Circa 1860, a Victorian 15k “Dearest” acrostic ring set with a diamond central stone and surrounded by (clockwise from top) emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire and topaz.
Hi! Welcome to Dearest, wherein I enthuse about a selection of interesting bits and bobs I find on auction or through various dealers. This column used to exist on the late, lamented Hairpin, but now I’m bringing it back in a free newsletter format.
Despite being endlessly fascinating, antique and estate jewelry is still an extremely underserved topic online. There are very few venues available for us to learn about the history behind individual pieces of jewelry, and that history, to me, is the most interesting part. Yes, these things may be shiny and pretty, but why exactly do they look the way they do? How did they come to be? Why did the designer use that particular stone or metal or whatever? I WANT TO KNOW. So anyway, that’s what I’m trying to do here.
I have no set plan for what I cover - I basically just include whatever pops up and takes my fancy, so it’s all a bit random and shouty, sorry. And while a lot of the things I post are ridiculously expensive due to age or maker or material, there are still totally affordable options out there for people who are willing to seek them out. I try to make sure I regularly link to dealers who offer a cross-section of affordable stuff alongside all the auction ostentation. I may occasionally include non-jewelry items as well, because sometimes these things are just irresistible. But I promise they’re worth it!
Who am I?
I’m an enthusiastic dingus; hi! I’m not currently involved in the jewelry industry, but I spent around 13 years juggling various writing and editorial positions for JCK, a jewelry trade magazine that has been in print since 1869. JCK was where I fell in love with antique jewelry (eventually becoming the editor of their antique and estate section) and where I also learned to research my ass off, because I started out as a 20-something idiot writing for people who had literally decades more knowledge than I did. I survived a progression of downsizings until they eventually came for me, too, and I left the industry only to (sort of, not really) return in 2011 with a regular column for The Hairpin about antique and estate jewelry. That lasted around four years, and sadly the Hairpin and its Awl parentage have since gone to the Blog Graveyard.
Why sign up?
Because you don’t have time to scroll through a billion auctions and websites to find weird and wonderful nonsense and shout about it online. I mean, I don’t either, but I do it anyway.
If — and that’s a big old if — this thing takes off, I may eventually introduce a paid subscription option, but I’ll always keep a few posts free and all-inclusive.
Hit me up with an email or on Twitter @rococopacetic if you have any questions or just want to chat, and please, tell your friends!
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