Gretel's Treasures

Follow her hunt for vintage jewelry and other treasures


Periodically I get mad at my small town auction.   There is one buyer, who insists on either buying everything, or ringing prices up.   Then she sells stuff cheap. Last week she sold a Czech Glass Art Deco Bracelet for 24.99, describing it as Victorian Carnelian. (need to insert emoji of eye roll here)  When this happens, I need to convince myself that I can find treasures elsewhere.  So today I took a road trip up I-95 to a different auction house.  This one sells jewelry lots, in little bags, but posts pictures online, so that you can see what will be offered.  So when I think of it, I check out there website, enlarge my viewing screen to 150%, and try and see what they’re offering.



This is a comfy cozy auction. Seating is provided, the auctioneers wear suits, and pictures of the items are projected on a large screen tv. Fancy stuff.   No Amish pretzels here.  Since this is a fancy city auction, you also get charged with a “buyers premium”. It ranges from 15-21% depending how you pay. This is like going to Walmart, and at checkout they charge you an extra 15% for the honor of shopping. This makes no sense to me. And it messes you up while you’re bidding. I forget to add the extra 15% to my bid in my mind.



The jewelry section starts first thing in the morning, this being the city, first thing is 10:00. Huddled in one corner of the showroom, we bid on little baggies of jewelry. Last night I went through the website and wrote down which lots were most promising (there were about 100 lots of baggies)  When I arrived this morning I opened up the interesting baggies, snooped around to see what was in the.   What I’m looking for is interesting glass, you might be looking for sterling silver,  modernist pieces, we all have different interests.   I was really happy with what I won, 5 lots, one bag of 37 bracelets was 100.00.  Personally, spending 100 dollars for a baggie of jewelry slightly freaks me out, but I’d done my research and knew I would be getting some goodies in the bag.



In the bracelet bag was one of the best art glass bracelets I have ever seen, missing a hard to replace stone. I may repurpose it, but I need to do some research with a Costume Jewelry  group to see how viable replacing the stone will be.  In the bracelet bag I also found Whiting Davis, Kramer, a tiny scarab bracelet,  a Sandor Bangle, and some mid century pieces.



I ended up spending 299.00! Ach. This is a lot for me to drop at one time.  And 45.00 of that is the buyers premium I pay. I don’t even get a Cracker Jack ring for that.   But, I ended up with 99 pieces of jewelry I think are sellable. That averages out to 3.00 a piece.   That’s a number my brain can work with.


So I walked out of there happy with what I got, I’ve run out of interesting jewelry to list, I still have hundreds of pieces, but they’re just not the greatest pieces.   It was  raining cats and dogs (and cows) when I came out, I could barely see the car in front of me.  I drove with the baggies in the shot gun seat, and I must confess fondling the beaded treasures during stop lights.  I’m just so happy with what I found today.



Tomorrow is Wed, I’ve packed up jewelry to sell, hope to meet up with my auction buddy Todd for lunch in the Amish restaurant, and maybe I’ll finds some more treasures. But I don’t have to buy anything, because I’m happy with what I got today.  This is my favorite piece, a porcelain dragon by Toshikane, Japan






Okay, the title will make more sense. It’s Wed., so we all know what I do on Wed. I got to the auction, last week it got cancelled due to snow, but this week was a go.  I have teamies on Etsy, but did you know I have teamies at the auction? Like on Etsy, we help each other out.  I have one friend who has a store, who has tons of jewelry she hasn’t been able to sell. The wonderful thing is, we all sell different things, genres, eras, whatevers.  She’s always saying she has to bring them in to resell. Well last time she came in with a 20 pound bag of costume jewelry. Sure there was a lot of junk, but there was also stuff I love, like a Czech glass flower necklace, and an Alice Caviness set.   I went through and picked out what I wanted to keep, then told her I’d take the stuff to the auction to sell. Even though she comes every week, she can’t get there early enough to put everything on display, but I can get there early. So today I sold some of her jewelry, still have more to sell from the original bag, and she told me she has 10 more bags!!!! Extra funny side note, she buys jewelry from me through the auction, now I’m seeing the stuff she got from me.

