I have a strange addiction to vintage – especially vintage jewelry. Things that are worn and have a story just really turn me on. When I started on my jewelry making venture I was unsure of my path; I was creating more of what I thought people wanted rather than what I love. Thankfully, my family began mailing and bringing me little treasures. My husbands aunts (he has FIVE!) were first and it arrived by the box full. Old pearls, lonely clip on earrings, stones, broken necklaces – what they called junk. Well, you know what they say about another persons trash being someone else’s treasure!
I pored over bags and boxes for hours. Looking up maker’s marks and trying to figure out when/where/how something was made. It’s a fascinating jaunt into the past.
They would say to me, “I don’t know if you can use this,” or “maybe you can make it into something.” Ding ding ding!! I had a light bulb moment. It was then I began infusing my jewelry with the vintage feel I so very much loved. I turned away from what I thought was “popular” or “marketable” and really got down to my roots. Once this happened I also studied a lot more about technique and my work improved by leaps and bounds. I fell in love with more than just vintage jewelry – I fell in love with making jewelry.
Recently my mother in law visited. I saw her walk in the door with an old jewelry box (a huge-larger-than-a-bread-box jewelry box!) I almost fell over. It was her mothers jewelry and she wanted me to have it. To wear, to use, to sell – whichever I wanted. She and I sat on the couch with that box for over an hour looking at every piece. From the junky to the absolutely fabulous, it all was dear to me. I loved hearing the stories of how or when her mom would wear something or where she got it from.
I immediately gravitated towards two pieces. The first is a watch worn on a chain. It’s simple yet so elegant. Best yet, it’s still working! This quickly went into the pile for my personal collection.
The second piece was a round brass piece with a woman on it. To me it looked like a locket but Mom didn’t think it was. After careful inspection – YES! it was indeed a locket. I carefully opened it and much to our surprise it was not empty. Two pictures inside, very old and worn, one of a man and one of a woman. I showed this to Mom and tears immediately swelled in her eyes. “That’s my grandmother.” Wow. That’s history right there. It turns out it was her grandmother and grandfather and “Mrs. Quinn”, well, she was quite a fierce woman. During the war, when most women had to “step up”, she ran a bomb factory.
So now you know where the “vintage inspired” actually comes from in my jewelry design. Thanks much to all of my family who continues to enable this addiction I have!!