Mix-Masters: Instagram Jewelry Enthusiasts @Jasmyntea and @Luckandlockets
After two years of trading stories, photos of pieces and realizing that I am in good company when it comes to my obsession with jewelry, I noticed that I had become part of a community on Instagram—all stages of collectors, from novice to the consummate jewelry enthusiast. I cheer for the jewels that my IG friends snag at auction or while traveling, I console them when the piece of their dreams gets away and I now I use their stories, feeds, posts and pictures for material. What can I say—as a journalist, I chase the story like I chase the jewel.
My goal is this—while all jewelry enthusiasts may aspire to own Elizabeth Taylor’s collection of jewels (as well as some of her men), or have love stories told through jewels like The Duchess of Windsor, (and a king who abdicates his thrown for us) –none of this is happening anytime soon. But I can bring you some epic collections of women I’ve met on IG and in person, who I’ve shopped with and whose collections are both inspirational and aspirational— Here are two that are pros at mixing antique with modern, stacking, layering and take 200 year old pieces and infusing them with an imaginative and ultra modern spirit. Danielle Rubin @jasmyntea and Yvonne Look @luckandlockets. Thank you both for sharing! Let the questions begin!
When did you first become aware of your affinity / love for jewelry?
DANIELLE: I was around 12 and would ride my bike to the thrift store to look for treasures. I always liked vintage clothing, shoes and jewelry. Old pieces have stories within them. And I always imagined the travels the pieces went through before they found a home with me.
What were your first pieces of jewelry?
DANIELLE: A strand of cultured pearls for my 16th birthday. I wanted real pearls and loved going to the store with my mom to pick them out. AI longed for an Elsa Peretti sterling bean necklace. My family didn’t have a lot of money so purchasing a piece from Tiffany’s was a really big deal but my parent’s surprised me with it on my 18th birthday.
What was the first piece of jewelry that you purchased for yourself? Do you still have that piece today?
YVONNE: In my twenties, before I was married. I had just made an important career decision. I was happy, but also apprehensive about the unknown. I wanted to mark the occasion. But how? I had admired a large oval silver locket, on a long chain, from Tiffany & Co. and purchased it. At the time, it seemed an extravagance and it was a departure for me, because, unlike my other jewelry, it was large – a statement piece. I even had it monogrammed – something I had never done before. This locket is now well worn; the silver has mellowed and the catch is a little wonky. And, inside, I have photos of my son and husband. I will always treasure it.
What was your first piece that is connected to a major or significant moment in your life?
YVONNE: Two life defining events happened within months of each other – my marriage and the death of my mother from illness. My husband and I planned a short engagement, so my mother could be at our wedding. Shortly before the wedding, my mother came for a visit. She gave me several gold and jade pieces, some which were hers, some new that she purchased for specifically for me. When my mother passed away, some of her other jewelry was passed down to me– including a gold heart pendant that brings back memories from my childhood. There was also a bracelet made from coins, which she received as a gift from my father. The coins are pure gold, so malleable that each coin is now curved to the wrist. When I wear it, I know that we have both shaped that piece, the way in which our relationship shaped my life.
What was your taste when you first started collecting?
DANIELLE: In high school I liked vintage brooches and small enamel pins. This was what I could afford to purchase. From vintage pins I branched out to vintage sterling. I always loved going to antique stores and hunting for unusual, inexpensive pieces: sterling charm bracelets, Bakelite bangles, and funky long beads to layer. As my style evolved I also liked to support local jewelry artists, so I would go to fairs and stores that sold the work of these artists.
How has your style evolved?
DANIELLE: In more recent years, I’ve gravitated towards building my antique collection. I still am always looking for unusual pieces that resonate for me. I also I feel like the craftsmanship of antique pieces are amazing. Modern jewelry often does not feel as unique or hand crafted. Also, with antique pieces, I feel like I am the custodian of the pieces I collect.
What turned you into a collector?
DANIELLE: I have always been a collector of some sort. Whether it was collecting vintage jewelry or vintage clothing or books on costume and fashion. I’m always looking for unique items that speak to me.
YVONNE: I have always loved history. In a very real way, an antique piece of jewelry is a peek into another place and time. For example, mourning jewelry came from a time when mortality was high. Berlin Iron in the time of war opposing Napoleon. A piece of jewelry should be beautiful, but it should also say something, whether about the wearer, the craftsman or its meaning in society.
Can you tell us about your antique collection?
YVONNE : I am not sure I have a ‘collection’ per se. I think I still have a jumble of jewelry. But I am working on turning that into a collection, in the sense that I want to grow that jumble in an orderly fashion. I want to fill in gaps, pare down on the redundant and upgrade to better examples of certain pieces. It’s all about the process, which is not educational, but fun and even at times like solving a mystery. In the meantime, I enjoy the hunt, the connections I have made with fellow jewelry lovers and the constant learning and wearing the pieces.
DANIELLE: My antique collection is mostly focused around Georgian and Victorian jewelry. I do have one or two pieces of Art Deco or Retro but the rest is the earlier time periods. I’m a bit agate obsessed and I always like a good unusual chain.
Can you talk about your modern collection?
YVONNE: They tend to be the direct descendants of my antique pieces. For instance, I have been buying from New York City based designer Karen Karch for years. Her love knot ring has a sentimentality to it that echoes some of my antique pieces – yet is thoroughly modern. It is crafted in blackened white gold with ice diamonds – reminiscent of flawed diamonds set in silver in early Georgian pieces.
