When I enter most boutiques, my heart drops when I look at the jewelry selection. Boutique after boutique it’s all the same style and concept. Dainty plain rings for stacking, a little stone dangling off a plain chain, formless or poorly made charms, big rhinestone statement necklaces that fall apart after 2 wears.
Big companies creating these jewelry designs are thinking for profit only. The question at the forefront of their mind is, “whats the cheapest thing I can make, that will sell quickly?” They are not trying to push boundaries, just merchandise.
Good jewelry design comes from the soul not the mind. A well made piece of jewelry will make you feel something inside. A handmade piece of jewelry is not just an object but a living token of passion, imagination, & energy. For this weeks #sundaysilver I have scouted Etsy for designs that made me feel something through the haze of my computer screen. I hope you enjoy the beautiful works of art!
Handmade in Australia, Emgees magical creations will transport you to an underwater oasis, where a sirens song tantalizes your ear, as you explore unchartered kelp forests. Each piece is beautifully designed with attention paid to every detail, from the patina of the metal to the curve of a shell.
A Japanese designer based in New York, Ayaka makes nature larger than life, in the most whimsical ways. Weaving spider web cuffs on your arm and creating fish scale armor to protect you from what goes bump in the forest night, she truly is an artist.
Another wonderful designer from Australia is Nikki Smith, who creates whimsical landscapes to sit atop your fingers. From adorable little hobbit houses & modernist castles, they are wonderful miniatures in wearable architecture.
Based in NY & Beijing this very tiny etsy shop by Designer Weisha Liu, is still a must browse. She has only listed one zodiac pendant for sale, but her novel idea of combining both her daughters & hers zodiac into one necklace & the beauty of the pendants form got her a place on this list. I do hope she expands on the concept.
Sprawling vistas, year round snow capped mountains, the drive to Lake Louise is a destination unto itself. For decades people would save postcards of the famed lake, hoping that one day they would view its beauty in person.
The photos I saw of the lake were so dreamy. So I was inspired to wear something enchanting. A visit here called for lace & snake jewelry!
Snakes are rare in Banff National Park (where the lake resides) and non existent at Lake Louise, I didn’t let that deter me from wearing my slithery jewels, what’s a little invasive species in the name of fashion? Besides the history of snake jewelry is a long and culturally significant one, so I didn’t think Lake Louise would mind!
Mankind’s earliest documented fascination with snakes began in Africa, 70,000 years ago from the Sans people of Botswana.They believed men descended from a python. In a remote cave near their home territory an enormous snake statue, 20 feet long was discovered. Surrounding the statue were ritualistically burned spearheads. It was an amazing discovery because it overturned the idea that the first time human rituals were performed was in France 40,000 years ago.
Snake jewelry appears in just about every major civilization. In ancient Egypt the ouroboros, (or snake eating its tail), signified the cyclicality of life, this concept is found also in Native American, Norse, Greek & Indian cultures. In East Asia dragons, a mystical being, (its creation inspired by snakes) meant wisdom and great powers. This carved (see below) dragon archaic jade dates to 1000 BC and was used for burial ornamentation.
Both of my snakes are inspired by ancient civilizations. The silver bracelets I got at the MET a couple years ago, they were originally a bright silver, but I patinated them to give them more depth. They are a reproduction from an ancient Egyptian bracelet 300 – 250 bc. The ring I found at Brimfield Antique Market last year, I believe its celtic in aesthetic, though its design is inspired by ancient middle eastern cultures. The idea of two serpents entwined as a symbolism for healing, originated in ancient Iran & Syria. You can still see entwining snakes being used in the modern day caduceus, a symbolism of modern medicine.
While at the lake two men were swimming, they deserve some sort of recognition for this as the lake water is rarely above 5c or 40F in temperature.
They inspired me to jump in..
hehe well almost
I hope everyone enjoyed this post, Starting this week I will be posting regularly so please check the blog or get on our email list by emailing email@example.com with the headline “newsletter” for easier reading from your inbox 🙂
Brimfield is one of the last surviving relics of the traditional antique world.(i.e. before ebay) An iconic bazaar with miles full of antique & vintage wares, who knows what untold treasures are to be found. Its a guaranteed adventure, rain or shine.
Having been in the antique world for over 10 years, I’ve attended numerous Brimfield shows. I am writing this guide to help new collectors and dealers navigate this show like a seasoned pro.The guide is set up in three parts, top ten antique buying tips, what fields to visit, and the lowdown on how the show works behind the scenes.
Top Ten Antique Buying Tips At Brimfield Antique Show
1. Leave the Louis Vuitton bag at home, your Prada Shoes are also a no no. Dress extremely casual. I am talking about wearing a shirt with a giant Eagle with the words USA plastered on it. Wearing your moms tennis shoes from the 80s is a sure way to knock 10% off your purchase. (thanks mom!) In general many dealers don’t have prices on the merchandise so if you look like your from the city or that you can afford to pay a premium they will quote you a higher price.
