‘My vintage memory’ is a regular series here at Bess Georgette and I’d love to share yours. Email me your vintage memory (attach photos if you have them) to info@bessgeorgette.com and I’ll share it here. This week’s vintage memory is by Duff from ‘Jean Jean Vintage’.

My vintage memory isn’t all that old – about three years, I think. But it marks the beginning of my serious collecting of antique jewelry. It was also the first time I felt like I was able to do a sort of private appraisal on a piece and make a good choice about buying/not buying. And it involved sprinting wildly through my town in my work clothes. Here’s the story.

My old job was just down the street from a fantastic antique/consignment store, the kind of place where there are always new things and it pays to go and look around every day. So one day after I finished my shift I decided to do a quick walk-through. This was a risky choice because I had an important meeting in another town later that evening and I had to walk home, get changed, etc. before going. I figured I had about 10 minutes to spare.

Duff's mourning ring

So I went to the shop, looked around and with about 2 minutes left I saw it – a mourning ring. I had just been reading about Victorian hairwork and mourning jewelry but I had never really seen a piece in person. I asked to have it taken out of the case. I tried it on. It fit. It was beautiful.

I was sweating. I really wanted the ring but it was more than I usually spent (I think it was $90). I looked at the clock again. I needed to leave in the next 3 minutes if I had any chance of making my appointment on time. “I’ll take it!” I cried. I sped through the check out, tucked the ring in my wallet and bolted out the door. It was a mile and a half back to my house. I ran the whole way. In my Danskos. With my huge backpack bouncing on my back.

Duff's mourning ring

I ended up being a little late to my meeting (oops) and I had terrible blisters from my run, but that night when I got home and looked at the ring again I knew it was worth it. In retrospect, even if it had been $190 (or $290) it would still have been a great, great acquisition. I’m glad I was forced to make a quick decision that day – if I had more time to think, I might have passed it up! Instead, it is the best ring in my collection and I admire it almost every day.

Duff is the happy shopkeeper over at Jean Jean Vintage. Duff also keeps a blog! She collects and sells vintage and antique jewelry, lovingly rescued from dusty antique malls of the midwest and (hopefully!) given a second chance at life with stylish girls like you. She’s especially smitten with pieces from the 1920s-1940s. Early American lockets, Czech glass necklaces and Art Deco cocktail rings make her swoon.