If you've ever stopped into Market Square Jewelers in Portland, Maine, you might have met Caroline. Bright and enthusiastic, Caroline's passion for antique jewelry is infectious! Read our interview with her and learn everything from her favorite Portland restaurant, to her best advice for customers shopping for vintage jewelry.
C: I started working here in May of 2017, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since!
C: That’s a great question, my story is probably more unusual. In high school, I started a Christmas caroling group. In my senior year of high school into college, a friend of ours who was also in the group, her family owned a jewelry store, and they hired us to Christmas carol outside of the store for several years. One winter I asked if they’d possible like to use me as a temp for something extra to do [on my] month off, and I basically never left. I became quite intrigued with all the things I was reading, and all the terms, and all the gemstones, and I thought to myself, I can do this. And I did!
C: I mean, the obvious one is the ring I took home. I love my 1930’s white zircon ring. I’ve always been a big zircon fan, and when this came across my path, I did a dance, and said, “I’m taking it home!” Also, one of my favorite pieces in the store is a men’s ring with a boulder opal. It has a gorgeous purple sheen; it’s like a little reveal when the sun hits it. So, that one I think is quite special.
Shop one of Caroline's favorite pieces, a boulder opal men's ring.
C: I had a lovely couple come in and they were getting married in two to three weeks. They wanted bands that at least somewhat matched, which can be a challenge in estate jewelry. She fell in love with one of our Elizabeth Henry rings, so he wanted to include one of those in his ring, but they’re fairly small – 2 to 3 millimeters. So, what we did to create a two tone look for him, we took a white gold men’s ring and actually cut it in half and soldered the Elizabeth Henry [band] so you had this strip of pattern. So, he was wearing the same ring as she was, in a two tone nature. It worked really well! That was one of the more creative, fast, fun projects that we did, and it actually looked really, really nice.
C: I love it because every day is a new day, and I never know what’s going to come across my desk, whether it’s somebody coming in to sell something, or new to us pieces that come in. It may be a piece of mourning jewelry that’s a cross made out of human hair, or I may get some interesting gemstone, like a cat’s eye opal (which is the only one I’ve seen in six years). So for me, it’s the newness of the old!
C: My big kick right now, kind of in keeping with the estate feel of things, is I love Agatha Christie novels. I’ve been listening to them non-stop, so I love any sort of murder mystery, story, show, book, play! I’m all about it. That’s something that probably takes up more time than it should! I also love going on walks around Portland, and I volunteer once a week at a local cat shelter.
C: I do, I have a cat named Kitty. She’s a black cat, I adopted her seven years ago. I’m trying to keep it down to one, but that may change!
C: My parents actually raised us quite a bit on opera and classical music, believe it or not. I love some of those genres. I’ve also been recently into more big band and Ella Fitzgerald, and jazz. But don’t get me wrong, I love some Taylor Swift when I’m in the right mood! So, a pretty wide eclectic range of tastes there.
C: That’s a very difficult question! It depends a little bit on what I want to do: if I want more of a fancy, special occasion night, Central Provisions is phenomenal. They do small plates, farm-to-table, menu changes, and I’ve never had anything there that I didn’t like. So, that’s definitely top of my list. And then of course, J’s Oyster bar. You can’t go wrong! You go there and there’s somebody in a suit, next to a fisherman, next to somebody else from the shops, and everybody’s talking together and eating. So, it’s a nice evening.
C: The Victorian Mansion! It’s a great place, they do a Christmas gala that we’ve gone to for several years now. It’s something we look forward to every year. People dress up, some people do period pieces, others just do a fun dress, and you go and you drink and walk around the whole mansion and chit chat. And of course you can visit it any time during the summer, but I love the antique nature of that place.
C: I tend to like a lot more of the yellow gold items in general, although, don’t get me wrong, I love my sterling just the same! I think for me I like the ’30’s, I like the Nouveau influence, and the Victorian is probably where you’ll find me most often.
C: The Virginia setting, I think, is one of our more beautiful settings. It’s just so classic – it’s fairly low profile, the oval stone, which elongates the look of the hand – this ring is going to look good on most people. I also found the Catherine ring to be quite attractive. I love the north, south, east, west [placement] of the diamonds. I think also a cushion or square cut can be flattering on most hands. It’s a nice, versatile ring.
C: People ask me all the time if it’s haunted! I have yet to experience any personal hauntings, so as far as I can say no. That’s kind of a funny one, but no hauntings yet!
C: It’s very simple: buy what you like. I know that that sounds obvious, but often times we can get caught up on wanting to look for the specific thing that’s trendy right now. My suggestion is to go to the thing that draws you in, because that’s the thing that you’re going to want to wear today, five years from now, ten years from now. If you saw that little fashion piece that you’re looking for, it will be fun for the next couple years, but if you want to invest in a solid collection, go with the piece that speaks to you.
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Let Caroline help you find your next favorite piece of jewelry! Stop into Market Square Jewelers in Portland, Maine today!