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Thursday, May 28, 2009


Ornate? Over the top? Old-fashioned? Or maybe, for you, it's beautiful. Or since it's by ART, a vintage designer, it's collectible? Or maybe you just love to wear this kind of jewelry: it's YOU!

Why do we buy vintage jewelry? Are buyers still buying it? A recent article about eBay in the Wall Street Journal got members of our jewelry group talking about buying and selling on ebay, who's doing it, who isn't, why and why not. There were several insightful comments by our members but this one pasted below (with permission), really made sense to me. So I thought my readers might enjoy Adrienne's thoughts on this topic and invite your comments. What she has to say will be of interest to both buyers and sellers. So thanks Adrienne for allowing me to post this and I hope you'll all go visit GARDEN PARTY COLLECTION. She has some awesome items there. Enjoy!

“While there are certainly 'important jewelry' collectors out there, they are way more in the minority than the majority. The pool of people with vast amounts of money to spend on 'important' jewelry is much, much, much smaller than the pool of people who like vintage jewelry in general, or better yet, just like jewelry, new or old.

I sell to everyone. I think a lot of web sites and long time collectors have become elitist. And that's fine for their own collections and tastes. If one has been collecting for years and years, one's preferences do get refined.

There are old collectors new to online shopping, there are new collectors just discovering vintage, there are people shopping for special occasions and there are people who just plain love jewelry, but are looking for more unique pieces and vintage gives that special difference.

As a seller, if you choose to limit your market, that's certainly your option. But there are an awful lot of people out there who buy jewelry, even in hard economic times. In fact, for a lot of people, vintage is a great way to save some money. Its frequently cheaper than the local Nordstroms, or whatever. People are into fun, fashionable and/or affordable jewelry. What better way to perk up a tough week? Jewel therapy.

I don't sell much on ebay, but have begun to do so a bit lately and have done OK with what I have listed. I wouldn't dream of listing my 'good stuff' on ebay though, haven't for years, not a good venue for me. But that doesn't mean it doesn't work well for someone else. I am not buying on ebay, but then, I'm not really buying right now, having amassed a huge inventory over the years. And, it's just good business sense to reduce inventory during a strong recession.

As a dealer, I certainly appreciate you serious collectors, and love it when you throw some of those big bucks my way on a higher end piece. But I've got somewhere between 1500-2000 pieces currently on the web store and every single one is important, at least it is to the person who falls in love with it, regardless of price point or collectibility or rarity. But, I've been an antiques dealer for nearly 25 years now, and an online store owner for nearly half that. And if I had to rely only on serious collectors over that time, I would never have made it through this long. And, if I cut off my own nose to spite my face by limiting my own market, I wouldn't be here either.

The trick in selling online, in my opinion, is not be be the most expensive or carry only the most important, but to offer the unique, the interesting and the desirable, none of which is necessarily synonymous with high-end or important. I hope you will all visit my store from time to time, as you never know when something important winds up in my possession, I hope you don't take offense if I also cater to the billions of other people who wouldn't know a Farhner if it fell on them screaming TF.” (Adrienne, Garden Party Collection)

So, what about you dear reader? Are you still buying vintage jewelry? If so, why? Jewel therapy? Collector? What about the current prices of collectible jewelry? Is it getting too high? Let's hear from you!


asb said...

very interesting.. i agree with the poster that this new trend towards the democratization of antiques and collectibles (particularly of jewlery) is a great thing. sites like eBay and AntiqueSpider have really opened up the industry to "the masses." the antique jewelry industry has been too elitist too long and it is very refreshing to see a change!

alice b.


Thanks again Alice. I presume you're the same Alice who commented on my Sherman Jewelry blog?

Hallie said...

Very pretty design of this jewelry set... Color choice is outstanding!!