Okay so if we are telling personal stories, our first diamond ring was from a vintage store. So we have a soft spot in our hearts for kindred lovers of vintage jewels and Andria Rogers of the vintage jewelry shop Victor Barbone is a kindred soul. We honestly met on her instagram because she was serving up some seriously amazing OEC's. For those not in the know OEC is the acronym for Old European Cut, which was the primary shape of diamond during the Art Deco era (1915 - 1930). Plain in simple if you can't appreciate an OEC, then we can't be friends. So let's get that out of the way. We caught up with her to learn more and we definitely did. She makes us want to go to the GIA institute (on our bucket list) and is the perfect person for a bride who wants to buck that whole round cut diamond with a micro pave halo trend (no comment).
Okay we love Old European Cut diamonds and you do too - tell us why are they amazing?
Old European cuts have so many merits that it may be difficult to list them all! The main reason that I adore them is that no two Old European Cuts are alike because in the late 1800s, early 1900s these diamonds were cut by hand (now they use lasers to cut diamonds). Classic OECS also have a more alluring look to them with their chunky or checkerboard-like pattern vs. the splintery appearance of modern round brilliants. They have intricate, diverse patterns of light reflection and are soft on the eyes with their puffy, cloud-like appearance due to higher crowns. OECs usually have large culets (conventionally a negative attribute) as well which I adore in old cut diamonds! I believe that a well proportioned, visible culet is icing on the cake to a perfect old euro (see the Vivienne ring)!
What was the best part of attending the GIA institute?
The GIA was a grand ol’ time! I received a standard BA in Business Administration from a traditional college and let me tell you: that was no fun. However, attending the GIA where all you learn about is the intricacies of diamonds and other gemstones, now THAT is entertaining. New York City is amazing on its own so that adds to the excitement of attending the GIA. You also meet many different people in different sectors of the business such as wholesale, pawn shops, Tiffany’s employees, Kay Jewelers employees, owners of boutiques, and more! I did really well in my classes which shows that you can succeed and excel at topics that interest you because I perform terribly in writing classes! I recommend to anyone that is interested in attending to do it because you will never regret it!
What should people consider when buying vintage jewelry?
In buying vintage jewelry I say forget what you have heard about what you should buy! Conventional diamond knowledge says that diamonds of D,E, and F colors are the most attractive and you really shouldn’t buy below a VS2 clarity. I believed this until I purchased my engagement ring which is a BROWN SI2 diamond and it is gorgeous! I get compliments on it all of the time because it is unique yet very eye-catching with its chunky light reflections. Go for what you like and not what you should like.
Who is vintage jewelry right for?
Vintage jewelry is for everyone but they just don’t know it yet! ;) My interest in diamonds began with my desire for my own engagement ring. At first I would have died for the classic Harry Winston or Tiffany’s cushion cut diamond with a micropave halo, but now I see how cookie-cutter those all are. Vintage pieces are one of a kind and diverse in style so they allow you to let your individualism and personal tastes shine. They have timeless designs that will never go out of style. Choose vintage if you are interested in passing down your special piece for generations to come!
What inspired you to open your own store?
I have a business and entrepreneurship background so I have always been interested in working for myself! I tend to prefer businesses that make people happy and I would bet that most people are happy when they are buying and receiving diamonds! This is why I offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I became ultra excited about jewelry when I learned about vintage pieces, specifically vintage diamonds, and I knew nothing would make me happier than having vintage rings to look at all day long AND pairing the perfect vintage piece with the perfect owner!
Any advice for people looking to enter the jewelry industry?
My advice would be to just do it. Start with getting certified through the GIA because that will teach you the basics and make you more desirable as an employee. The GIA offers online courses for most of their degrees and they aren’t super expensive. Getting hired in a jewelry store that aligns with what you like is a good idea because you can get paid to learn instead of what I have done which is pay to learn through mistakes, advice, and time. Don’t forget your goals though! If you want to design your own jewelry line or open your own boutique be sure to continue to work towards that and don’t spend too much time working towards someone else’s dreams!