Gretel's Treasures

Follow her hunt for vintage jewelry and other treasures


Let me start by saying I’m now on Instagram…if you like looking at cool old stuff please follow me. Every week I’m going to take a series of cool old stuff at the auction and post a picture or two every day. It’s a no stress way to get a daily intake of cool or weird old stuff.

Okay, back to vintage jewelry treasure hunting with Gretel…this week at the auction I suffered extreme costume jewelry overload.   This particular auction, in the hills of somewhere on the East Coast, usually has an assortment of jewelry ranging from the 1920s to the 2000s…. There can be a lot of junk, and an occasional treasure. Why does anybody think that Dollar Store Mardigras Beads need to be resold? Ah but this week was very different.

Rhinestone, rhinestones, rhinestones

Some Juliana Treasures

They had received boxes from an estate, I’m not sure if it was a collector, or a store, because there were massive amounts of very good quality jewelry. 14 large showcases to be exact. I wish I had taken a picture of all the shows cases (24 x 30 inch size) filled to the bring with great jewelry. Usually they sell a whole case, but this time they were selling individual items and small hand picked lots. Cases included antique bone and ivory, early plastic, Juliana rhinestone, Miriam Haskell (a lot), Art Deco, Mexican Silver, lots of signed pieces, Silver, amazing stuff.

Miriam Haskell treasures

Early Plastic Jewelry

One of the auctioneer’s mothers had the keys and was showing everyone individual pieces. Normally you can’t touch or see the backs of anything in the cases. My gosh, I just wanted to roll around in them.

More, more, more rhinestones

More, More, More Rhinestones

Here’s the thing, although I go every week to an auction, I have zero patience or tolerance for them! I’m lucky that jewelry starts at a certain time, otherwise I’d have to arrive at 8 in the morning, and wait around all day, just to have a chance at being outbid.


So we were surrounded by thousands of dollars worth of costume. (Remember this NEVER has happened before in the past 4 years I’ve been coming here) It was like sharks circling their prey, going around and around these cases. I had resolved myself that I wouldn’t be getting anything, because there were some heavy hitters with deep pockets. I’ve seen one woman bid 150.00 on a necklace that I would have sold for 75.00….either her market is better than mine, or I’m underselling things so please visit my Etsy and Ebay stores now.

More, more, more rhinestones

More, more, more rhinestones

When the time came to bid, we looked like 2 rows of people lined up in a church for communion. I of course, princess and treasure hunter that I am, lined up right in front of the cases I was most interested in bidding on. Once they got started things happened very fast. I had spent the previous 4 hours circling, picking out what I wanted to bid on, and strategizing. I was ready for the battle to begin.


Prices in general did not go crazy high. Higher than I’d like. For instance, 2 Juliana bracelets, one with matching earrings went for 130.00. I feel that was too high, they were not Easter Egg or Art glass bracelet, just nice chunky rhinestones. I ended up with about 30 pieces of jewelry and paid 390.00 for it. This is really a lot of money for me, but I got some great pieces. A gorgeous Art Deco signed Czech glass necklace, what I think may be an unsigned Miriam Haskell necklace, an Art Deco pair of rhinestone dress clips, 2 early rhinestone peacocks, a Coro duette bird set, a sterling rhinestone bird I think is Coro or Trifari, a Murano glass bead necklace, and other assorted jewelry. One pair of Juliana earrings, not great, but still. Here’s what I ended up with:

Final Results for the Day

Final Results for the Day

It was a long tiring day. And I had started it out with a cold to boot. I picked up Chinese food on the way home, and crashed the moment I got in the door. I am an introvert, and being around all those people and visual stimulation just wipes me out. Hope you enjoy my pictures.




  1. boylerpf Says:

    I would have LOVED to have been there! Great pieces! It’s the thrill of the hunt and you scored!!

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