DANIELLE: My modern collection is made of up certain designers – Marla Aaron, Variance Objects, Dahlia Khanner, Alberian and Aulde, Amali Jewelry, Betsy Barron and Judy Geib. I think that smaller independent jewelry artists are truly creative and prefer them to established brands and renowned jewelers.
What is the common denominator in how you collect antique jewelry and modern jewelry?
YVONNE: I’ll know it when I see it.” I have to have an emotional response to a piece of jewelry. That can be triggered by many things – usually not the value or flashy gemstones – but often by the individuality of a piece. Is it beautiful, yet a little quirky? Is it sentimental? Is it one of a kind? It’s really all about the personality of a piece that has to speak to me.
Can you talk about what jewelry means to you on a personal level?
DANIELLE: I’m sentimental when it comes to jewelry. I always wear a Marla Aaron lock, which to me symbolizes to hold fast to what’s important. My thorn necklace symbolizes that life has thorns to deal with but I am strong enough to weather the thorns. And then on any given day my other jewelry represents other items of importance to me – my heart rings to remember love, my signets to remember the people who are important to me, my Georgian eyes that I am watching over others, my snakes to protect me, my memento mori ring from Nvitblanche to remember to live in the moment. Almost every piece I wear holds a meaning for me of something I want to remember.
What is your iconic go to piece that best reflects you and your personal jewelry style? And why?
YVONNE: Surprisingly, the first thing that comes to mind is not antique. I wear my Garrard gold dagger earrings all the time. They’re modern interpretations by the one of earliest jewelry houses– the perfect mix of old and new. And I like them because from a distance they look like crosses, but up close, they’re actually badass daggers!
How do you mix up your pieces? Is there something about a particular piece that you feel goes with everything?
YVONNE: Mixing is about fun and experimentation. I just try to keep a common element to evoke a sense of harmony. That can be anything – texture, color, motif. It keeps me from looking like my eccentric great-aunt’s jewelry box turned over on me.
DANIELLE: I look for unusual pieces. I can’t always articulate why I fall in love with a jewel I find. On a broad level I like Georgian and Victorian jewelry. And then I like modern pieces that provide contrast for the more sweet/sentimental period pieces. Its so much fun yet very trial error to mix antique and modern pieces together. But when it works, it really works. A favorite these days is mixing Marla Aaron locks with my antique necklaces, charms and brooches.
What do you like best about mixing styles of jewelry?
YVONNE: Often, I might pick the jewelry first, then the clothes! I love mixing it up, because that’s part of the statement, of individual style, taste and even a mood.
What does mixing old and new means to you aesthetically?
YVONNE: As a woman, I am constantly evolving, absorbing, shedding. Mixing old and new is part of that. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but at the end of the day, it’s just jewelry. If it’s bad, I just take it off and start over.
DANIELLE: Mixing, styling jewelry is a creative outlet for me. It’s self-expression—what I’m trying to put out there on a given day. I mix everything: yellow, rose, green gold, platinum and silver. On most days I have on five types of metal. I actually tend to prefer wearing mixed metals versus monochromatic styling.
You seem to be part of a community on Instagram. What got you interested in Instagram and sharing your love of jewelry?
YVONNE: If you told me two years ago that I’d be on Instagram and loving it, I would have said, “What’s Instagram?” I started on IG because a good friend urged me to sign up to see her travel posts (she takes the best vacations). Once I signed up, I realized there were so many people out there who were passionate about period jewelry, just like me! I didn’t know the etiquette of social media, so I was a ‘lurker’ for a while. Then I realized it’s ‘social’ media for a reason, and I started engaging with other users. And the rest is history. I’ve learned so much from this amazing, generous and supportive community.
DANIELLE: One of my favorite dealers, Lenore Dailey encouraged me to join IG a little over a year ago. I have never really participated in social media, but I found the jewelry community on IG to be very welcoming and warm. I am continually amazed by the lovely people and friendships I have built. And my daily interactions on IG have become a real source of inspiration and positivity in my life.
What is the funniest conversation about your jewelry you ever had on Instagram?
YVONNE: I’d have to say it was a recent one, following a post of an 18th century pink topaz and diamond crowned heart pendant that I spotted at an antique show. I left it behind because of my overdeveloped sixth sense (guilt). When I posted it, I had about 200 enablers, many urging me to go back and buy it – some DM’d me, some commented multiple times asking for updates! My favorite was ‘DO IT! DO IT FOR THE LHARVE OF GHAAARD!!’ Where else can you get that kind of enthusiasm?
Is there a piece of jewelry that you are currently obsessing over? And why?
YVONNE: That would be a yes! There is always an object of obsession. Currently, I am all about the Georgian portrait miniature – ring, pendant, and brooch. These are the ultimate in unique, historical and sentimental pieces. What is more intimate than someone’s portrait worn on your body? In the age of the gratuitous selfie, I love the idea of the care and time it took to have a portrait painted on a tiny piece of ivory or vellum, then custom set into a personal piece of jewelry to be worn as a reminder of a loved one. Ask me tomorrow and I might have a new obsession.
Is there a piece that you didn’t buy that still haunts you? And why didn’t you buy it?
YVONNE: I get haunted frequently, but the good news is that I get over it. Evenually…
DANIELLE: An agate, cushion cut diamond Georgian ring and an agate bracelet from Metier San Francisco.
If you could describe your jewelry style in one word – what would that word be?