While I still love a great new piece of jewelry, my focus over the last few years has been scouting vintage gems. The uniqueness of the piece, the thrill of falling in love with something you found, and the fun of incorporating it into an outfit to bring it all together is so satisfying. When it comes to vintage, there are a few tips to share that I have found along the way. By no means am I am expert, but I certainly love the hunt.
First, you want to find a place that carries a lot of different types of vintage and turns inventory fairly quickly. Find one or two places that carry things you gravitate towards and stick with them. There are so many spots, so having just a couple you go to helps make better decisions.
You also want to get to know the shop owner. Especially if you are looking for something specific. If they do not have it in the store, they may be able to find it for you. They also should have a ton of knowledge on what they are selling. Some pieces are signed or branded by the designers and some are not. Your shop owner should know all about them, what decade they are from, if it is an original or costume piece, etc. The more they can tell you about what you are buying the better, then check out their story by searching for info online on your piece to make sure they are legit.
Every shop I have been to have some sort of bargain bin going on and my best advice is to dig in! It is worth going through. You will not find the heaviest, gem laden pieces, but you could find that perfect long necklace for work or a fun bangle to add to your arm party. Some of the pieces pictured were less than ten dollars, can you tell which ones? Exactly.
Because many of these shops are small businesses and they set their own prices, feel free to negotiate. I have never paid for a piece at any price point for what it was listed for. It works really well if you group together pieces as well and come up with a price for the entire lot. I know it can be nerve wracking, but throw a price out there that you think is fair, it doesn't hurt to try.
Check out your local antique fairs and flea markets when they pop up. There are always great vendors at them and you might find one you love that has a storefront nearby that you can hit up on the regular.
And lastly, buy what you love. It is usually something totally unique and different from what I had been looking for that I end up getting and wearing to death. If you fall for something that you can afford and know that it feels special, get it. There is usually no going back to find it later. Anyone can find a Yurman at the mall, but a unique vintage piece that feels totally original will make you so much more happy.
Here are some of my favorite places that I found all the above at:
Somewhere in Time, Denver
Coast 2 Coast Collection, Santa Barbara
Lulu's at the Belle Kay, Chicago
Sophia Live Lovely, Chicago