2. Look at every single booth. I have walked out of booths that were selling VHS tapes, Stuffed animals & tools with emerald & diamond rings. You have to look at every spot even if its just a quick walk through. Also don’t be afraid to ask if they have something your looking for. Some vendors keep jewelry to the side.
3. One of my first questions I ask a general vendor before even asking to see a piece is, “Is that an expensive piece?” (Don’t ask very established jewelry dealers this, they won’t take you seriously and some of them can get snappy. ) I do this to create a premiss that I am price conscious buyer and don’t want to spend a lot. It will help later for negotiating.
4. I can’t tell you how many times I have paid a premium on an item because when I saw it I got really excited and said “omg I loooovvvveeee this.” I know its hard fellow jewelry lovers but make sure you use your poker face when negotiating to obtain wholesale prices.
5. Do not put anything down that you are thinking about buying. If your shopping a stand and you put an item down and someone else picks it up, you have lost the item. You may say, “Hey I am buying that” and the other customer might be nice and give it to you, but the general rule is if its not in your hand its fair game.
6. Bring a backpack, do not bring a shoulder bag/purse here. Else you will be crying in pain by the end of the week and sympathizing with The Hunchback of Notre Dame. You will find lots of jewelry at the shows especially if you buy costume jewelry. You don’t want to weigh down one shoulder.
7. You must get to the shows early, there is truth to the adage, “The early bird gets the worm”, many of the best items are purchased within the first couple hours of the fields opening. so you must get there early and move quickly from booth to booth. If you know what you are looking for don’t waste time, go to each booth and ask the vendor if they have it, make a quick visual check, then proceed to the next booth.
8. Think positive and never give up. While being early is important, a positive mind set will give you the stamina you need at a huge show. For example while shopping at Brimfield Acres North despite not finding I anything the entire show I kept looking and it paid off. As a dealer was packing up I found two pieces of white jade. Meditate on what you want to find and don’t give up. What separates those who find treasures with those who don’t is Grit.
9. Wear sunscreen & a hat each day of the show, even if its cloudy. Bring small snacks & water with you to keep your energy up, the food lines are long here. Make sure you bring all the cash you can before entering the brimfield area, in previous years the ATMs have run out of money.
My final buying tip is to have fun and enjoy yourself:) Brimfield is one of the last frontiers of the antique world. It’s a magical place where treasures abound, and where you can truly feel like Indian Jones without the danger of boulder rolling over you:)
How to Shop The Fields
Its easy to be confused and overwhelmed by the field map if you have never been to Brimfield before.
As you can see there are alot of fields to check out so i’ll just be reviewing and recommending the fields I think are best for finding fine & costume vintage jewelry. The fields I am highlighting are the fields that all the highly successful antique dealers that I know shop at. With that being said at every field there are treasures to be found and you just never know where you will find that special piece, so if you can explore them all, do! It truly is a treasure hunt!
Tuesday Best Shows
Dealers Choice Tuesday 11am
This show should be your first show stop at Brimfield, it has some of the best dealers of the show. This field is really a treasure hunt make sure you look at each booth to find the best jewels.
Brimfield Acres North Tuesday 1:00pm
If mornings are not your thing but you want an authentic Brimfield experience, I.E. waiting in line and being one of the “first” people in, this is a great field for you. It’s a hodgepodge of dealers from furniture to jewelry but they are well vetted and the merchandise is honest. I always find something really good at this field, this year I took home two beautiful white jade plaques.
Wednesday Best Shows
New England Motel Wednesday 6:00am
Not into digging in a giant tub full of little plastic bags full of jewelry? Want to sip lemonade while leisurely browsing highly curated jewelry? Well than this is the best show for you. Some of the best costume & fine jewelry dealers in the show set up here.You may find the fine jewelry vendors are more expensive compared to the rest of the show but these dealers have spent a lot of time curating and it shows!
Heart of The Mart Wednesday 9:00am
After you’ve had a little stroll at the New England Motel head over to the opening of heart of the mart at 9:00am and stay for most of the day here. Its a huge maze of dealers, there is just so much quality merchandise you will find something you love!
Thursday Best Shows
Mays Thursday 9am
Hands down Mays is the best show at Brimfield. It is also the only truly “fresh” field at Brimfield, Dealers are not allowed to unpack merchandise until after the show actually starts at 9am. Which creates a rather comical scene where both dealers & show goers are frantically unpacking boxes together. Every year people find items worth tens of thousands of dollar of items here.
Friday & Sat Best Shows
J and J Productions Friday 8am Saturday 9am
If you manage to last all the way until Friday and are not completely exhausted than I suggest you make J & J your last stop. Its a good diverse mix of vendors with a good number of out of state jewelry dealers who bring their freshest merchandise to each show. I picked up some beautiful 1920s necklaces here this year!
The Brimfield Lowdown, Behind the scenes!
