Kudzu Vintage Home News

Exciting news! Vintage inspired weddings are the hot trend, and Kudzu has just launched it’s Kudzu Pinterest Wedding Registry Service! Now couples have the opportunity to create a registry that reflects their taste for unique and unusual items selected from the tens of thousands of items at Kudzu’s two locations. Our staff can help guide couples through the selection process, and then create a personal registry site on Pinterest that anyone anywhere can visit to select an item that newlyweds will know they’ll love. Don’t be stuck with the same old department store registry, create something unique that shows friends and family what your tastes really are!

Unlike traditional wedding registries, brides and grooms can select from Kudzu’s vast selection of items that have a history and tell a story. Creating a Kudzu registry provides a fun and memorable gift giving experience. You won’t find “cookie cutter” gifts here. Think “eclectic” garden art, unique barware, Amish made furniture, industrial lighting, folk art, and collectibles.

But that’s not all. Kudzu can be a terrific resource for ‘provisioning’ your wedding event with wonderful décor items of all types. Our designers can help you imagine a uniquely personal reception or rehearsal dinner using Kudzu’s treasure trove of vintage and global decorating items. Table settings, room décor, centerpieces, Kudzu has thousands of choices. And if you’re looking for inspired bridesmaids gifts or wedding party gifts, we’ve got those too!

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out what these couples have done using vintage to create a fabulous wedding. We hope it gives you that “vintage” vision for your special day.

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ImageFall is officially here, and it seems to have happened overnight. Yesterday, you were lying by the pool, sipping lemonade and enjoying the hot sweaty days of Summer. Today, you grab a sweater as you rush out the door for work, feeling the brisk morning air bite at your bare arms. There’s no turning back the clock, no pressing pause, and certainly no hibernating for you! The seasons are changing, and quickly. With only a few short weeks until Halloween it’s time to start getting ready! Kudzu has noticed the changing seasons, and in accordance with “Pumpkin-flavored-everything” month, we have decided to compile a list of things to get YOU ready for the months (and holidays) to come!! We talked to dealers of all trades to compile this list and we’re sharing it with you to help make these next few months just a little bit easier. So grab a pen and paper, write this down, and add a few special “to-do’s” of your own. Image

A is for Ambiance. If there’s one quick, easy, and cheap way to make your house instantly ready for a new season, it’s to change the ambiance. The best way to do this is to make it smell like the season. If you don’t have time to whip up a homemade pumpkin pie, try lighting a pumpkin flavored candle (or whatever flavor you like). Filling your home with the smells of the season might not prepare you for everything to come, but at least your house will smell good while you figure it out! B is for Bedding. Change your bedding from those breezy Summer sheets to the warm comforters and quilts, good for cuddling up in all Winter long! C is for Comfort food (and Company!) These are the months where more and more guests will be visiting your home. Indulge in those cook books you have never opened, and whip up some delicious homemade chili. Top it off with a fresh baked pie and your friends are sure to spread the word.

D is for Decorate. Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit like a little festive home decoration. Whether you compete in the neighborhood Christmas lights contest, or you simply carve a pumpkin for Halloween, decorations are the easiest way to spread some holiday cheer. Want to go big on decorations, but not so big on your wallet? – Look for DIY ideas on the internet! Pinterest and DIY blogs are great places to find tip and tricks to decorate for the holiday season. E is for Eat. Do I really need to explain this one?!

ImageF is for Fireplace/ Fire pit. Been using your fireplace as a storage spot these past few months? Well, clear out the clutter and sweep up the soot. The weather is only going to get cooler! G is for Garage. This is the perfect time to clean out and organize your garage. If this is where you store holiday decorations, start getting them out now. Doing this stuff early makes it much easier on you later on! H is for Home, duh! Reconnect with your home. Take this time to look around and do all those things you’ve been meaning to do. You (and your guests) will be spending a lot of time in your home these next few months. Listen to what it’s telling you! I is for Invite. Invite friends over for holiday get-togethers. It doesn’t have to be an actual holiday to hold a brunch or dinner with friends. If you think that’s too much- do a hot chocolate night with your girlfriends. Wanna kill two birds with one stone? Have a decorating party! Invite your closest friends over for treats and drinks and let everyone lend a hand in decorating!

