Friday, June 1, 2012

Introducing . . .Gayla Esch

Les Bernard 
(I think I have a total of 65 of these little character pins 
that are sterling silver with a gold overlay)

Gayla Esch

Jewel Seeker & That’s So Retro

Years in Business:   Approximately 15
Number of Sales online:  715  

Brief Bio 
Five years ago my husband and I retired.  Our dream was to move into an RV and travel the United States and Canada.  We got to Central California, and have pretty much landed here for much longer than ever anticipated.  We bounce between Oregon, Washington and California, checking out local antique shops, stopping at road side garage and estate sales and going to auctions.  Our adult daughters are married and have families (one daughter has three boys and the other has three girls).  Family is our number one priority.  We have been selling vintage jewelry for almost 15 years now and collecting much longer.  My husband loves the historical aspect of collecting and I love all things sparkling!

When did you become interested in vintage jewelry?  

 I’ve had a love affair with jewelry since I was 20 years old and worked at The Bon Marche (Macy’s has since bought them out), and was put in the linen department which was just around the escalator from the jewelry counter!  I couldn’t get out with my full paycheck, as I loved to buy jewelry back in the early 1970’s.  I love what I call skinny chains with pendants, medium sized hooped earrings, and wore a lot of bangles.  Goldette was one of my favorite designers and probably one of my favorite pieces was the slider style bracelets that they made. 

Are you a collector or a seller?  

 I do both.  I have always sold so that I could collect; but this past three years I began selling to supplement our retirement.  I still collect.  I have three jewelry collections including:  Designer Les Bernard sterling silver figurals, enamel guilloche rose jewelry and compacts, and figural frog jewelry.   I love the hunt, whether it is to find new pieces that will fit into my personal collections or picking pieces for my customers. 

Les Bernard Frog Brooch 
I have somewhere 
around 100 frogs (rhinestone to 
enamel and sterling silver to 18KT gold).   
My friends know I collect the frogs, 
so most of them have come by me as gifts!

There is a long story about the guilloche 
rose collection that I have, but the bottom line
 is that I have a special childhood memory of my 
mom wearing the enamel guilloche earrings.   
I have close to 100 pieces of the rose 
jewelry and compacts.


Do you have a particular sale that stands out for you?    
Probably the most memorable sale that I have had took place in 2004.  We had a jewelry booth set up at the Coburg Antique Faire in Oregon.  A group of young women, approximately 25 – 30 years of age, came into the booth.  They were all talking about their husbands and fiances’, and this one girl picked up a light blue rhinestone necklace and said, “Wouldn’t this look great with a wedding dress?”  At the time, she had no certain someone special in her life, but was dreaming of the day she would marry.  Off they went to another booth.  Approximately and hour later, this girls friend came to the booth, picked up the necklace and purchased it.  This is the bride who wore the necklace.  Here is a link to her Wedding story -

What venue for buying do you most enjoy buying from?  

 I shop multiple buying platforms, Antique Stores, Private Customers, pickers, auction houses, Garage Sales and Estate sales.  Probably my favorite venue are the Estate Sales.  It’s so fun to go early and meet up with other people who are out hunting.  In the world of dealers, many of us know each other, and it’s always fun to compare notes and talk about our common interests – Antiques and Collectibles!

 What is your favorite resource for researching vintage jewelry?  
 My all time favorite is to go to the Jewelry Ring Mall  ( find multiple resources.  I also find multiple resources when I go to the Jewelry Ring Blog  ( There is nothing better than being able to land on one site where there are links to most anything you want to know about: designers, findings, dating, and terminology.  I also use two books fairly consistently;  Hallmarks of the Southwest by Barton Wright and The Littlest Book of Mexican Silver Trade and Hallmarks.  I have several digital books that I have purchased and downloaded onto my computer:  Costume Jewelry 101, 202 and 303 as well as Juliana Jewelry by Ann Pitman.  I really enjoy the digital books – easy to read and great pictures!

When you’re standing in front of a table full of jewelry, what catches your eye? 
For the most part, I am drawn to figurals, sterling and gemstones.  I wear the sterling and gemstone jewelry; and although I will always love the rhinestones, I choose to wear the more modernist style.  I thoroughly enjoy buying, taking pictures, handling and selling the sparkling rhinestones!
My favorite find ever was this Panetta Rhinestone Frog Ring!  
 I’ve never seen another one like it!

Have you ever had a regret about selling an item – wished you had kept it? 
I have several items that I have sold over the years that I really regret selling.  One of my favorites is a sweet frog brooch that was extremely unusual.  I collect frog jewelry but this particular piece was very unique.  I never planned on selling it, but an opportunity came up to make a major personal purchase and I decided to sell quickly some of my jewelry.  I’ve always regretted selling this frog brooch!

Do you have or have your sold in a brick and mortar shop
We have several jewelry cases up in Ilwaco WA, at the Antique Gallery.  My friends own the Antique Gallery, and I’m very fortunate to be able to send my jewelry up to them, and they display it.  I love going up there and seeing the great jewelry that I have – I just don’t get up often enough to really enjoy it!  I really enjoy and prefer selling online. 

How do you most benefit from being a member of VJSE?  What is your favorite method of promoting the VJSE Team and your shop? 

I have been a member of VJSE for almost three years.  I could not even imagine selling on Etsy without the guidance from this team.  The comraderie is fun, encouraging and helpful in keeping me motivated!  When promoting my team, I really like to use twitter, and it is so much easier because of the tweet generators.  My very favorite tool to use when promoting my shop is Shop Marketing Helper ( ), because I can schedule my shop tweets to go out to twitter, stumbleupon, tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.  If I am shopping, I almost always will Pin my finds to my Pinterest boards.

Social Media Links:    
WeHeartIi -

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