did an IG jewelry wishlist post and when I look back on it now, I did end up collecting some of the items on my wishlist during 2016, (like my French cut eternity band from Platt Boutique Jewelry). Right now I’m coveting high carat gold items – 22K gold bands (I just got one from Metier) and poesy rings, a Georgian memento mori ring and chains, always more chains. Recently, I’ve been loving layering a lot of gold watch chains.

In closing, almost every piece I wear holds meaning for me of something I want to remember or a story I want to tell that day with my jewelry. Jewelry wearing and styling is my personal storytelling.”

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Laura of Maejean Vintage

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Continuing on from yesterday’s Jewelry Collection Story, today we are peeking inside the personal jewelry box of Laura–the other half of Maejean Vintage. Just like her sister, Laura has a love for sentimental and family heirloom pieces. She also added a very important piece into her collection last fall–an engagement ring! And just as expected, it is stunning in every way possible.

If you’re new to Gem Gossip, you may have missed my visit to the Maejean Vintage offices in Pennsylvania in July of 2015. No worries, I’ve got the link for you right here — so make sure you read it or revisit it; it’s a must-see!

We hope you enjoy a look at Laura’s collection and if you missed yesterday’s post, here is the link to her sister Amanda’s collection story.

Laura’s Collection:

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Above: Laura’s engagement ring! It took almost two years of searching until we found my dream ring. With being in the industry myself, I couldn’t let him purchase a ring at normal retail prices. We ended up getting an amazing deal on it! Marty proposed to me on my 30th birthday, September 22nd 2016, before leaving for our beach trip.

From a very young age, I was completely enthralled with jewelry; It’s hard to recall back to a time I was not collecting it! When I was a little four month old baby, the first thing I “reached for” was my Mom-mom’s vintage 14k gold garnet cluster ring, which she often wore. When our Mom-mom passed away, I inherited the sentimental ring around 10 years old. Also around this age, my grandmother (on my father’s side) gave me a 14k gold sapphire ring for Christmas. Since then, I have been officially hooked on jewelry and have been collecting for two solid decades! (Guess I am giving away that I have hit the age 30 milestone!)

I am a huge fan of filigree designs in jewelry. The ornate scrolling metal work gets me every time! Lately I have been on the hunt for special figural animal jewelry that speaks to me. I am hoping to add a special antique fox and / or dog design ring to my collection soon!

Vintage jewelry is my passion because of its beauty, history, sentimental value, and craftsmanship. The history of vintage jewelry is so fascinating – from the design periods, symbolism, provenance, and decoding maker’s marks.

I love to pick up special vintage jewelry wherever I go! Whenever I travel to a different area for any occasion, I absolutely have to check out the coin shops, antique malls, auctions, and flea markets. Each marketplace has its own special perks. There’s the thrill of bidding at auction, excitement of finding a valuable piece for a few dollars at a market, and the satisfaction of “saving” a piece destined to be melted down for its precious metal at a coin shop.

My family heirloom jewelry is all extremely special to me! Interestingly enough, some of the jewelry passed down to me has unknown origins. Part of the collection was given to me by an unknown family member when I was extremely young to “play” with. We believe the family member must have thought the pieces were all costume jewelry, without value. I am extremely thankful that I somehow managed to safely keep these pieces over the decades. As I gained more knowledge of antique jewelry years later, I realized the pieces were mostly fine antique jewelry including 10k rose gold Victorian Era jewels!

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Amanda of Maejean Vintage

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I’m so excited to share this month’s Jewelry Collection Story with you all because I know how much we collectively love the Maejean Vintage sisters! You probably own at least one piece from their Etsy shop, with over 12,000 sales made to date, I’m more apt to say you probably own several pieces! I know I do! It is fascinating to think over 12,000+ items have passed through these sisters’ hands–it leads one to be curious as to what is in their personal collections?! What pieces have they come across over the years that they just couldn’t bear to sell?! What jewels struck a chord with Laura and Amanda?

We are so lucky both were eager to share and put together these photos and stories of their collections. We decided to do a two-day, back-to-back event featuring the collections of both sisters–first up is Amanda’s collection, the younger of the two sisters!

Amanda’s Collection:

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

These are some of the necklaces in my collection. The most special one is the dog tag that belonged to my Pop-Pop when he was in the USMC. I feel honored to have inherited it. The garnet cluster pendant was a Valentine’s Day present from my honey. I adore it! Sometimes I wear it on a long gold chain and other times I wear it as a choker.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My most recent acquisition: an antique pale amethyst with a seed pearl halo which I wear in memory of my Aunt Cindy.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My favorite bracelets are the gold filled bangles that I love to stack, and the two silver bracelets I inherited from my mother (the charm and the cuff), which she use to wear when she was in her twenties. The platinum and diamond pin is a family heirloom that I occasionally wear on a chain or a dress for special occasions!

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

Left: I don’t wear earrings often, but when I do I keep it simple with the Victorian paste stones, or dress it up with my garnet dangles. Right: Vintage and antique rings in my jewelry collection. I am always on the look out for rings that feature sparkly old cut diamonds, endearing terms (my PET ring is one of my favorites!), or unique shapes!