Another thing my auction buddies do is bid for each other. There are 2 auctions going on at the same time, and it never fails that I’ll want something from both ends of the building, so far I’ve have 3 different people bid for me! Today, Todd had to leave early, but there were some old dusty tools he wanted.  Of course it coincided with the jewelry auction, and I was only able to get one item, but I did it. A few weeks ago there was a weapon of minimal destruction he wanted, and I was able to get it for him while he was in another part of the auction.  I’ve talked about the assistants helping me out before, it’s just a warm and fuzzy auction moment.


These are the earrings I got today


Today there was a Czech bracelet I wanted. I had missed it 2 weeks ago, dumb me, and it was back again. But I wasn’t quite sure if it was Czech. Got out my Iphone, went to a facebook group, posted a picture of the bracelet and within minutes had confirmations from numerous teamies that it was Czech. Still didn’t get it, darn bidding went too high.  I had done the same thing last time on a Boucher necklace, I asked if it was worth buying for 10$….general concensus was, yes, buy it.


These are the earrings I got today


There were sporadic jewelry treasures today, I got a beautiful broken Czech pin, that I’m going to turn into a necklace, may be a keeper. I got a Venetian wedding cake necklace, and earrings, and a Whiting Davis gold tone mesh necklace with the original box. I love that kind of stuff.


These are the earrings I got today


The silly thing I bought was 5 trays of art glass beads. In the past I have made lampwork beads with a torch. This has provided me with a practical understanding of how glass jewelry is made, and why I love glass jewelry.  Some of these beads are vintage, but many are handmade lampwork beads, a few are fused glass.  I appreciate how valuable these are, and like my ugly Coro fur clip pin, I felt these need rescueing. So I now have a lot of  gorgeous beads, one had the original price on of 100$. (yes, beads sell for that and more)


These are just a few of the beads I got. These are all artisan lampwork beads.  I also got about 10 pounds of vintage to contemporary glass beads. There were a lot. I paid 30.00 for all of them. I paid 10 for the above lampwork ones, then 20 for a box with odds and ends.

The 3 pendants at the top are part of these, I’ll sell them as jewelry. I also found a bag of vintage art glass cabochons, they’re gorgeous too.

This year I am being super selective about what I buy. My shop is evolving slowly to a lovely curated place of vintage treasures, not just jewelry, some accessories, but everything is getting better. I only sell very good to excellent quality costume jewelry, with no issues.  I’m listing less cheap costume items, and trying to sell identifiable objects, that someone, somewhere is looking for them.  I can only list so many items a week, there’s no need for me to buy hundreds of junk pins that I can never list.  Step by step,  my shop is becoming a true depository of treasures.

Thank you for reading,  I’d appreciate it if you could send some love to my Facebook Business Page, it needs love!

Thanks for reading,







Bangle bracelets

Bangle bracelets

Every week is different at the auction. You never know what you’ll find and equally important, you never know who will be there bidding against you…Earlier this year I was in a total funk, because there was a woman who would outbid me on everything.  It made me so mad.  What really hurt was seeing my treasures going home with her, and then being listed on Ebay, WAY underpriced.   She bought massive amounts of jewelry, took awful pictures and would sell for 6.99 or best offer. (which meant she was really selling it for around 5.00)….Obsessiveness and jealousy are not pretty on me.

Assorted jewelry purchased this week

Assorted jewelry purchased this week

My obsession was not healthy for me. I whined about it to my auction friends.  My auction buddy Todd said I should just bid her up. And I tried doing that, but I didn’t want to pay that much for stuff. And it’s very hard at an auction to know who is bidding, unless they are jumping up and down. There are no paddles with numbers.  You may wonder what impact this has on pricing?  I won a case a few weeks ago for 40.00….if she had been there, she would have paid 90.00. That is a huge difference, granted you’re getting a lot of jewelry for that price, but I turn over a significant portion back to the auction. I pick what I want to keep, and throw it back.

Really cool stuff!

Really cool stuff!

