Some of you may know Rose on Instagram as @lilgreenhouse. She is a collector, whom we all envy for sure. It’s always so nice and fun to discover which new pieces she acquired for her collection.
My first jewelry influence is probably my mother. She has always given my sisters and I to wear, but my biggest thrill was when I went to the safe deposit box with my mom; watching her pull out little jewel-toned silk pouches filled with jewelry, as she rummaged through her box looking for passports or documents. It was like a opening a treasure chest of mysterious pieces of gold, gems and pearls. She has a collection that could rival any collector. The ironic thing is that you will never see her wear anything other than a simple pair of diamond studs, a gold coin or jade pendant, and her wedding ring. If you see her wearing another piece from her collection, other than the pieces she normally wears, I immediately notice! She has since given some of her pieces to me over the years and it tickles her that I actually wear these on a daily basis.
A few heirloom pieces that I wear on a daily basis. The “LUCKY” necklace was once a bracelet I wore as a small child and I had remade into a necklace, using an old watch chain. The large jade and diamond pendant is from my mother’s collection. I remember being there when she bought it and was promptly stashed away, never to be worn. I feel fortunate that I own this and can give it the love it deserves.
As for my own collecting, I started seriously collecting at about twelve years old. I was earning money working for my mother’s business after school and during the Summer months, and rather than spend it on clothes or junk food, I went to the thrift shops and bought jewelry. I was very drawn to mid-century costume pieces for the riot of colors and the availability. Eventually, I started collecting mid-century modern, such as Sigi Pineda, NE From, Georg Jensen, then later, silver pieces by Tiffany & Co (mostly Elsa Peretti), and Jordan Schlanger, with various fine and costume pieces intermingled in between. I wasn’t collecting with the mindset that I was looking for collectibles… I had no clue! Instead, I bought pieces that looked to be well-made and unique; I wanted to find pieces I love, and put these together to inspire me everyday.
I love to mix up my vintage pieces with new contemporary pieces. Good design is timeless and makes for effortless dressing.
Jewelry to me is also a scrapbook of my life. While I enjoy wearing jewelry for the pure enjoyment of it, there are pieces that I wear constantly to remind me an event in my life or a person that I may have lost. Some of my favorites are gifts from my husband, each signifying a special moment in our lives together.
Favorite pieces my husband has given me over the years; each a reminder of a significant point in my life.
Now my collection ranges from early Georgian to very modern and contemporary. I’m a bit of a hoarder and, being a sentimental fool, I have every piece of jewelry I’ve owned since I was a child, even the broken pieces that can’t be repaired! I consider myself the Sybil of jewelry collecting and buying. There is really no rhyme or reason to what I collect. If I have what I call a “Jewelry Dream” – usually a dream involving me wearing the piece before I even buy it – it’s destined to be in my collection. On Instagram, I’m known for my daily jewels posts and my deep passion for Bohemian garnets and mid-century modern. (Not to say I don’t get giddy for other jewelry!!) The wonderful friends I’ve met on Instagram knows me so well, they will tag me if they see a piece they know I would love. It has been truly amazing how many people I’ve met on Instagram that shares my love for jewelry and have amazing collections that I can peek at daily, like I’m there in person with them.
A typical “Daily Jewels” post. When I would get dressed everyday, I would usually plop my jewelry on top of my dresser and figure out which pieces I would wear. Now that I’m on Instagram, the only thing I do in addition to this is take a photo and share it!
My garnet collection just keeps growing and growing. There’s something luscious about the color of garnets.
I also enjoy mixing my pieces up for daily wear, very rarely saving pieces for only special occasions. I could be wearing a very fine piece with another piece that I bought for fifty dollars. All jewelry is precious to me; but not so precious that you should hide it away in a jewelry box and never wear. Having said this, I also make sure to have my fine pieces checked out every couple years by a trusted jeweler to be sure the settings are secure or to make any repairs that may be needed before the worst can happen. For costume pieces, I go to Rhinestone Rosie in Seattle. I’ve known Rosie for as long as she’s opened her shop and I trust her with all of my costume jewelry repairs.
Trying to pick out pieces for an event I had to attend. Instagram is like having my buddies help me get dressed.
If I were to give advice to a budding collector, it would be to first buy what you love and what you would actually wear. Then learn about what you’re buying. I’ve learned so much from the jewelers and dealers I’ve met over the years. One thing I truly enjoy about being a part of the Instagram jewelry community is I have learned a great deal of the history of jewelry from the many friends I’ve met there. I feel privileged to be part of this small community. If a new collector is still unsure, I would advise them to ask us! We are a friendly and knowledgable lot from all over the world. If one can’t answer your question, I’m sure there is someone that can or can direct you to someone who can. Over time, you will find your “collector’s eye”; whether it’s spotting a piece from a certain era you may be drawn to, or a certain maker’s design, or if you just love a certain type of jewelry, like Bohemian garnets. There is a wide range of jewelry out there!
While my collection consists mainly of fine jewelry, I still love to go back to my collecting roots. A Juliana brooch I recently purchased that consists of uranium glass. Uranium glass is a very recent obsession of mine.
[All images by Rose]