Traditionally Brimfield is suppose to start on Tuesday and no “buying and selling” is suppose to take place before than. What has happened over the years though is that Brimfield actually starts informally the Thursday prior. Many dealers come early to buy and sell to each other out of hotel rooms. (Don’t worry, most of these items will end up at the show eventually, just at a higher price)
Also many of the Brimfield shows that open on Tuesday have dealers that come in on Sunday & Monday to setup. During setup many dealers are buying from each other and while most of the jewelry items will still be put out for sale (just at a markup) you are still not always getting first dibs at most shows (except mays). Which is why I think Mays is one of the best shows.
With that being said each year million dollar antiques are found at Brimfield after the shows have open. In the end its a matter of luck & just being at the right place at the right time.For example my two white jade plaques that I found at end of the show this year.
My last bit of advice is, if you don’t want to be stuck in hour long traffic do not book your hotel in MA. You are better off staying in CT and coming in through the back roads. If you stay in Sturbridge you WILL be stuck in hour long traffic.
I hope my Brimfield Antique Show guide was helpful let me know if you have any other questions:)Also sorry not having original photos on this one I forgot to take photos I was so busy buying!!
Hello Friends:) Hope you all have been well. Sorry for the delay in between postings but I have been so busy with my businesses that I have neglected my blog! I’ve cut back significantly on my work load by restructuring my businesses, so get ready to see lots of shiny objects on the blog!
Anywhoo back to more important things such as this blog post about an amazing turquoise jewelry store I visited while on a business trip to Paris!
I think my expression from the above photograph sums up the excitement I felt when I entered Harpo Paris. To say I loved everything in the store would be an understatement. The entire walk to the store I was dreaming about turquoise, causing me to walk three blocks too far. Which reminds me of some rather poignant John Lennon lyrics, “you say I am dreamer, but I am not the only one.” We are all turquoise dreamers after all:)
I spent an entire morning in the store peeking in all the corners and crevices, all while adorning myself in turquoise masterpieces from bygone years. I particularly liked this squash blossom necklace with spiny oyster. The Zuni bird rings were absolutely amazing. The inlay work and overall craftsmanship of them was wonderful!
While wandering around the store I stumbled into a back room with the most enchanting lighting, it really set the mood of the store. Having just been to Gallup,New Mexico (a turquoise meca) a couple months ago I really felt that this room captured the spirit of the old west.
I was hoping I could fly away with this Navajo butterfly cuff and impeccably executed petite point Zuni cuff but instead I found myself, leaning against an old leather saddle recounting my horseback riding days while simultaneously wondering if I could justify buying these?
If you have any doubt as to whether or not this store is the stuff that jewelry dreams are made from, I leave you this photo. Until next time my darlings. Hope that this post has satisfied your turquoise tequila cravings for now:)
Brooches, Brooches everywhere this season. From the runways of Prada to the flap of the ever coveted Chanel bag, brooches are making a huge comeback. Long neglected for decades and arguably the most useful accessory they are coming back with good reason. You can wear your brooch in 100s of ways your only limit is your imagination! Hope you enjoy my #justbroochit ideas!
Some mornings my landlord decides that its too expensive to keep the apartment at 65 degrees so he lowers it to 60, naturally this makes all of my necklaces feel like ice against my skin. On those mornings I wear my scarf like a choker and put a brooch in the middle as the centerpiece. Volia! A warm necklace for cold mornings!
If you want to look like you just got back from exploring the Andes, wear a textured scarf and cinch it with a cabochon rhinestone brooch to give it just a hint of sparkle.
If you want to draw attention to your upper body, a long brooch around 3 to 4 inches on one flap of the scarf will do the trick!
If you own a lariat necklace that has a small slider you can make a real statement by adding a brooch just above the slider. This look can be constantly changed and is only limited by the number of brooches you have!
Women in the Victorian era use to place their brooch in the center of their dress to draw attention to um.. ahem, their bosoms. Here I show a more conservative approach but risque renditions are certainly welcomed.
The most classic brooch style for your scarf just place it on the side for a little je ne sais quoi.
A gal can never wear too much sparkle, add a rhinestone brooch to an already sparkly rhinestone necklace.
Are you already considered to be a little quacky and fun by friends & family? Live up to your reputation by embellishing your hat with an animal friend, in brooch form!
I love wearing brooches in my hair. If your hair is thick you can usually just pin it using the brooch mechanism. If your hair is thinner I suggest using bobby pins to secure it. you can check out another hair brooch look here
Here’s a great way to revamp your chunky chains. Pin your brooch pretty much anywhere on your chain to create a unique and fun look. I added a rhinestone brooch here but the possibilities are endless!
Here’s another example of brooching a chunky chain. I have a pretty big brooch collection so when I brooch my chains I want them to have a story to them. The story here is it’s summer again and butterfly’s are all around!
I hope you enjoyed all of my #justbroochit ideas! Show me your brooch style by tagging your posts with #justbroochit on Instagram & Pintrest.
Tag your photos on instagram with #artadorned to show us how you adorn your jewels!