If you are like us and you love jewelry with a past, a history, or a"je ne sais quoi" you must check out the newly launched Sparrow Jewels. They have perhaps the most curated and lovely assortment of vintage jewels we have seen. There are so many interesting pieces that caught our eye: Malachite Studs, Gold Darling Ring, & Victorian Mourning Bracelets. We have to say we are impressed. Founded by two lovely ladies Brienna and Elizabeth both have extensive jewelry industry experience and have struck out on their own. We love a good female founder story so we will be cheering them on from the sidelines. Find out more about these entrepreneurs and jewelry experts of Sparrow Jewels in our interview together.
What inspired you to start Sparrow Jewels?
We founded Sparrow Jewels because we are enamored with jewelry. We are both treasure hunters at heart, fascinated with ancient places, exotic things and the history and lore surrounding jewelry and gems. We hope to share our curated collection of jewelry with like-minded collectors, individuals who appreciate objects of beauty, a good story and the curious way that jewelry is both sentimental and mysterious.
What is your ultimate goal with the company?
We would love our brand to grow, reach customers across the world, and gain recognition as one of the best places to purchase antique and vintage jewelry. We hope to guide new and experienced collectors in building interesting collections and continue learning about the fascinating world of jewelry and gemology.
What questions people should always ask their jeweler when contemplating a vintage jewelry purchase?
Vintage jewelry is interesting because it was often made differently than jewelry that is made today. Ask how the piece is different from a modern piece. Are the diamonds cut by hand rather than with laser precision? Is the piece signed or hallmarked indicating origin? It is also interesting to know a little about the history of the time period. For example, we have a wonderful pair of Victorian mourning bracelets in black enamel. Knowing how these were worn in memory of a loved one adds another dimension and level of history to the piece.
Why do you love 1930s jewelry?
I love all kinds of jewelry, but I really connect to the stylish and interesting pieces from the 1930s. When I started writing my book about Paul Flato, I was blown away with how innovative the jewelers were at that time. Suzanne Belperron, Verdura, Seaman Schepps and of course the larger houses, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier were just creating such masterpieces. Jewelers of the 1930s and 1940s were mixing colors of gemstones in new ways and setting stones with new technological precision. They also used whimsical subjects, like compacts shaped like telephone dials and brooches in the shape of hands. The jewelry of this time was often very witty and unusual, but also feminine and incredibly glamorous. — Elizabeth (wrote the book Paul Flato: Jeweler To The Stars)
How do you source the jewelry for Sparrow Jewels?
We have been lucky to find treasures all over the United States and in several venues in Europe. The dollar is strong against the Euro right now so we have been able to acquire special pieces at very competitive prices. We are constantly searching for jewelry, whether it is flea markets, estate sales or the larger auction houses, you never know what you will find!
Could you share a little about your personal collections?
I have several pieces I love. One which is particularly special is a pair of earrings by Paul Flato that he created in the early 1940s. His daughter gave them to me while I was working on my book, Paul Flato: Jeweler to the Stars, and it was just an incredible heartfelt gift. I also love an aquamarine and gold cocktail ring by Verdura that my husband gave me for Christmas last year. It’s daunting to buy a gift for a jewelry dealer, but he nailed it. — Elizabeth
My favorite pieces were passed down to me by my grandmother, great-grandmother and my grandfather, who was a watchmaker in San Francisco in the late 40’s. I wore the stone from my great-grandmother’s engagement ring as a pendant for my wedding day, and the diamonds from my grandmother’s “right hand ring” make up my wedding band. I adore a special gold charm bracelet from my grandmother, the way it jingles reminds me of her. I also had a pair of my grandfather’s handmade cufflinks remade as earrings. Wearing these special pieces remind me of my loved ones, and allow me to carry memories of my family with me wherever I go. — Brienna
How did your backgrounds working at Christie’s prepare you for running Sparrow Jewels?
Christie’s has a focus on excellent client service and expertise. We were exposed to some of the most incredible collections of art and jewelry during our tenures at Christie’s, and this really sparked our continued passion for objects of beauty. It was very important for us to not only bring a high level of knowledge and style to our collection, but also to foster relationships with all kinds of collectors, both experienced and those just starting their collections.
What is the hardest part of starting a jewelry company?
The hardest part for us has been streamlining our collection. There is so much beautiful jewelry in the world; it is challenging to limit our inventory. It’s also hard to not keep everything for our own personal jewelry boxes!