Let’s skip J and K…L is for Light fixtures. Ever walk by those pendant lights and notice the cobwebs and dust bunnies? What better time than now to whip out the Swiffer and start dusting those lights. M is for Move. Move stuff around. Rearrange! Don’t have the money or time to buy new furniture or accessories? You don’t need to spend a fortune to give your home a makeover. Simply move things around. Switching things up can give your home an instant new look.Image

N is for Nesting. This doesn’t apply only to pregnant women. This is the perfect time to get acquainted with your house. Spend time in each room and discover what’s been neglected and what’s needed. O is for Organize. Before things get really crazy these next few months, start getting organized now. Go through house decorations, cookbooks, and more! Plan now to save you from stressing later. P is for Plant. Fall is the time to plant your bulbs for Spring. This needs to be done about 8 weeks before the first frost. Doing this now means you will have beautiful flowers blooming by Spring! Q…Hmmm, any thoughts? R is for Read. Curl up on that newly moved sofa, light that cleaned up fireplace, and get lost in a good book. I’m pretty sure this fixes every problem imaginable. S is for Shades. Give a room an instant facelift by replacing lamp shades. Switching up lamp shades makes the entire room look brand new! Skipping T, U, and V…

ImageW is for Windows. Once (or better yet, twice) a year, give your windows a good thorough cleaning. This is an instant way to get the exterior of your home looking brand new! X, Y..really? Last, yet most importantly is Z for Zzzz. After getting through this list and the next few months, catch up on some much needed sleep! You’ll definitely be needing it.

We hope this list helps you out during the hectic holiday season. Every letter may not apply to you, but use your own creativity to make this list fit your unique lifestyle. The seasons are changing rapidly and there’s no stopping them! So pull your boots up, print this list out, and start checking things off! Oh, and if you get a chance, stop by Kudzu to see whats changing with us over these next few months. Whether you’re looking for decorations, new furniture, or just a friendly face, we’re sure to have exactly what you need. Happy upcoming holidays from the ‘Zu to you!

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One of Karen’s booths showcasing her artwork and her love of eclectic antiques

Karen Nichols is the local artist and antique lover responsible for two booths at Kudzu Antique Mall. If you are wondering which booths are hers, you wont have to look for too long. Karen’s booths are always in perfect order, showing great symmetry and harmony between the items showcased. One of the first things you will notice when you see her booth is all of her beautiful oil paintings. This artwork along with her eclectic mix of furniture and antiques, represents the Karen Nichols that I got to sit down and talk to. She is one part artist, one part antique lover, and a million parts everything else. Fun, eclectic, and full of creative energy, Karen sat down with me to tell me about how she balances the two great loves of her life: art and antiques.

Karen, How long have you been an artist?

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Karen’s second booth showing artwork, furniture, and pottery

“As long as I can remember, it’s been part of my identity. As a kid, I was drawn to the arts. I remember doing a big poster in school when I was 8 and my bird looked like a real bird, not an “M”. It was an accident, but that accident showed what was inside of me. When I went to college, I never questioned what my major was going to be. Art is what I always did.”

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Pen and ink by Karen Nichols “Elenor”

Do you find that your art sells well at Kudzu?

“Yea, it’s done very well. It has out-sold my galleries. With the economy like it is, people aren’t going to galleries so much. Kudzu allows me to sell great art pieces at lower prices so that anyone can enjoy and own my work.

What is the inspiration behind your art?

“I think it has changed over the years and I think it continues to change.  I believe that we are attracted to certain things innately. We call it beauty, but its really just basic principles: complimentary colors, harmony, repetition, etc. I also draw inspiration from life experiences and places I’ve visited. My art becomes a way of holding onto those feelings and experiences and finding a way to share them with others.”

How did you get started in the antique business?

“I was always very interested in it. My husband and I have a place in St. Simons and I got to decorate it. We didn’t have a fortune to spend on the interior design, so I had to be creative. I “recycled” old pieces while working on a budget, and the final result was amazing. Also, painting can be very lonely. I spend hours alone in my studio. It’s nice to get away from that. It’s nice to be around people. I love the atmosphere at Kudzu and the people here. It’s a great balance to the other passion in my life.