How bad was it? I even tried imitating her, selling lesser jewelry for 13.99 or best offer (10.00) I found it could be done, but you have to sell a lot of mediocre jewelry at that price, and it takes just as much effort on my part to list a 10.00 item as a 20.00 or 50.00 item.  Every year the quality of my online shops has improved and streamlined. I used to sell everything! Stuffed animals, clothing, shoes, I ran from thrift shop to yard sale spending a lot of time shopping.  Now I’ve streamlined to where I go shopping, once a week, can be picky, and then theoretically list the rest of the time.  Sure I stumble into a thrift shop now and then, maybe a flea market once in a while, but I don’t spend all Saturday morning driving 100 miles trying to find something to sell. (I live in a rural area, that’s what it takes to go yard sailing around here)

More jewelry

More jewelry

Now I have to restrain myself at the auction. I don’t buy figurines, or glass, or dishes.   Occasionally small items, like antique Christmas garden toys  or lead toy animals.  And I’m happier, and my car is less trashed.  This week’s blog sounds like true confessions.

Trifari jewelry

Trifari jewelry

Now I have a nice group of auction friends. They save spots for me. We bid for each other. We talk about what case we HAVE to have, how high we’ll go for it. Do you want something out of the case I won? I give someone necklaces, she gives me some earrings.  It’s really warm and fuzzy.  And that sure beats obsession and jealousy .

This is a case I sold...for 10.00

This is a case I sold…for 10.00

This weeks auction was just nice. I arrived early to set up 2 cases of jewelry to shovel back to the auction. I thought they were nice.  Unfortunately, I only got 10.00 each for them! But the flip side is, when I sell low, I buy low….this is all non sellable costume jewelry I’m getting rid of (good for selling at flea markets, no name contemporary stuff),  but I’m buying some cool stuff….After setting up my cases, I walked around taking pictures to share on Instagram, and then I become Princess Gretel and go behind the show cases to fondle , um inspect, the trays of jewelry.   M & K were trolling through a huge box of jewelry, putting trays together, and they told me to put some together for myself! Okay joolies, picture a 20 gallon tub full of jewelry,  granted it’s filthy, but who knows what might be in there.  So major entertainment ensued.  Poor M & K, kept holding up stuff they thought I’d like, and I’d just shake my head.   I found tons of vintage beaded necklaces from the 50s, not terribly valuable, but I love beads and love sharing them with my buyers. I also put together another tray of odds and ends, including some art glass beads.  So much fun.

Huge box of jewelry I dug through to find treasures

Huge box of jewelry I dug through to find treasures

What I picked out of that huge box

What I picked out of that huge box

I conferred with a few people, about who wanted what and the bidding was on. They are still selling the estate of an antique jewelry store. Not the great stuff, but good costume is still funneling through. I’m being a good little squirrel, buying and storing acorns now, because I know the good stuff will run out someday.

Got 10.00 for selling this jewelry also!

Got 10.00 for selling this jewelry also!

It was a good day at the auction,

Thanks for reading,




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.



Gretel Goes Digging in Her Boxes… October 7, 2013

I’m getting ready to take another crop of pictures and went digging in shoe boxes. Wow, I found all sorts of cool stuff I didn’t ever know I had. I’m whittling down the “junk: to resell at my local auction. If I decide to to really specialized in jewelry and list things individually (I currently try to list in groups) I will have so many cool items. Like a rhinestone gramophone! Who even knew that I had it?

Amazing Rhinestone and Crystal Bead Statement necklace and earrings

Amazing Rhinestone and Crystal Bead Statement necklace and earrings

I’m actually feeling kind of excited about what I’ll find in these boxes. I still have a lot of old stuff to figure out, like what am I going to do with a huge lot of Littlest Pet Shop Figures that I bought in the spring. I really think it’s going to be healthier for me to focus more on just buying at the auction good vintage stuff. I went over my last couple weeks sales, and a lot have been things I’ve bought in the last few weeks.


Confessions from Gretels Treasures October 6, 2013

First of all I’m still here.

And I still go to auctions.

And I’m still a commitment phobe, thus my lack of postings. I think the hard part is combining pictures and words. I thinks pictures make the blog more interesting, but it takes time and coordination to do that, so I haven’t.

If you go back to January, you’ll see my ambitions for selling silver jewelry. Then you’ll see I didn’t like it. Or I did like it. Or whatever.

Most people on Etsy have been having a really bad few months, including me. Complaining about changes, and not selling. If you’re not selling you have to list more. If you’re not selling it’s Etsy’s fault and you’re going to quit. You need to be on Facebook. You need to tweet. You need to pin. You need to google+ (I haven’t figured that one out yet)

I’m not particularly attached to Etsy. I’ve always believed in diversification. That’s why I’ve tried Ebay, Etsy, and Bonanza. (never heard of Bonanza, neither has any one else. Trust me, you’re not missing anything) What I have figured out is, everyone is different, nothing will work the same for everyone. And there won’t be any pretty pictures this week.

