I'm excited to introduce my sweet friend, Lynn Armstrong, owner and curator of Gold West Vintage Jewelry. Lynn and I met a few years ago in our home base of San Francisco and quickly bonded over our love for the unique design and quality of vintage jewelry. With over seven years in business, split between the two coasts, Lynn is well connected with private sellers around the country and therefore, is able to save the most gorgeous fine vintage pieces from being melted down into scrap metal.
Every time we catch up over coffee, along with her adorable baby Tudor, she brings her latest jewelry finds. I'm always amazed at how incredibly unique each piece is (this is my absolute favorite). Lynn is not only an expert with the intricacies of authenticating fine vintage jewelry but, she also has an amazing eye.
Working closely with Lynn on curating the exclusive collection for Sweet & Spark, I had the opportunity to learn more about her background and business model (she also buys up your old silver and gold) and find it as fascinating as her jewelry collection. I hope you enjoy reading my interview with her below as well as shopping our first ever fine vintage jewelry collection featuring Gold West Vintage cocktail rings in a range of colors and sizes. There's no way you will find pieces as unique as these at the special pricing she's offering on the collection!
1. How did you get your start in the fine vintage jewelry industry? Give us the low down on how GWV started.
I am an Interior Designer, A.S.I.D. and hold degrees in Fine Art and Architecture. I have always been passionate about design. With a natural eye for one-of-a-kind design and my inherited passion for jewelry, it was only a matter of time before I started my own company.
I have worked for high end residential and luxury lines focusing on Interior Architecture, Furniture, Hardware and Accessories. I have worked for several well known, high end lines (Pottery Barn, McGuire Furniture...) both designing myself, as well as bringing to life the sketches of International Designers.
After moving back to New York from San Francisco 7 years ago in a search for a new opportunity, I began working in the gold and silver industry. It saddened me to see so much beautiful jewelry and tableware being stowed away or melted. THIS inspired me to find and bring unwanted, yet stunning items to others....and to feed her undying obsession with cocktail rings! I always say, "finding the right cocktail ring is like finding the right pair of jeans"
2. Where do you find most of your jewels? In order to make it into your collection, is there anything specific that you look for?
I find most of my jewels at the gold parties I hold and private consultations. Clients sell unwanted items and I melt most and save the special ones to fix up and resell. They are such a success as everyone goes hone with money and the hostess makes a bonus. I look for unusual vintage pieces especially cocktail rings and brooches, no specific era.
3. How do you authenticate the value of each piece? What are the key things people should know about purchasing fine vintage?
I use a magnet, acid and electric conductor to determine the value of jewelry. The type of gemstone and intricacy of the piece as well as the karat also determine the value. When buying vintage make sure you are buying from a reputable seller specializing in vintage jewelry who has thoroughly tested the item and gemstones.
4. There are so many different types of stones used in fine vintage jewelry, what are some of your favorites? Do you have a favorite piece?
I am obsessed with aquamarine and alexandrite. I also love sugilite, a rare purple gemstone. My favorite pieces are my "Insect Brooches" They don't make them like they used to when they were used to truly accent an outfit. I have a collection of Bees I always have a hard time parting with when they sell.
A huge thanks to Lynn for sharing her finds with us! Be sure to shop the exclusive collection for Sweet & Spark here. We hope you love it as much as we do. Also, you can also learn more about selling your unwanted gold and silver pieces to Lynn here and shop all of her other amazing finds on her website here.