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Beautiful hand carved wooden box

How would you describe your booth at Kudzu?

“My booth is very balanced. It’s a mixture of my artwork and pieces that I find. I love being in a good aesthetic.  I just think your environment is very important for your mental well-being. When I set up my booths or look for things,  I want everything to work in a sort of harmony. I set up my booth the same way I set up my paintings. I want things to work well together. I also like for people to be able to see things in a realistic setting. I love taking something old, fixing it up, and seeing how it can be used today. I like an eclectic mix of items: modern with old.”

Where do you find most of the items in your booth?

“Most of the items in my booth come from estate sales.  Over the years, I’ve made contacts with people and formed relationships. People get to know you and what you’re looking for and they contact you telling you what they have or what you might like.”

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Paintings by Karen Nichols

Do you see yourself making art and working in the antique business forever?

“Yes, I think so. They are a good balance to each other. Before I did this, I owned a fashion photography studio with two partners. It allowed me to have the social aspect while I painted on the side. When we closed that, I really started missing the social aspect of life, and that’s around the time that I picked this up. An artist that I love said if he could pick a place to have a studio, he would have a studio on a balcony overlooking a supermarket. I completely agree with that because painting is very lonely and it’s nice to not feel alone all the time. It’s important to be around people. I balance my time between painting and Kudzu. I work at Kudzu on certain days and then I set aside days to paint. I need to get away from one to truly appreciate and excel at the other.”

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Artist and antique lover, Karen Nichols, sitting in her booth at Kudzu Antique Mall

Karen Nichols is directly represented by her booths at Kudzu. They show a sense of balance and symmetry which is directly related to how she lives her life and fulfills her two great passions. After sitting down and talking to her (she even took me to her studio), I began to understand and see things a little differently- a little bit more like she sees them. If you want to get to know her better, just look around her booth. Each item tells a story and each painting expresses a unique emotion. Little pieces of Karen are seen throughout the booth. You just have to look long and hard enough to see them. Like the other booths at Kudzu, there is often more than initially meets the eye.

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Design Tribe

Karen Moore is the dealer responsible for the booth, “Design Tribe” at Kudzu Antique Mall. The booth offers an eclectic mix of items from vintage movie posters to beautiful china. I sat down and spoke with Karen to get an idea about the inspiration behind her design style, her booth name, and how she sees herself evolving over the next few years. 

How did you get interested in interior design, accessories, and antiques?

It’s always been a personal passion. Early in my 30s friends started asking me to pick their paint colors and come over and help them arrange their furniture. So, I turned it into a business. At the time, I was an interior decorator. As a result of that process, I began to deal with the antique business so that I could blend interiors for clients.

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Al Hirschfeld caricature of Lucille Ball

Was there a specific event or series of events in your life that lead you to grow so passionately about interiors and design?

I was blessed with the ability of being able to pick colors. Friends were always asking me to help them with their interiors. I’ve learned at this stage in my life that you go through many chapters and that the work that you do at any given point and the mileage that you gain is transferable when you go in a different direction. I’ve never just done one thing in my life and the common thread has always been my love of design, color, art, pottery, and accessories. I’ve done everything from interior design consulting to holding office and working together with architects to build a courthouse. After that I went into community re-development, which gave me an opportunity to take what I had learned and operate on a much broader scale in terms of what it takes to combine the elements of design and please clients. I was able to take those things that I had learned along the way and put them to good use in neighborhood re-development. It’s a really important thing that I did before I retired. It brought me to where I am now. I have incorporated these same design elements in everything I do. It’s about understanding the human need to be comfortable in our own space.

Right now are you doing any interior designing or decorating?

Just a little bit but not professionally. It’s really nice at this stage in my life to be retired and not have the pressure. It can just be fun!

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The custom shelf that Karen designed for the back wall of her booth

How did you get started at Kudzu?

I was a customer and a new resident of Decatur. I lived right downtown so this was on the path. I came in and loved the atmosphere and the mix of goods being provided by the various vendors. I thought the people at the front desk were very friendly, so I thought this might be a fun thing to do.