Oct 1st starts the 4th quarter of the year, the time when all retailers set their sights on making a profit. (And yes, we are retailers).  This would not be the time to decide to change your whole store and retail mission. I currently have 600 listings on Ebay.  I sell vintage jewelry, toys, stuffed animals, shoes, clothes, Disney, Christmas stuff, art glass, pottery, accessories, fabric…..anyone seeing a pattern here? Exactly there is none.  I have preached diversification. I keep spreadsheets on what categories sell and where they are sourced. Ebay helps me keep track on all sorts of categories. But what does all that do with my wellbeing?

I am considered a successful online reseller. But this means I run to yards sales, thrift shops, auctions, and anywhere else I can find stuff here in the middle of no where. My large walk  in closet is full…of stuffed animals and other peoples clothes and shoes once they buy them. Over the last year I started dating my item records so I could see how long that Talbots jacket has cycled through Ebay. and you know what? I want my closet (and bathroom back)

Right now all my clothes are on sale for 35% off on Ebay:

Though the sale falls off tonight, I’ll accept any reasonable offer on any of the clothes listed.  Why? I’m tired of diversification.

I have 3 shoe boxes full of listable jewelry, I’ve allowed to pile up for months. And not done anything about it. The .last few weeks I’ve bought some non jewelry vintage items at the auction and had fun listing them.  Clothes are very hard to list and sell, unless you are willing to make it a full time commitment. I’m actually anxious to dump all my clothing and have a more manageable store!

Our family has undergone some major changes in the last few months. After being laid off 4 years ago, my husband was finally able to get  a full time job in this county.  Which meant I felt I could back off a little to pick up the slack at the home front.  I want to have things calmer around my house. Unlike many sellers, I am not a hoarder. I look around at all the stuff surrounding me, filling every little corner, and it really depresses me, causing me to shut down.  I have been really depressed the last few months, what with worrying about my Honey’s new job situation, my only child starting Middle School (that’s enough for another blog!), and all this stuff.

I use that term frequently for what I sell. And that’s what it is, Stuff. And I don’t even like a lot of it that much. I want to sell treasures not used clothes. So that is where I have been, and now that we’re approaching holiday time, I’ve decided to change direction.

Thank you for reading this far




Gretel Settles in to a New Lifestyle June 20, 2013

Today's Catch

I had a good catch Yesterday. Let’s back up some. This is my first week as taking care of child and house stuff while DH works full time. We are so happy that things are going well for him. As an “older” employee, (ie not in his 20s) he may not be a limber as those young’uns, but he makes up for it in wisdom and common sense, evidently something that is lacking in so 20 somethings. I have to make sure to get Zach to the bus stop in time for camp, and before that make sure he get’s his medicine (bad mommy!)…Just because we’re on time at the bus stop doesn’t mean the bus will be. But at least we have the air conditioned comfort of the car. Another positive aspect of this bus stop thing is I get in town twice a day, for mailing treasures off to the four corners of the world. (Yesterday to Australia, France, and Hong Kong, that’s 3 of the corners right?)

After dropping off the little master, I settle down for cruising on Ebay to make sure I don’t miss someone else’s mistakes in pricing. Earlier this year I purchased a 3 piece Venetian glass jewelry set, in original box with paper work for 15.00 (on ebay) I flipped it after many months for 125.00. Yes, there are people who spend all day searching for cheap stuff to flip. I just have about 15 lists of jewelry I search every morning, mostly for personal use, but sometimes I find something.

At 11:00 am time to hit the auction. I’m only buying jewelry (I tell myself) right now. And surprisingly there was a lot of decent costume jewelry. Miss H who works the auction counter said 10 of the trays were hers, and I did get a bunch of them. She let me behind the counter to look on my own (Yay, I’m a princess again!), which is so much easier and quicker than her pulling out each tray for me to see. I did find some surprises. So the picture at the top is what I got. about 5.5 pounds of costume, most of it sellable. But first lunch. I try and have lunch with Mr. T and the Lovely Ms. J was with him. Mr. T collects blondes along the way (guess I’m one of them too) because people have confused Ms. J and me at the auction as friends with Mr. T. I was obsessing with the jewelry, so the 2 of them went into the luncheonette and ordered me my weekly egg salad wrap. This is an Amish restaurant at the auction, and there aren’t that many options for a vegetarian.

