For as long as I can remember, I've had an affinity for vintage jewelry. I credit my grandmother for this love - she has a wild sense of style and a fantastic jewelry collection to boot. It started with her costume jewelry - I remember piling on strands of her necklaces and wearing them to school, desperately trying to figure out a style of my own. Then I observed her ring collection, copying her look of one on every finger (which she and I both still wear today). I yearned for holidays as she got older, hoping she would gift her granddaughters a piece from her finer collection, or the special occasion (a birthday, graduation, or just because) when she would let my sister or I pick out something we loved.
What I always loved most about her collection of jewelry was the stories behind it. Some pieces she found at flea markets overseas, others were gifts from my grandfather. Some she can't remember how or why she got them. But she speaks about each piece with pride, and her eyes light up as she regals my family with stories about them.
As I've gotten older, and since opening Shelter, I've settled into a style of my own - some new pieces, but many old. I've given myself permission to treat myself to a vintage piece to mark new occasions: an opal ring for the shop opening; a stunning art deco diamond and emerald ring for my birthday. I love picking up things here and there, and often wonder who owned the piece before, or how it got into their hands. I also like to think my grandma gives me a slight wink whenever I purchase something new - her way of giving me permission to splurge.
With all of the uncertainty going on in the world today, I find myself gravitating more and more toward my vintage collection. I've been wearing a charm necklace I have with a collection of charms I've acquired over the years - an elephant charm my best friend gifted me on a trip to London; a horseshoe I picked up who knows where; and of course, one of my grandmother's charms. They give me a sense of security when everything else feels so up in the air. I hold them close to my heart when I'm sad, fidget with them when I'm anxious, and proudly wear them when I'm happy.
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A Quick Note on Vintage, Estate and Antique Jewelry
There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to the terms Vintage, Estate and Antique jewelry. Estate jewelry is a broad category that includes any jewelry that was previously owned. Estate jewelry can be vintage or antique. The term antique jewelry tends to be used for jewelry that’s at least 100 years old, where as vintage jewelry tend to be in the 50 to 100 year old range.