Tell me about the inspiration behind the name of your booth, “Design Tribe?”

The inspiration behind the name “Design Tribe” is the idea that people who love to collect- whether its midcentury or primitives or anything in between- love the process of hunting and gathering, which is basically a tribal activity. So my booth is called Design Tribe for everyone who loves the hunt as much as they love the acquisition.

How would you describe your booth?

I think it’s very eclectic. I try to appeal to a broad base. In terms of home furnishings, I am more traditional. Accessories and artwork are the two things I really love. That’s what I concentrate on. For me, it’s like a little laboratory. I love the arranging and rearranging. That part for me is the really fun part. I also think I have a very visual booth. I designed the shelf for my back wall. It gives my booth a very different and artistic feel. But I am new at this and I have a lot to learn. It’s a process. My taste is still changing. People evolve and my taste is still evolving.

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Authentic vintage lobby cards

Where do you find most of the things in your booth?

We are fortunate that we travel quite a lot. We take all the back roads down to the coast through middle and south Georgia. We also travel from here to Sky Valley. We stop at all the little towns and little flea markets along the way. My husband is a collector so I don’t really have to twist his arm to get him to stop.

How do you see your booth and your design style evolving over time?

I have had a wonderful opportunity to purchase a collection of English transfer ware that will be coming to Kudzu soon. Most of it dates from the early 1800s and it’s absolutely exquisite. I can’t wait to get it here and get it put together. Hopefully people will react to it in a very positive way. I have always wanted to collect transfer ware. It’s coming late, but coming in a huge way! It’s really going to give me an opportunity to learn about something new. When someone buys a piece, I want to be able to provide them with an accurate description of what the piece represents.

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Karen holding a beautiful piece of blue and white John Ridgeway transfer ware circa 1846

Do you think you’ll be doing this forever?

I’ll be doing something with design forever. It really is the one thing, other than family and friends, that makes me the happiest.

Karen Moore and her booth, “Design Tribe,” dare to shake things up at Kudzu. From being an interior designer to holding office, this antique dealer definitely has more going on than meets the eye. The next time you’re at the ‘zu, check out Design Tribe. Booths like this sure do make the “hunt” more fun!

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“Relics” booth at Kudzu

Marta and Trey Powers are the two faces behind the booth, “Relics” at Kudzu. Their booth is a wonderful mixture of odd and unusual items from all around the country. I got a chance to sit down with them and really get to know the people and inspiration behind the booth.

How did you get started in the antique business?

M: “I was in an old house and went to architecture school and I got into preservation and I took all of my modern furniture from my architecture life into my old house and it looked terrible. So, I started going to auctions and I got hooked. And I’d been doing it 15-20 years when I met Trey. His mother drug him around everywhere and he already had the bug. So we merged well.”

So it’s something you both did and then continued doing together?

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Second “Relics” booth at Kudzu

M: “Yes!”

So when did you start having a booth at Kudzu?

M: “I moved here 10 years ago. He was already here. I came in and bought a tailgate off of a Chevy truck for him as a gift and it was the first time I was here. I was going to the Farmers Market. I met Kate and she was just darling and I thought –Oh I gotta get a booth here and I can buy at the Farmers Market and get to hang around Kate. It’s such a great location.”

Where do you get most of your stuff?

M: “Everywhere! Our family is in Indiana and we buy a lot in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. We travel a lot to Texas and Louisiana. Sometimes we just go in the direction of what we’re hungry for. Sometimes it will be like “Barbeque sounds good, lets go to Memphis!”

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Chicken incubator used as side table

What’s one of the most outrageous things you’ve bought?

T: “We ended up getting an old curling unit for your hair. It was horrifying! You sat underneath it in the 30s and all the strings hung down and you plugged it in and curled your hair. It looked like an octopus ten times over! We actually had a client here in our booth who told us about one of these during WWII where the power went out and a woman was stuck under one of these things for about an hour! What an outrageous story. It’s one of those things where we like to buy unusual stuff- things that you don’t see everywhere else.  Right now we have a pedestal that was used in a traveling circus and it was for the smaller animals. You wonder what somebody would use that for but maybe an end table or something like that.”

