I've been really enjoying getting to know jewelry designers and have some great features in queue. To mix things up a bit though, I am going to start featuring amazing antique collectors and sellers I've met. Everyone has a story, as does every piece of jewelry - I love hearing and then sharing those stories.
First up, a very cool lady - Kim of Estate Jewelry Mama. We became fast friends when she sent me a thank you message for sharing one of her Instagram photo - the message featured a photo of her cat. Also, I am always drawn to tattooed, punk rockers who also love antique jewels.
Kim started collecting vintage jewels long before she can remember. Her dad has been in the jewelry industry since she was born so she grew up loving the shiny and old. The start, as she recalls, was inheriting her choice of her Great Grandma's rings. Kim chose her 1913 class ring - probably the least valuable in her collection, but Kim was drawn to the antiquity and simplicity. Around that same time she was getting into thrift stores and punk rock - she has a large collection of gaudy vintage costume jewelry from thrift stores, antique malls and garage sales.
Estate Mama Jewelry came about because Kim and her parents have a large collection of vintage jewels and, similar to most parents, hers are not computer savvy. Her dad is a gemologist and her mom has a good eye for antique jewels. The three of them work together and Kim thought getting the collection online would be the best way to get the items to the ideal owner. Their goal is to get the pieces they love so much to people who will cherish them.
Kim's favorite era of antique jewelry? Victorian, more specifically Victorian Mourning jewelry. "I just can't seem to get enough of it, and in due time I will add more of these items to my personal collection."
Her favorite ring from the shop is also my favorite. Kim says. "I love our Victorian Mourning Ring with a weaved hair shank, diamonds and seed pearls. I actually put it on hold for a little while so it wouldn't sell. I probably shouldn't be writing this! But I grew attached and I would just keep it on my desk in my favorite box and periodically look at it."
There are as few ways that jewels are chosen for the Etsy shop. Kim shops estate sales and auctions. She pulls scrap gold items from her dad's wholesale business as well as a local pre-refinery that lets them pull and sort pieces. They see themselves as modern day treasure hunters!
Tips for starting your own collection: "There are so many beautiful items and great sellers on Instagram, I would really start there. The internet is great and wonderful, but as far as antique jewelry goes you can't find everything. It is an exclusive market because so much has been refined and melted down the past few years. The best advice I can give is, if you find an item you love grab it quick, because once its gone you may never see it again!"