AN INTERVIEW WITH LAURA RODRIGUES, Director
What inspired you to launch Vintique Jewellery?
I have loved beautiful things since I could walk and talk. I have so many amazing memories of growing up and never becoming bored of staring at my mother’s lovely, yet rather humble, jewellery collection. We would often sit together and carefully go through her pieces. I loved the fact that most items had a story. Seeing gorgeous gold, different coloured gemstones, and tiny diamonds sparkling in the sunlight was a real fascination. Something which has stayed and grown with me.
My parents were both antique dealers so was no shortage of interesting and exquisitely made objects dotted around my Scottish family home. I love looking at and holding beautiful things. University was a fabulous opportunity for me to fine tune my eye. I read The History of Art at The University of Edinburgh. I started my early career following in my parent’s footsteps and dealt in antiques. It soon become transparent that jewellery was an area of specialist interest and became my specialism. After nearly 20 years of selling at antique fairs, online via ebay and privately to clients I was encouraged to set up on my own. With a reputation for sourcing unique, beautiful and exquisitely made affordable fine jewellery I wanted to bring my collection together. I became CEO of Vintique Jewellery when I launched it in the autumn of 2018.
You source Fine Vintage & Antique Jewellery – how do you choose your pre-loved items?
Firstly, I look through and assess hundreds, sometimes thousands, of potential items at a time. Many items can be nice, many can be exuberant or lavish. But only a select few actually make it onto my wish list. It is a bit like investing a new kitchen or even a pair of bespoke curtains, there can be many really great alternatives but only the best will do. What do I look for? Beauty. Quality. Exquisite craftsmanship. Individuality. It has to be aesthetically pleasing. I spent many years assessing artworks, antiques and paintings under the premise ‘everything about it has to be beautiful’.
I will never forget the first time I set eyes on a real oil painting by the world-famous artist Claude Monet in the National Gallery of Edinburgh. My heart literally fluttered. Monet’s painting was beautiful, exciting and the colours were extraordinary. The subject matter was simple, one of his many haystack paintings. But it had been executed with love and attention to detail. Subsequently, I only choose pieces of jewellery if I get the same kind of feeling.
I see jewellery as a piece of wearable art, beautifully and lovingly crafted. No matter whether it is a dress ring, a pair of earrings or a delicate pendant and necklace. First impression is that it has to catch my eye. Is it beautiful and is it special? Then my eye is drawn to finer details, how it has been made, choice of precious gemstones and metals, quality of the materials used, settings, it’s condition. I love antique jewellery, vintage pieces and contemporary items. Importantly, jewellery has so much to offer.
What fascinates you the most about jewellery?
Jewellery has been made and worn for roughly 100,000 years. Isn’t that incredible, and so powerful. Jewellery is a universal form of adornment and carries meaning. Ancient jewellery is believed to have been worn as a form of protection as well as a status of rank. I love the fact that jewellery can hold so much special meaning, whether it is a stylistic catalogue of how fashions have changed over time, or sentimental jewellery which has been designed as a token of love, or the fact that simply looking at, holding and wearing it can bring so much joy and fulfilment. Jewellery is precious, it looks beautiful, it is special and I love to wear it. Each and every piece that I carefully source is as special and unique as the client who chooses to wear it.
Whenever transfixed by studying a gorgeous gemstone or diamond, watching the way the light travels through it, I remind myself that they are natural. It still amazes me that gemstones, diamonds, precious metals like gold and platinum have been created naturally. Formed by nature, hundreds of thousands of years ago. How special and beautiful is that!
Speaking of aesthetic, how would you describe that of Vintique Jewellery in five words or phrases?
Beautiful, individual, fine quality, heart-warming, affordable luxury
What do you enjoy most about selling jewellery online?
Keeping in touch with my wonderful regular and return clients. I have formed some really lovely friendships over the years. I am so touched every time a client shares news of how a piece of Vintique Jewellery is being worn and loved. Meeting new people from all over the world. There is a lovely feeling of common ground, a great sense of community. It is a fabulous way to share my ever-changing new arrivals and communicate with clients who are looking for something in particular.
What is your favourite piece of jewellery from your private collection?
That’s an interesting question. I’d actually have to pick three pieces. All for sentimental reasons. First, is a ring which my parents had lovingly bespoke made for my 18th birthday. It is a fairly simple but beautifully designed ring, collet set with the most gorgeous little apple green garnet. Second, is a small ring which my grandfather bought for my grandmother to celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary. Last but by no means least, my engagement ring and wedding band. The pieces are beautiful and their carried meaning is cherished.