The stories are absolutely priceless!

M: “Yes, if only the pieces could talk..”

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“Bed of nails” used in fraternal organizations. (Yes, those are real nails! Ouch!)

Marta, I heard you are an appraiser. For people who don’t know much about the appraisal system, what advice would you give?

M: “If you have something of value or something that you are concerned about, that’s definitely something to consider getting appraised. A lot of times with insurance you’ll have a group coverage but if its something above and beyond it always needs to be appraised- If it’s a work of art or an antique.  Also, there are certified appraisers and non-certified appraisers. If you’re looking to sell something, you can come in here and anyone at Kudzu can tell you its worth something. But if you want it for insurance purposes, you have to have it typed up by a certified appraiser. We have to find 3 comparables on the current market to tell you a current market value. So, I do a lot of research and its fun to tell people what their things are worth. A lot of times they don’t know. And often times, it’s a home run.”

What would you say sets you apart from other booths?

M: “I guess it’s just the items that we find. We go for the odd and the unusual. We are very blessed to have family up North, so the majority of the people here are finding things around here, where we go up with a 14 foot trailer and we load it to the max and when we come back its filled with things that no one else has. And we have fun doing it. We find stuff we like. A lot of it goes it our house before it goes here. We’ll bring things in and trade them out from our house. It’s a lot of fun.”

Do you think you’re going to do this for a long time?

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Power antique couple, Marta and Trey Powers

M: “I think forever. Having worked in a cubicle, this is way more fun! Every day is different.”

Marta and Trey Powers bring their own unusual spin to Kudzu. After the interview, we took some time to look at a few unique pieces in their booth. It didn’t take long for me to see the appeal. As colorful as their personalities were, so too was their booth. Each piece not only brought unique character, but also some entertaining stories. I felt I could listen to the tales of their buying adventures all day long. Stop by and enjoy browsing their booth, where every piece is sure to be a conversation starter –  Living proof that the couple that antiques together, stays together.

ImageKudzu owners Kate and George Lawes recently returned from their latest European buying trip, exhausted and eager to share their latest finds. “Many people think it’s all fun and adventure, going to Europe to buy,” says Kate, “but it’s often hectic schedules, long gruelling days, questionable weather, and constant decision making.”

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“You’re on a real fast track,” says George, “because you’ve got to fill a 40’ steel container as quickly and efficiently as possible. That can mean buying 400-500 individual items, each requiring finding, negotiating, packing and shipping. We do a lot of buying at large international fairs, huge events with thousands of vendors, and you really have to move fast because you’re competing with buyers from aroundImage the world. Not to mention, you’re constantly calculating English pounds or Euros to dollars, adding in expenses, and trying to figure if the price it will end up at in the shop will be a good price for customers.”

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“This trip the weather was really lousy,” says Kate, “cold and rainy, but you just have to keep moving. Of course, it helps to be able to warm up at night in the local pub with a bit of Irish whiskey or a nice Guinness. But the best thing is that you meet so many great people, especially in the businesswe’re in. It tends to attract interesting people.”

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“One of the keys is to build a network with local ‘pickers’ who have warehouses full of interesting finds.” says George. “We spend many hours digging through cold, drafty buildings looking for great stuff. And it’s a lot of fun to continually come across interesting items from all across Europe.”

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“A simple bucket in Holland”, says Kate, “can become a unique flower vase over here. We love finding something we’ve never seen before, and introducing it to our customers at Kudzu. It’s part of what helps to make Kudzu such an interesting place to shop. By buying direct ourselves, we can choose exactly what we think works for Kudzu, and deliver it at the best possible price.”

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“We found some really neat things this trip; a large painted carnival sideshow entrance, great old mapcases, great pub signs, antique school maps, stained glass windows, Victorian tea kettles, and on and on. What’s fun is that we forget half of it, so when we open the container, it’s like Christmas. ‘Oh! Look at that! Who bought that?’”

