What I Look For While Antiquing

If you follow me on Instagram or TikTok, you probably know my husband and I have gotten really in to antiquing in about the last two years. Moving cities in the middle of the pandemic hasn't been ideal. But one thing we have really enjoyed about the Atlanta area is the amount of estate sales happening every weekend (I have a full post on that here), and stores to visit in different directions of the city. Plus huge monthly antique markets to visit like Scott's Antiques the 2nd weekend of each month. And Lakewood 400 Antique Market the 3rd weekend of each month. This past weekend, we went east of the city and discovered some great little stores. The previous weekend we went north in to the mountains, splitting the day between shopping and hiking. It seems like we will never run of places to visit...but maybe I'll have to report back on that. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share what we are looking for while we make these visits!

Wedgwood Jasperware
 Wedgwood Jasperware has a lot of history, which you can read all about here. It comes in a range of colors (approximately 30), the light blue above is the most common. The pieces I see the most often are small dishes/trays, trinket boxes, plates, small vases, and ornaments. Plus the same cameo details on jewelry like pendants, earrings, and brooches. I've rounded up close to 10 light blue pieces, but I'm hoping to collect a few pieces in several more colors. I've already gotten a start on: sage green, dark blue, rose pink, black, teal, and primrose yellow. Prices vary by the size of the piece and the color. The pale blue is always priced the best, some small pieces like dishes can be found for as low as $5-$10. But the same piece in a color like lavender or yellow could be more like $60. The larger pieces also tend to jump in price, many going for over $100. This of course also varies by seller, but I'm always entertained searching for more Jasperware!

Blue and White Pottery
The most common find at any antique store is likely to be a blue and white pottery piece. There are endless options from ginger jars, vases, bowls, plates, candle holders, planters, umbrella holders, garden stools, the list could go on and on. The most common styles you will see are Chinoiserie (more info here) or Delft (more info here). I have probably picked up more pieces that could fit in to this category than anything else. Reproduction pieces (but still vintage) are typically very affordable, but original pieces can get very pricey. For example a similar looking ginger jar could cost $30 for the copy while the original could run up to around $500. I prefer to only buy vintage pieces of this style, I tend to think any new pieces (from places like HomeGoods) don't blend well together with the vintage ones. But they're so versatile and could fit into just about any room and fit many different decor styles.

Most of my crystal so far is in new drinking glasses. We have monogrammed Waterford flutes from our wedding, I also found some stemless Waterford wine glasses at HomeGoods at the end of last summer. Prices tend to range based on brand, age (Waterford made in Ireland is always more expensive), and the size of the piece. But I've found some great prices on the above bud vase (Lenox), some tea candle holders (unknown brand), and a Waterford cross I found at an estate sale.  I'm hoping to end up with a large bowl and taller vase eventually.  I see both very often at antique stores and estate sales. I don't think we have the space at the moment, but would love to acquire some more when we eventually have a dining room.

I love the subtle shine of brass, and have touches of it throughout the house. There are so many options of antique brass, I've picked up: the above vases, 2 sets of bookends, a ginger jar, some trinket boxes, and a mirror tray with a brass border. I also like brass hardware, so any brass pieces tie the room together a little more. Most brass pieces I've seen are affordable, I typically pay between $10-$30 depending on the size of the piece. It's also pretty simple to polish and can go quite some time between polishing.

I only recently started looking for silver plate pieces, when I came across the above candlesticks a few months ago. I've since picked up a silver Revere bowl (you can learn more about that here) I plan to use for some flowers, and a platter. Polishing silver is a little more work than polishing brass, so I'm not sure how much more I'll end up collecting. But I've been enjoying finding a few pieces and getting them nice and shiny. Since I mostly look for silver plate, I typically see it at fairly low prices. But large serve ware is more expensive than the pieces I've collected so far. 

Some of my favorite recent jewelry finds have come from antique stores. I have always preferred gold tone over silver, and most of what I see in stores is gold toned. However, they can be hit or miss. Some pieces are instant favorites, like the earrings pictures above. But keep in mind that cheaper materials don't always age the best, and some earrings found for $3 could make your ears bleed after a few hours...that has only been on 1 occasion though. I've found some great statement pieces for $5-$10, and I now have a brooch on each one of my coats. Plus I work in the watch industry and as a result have become a big fan of vintage watches. So I am looking in every case in search of a Longines, Seiko, Bulova, or a few other great brands still around today.

Silk Scarves
I think my very first vintage purchase was a silk scarf. So you could say they started it all. I'm not opposed to buying silk scarves new, but I've found some beautiful vintage ones. I recently made a Reel with 12 different uses for them, they are truly the most versatile accessory!

Vintage bags can be great options for event style bags like clutches or with short top handles. They're also always available for very low prices. I have a few bags I love to bring to weddings, or this wicker and lucite one above is on constant rotation in the summer. However, I wouldn't advise shopping for vintage bags online, especially if you have one of the larger iPhones. They obviously were designed before phones were around, so I always have to make sure mine will fit in it first!

If you were wondering what my husband looks for while I'm looking for all of the above, he collects glass insulators. You can read more about them here, but there seems to be unlimited varieties of them. So he is always on the lookout for those, as well as vintage microphones, which he turns into lights. Plus musical instruments, and vintage gear of his alma mater, NC State University. Which is typically much easier to find in North Carolina. But despite what a lot of people expect (understandably so), antiquing is an activity we equally enjoy! We both have our categories we are hoping to find, but the thrill is in the hunt. You never know what you're going to find!

Thanks for reading!

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