Rhinestone Ruby

When we participate in local festivals and events, there's always one question that gets asked more than any other.
More than, "What is the story behind the name?" and "Where do you get your inspiration from?" and "Do you really make all this??" is a more daunting question that I struggle to answer.

"Where do you get your vintage pieces from?" Such a simple question but with a very complex answer. Many times I want to say, "If I tell you, I'd have to kill you" but strangers don't always realize I'm joking and it's not fun when I'm laughing and they're looking at me like I fell off the looney wagon. (Please excuse the 'vintage' slang- I was partly raised by my grandmothers.)

So how do I answer that question without giving away my secrets? If everyone knew where to find forgotten and cast-aside jewelry, wouldn't everyone being doing something with it? With vintage truly coming back into style (I mean really though...when did it every go out of style?), vintage jewelry has become a hot commodity. How do I answer hundreds of people who ask and not lie to them? Or avoid giving them a vague and boring answer like "oh, um, just around." With every part of our company being so well-curated and thought-out, how can I keep people interested in my treasure hunts without giving away all of the details to our unique jewelry line?

I have come to realize that it is very simple, I tell them about the people I meet rather than the places I go. This story happened in June of 2015 and it is my very favorite to tell, because no matter how great of a story-teller I am, I simply can't make this up.

I received a phone call from an elderly lady, whom I came to find out was named Ruby, or Ms. Ruby as my Southern heritage would call her. She told me that she had read an article about circa1910 in the local paper and had called one of my retailers to get my phone number. Ms. Ruby was 89 years old and lived in the town over. She explained to me that she had a whole box of old rhinestones (!!!) that she didn't think she could do anything with anymore. I agreed to meet her the very next day and when I asked where she would like to meet, she replied, "What about Cracker Barrel?" Already I knew that this was my kind of lady.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I looked for her tan car, as she had told me to. When I found her Buick LeSabre parked in a spot near the front, I nervously approached, not wanting to scare her. I knocked on the window and she greeted me with a hearty hello and a great big smile. She had driven herself there and was a firecracker of a lady. I couldn't believe this beautiful elderly woman with so much character and spunk was 89 years old! How wonderful! We talked and talked like old friends for nearly an hour as I pulled out each rhinestone piece with wide eyes and a full heart. She told me story after story about some of the pieces and her eyes lit up with each tale.

Some of them belonged to her mother. Some of them she had collected herself. Most of them, however, she bought 20 years prior from a 90 year old lady at the time. My mind swelled with the thought of all the hands and hearts these pieces have touched, and how many they will continue to touch through circa1910. She had been hanging onto these rhinestones and brooches and pins for this long and I was so honored she chose to sell them to me.

So now when I get asked the age old question of "Where do you get your vintage pieces from," I smile and think of the lovely souls like Ms. Ruby that I've met on this journey, who have made my life sweeter and my job better than I could have ever imagined.

Pictured: one of the iridescent rhinestone brooches from Ms. Ruby. It was missing a stone but has been repaired and is awaiting its new owner who will love it as much as I do. Double strand necklace with vintage tan stone beads