Maejean Vintage is an online retailer of vintage & antique jewelry including engagement rings, wedding bands, lockets, and more! We offer Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, and Mid-Century Era pieces with a large selection of classic diamond engagement rings, alternative engagement rings, wedding bands, and antique lockets.
At Maejean Vintage we love the holidays, but we also know what it is like to get stressed over finding the perfect gift for those special people in your life. We’ve created a holiday shopping guide to help inspire you this giving season.
To top it off, we’re running our biggest sale ever from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Our entire shop is 15% off through Cyber Monday (November 26th). For the entire holiday season, we are offering free First Class shipping on all orders within the U.S. Additionally, each purchase automatically includes complimentary gift wrapping.
Birthstone Earrings For the past 6 months, Maejean Vintage has been working on an exciting project with our jeweler - handcrafted birthstone earrings! It was important to us that these were crafted in recycled gold, featured genuine gemstones, were affordable, and perfect for everyday wear. We are so happy to finally introduce our vintage-inspired birthstone earring collection with you! (Side note: these earrings also double as anniversary presents since many gemstones are also regarded as anniversary stones. Gentlemen, a double win here in the gift giving department)
These beauties are available in 10k white and yellow gold, and feature the following genuine gemstones: garnet (January), amethyst (February), aquamarine (March), whitezircon (April), emerald (May), pearl (June), ruby (July), peridot (August), sapphire (September), opal (October), citrine (November), turquoise (December).
The classic, timeless pieces are at the absolute top of our holiday gift guide for 2018. Each pair include a luxurious red MJV logo box, ready for gift-giving. Perfect for the old & the young to cherished for a lifetime!
Morganite & Aquamarine: The Alternative Engagement Ring Trend Morganite & aquamarine’s have become a huge trend in the jewelry industry and we can absolutely see why! If you’re thinking of taking the plunge with your significant other anytime soon, and you’re looking for a classic engagement ring design, but an eye catching alternative stone...we’ve got you covered.
Here are some of our favorite morganite and aquamarine pieces that we currently have. Use your arrow keys to go through the image carousel.
Click here to shop all of our alternative engagement rings, including various other stones.
Budget Friendly Jewelry: Silver If you’re looking to get someone special a sentimental gift that’ll last a lifetime, but you’re on a budget, look no further than Maejean Vintage’s silver collection! Our silver pieces vary in price from $30 to $250 USD.
Conversion Necklaces If you search our Etsy site for “Conversion Necklace” you’ll see that we have 136 pieces available. What’s really cool about that is the realization that we have taken 136 vintage and antique stick pins/brooches and given them a fresh breath of life by making them into modern day necklaces!
We promise there is something for everyone! Something with seed pearls? You bet! Filigree fan? Sure thing! Enamel enthusiast? Yeah! Dog lover? Yep! Gemstone geek? Absolutely! Even the bird lover in your life? Yep! Prices range from $70 to $725 USD.
Use your left and right arrow keys to browse through the photo carousel below to get an idea of our unique vintage and antique conversion necklaces.
We’re so excited to share something we’ve been dreaming about for awhile -- a slightly spooky Victorian photoshoot! We had talked about the idea loosely for awhile, but when we came across a late 1800’s Victorian sofa on Craigslist in late summer, we knew we had to get the ball rolling. We teamed up with our longtime friend Julie, of Julie Liz Photography, to make this dream come true.
On an unseasonably warm October day we met at the office to get ready. Another long time friend, Cheyenne, owner of Loose Ends salon (coming in January 2019), transformed us into another era. It’s been two weeks and we’re still talking about by how incredible our hair looked.
After getting decked out in our favorite MJV Victorian Era and Edwardian Era pieces, we headed to a wooded area with our couch and began shooting. Our heavy, black dresses and the unusual heat certainly made us appreciate our ancestors who lived like this daily with no refuge of air conditioning to be found.
The icing on the cake were the flowers by a local florist and friend, Dalanna. She spent time researching bouquet styles and really embraced our vision. She created three stunning bouquets for us with flora she foraged or grew in her yard! We were seriously impressed.
Flowers by @mrs.haldeman
We’re so thankful to be surrounded by so many talented, and willing, creatives. This is one of our favorite shoots we’ve done and at this point don’t know we’ll top it!
Click through through the photo gallery to see all of the amazing pictures Julie took!
