So Major—Katie Diamond Teaches Us to Shop for Estate Jewelry
Even before she launched her own straight-up stunning jewelry line in 2008, Katie Diamond was hitting up antique shows and estate sales to get her hands on standout, time-tested pieces. “They just don’t make them like that anymore! I look at my estate jewelry collection all the time for inspiration,” she says. Below, insider-y tips for landing the best scores yourself (with pics of some of Katie’s very-major finds).
“Dealers want to sell their pieces as much as you want to buy them. Usually there is wiggle room in the price.”
3) If you love it, buy it!
“I still think about the ones that got away. The thing with estate jewelry is that you probably won’t come across another piece like that ever again.”
4) Don’t shy away from unfinished pieces.
“Sometimes I like pieces that are unfinished; I have a whole collection of engagement-ring mountings ranging from 1900 to the 1950s. I especially love the filigree detail they have. If you have a reliable jeweler, you can replace missing stones, make repairs, and resize most pieces. I’ve repurposed lots of jewelry.”
5) Find an estate dealer…
“My go-to is Ellen of Elle Montgomery. She scours the tri-state area to find amazing pieces. One of my favorite things about working with her is that she knows my style and will keep an eye out for pieces she knows are me. She is super-knowledgeable about the history of jewelry and is great at finding a diamond-in-the-rough at a reasonable price. While it’s great to find jewelry on your own, sometimes it is worth the peace of mind to purchase through a dealer.”
(Ellen of Elle Montgomery: 201.488.5858 x311)
6) …Or a shop you trust.
A few of Katie’s faves:
+ Bell and Bird in Austin
“Their collection of Victorian jewelry is second-to-none. I love how they curate the site—and that every piece has a detailed story. You can tell that they are experts in the field.”
+ Erie Basin in Brooklyn
“There is such a unique mix of product at this shop. I love a store where you can get an old treasure for a good price, and Erie Basin definitely has beautiful items at any price range. Their blog is also an endless source of inspiration for me!”
+ The Pier Antique Show in NYC
“I love a treasure hunt, and that’s exactly what the antique show is. You can find just about anything there, and I really like buying jewelry where you talk with the seller to get the story of the piece and negotiate the price. The whole experience of acquiring a piece of jewelry here adds to its story for me.”