My vintage jewelry collection really started around the time my sister and I opened our online vintage jewelry store, Maejean Vintage, in 2010. My collection is definitely smaller than I would ideally like, because I have such a hard time keeping pieces for myself! I know a lot of other sellers have that same guilty feeling when keeping a piece instead of selling it! Because of this, I only keep a piece in my collection if I absolutely ADORE it and it speaks to me on a personal level.

When I first started collecting, I was drawn to dainty and intricate pieces, mostly from the Art Deco Era. As my knowledge of different eras developed, so did my collection! My jewelry consists of pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Mid Century, and Modern eras. I am finding myself more drawn to bigger and bolder pieces as time goes on. I especially have a soft spot for rings!

Being a student at GIA has introduced me to the wonderful world of gemstones, so I am definitely drawn to gemstone jewelry — especially diamonds, garnets, emeralds and sapphires!

I have had the best luck finding jewelry for my personal collection at antique flea markets – especially the large flea market that happens three times a year in Brimfield, MA! I love flea markets because it really is like a big treasure hunt and I also enjoy the ability to haggle ;). eBay and Etsy have also been great marketplaces for finding unique pieces from all over the globe!

A lot of my pieces have strong sentimental value to me and represent people, places, or different times in my life. I recently acquired this amethyst and seed pearl ring which I wear in memory of my aunt, who adored the color purple. Seed pearls can represent tears, which is also very fitting.

Antique jewelry is my biggest passion – I love imagining where the pieces have been, and who cherished them before they came to me. I feel so lucky to have a career in connecting other people with sparkly old gems! <3

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Leslie of @PinkPirahnah

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This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from someone I’ve actually met in person, which doesn’t happen too often since so many people from our lovely Instagram community are from all parts of the world. Leslie came to the GIA Alumni meeting when I spoke in DC last summer and I recognized her right away because of the opal ring she was wearing! Funny how sometimes that happens. It has been fun getting to know her on Instagram and am so excited she agreed to share her personal collection story with us–take it away Leslie:

“I am a total museum junky by nature and my love for classical art and history runs deep. However, jewelry as art was not on my radar until about 12 years ago when I found my first vintage piece, the pretzel ring. Yes, I had a few token pieces of mall jewelry but I never really thought there was much substance to jewelry until I discovered the vintage and antique world. A golden pretzel with diamond salt appealed to my sense of humor and art. It was also meaningful to me as a Speech Pathologist working with my special needs children on requesting items, one of those items was actually pretzels! I can’t tell you how many kiddos have actually tried to lick it over the years! This one ring started an obsession but also introduced me to my friend Lara from Icon Style in NYC. I learned so much from her over the next few years and with her help I really grew my collection and love for all eras.

My current collection includes Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau. Art Deco, Vintage and a few Georgian pieces. I don’t necessarily have a preferred era but I think the biggest appeal of antique and vintage jewelry is how unique and detailed the pieces can be. Color is a big factor for me but most importantly I like quirk. If it’s funny or unique, I have to have it! I love to mix and match eras and pile it on pretty thick. Certainly, no one would accuse me of neglecting my jewelry.

One thing I wear every day is obviously my Art Deco engagement ring. I had always assumed I would get a Victorian cluster ring but when I tried this piece on I fell hard for its lively black opal.

The one motif that I am magnetically drawn to is snakes. I can spot a serpent in a jewelry case like a shark scenting blood in the water. In fact, I found my tiny snake earrings despite their purposely discreet location in my friend’s display case. In the histories of various civilizations, snakes have come to symbolize many ideas but my favorite is that of eternal love. Symbolism aside, snakes have the unique visual impact that I find hard to resist.

Charms are another obsession I have. I try to limit myself but I just love some of the funny and super detailed pieces you can find. My favorite charm is my vintage gold ghost. He is perfectly crafted and has the most beautiful brown marquise diamond eyes that peek from behind his sheet.

Another style of jewelry I desperately love is Art Deco era “pools of light.” Layering these rock crystal orbs is addictive but also causes some serious neck strain. I have several pieces but the most interesting one is a rock crystal orb the size of a jaw breaker. It is completely encased in an open silver work shell depicting bunnies paddling in canoes.

Rings are my go-to to buy and again I don’t discriminate. I collect a variety of stones, styles, and metals. One thing I don’t like to do is size my rings. I have a few exceptions but in general I try not to alter the finger bling that comes into my collection. If one is too big I simply stack it with gold bands to adjust the fit.

When I was first collecting I would shop at Icon Style in NYC and I would go to all the big NYC shows religiously. Having relocated to the DMV area I have had more opportunities to go to antiquing in rural areas but also go to the bigger shows like the DC flea and the Baltimore Antique Show. I don’t shop online much but I have found several lovely pieces through the Instagram community.”