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“This trip we treated ourselves to a few days in Paris at the end. It was cold and rainy there too, but heck, we were in Paris! so no complaints. We simply warmed ourselves with wine instead. We had some fun at one of the Paris flea markets buying old ‘ephemera’, vintage French advertisements, magazines, and children’s books, that should look great framed.”

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“By the time we make it back, home looks pretty good. Unfortunately, we then spend days filling out customs forms and paperwork, but it’s all worth while when the container comes.

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We’ll be sure to let everyone know when the container lands, because we can’t wait to see what you think of our latest finds!

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Vintage jewelry, much like vintage clothing, also never goes out of style. In a world filled with repurposing and recycling, it seems that vintage jewelry has been making a comeback. Replicas of beautifully crafted and ornate pieces are found everywhere. However, if you want to find some authentic and unique vintage pieces, go no further than Kudzu’s very own Susan Lauren. We caught up with Susan to find out more about the beauty and timelessness of true vintage jewelry.

Susan, how did you get into selling vintage jewelry?

“Well, I was a big collector. I‘ve been collecting for as long as I can remember. I just decided that I have so much that I should share it with the public.”

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When exactly did you start collecting?

“Many, many years ago. Probably when I was a little kid. My aunt was a big collector and we’d go to sales with her- estate sales, yard sales. And then we’d all get a little piece of jewelry. I just cherished it.”

So what did you like most about it?

I liked the uniqueness and the craftsmanship of fine vintage jewelry. It’s made so well, and you can just look at it and see that it’s going to last. Once you’ve bought something, you’re going to keep it forever.

Where do you find your best stuff?

“Well I go out to Scotts Antique Market and I also buy online. I shop on Ebay, and sometimes people come in to Kudzu and I buy from them. I still buy from yard sales and estate sales- same thing I’ve done for years.”

Today with so many replica pieces, how can you tell if it’s the real thing?

“You can tell the difference between a replica and a true vintage piece because a replica doesn’t have the detail and it’s not very well made. You can tell it’s not going to last long. It has poor quality. And there’s something about a vintage, old piece that just has that look of quality that you don’t usually see. And once you do this enough, you can always spot a good piece.”

What about advice on how people who do collect this jewelry can keep it to its full potential?

“Well, you need to store vintage pieces away from heat, especially if they have a lot of little rhinestones. If they get hot, the glue will begin to melt and the jewels and rhinestones will fall off. I put mine inside a bag and then into a box. That way if anything does come loose, it’s all in the bag. Just be sure to keep it in a room that doesn’t get very warm. I have one piece in here that’s from the 1900’s and all the little stones are still intact. It was a well-kept and well-loved piece and someone was very careful with it.

What are some of the biggest trends right now with jewelry?

“Pins! Everyone wants the sparkly pins. A lot of young brides-to-be are buying pins to make broach bouquets out of them. We’ve sold a lot of them. People are looking for bargains. And this is the type of thing that doesn’t matter if a stone is missing or if it’s in perfect condition. They are taking 20 or more of these and putting them on their bouquets. Another thing that’s popular right now is repurposing old jewelry and making new necklaces and bracelets out of them- and the bigger the better! Large pieces are really popular.”

ImageIf you had to pick one piece that’s your favorite, what would it be?

“This beautiful 1950s necklace. I just like the piece. It takes a unique person to wearsomething like this. It’s a very wild piece. I bought it from a woman who said it came from her aunt who was on the radio in Kentucky. She said she was very flamboyant and wore pieces like this often.”

How do you go about pricing?

“I go on the Internet and try to find as much information on the piece as possible.  Also, if I get a good deal, I make sure to pass that along to the customer.”

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Is there a piece you have that has a really interesting history?

“Yes, I have a boyfriend bracelet. It’s a charm bracelet and each charm has a different boyfriends name and date on it. It’s from the mid 40’s. Nothing sparkly, just a little charm bracelet, but it meant a lot to the person who owned it.

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“Another piece that’s really interesting is this pendant. It has a stork on it with two birthstones on it, so it was probably a mothers and the birthstones represent her two children. I just think it is a very beautiful piece and to someone out there, it meant a lot.”

 

To see the pieces shown above and even more great finds, come check out Kudzu today. No matter your jewelry style, we’re sure you wont leave empty-handed!

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