It’s wonderful the people you meet at local vintage fairs. These shows aren’t just good for the frocks and the chats, but for uncovering the hidden gems in the vintage vending world.
While I sat at my stand I spent most of the day eyeing off pieces at the stall directly opposite me. A black cloche hat with a waterfall of feathers, a large silver bow with strategically placed diamontes, and the perfect little leopard print pill box hat. When I realised I could wait no longer and simply had to add the leopard print to my collection, I wandered over to make the deal. While handing over my paltry sum for this pretty piece, I struck up a conversation with the stall holder and owner Marsha Byron. Here was a lady with a familiar sense of drama and a passion for fabulous I could well relate to.
Marsha began to tell me about how she and her daughter had set up their business, Designer Showcase, when the passion for vintage jewellery over took them both like wild fire. Seeing its beautiful construction, the settings both delicate and decadent, and learning its history, became something they longed to collect and share. Like me, they both have an enduring passion for beauty but are quite miffed (is that a nice way to say it?) about the trend for “cheap”, imitation vintage jewellery.
When shopping at your local mall in Australia, you’ll now find fewer than three retailers who all sell these sorts of pieces. Sourced in bulk overseas, tarted up with the marketing wand, then sold off to you at the “bargain” price of $49.95. Your “new vintage” jewellery may last the night if you’re lucky (I’ve tried and can say every single one has needed repair after the first wear), but it’s not a patch on the real thing.
A week of so later, I went to visit Marsha in her studio amongst black velvet cushions of jewel encrusted pins and displays of dripping milk glass adornments. It’s easy to see why I stayed nearly four hours.
Simply referring to the Designer Showcase pieces as “Vintage” is a bit of a misnomer, as there are pieces in this collection from Victorian times. While not all of the very oldest may still be wearable in their original form, Marsha takes a sensitive hand to rework some of these pieces into new forms. A lonely earring becomes a cocktail ring, a hair slide can become a statement brooch; and so the story continues.
This story has a lovely ending / beginning for us too, as I’m proud to announce that Designer Showcase Vintage Jewellery is now an official sponsor of Vintage Current! This means that we’ll have the inside track on all kinds of lovely pieces for you, competitions, giveaways and even more beautiful pictures.
With prices beginning at approximately $20-$55 for earrings, brooches around $30-$60, necklaces at $30-$100+ for those super special special pieces, this is my new Australian online go to for all occasions. So don’t waste your hard earned pennies on “cheap” new tat, go vintage all the way!