Introducing . ..
I was a special education teacher for 31 years and retired this past June. I began selling as part time therapy last year and now am full time employed.
My interest in vintage jewelry was sparked several years ago when I made friends with a local jewelry designer who also has a great love of vintage design. During the past four years, I slowly learned the background of a few of the fine vintage artists especially mid-century Mexican silversmiths I am blessed to be able to rely on my friend Ruth for questions and historical research of pieces that are beyond my abilities, however I have been helped so much by members of the Etsy community as well members of this team. Team membership really affords you a broad community of knowledge and experience found nowhere else.
Eventually I felt ready to try a small shop with a few pieces on Etsy and slowly became more active over the past year and loved the community here at Etsy.
Team membership, participating in listings and treasuries really assisted in allowing me to feel part of a community. I highly recommend it.
So what started as a hobby and interest has become a new career and I find this second profession very exciting.
When did you become interested in vintage jewelry?
I became good friends with a local jewelry designer in Chagrin Falls who also has an interest in vintage jewelry from an art history perspective. Over many conversations and friendly tutorials I began to share her admiration for the artistry involved in many vintage designers such as Georg Jensen, William Spratling, Antonio Pineda to name a few. As my education broadened, I became a small scale collector of some of those artists.
I sold my first piece by serendipity on the other auction site for my good friend the jewelry designer about two years ago. They purchased a ring at an estate sale which turned out to be an 18kt gold Green Tourmaline Paloma Picassa Tiffany Ring. They asked if I thought I would like to take a try selling it for them. This was my first sale and it put a kernel of an idea in my head. I researched a few sites and settled on Etsy and soon opened my shop.
What do you most enjoy about selling vintage jewelry?
Without question I enjoy the relationships with the people on Etsy the most. While selling online would appear to be personally distant, I find the people I meet on Etsy to be quite the opposite.
Do you have a particular sale that stands out for you?
My favorite sale was a carved geisha ring to a young woman in California. She was the most enjoyable customer I have met and is currently studying Chinese history. Again the reason I enjoyed it so much is the relational aspect of the sale. The young woman continues to send me cheerful notes checking in and I really enjoy getting updates about her studies and life.
How do you decide what you want to buy for resale?
I try to buy pieces that speak to me personally. I love jewelry that tells a story, has a history. I like to think about the person who made the piece, how they settled upon the design and what the design meant to them. I also want to be able to give my customers quality pieces that will be able to be worn for many years to come. I don't want a piece that can be found in a department store. It must be unique and individual.
What is your favorite resource for researching vintage jewelry?
A few of my sources are of course the different teams and resources available on Etsy, internet research, my friend the jewelry designer, The Little Book of Mexican Silver Trade and Hallmarks, and Warman's Jewelry Identification and Price Guide.
What is your favorite era or style of jewelry and do you have an example of a favorite piece?
When you’re standing in front of a table full of jewelry, what catches your eye?
If I could always pick my favorite pieces they would be big, bold and silver, usually with a modernist design.
Your views on having a brick and mortar shop?
I never had a brick and mortar shop because I was a full time special education teacher. I decided to try my hand initially at online selling because I could do it part time as a hobby before I retired. Now that I am retired, I have the good fortune to be able to work on my Etsy shop full time and I really enjoy this venue. I wouldn't rule out a brick and mortar shop in the future but for now this is a great adventure and I love it.
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 think I benefit from being a member of the VJSE Team because I literally learn something new every single day. Other team members support me as I practice my craft and become a better Etsy member. I have found nothing but warm acceptance and supportive guidance from other members allowing me to learn in a wonderfully enriching environment. My favorite method of promoting the VJSE Team and my shop remains making treasuries. I love the creative process involved in making a window of beautiful pieces from different shops.