While this is no secret to anyone living in the Bay Area, the Alameda Point Antique Faire should be on the must-do list of anyone visiting the Bay Area who has an interest in vintage and antique goods. Not only is it great for shopping, but this is also a market with a view: the market takes place on an air strip at the former Alameda Naval Air Station and has a view of San Francisco, the Bay, and the giant cranes of the Port of Oakland as a backdrop.
Palm Beach is famous for its high end consignment shops and its reputation is justified. On a recent buying trip to Florida I scoped out the vintage clothing scene in Palm Beach. The city of Palm Beach is located on a beach barrier island across the Intercoastal waterway from the mainland and connected to it by a couple of short bridges. An enclave of the very rich, Palm Beach features elegant hotels and restaurants and Worth Avenue, one of the world’s great shopping streets if high-end designer goods are your thing.
The New York Antique Jewelry and Watch Show is one of the top shows in the United States for lovers of antique jewelry. Produced by US Antique Shows – the company that also produces the Pier Show in New York, the Miami Beach Antique Show, and the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show – this show attracts many of the finest dealers in the country and from around the world. I recently attended the show, which was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street from July 25-28, and it was terrific. Although most of the jewelry was high end, and some VERY high end, I’d still strongly recommend that anyone with an interest in vintage and antique jewelry attend shows of this caliber because there is so much to be learned.
Palm Beach County is thick with thrift shops, some of which are pretty grungy and others that are as elegant as a high-end boutique. On a recent buying trip I visited many of them and found several worth repeat visits.
Goodwill has a lot of stores in Palm Beach County and there is a clear hierarchy among them. At the top of this hierarchy, and by far the most elegant thrift shop I’ve ever been to, is the Goodwill Embassy Boutique in Palm Beach. Located in the heart of a cluster of high-end consignment and vintage shops, and featuring beautiful built-in wood cabinets, if you didn’t know that this was Goodwill you wouldn’t know that it was Goodwill.
West Palm Beach’s “Antique Row” has dozens of vintage and antique shops, some high-end and others that are more modestly priced. The merchandise varies from vintage clothing and jewelry to furniture and decorative objets. Strengths include items from the mid-20th century including one of my favorites, lucite. On a recent trip I saw great lucite and chrome magazine racks and lamps at Cashmere Buffalo, although my focus was on jewelry.
One of the top vintage jewelry dealers in the country, D. Brett Benson, has a shop on antique row with an eye-popping selection of jewelry. When I first walked in I was wowed by his incredible selection of designer costume jewelry. But then I saw the jewelry in the showcases at the center of store filled with Mexican silver, modernist silver, Art Deco jewelry and some great Arts and Crafts pieces and was really impressed. There were exceptional pieces of silver jewelry by Spratling, Aguilar, Theodor Fahrner and many other great designers. This is a shop for serious collectors and fashionistas, so don’t expect bargains; it takes a lot of time and money for a dealer to amass a collection like this and even though the prices were high, they were fair considering their quality. Plus, the manager Kevin was delightful, and since it was “off season” and the store wasn’t busy, we had a lovely chat.
A few weeks ago I spent a weekend in Los Angeles on a buying trip. I timed my trip to coincide with the Vintage Fashion Expo which is held three times a year in Los Angeles and twice a year in San Francisco (where I am a seller). The weekend of the Vintage Expo coincided with the monthly Long Beach Antique Market so I spent Sunday shopping there.