Lovely Laurel from Eclectica or http://www.eclecticala.com/, a favourite vintage jewellery site of mine which I have been visiting regularly for the past years, agreed to answer some questions and share some of her experience with jewellery.
In the run-up to Christmas she has also honed in on Christmas Holiday jewellery, especially on Christmas trees. Her site has been on the web since 1998 but she has been in business selling vintage jewelry on the web two years prior to the current site. She is located in Florida, USA.
FF - How did you start in the business of selling vintage jewellery and do you also have a shop or is it just online business?
Laurel - Like many, I started as a collector and decided to sell some items when my collection required too much space and I wanted to collect other categories of jewelry. I used to have a physical shop location but decided to sell strictly online in 2001.
FF - How many items do you reckon you have in stock at any given time?
Laurel - Oh, dear! Stock comes and goes but I don't count what is stashed away - maybe 8,000 pieces that are within reach and much more is put away!
FF - Where do you get most of your jewellery - does it involve a lot of work to scout around and select items?
Laurel - I never stop shopping! I never take a trip when I do not search for vintage jewelry. Most of my stock comes from estate sales and estate auctions. People also bring me jewelry they want to sell and I buy items from other antiques dealers and shops, too. And, yes, it is time-consuming but I love the thrill of the hunt. I also have pickers who know what I want to buy and they scour other parts of the state and certain areas of the country for me and send me shipments.
FF - Tell me something about Christmas trees - do you remember the first Christmas tree pin you ever had?
Laurel - No, but the first one I truly treasured was given to me 22 years ago by my mother-in-law. She wore it every year for 35 years and I have kept her tradition.
FF - Why do American ladies have such a fascination with them?
Laurel - I think perhaps, because they are so colorful and sparkling and we Americans love glitter and color during the holiday season. Anything goes during the holidays - nothing is too gaudy or festive. Christmas trees are FUN whether they are 10 feet tall or 2 inches tall.
FF - Were there any specific designers who enjoyed making Christmas tree pins as a traditional thing every year?
Laurel - Weiss and Eisenberg Ice come quickly to mind. Other companies put out holiday pins every year as well but I think Weiss and Eisenberg did it the longest. Eisenberg Ice is still making them.
FF - Which was the most precious vintage Christmas pin you ever handled or had?
Laurel - Hard to answer! It doesn't need to be expensive to me to be precious so the first pins from the early 60's which the women in my family owned, are what I love the most. Most are not signed tree pins. You know how one always seems to declare that this year's decorated Christmas tree is the prettiest ever? Well, for me, the prettiest Christmas pin is the one I have on at the time. But, the rare glass Eisenberg pin from the early 70's is the one I wish I had not sold.
FF - Do you collect them yourself and if so, how many do you have?
Laurel - I own trays and trays of them! When I get tired of a style or color, I add it to the site, plus I can wear anything that I want that is from the site. I have a seemingly endless supply! Sometimes, I pin lots of trees and Santa pins to a seasonal pillow so I can view many at once. You really can't see a pin well when you’re wearing it, plus the pillow idea makes selecting one to wear very fast and easy.
FF - Do items in your online shop start as part of your personal collection?
Laurel - Yes, all the theme pages originated from my collections like sea theme jewelry, butterflies, charm bracelets, lockets and many more. I have 25 - 20 theme sites online at any time. I have a lot of large collections like exotic old bird pins and vegetable pins and Victorian jewelry that I am not yet ready to give up, at least not this year.
FF - What other kinds of Christmas jewellery are currently most popular?
Laurel - Pins shaped like ornaments are always in demand, as are Christmas animals and old Santas. Can't keep them all in stock though. Also, rare Christmas jewelry like rings and trees and other holiday pins that blink or light up are eagerly sought. We have lots of holiday jewelry collectors and many collect from our stock before it goes to the web.
FF - What is your favourite kind of jewellery and is there a specific designer you particularly like?
Laurel - How could I choose? I love jewelry that is old and well made, cleverly designed and interesting. Victorian, Art Deco and the grand old pins from the late 1930's to WW2 have always been personal favorites. Thankfully, I can have lots of favorites and it is fun to collect even more as my taste changes and moves in another direction every few years.