Mrs. Beadsley’s Jewel Box: An Introduction To Vintage

Debra Lowensteil at Mrs. Beadsely Vintage Jewelry, 2101 Trinity Dr., Suite G. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon
Mrs. Beadsley Vintage Jewelry

I am Debra Lowenstein, the owner of Mrs. Beadsley Vintage Jewelry. I am new to Los Alamos, having moved here three years ago. Nine months ago I moved my shop up the hill from Santa Fe where I was in business for approximately eight years. This is the first of a monthly series of columns I will be writing on various aspects of vintage jewelry.

Since I now live in a town that, in general, appreciates the gift of knowledge, I hope my column will generate interest and inquiries. There is so much to learn about vintage jewelry: where it was made and when, the styles and their correlation to world history and the techniques and materials for producing the various styles.

And then there is the other side of the subject: wearing and caring for vintage jewelry, as well as collecting it.

Some of the reasons I love vintage jewelry are the beauty, the history, the curiosity about who wore the piece first and the ability to wear a piece of jewelry which is unique and won’t be seen all over town.

I also am proud to wear things that are recycled and leave no footprint. My shop throws out almost nothing! Even imperfect and broken jewelry is re-used. Every bit that can be recycled to repair other pieces is plucked from a broken piece of jewelry: rhinestones, chain, jump rings, clasps and more. 

The term vintage is generally defined as an item between 20 and 100 years old. One hundred years and over is the definition of an antique. I have both vintage and antique jewelry in my shop, items from the mid-1800s to the 1980s. At least 90 percent of my inventory is in the vintage category, due mostly to availability. I prefer items in exceptional condition and for that reason and others, I love teaching customers how to care for their vintage jewelry. I am always happy to see your old jewelry and pass on any knowledge I have about its history, condition, value and care.

If you are interested in selling your vintage jewelry I am happy to inform you of its value based on condition, rarity and the current market. If your items are right for my shop, I will make an offer to buy. 

For this series of columns, I’ll be picking a different subject each month. There are just so many fascinating topics to choose from: Victorian jewelry, 1930s dress clips and fur clips, 1950s rhinestone pieces, mid-century copper and silver, Bohemian, Venetian, Murano and other vintage glass beads and jewelry made in other parts of the world. I could go on and on! It will all be fun to me. I hope each month will be interesting to you.

It would be really gratifying to have some of the Los Alamos Daily Post readers come in my stpre at 2101 Trinity Dr., Suite G each month after reading my column to see examples of what I have discussed. After all, the best way to learn about vintage jewelry is to hold it, examine it and appreciate its beauty.

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