Vintage jewelry, much like vintage clothing, also never goes out of style. In a world filled with repurposing and recycling, it seems that vintage jewelry has been making a comeback. Replicas of beautifully crafted and ornate pieces are found everywhere. However, if you want to find some authentic and unique vintage pieces, go no further than Kudzu’s very own Susan Lauren. We caught up with Susan to find out more about the beauty and timelessness of true vintage jewelry.
Susan, how did you get into selling vintage jewelry?
“Well, I was a big collector. I‘ve been collecting for as long as I can remember. I just decided that I have so much that I should share it with the public.”
When exactly did you start collecting?
“Many, many years ago. Probably when I was a little kid. My aunt was a big collector and we’d go to sales with her- estate sales, yard sales. And then we’d all get a little piece of jewelry. I just cherished it.”
So what did you like most about it?
“I liked the uniqueness and the craftsmanship of fine vintage jewelry. It’s made so well, and you can just look at it and see that it’s going to last. Once you’ve bought something, you’re going to keep it forever.”
Where do you find your best stuff?
“Well I go out to Scotts Antique Market and I also buy online. I shop on Ebay, and sometimes people come in to Kudzu and I buy from them. I still buy from yard sales and estate sales- same thing I’ve done for years.”
Today with so many replica pieces, how can you tell if it’s the real thing?
“You can tell the difference between a replica and a true vintage piece because a replica doesn’t have the detail and it’s not very well made. You can tell it’s not going to last long. It has poor quality. And there’s something about a vintage, old piece that just has that look of quality that you don’t usually see. And once you do this enough, you can always spot a good piece.”
What about advice on how people who do collect this jewelry can keep it to its full potential?
“Well, you need to store vintage pieces away from heat, especially if they have a lot of little rhinestones. If they get hot, the glue will begin to melt and the jewels and rhinestones will fall off. I put mine inside a bag and then into a box. That way if anything does come loose, it’s all in the bag. Just be sure to keep it in a room that doesn’t get very warm. I have one piece in here that’s from the 1900’s and all the little stones are still intact. It was a well-kept and well-loved piece and someone was very careful with it.
What are some of the biggest trends right now with jewelry?
“Pins! Everyone wants the sparkly pins. A lot of young brides-to-be are buying pins to make broach bouquets out of them. We’ve sold a lot of them. People are looking for bargains. And this is the type of thing that doesn’t matter if a stone is missing or if it’s in perfect condition. They are taking 20 or more of these and putting them on their bouquets. Another thing that’s popular right now is repurposing old jewelry and making new necklaces and bracelets out of them- and the bigger the better! Large pieces are really popular.”
If you had to pick one piece that’s your favorite, what would it be?
“This beautiful 1950s necklace. I just like the piece. It takes a unique person to wearsomething like this. It’s a very wild piece. I bought it from a woman who said it came from her aunt who was on the radio in Kentucky. She said she was very flamboyant and wore pieces like this often.”
How do you go about pricing?
“I go on the Internet and try to find as much information on the piece as possible. Also, if I get a good deal, I make sure to pass that along to the customer.”
Is there a piece you have that has a really interesting history?
“Yes, I have a boyfriend bracelet. It’s a charm bracelet and each charm has a different boyfriends name and date on it. It’s from the mid 40’s. Nothing sparkly, just a little charm bracelet, but it meant a lot to the person who owned it.”Another piece that’s really interesting is this pendant. It has a stork on it with two birthstones on it, so it was probably a mothers and the birthstones represent her two children. I just think it is a very beautiful piece and to someone out there, it meant a lot.”
To see the pieces shown above and even more great finds, come check out Kudzu today. No matter your jewelry style, we’re sure you wont leave empty-handed!