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Leslie –> @pinkpirahnah

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Malena of Malena’s Boutique

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SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! LXXXVII

underthecrownjewelry metiersf hurryupwait eatjewels

levysfj thegemdiaries stephenwebsterjewellery trademarkantiques sixthcitystyle

 

underthecrownjewelry is mainly known for their beautiful diamond rings, but yes they carry gemstone favorites

Metier always killing it with gorgeous, lustworthy ring shots from their curated inventory

hurryupwait works on Catbird but spotlights as a magpie when trunk shows pop up in NYC

eatjewels has some drool-worthy pieces in her collection

Levy’s Fine Jewelry celebrates opals–this may have been from October, but we should celebrate opals everyday

thegemdiaries piles on some Gabriella Kiss rings and yes they look amazing

Stephen Webster Jewellery makes a beautiful photo with his designs and a sexy backdrop

Trademark Antiques has an eye-catching assortment of diamond rings, loving them

sixthcitystyle has an awesome collection, we need her to contribute her Jewelry Collection Story!!

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Jennifer of @Dupkaspike

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To end out the year, our last Jewelry Collection Story comes from Jennifer, or as many may know her on Instagram, @Dupkaspike. Her collection is eclectic, heavily sentimental and so fun to look at. She captured her collecting essence perfectly in these photos. Now if only I can meet her one day and she them in person! 😉 …take it away Jennifer:

I can’t say that I have always loved jewelry, but I can pinpoint the moment when the love affair began. When I was 16, my Dad took me into Keil’s, an antique jewelry store on Royal Street in New Orleans, and bought me two rings. One was a mother of pearl cameo with an onyx surround, and another was a rose gold carnelian with a gold inlaid intaglio of a Rose of Sharon.

It was an important moment in my understanding of jewelry. My Mom was a big Southwestern jewelry fan (I’ve inherited her collection), but it wasn’t something that resonated strongly with me, though I admired it. I was drawn more to the sentimental, and to the personal.

I did not do a lot of collecting in early adulthood. My husband is Chinese, and so over the years and when we married, I received traditional Chinese 22k gold and jade pieces as gifts, which I look forward to passing on to my children. Traditional Chinese don’t really like lower-karat gold pieces and I liked history and sentiment; so we were in agreement that mall jewelry wasn’t really for me. The jade pieces are my favorites of these, as is a giant 22k dragon and phoenix ring.

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Over the years I have gravitated to certain genres. As an amateur painter, I adore portrait miniatures, and greatly admire the skill required to produce them. I don’t have many, but I’m always on the lookout for special pieces. Recently I acquired a large Georgian locket brooch, from CJ Antiques, surrounded by amethysts and plan to commission a portrait of my kids and dog. One piece I wear often I got from Duvenay, a pretty portrait of Marie Antoinette, with a diamond halo that was converted from a stickpin.

I’m a strong believer in personalization, so mostly every new piece I own has some engraving or dedication on it. When my kids were born, I bought heavy Tiffany Lucida wedding bands and had their names engraved on the outside and their birthdates on the inside. Similarly, I had their names and birthdates engraved on the inside of gemstone and diamond stacking rings. I have several stacking rings, which I love to mix with larger pieces. One set I wear all the time is two ruby keeper rings from Jewellery Hannah, as well as a giardinetto from Pocket of Rocks. Last year I worked with Hoard Jewelry on engraving to flat gold bands for them with personalized messages. One has the cipher of a “nonsense” love song my son used to sing to me as a child when he was barely verbal; only he and I understand it. He later told me that it was his love song to his Mom, and so of course my heart melted. Other antique engraved pieces of jewelry with dedications or initials I own are mostly amatory, including a Russian rock crystal locket with diamond initials on the face that once held hair; a tiny acrostic locket with engraving and locket space for hair; a large, double heart picture frame, and a banded agate mourning locket. A favorite bangle acquired from Lenore Dailey spells, “Dieu Vous Garde,” or “God Protect You.” I also have a locket with that motif. One of my very favorite pieces it is really quite special. I got it from Glorious Antique Jewelry. It is dated 1790 and has some interesting initials on the back, and a lovely message on the front, “Pour ma Sophie pour toujours ma petite cherie toût, 1790” which roughly translates to, “To my Sophie, you will always be my little darling, 1790.”

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I love LOVE, and as such can’t seem to stop seeking out pansy jewelry. I have several enamel and gemstone pieces—a pendant and pocket watch. Pansy jewelry of course was symbolic of the French for “ Pense à moi,” or “ Think of me.” Similarly a Georgian pendant brooch I find myself wearing often simply says, “ L’Amour,” and is decorated with two seed pearl lovebirds. A garnet and white enamel pendant reads in Latin, “ Dulcis Vita::Tibi Vita,” or “ The Good “ Life; Your Life.” One piece I have, ruby hearts with diamond wings, was acquired from Park Avenue Jewelry and I decided to convert it from a brooch to a necklace. I’m a strong believer that jewelry should be worn, and I realized that it would get a lot more use for me personally as a necklace. I got this piece as my mother was dying, and it will always be very special to me as a remembrance of her.

French St. Esprit pieces are also a love and I get a lot of use out of a French regional cross I found. One of the St. Esprits is probably late 18th century and makes a political statement, with its red and blue pastes. A favorite piece of mine is an 1835 rose cut diamond, gold and silver Halley’s Comet pendant (likely converted from a brooch) that I got from Inez Stodel.

xoxoGemGossip

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