Over lunch once again he tried to convince me to do auctions, show me the error of my ways, but I am a stubborn blonde. Back in high school they couldn’t get me to try the brownies with extra special herbs in it, what makes you think I will stop being stubborn after all these years. (Not an endearing quality as far as DH thinks) I currently have 2 auctions running with no interest or bidders!

Funny, there weren’t many people at the jewelry counter, a lot of the big jewelry cases (where I have sold) went for 10.00….One even got combined with another. This is a great opportunity to get lots of jewelry , good for flea markets and such, but I am up to my ears in jewelry:

5 boxes full of jewelry

This is my current back log of auction jewelry. 3 shoeboxes, a jewelry box, and a k’nex box. I dread to think how heavy they are. Why do I need to buy more? Hi, my name is Gretel, and I am addicted to buying jewelry. Right now bidnapper is bidding for me on a necklace, and I am watching a few scarab bracelets.

All of the jewelry in those boxes is for sale (but not listed, listed items are somewhere else)

So, lets cut to the chase, I filled my little shoe box up yesterday with some great stuff. Trifari, Coro, Alice Caverness, Hattie Carnegie to name a few. Some I have to test for silver (I had no idea silver was down to 16.50 an ounce, I sold some yesterday thinking it was still 25.00 an ounce)…So lets look at some pictures:

Some pins and bracelets

The bracelet on the left is a silver spring cuff with enamel animal heads, it might be sterling, I love these faux pearl earrings (unmarked), love the owl and the fox, just a nice little assortment

More pins

Some pins, the coral color one is Sarah Coventry, I got some Trifari earrings I may “marry” to it, because they would look good together, I love the leaves pin

Fluorite handmade necklace

Fluorite handmade necklace

I personally love this necklace and will probably keep it and wear it until/if it sells. Banded shades of green and purple, my favorite color combination. I bought this as part of a lot. I don’t know what I paid for the lots, some were like 10-20 dollars. I paid 127.00 for everything (and more) that you see in the top picture. No Juliana, Regency, or Weiss goodies, but a lot of stuff I can work with.

Alice Caverniss enamel Peacock

Alice Caverniss enamel Peacock

Now this piece I pulled out of a lot. I was afraid it would go higher than I wanted (think it had silver on it) I paid 15.00 for this pin, not much wiggle room for resale, but it makes my shops look great, might bring in traffic, and I really love it. (sorry for the picture quality on this)…the rest of the lot went for 70.00…remember Gretel’s rule of 40….never spend more than 40.00 for something, unless you really love it. (I will spend more than 40.00 for a Julianna parure…saw one sell for over 500.00 last week)

Goldfish bowl necklace

Goldfish bowl necklace

How cool is this! Miss H was selling this in a lot, and I was lucky enough to get it. It’s unsigned, but so fun, I love it.

Har Brooch

Har Brooch

I saw this and wanted it. I thought it might be a Regency Pin, it’s not but it’s very pretty. Stones are glued in, and it’s missing a few blue balls, but I think I can scrounge some of those up from another piece I have.

Hattie Carnegie Bee Pin

Hattie Carnegie Bee Pin

Another pin I saw and loved. I was surprised when I flipped it over and saw the Hattie Carnegie name. I was tempted to scrape off all the pin enamel/paint (did I hear a gasp out there) but I will leave it as is and allow it’s new owner to decide what to do with it.

I realize I have so much great stuff to sell I think I need to take an inventory. Gulp. And stop buying. (Not happening)

Right now I’m obsessing about Egyptian Revival jewelry and Czech glass jewelry.

Czech Red Glass Scarab necklace

Czech Red Glass Scarab necklace

I recently bought this on ebay. It was so worth it! That is a huge 2″ long glass scarab. Yum.

Time to go, here’s what I’m looking at right now:

Looking at right now

Looking at right now

Picture of my front yard. You can also find me on facebook, pinterest, ebay and etsy




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