About a month ago, I achieved one of my jewelry dreams: I attended the Original Miami Beach Antique Show.
This massive 5-day event draws dealers, buyers, and enthusiasts from all over the world to create one of the most dynamic, treasure-filled antique shows out there – in a location that’s delightful in late January, especially when one has 29 inches of snow at home.
I’ve wanted to go for years, but I couldn’t exactly take time off from my day job for “a really cool antiques show.” As soon as I became my own boss, attending the Original Miami Beach Antique Show went straight to the top of my list.
Thanks to my antique jewelry fairy godmother, the one and only Lenore Dailey, I also had the great privilege of attending the 2016 Jewelry History Series; two days of lectures alllllllll about antique jewelry.
There is nothing like being in a room full of people who are as passionate as you are about your favorite thing. It made my nerdy little heart sing, and my new knowledge lent greater context to the treasures I would see over my days at the Original Miami Beach Antique Show.
It also gave me a chance to get to know some of my favorite Instagram buddies IRL, which was a wonderful added bonus. And to try on said buddies’ jewelry.
These antique diamond earrings of my dreams are better known around Instagram as the legendary Olsen twins, property of the incandescent Grace Lavarro.
So: my brain primed with knowledge, glowing with the wonder of having touched the Olsen twins (you know what I mean), I set foot onto the floor of the Miami Beach Antique Show within 10 mins of opening on the first day. And oh my goodness, the treasures I saw.
This is a section of ONE ROOM of the show. There were several more, just as large.
Thankfully, some genius at U.S. Antique Shows developed an app for navigating the show. I could bookmark exhibitors I wanted to see and then look them up on specialized maps that showed saved exhibitors’ booths as highlighted, even locate myself by typing in the closest booth number I could see. A huge time-saver.
(That was in the Uber on the way to the show; my battery wasn’t that high again for five days.)
It’s also important to note that the Original Miami Beach Antique Show is open to the public – there’s no reason you can’t go too. In fact, I highly recommend that you check it out: it’s a feast for the senses, even if you’re not planning on buying anything.
There’s a small one-time entry fee, but if you’re on an exhibitor’s mailing list you can often bypass even that. It’s incredible, and you should see it with your own eyes.
But for now, you can see it through my photos. I’ve already shown you one piece I saw at the show, but I took about 7,000 pictures that week and I plan to share many more of them with you.
These earrings from S.J. Shrubsole are the oldest piece of jewelry I’ve ever handled. The date on their tag was simply “ancient.”
I kept expecting a museum security guard to appear from nowhere and tell me to step back. But no, I was fully allowed to be touching them.
This Art Deco diamond bracelet from Hancocks was unsigned, but the exceptional craftsmanship suggests its creator was a true master. Look how the pierced elements curve so gently, leaving no hard edges or disruptions in the design when the bracelet is worn. This was a pleasure to touch.
Even cooler: it came with an optional black velvet ribbon on clasps that could attach to the ends of the bracelet to convert it into a choker-style necklace.
I’m not much of one for crosses, but this Victorian set was too amazing not to love.
Look at all that perfect blue enamel and the two matching diamond snakes with ruby eyes. So fantastic! At Keyamour.
I’m so into the woman on this antique brooch. From the boldness of the detailed red enamel to her gorgeous old-cut diamond clothing, this is one fierce lady. Maybe a Joan of Arc inspiration?
If this had been in my budget, I would have bought her in a heartbeat.
A handful of moonstone rings from Cynthia Findlay antiques!
I thought I was going to like the engraved one the best (and I do really like it) but the cluster ring on my ring finger turned out to be the one I couldn’t tear my eyes away from.
Also mind-bogglingly cool: this early Art Deco necklace from Platt Boutique. The platinum and diamond top reveals a Chinosierie inspiration in the lines of its design and it suspends a spectacularly carved citrine in the shape of a pansy. One of my favorites of the show for sure. Incredible.
A box full of antique rings from Roy Rover. I’d take this over a box of chocolates ANY DAY.
How about this luscious Victorian garnet bracelet from Cynthia Findlay? Such a wonderful antique piece, in beautiful condition. I’d wear this in a heartbeat.
This is what happens after I said “How about the sapphire ring tray? Can I just…have them all?” at Craig Evan Small.
Here’s something I’d never see before.
This little antique kit at Lucy Verity would have been used to make rings out of hair. See the tiny tools, the sample rings (or ring forms, works in progress?) and the beautifully fanned out supply of hair? SO cool.
For a change of pace: how amazing are these two vintage pendants from Craig Evan Small? Big and bold, in gold and enamel with lapis (left) and malachite (left). So fabulous.
Two killer bracelets from Geller & Company. One is diamonds and opals (I think you can tell which one) and the other is square emerald cut diamonds. I want them both so I can wear them together.
This piece from Spicer Warin is just a magnificent diamond-encrusted object from the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. It currently has a fitting on the back that looks like it’s for wearing in the hair, but it seems like it used to be part of something else.
Whatever it is, I’m into it.
I think that’s enough for now – don’t want any one post to be toooooooo too long. Come back on Monday for more goodies from the Miami Beach Antique Show!
See something you can’t live without? Drop me a line and let me connect you with the dealer.
Hi, Becky – I am hoping to attend this event next year. I was curious. Obviously the selection is insane, but do you feel like some good deals can be had as well? Are sellers willing to negotiate? And do they take credit cards? I hope so! I love the idea of having so much in front of me to try on, instead of viewing it just on-line. Also, what did you end up buying for yourself? Heidi
There definitely are some deals to be had. I find that dealers are much more open to negotiation when you’re actually there in front of them, and everyone needs to make sure they sell enough to make the trip worthwhile. And most sellers take credit carts – not 100%, but probably 85-90%. If it sounds like you’d enjoy it, you should definitely go. It’s so much fun.
I ended up buying a Victorian slide tassel ring. You can see it here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BDV_EVsE4km/?taken-by=diamondsinthelibrary
My sisters and I have inherited a large collection (a few hundred) stick pins and we were looking to sell them. Do you know anyone who could give us an appraisal and anyone who would be interested in buying them?
“If this had been in my budget, I would have bought her in a heartbeat.”
I found this and thought of you — it’s not nearly as beautiful as the portrait you found, but perhaps more within budget range!
Oh wow – it totally is similar!! Great find. I love portrait pieces. I always want know all about the story behind them.
Karen Deakin says
Just saw your pictures from Miami. Thank you for giving me the feeling of what it was like to be there and navigate such a mind boggling space. Beautiful images, thanks. Going to aim to get there next year!
My pleasure!! I’m so glad you enjoyed my photos. It really is a mind boggling space – I was unbelievably exhausted at the end of the event. Totally worth it, though.
I’ll be sharing some more photos on Monday!
Stella Flame says
Becky – I loved this piece you did on the show and the amazing treasures you found and shared! I started my professional “jewelry life” years ago at Barney’s in their fabulous antique jewelry department.
As a jewelry designer my work is definitely rooted in history with a twist and I still have a real passion for vintage and antique pieces. Thank you again – great read!
Thanks so much for your kind words, Stella! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post.