The Art of Fashion + [store]

Vintage Jewelry

Cintia Gym

I'm overwhelmed is the first thing out of my Mom's mouth when she looks at the piles of vintage jewelry waiting to be sorted and photographed. She’d always enjoyed vintage items. It began as a child visiting her Grandma Watson's turn-of-the-century farm. An Edwardian lady from Kansas, Grandma Watson would leave her imprint on my mother’s life and her aesthetic tastes. Finding things that reminded her of my great-grandmother became the goal later in life. She started to acquire pieces of jewelry, some which just looked nice, and then began to do the research. It only took a few pieces before my mother was hooked. After many years the collection grew and my mother became a connoisseur of sorts when it came to vintage jewelry.

This is the honest truth, all of these items either came from thrift stores and consignment shops. My mother is a bit better when it comes to self-control than I am and I’ve rarely seen her buy anything for more than $15. Yes, building a costume jewelry collection is completely possible within a small budget and my mother's work is proof of that.

So asking her to bear her tips, though I sure she kept a few to herself in order to wend off the competition. Here are the things my mother keeps in mind when she approaches the glass case at the thrift store.

1. She always looks for pieces that she likes. She never keeps her eyes out for pieces for gold or diamonds. She tells me nothing will make you more happy than a piece you like versus heavy junk filled with diamonds.

2. The stones, the metal, hardware and condition are the most important things. Never buy a piece that has replaced parts, including clasps and chains. If it looks as if it has been added on, it devalues the piece. Original is key!

3. Look for a signature. Anything with a signed piece has an increased value. That is why my mother carries a small magnifying glass in her purse. Designer names want to be seen, so it will visible somewhere on the back of the piece.

4. Designers use different signatures overtime. The same designer will not use the same signature in 1940s than in the 1960s.

5. When looking at a piece with stones prong settings are the best. Prongs help keeps stones secure and is proof of better craftsmanship so it adds to the value. Glue ends up yellowing and is a factor of cheap production.

6. When looking for pieces with stones, avoid pieces with similar shapes. The visual appeal is lost with pieces with the same shaped stones versus different shapes and sizes within a piece.

7. If the stones are cloudy, chipped, or missing move on. Try not to find pieces that need a lot of repair.

8. Always look for pieces where the stones are in variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

We argued and majorly edited the final submissions. These are our favorites and the best of the best, but to give you the scope of the collection these pieces only surmise of 20% of her whole collection. Above is the entire collection, all the jewelry is stored in containers, organized to the brim within labeled boxes. Yeah, it was a long night.

Sadly, I cannot get to every designer, but I can brush upon the basics and proudly show some of our favorite pieces.