Slide chains, also called muff chains, lorgnette chains, guard chains and locket chains, have not changed much stylistically over time. However, they’ve held many purposes, and their purposes reflect the trends of the era. Chains can be found in fine metals such as solid gold, gold fill, silver but also in Pinchbeck. The use of various metals likely made them widely accessible to women across all classes.
Edwardian woman wearing a slide chain with a locket // Maejean Vintage personal photo
Slide chains were designed to hold pocket watches, which were then tucked in dress pockets or dangled from waist belts. They also could have been layered, or doubled-over, to hold a locket near the heart. Slide chains were also used as muff chains, holding up a fur muff on cold winter nights.
Today you can style them as a choker with a long layer, double them up for the look of two necklaces, or as one MJV customer suggested, use them for your ID card (here’s to you nurses, teachers and students)!
Antique jewelry catalogue // Maejean Vintage personal archive
The versatility of silde chains likely made them popular, as they could be worn long or short. We speculate a woman with a more sedentary lifestyle may have worn the chain long, while a middle-class woman who held a job may have doubled the chain to still be fashionable but more practical.
Regardless of your job today, we think slide chains are some of the more underrated jewelry pieces and can be brought into the modern times. Scroll down to see how we have styled the chains.
Antique jewelry catalogue // Maejean Vintage personal archive
Maejean style tips:
Layered with a locket and a pendant Chain, locket and pendant coming soon
Modern day jewelry can feel less meaningful than the intimate designs of the past. Star and moon pieces seem to be all the rage today - but really, celestial jewelry has been “in” for a long time. Have you ever wondered why these pieces are popular other than because they have pretty features?
Jewelry has often held deeper meaning beyond the surface image, its own language of sorts. Sentimental jewelry gained popularity in the 1800’s during the reign of Queen Victoria. From the time she took the throne 1819 (to 1901) until long after her death, her youthful vitality and impeccable fashion sense have been heralded as the creme de la creme. Can you imagine receiving a snake ring as your engagement ring? Well, Queen V received one from Albert - which goes to show how deep the language of jewelry was. I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert ... his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! ... to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!
Another admirable fact about Victoria was her deep love for her husband, Albert. It is likely that the couple’s deep affection for each other, which was known by the public, had something to do with the sentimentality of the time. Unfortunately, Albert died at the age of 42 and it is well known that Victoria mourned the death of her loved one for the rest of her life which prompted the fashion trend of mourning jewelry (we’ll cover that another time). "My dreadful and overwhelming calamity gives me so much to do, that I must henceforth merely keep notes of my sad and solitary life."
The crescent moon was widely popular during the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian Eras. The slender moons are said to represent the feminine moon goddess and female empowerment but also they are believed to represent change as a moon has multiple lunar phases. It is important to remember that the Industrial Revolution was happening at this time, and women were beginning to enter the workforce, thus the roots were being laid for modern day female empowerment and rights.
Lang Antiques sums up the feeling of the Victorian era wonderfully: The years of her [Queen Victoria] reign were some of the most progressive in our history. Horse-drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles; candles gave way to electricity, and toilets were brought inside! This was a generally an optimistic and prosperous time characterized by rapid changes is industry, science, art and fashion.
Furthermore, it is believed that if a star is accompanying a moon the piece represents “I love you to the moon and back.” Honeymoon brooches were popular accessories for Victorian brides. These brooches featured moons, stars and typically flowers, too. Another belief of stars is that the stars provide guidance to the wearer.
Star and moon pieces are some of our favorite pieces, and are highly sought after. What are some of your favorite pieces? Let us know in the comments about a motif or time period you’d like us to write about next!
I decided to touch on a FAQ this week: ring resizing. Maejean Vintage is happy to re-size solid gold (and silver rings with value over $75) through our reliable local jeweler who specializes in antique jewelry. Generally, she is able to downsize rings by a maximum of 4 sizes for $35 and increase the size by 1-3 sizes for $65. Gold and silver rings can be sized up 4 sizes for $75 and 5 sizes for $85 as long as the integrity of the piece allows. For platinum rings downsizing up to a maximum to 2 sizes costs $35, and resizing up to two sizes costs $100, three sizes $115 and four sizes $130. Special considerations: Wide cigar bands (4mm or over) may cost an additional $15. Fancy engravings that need re-created may cost an additional $15. Our jeweler typically completes re-sizing within 1-2 weeks. If you decide you would like to purchase a ring with us and use our jeweler's re-sizing services, please let us know before you purchase the piece and we can update the listing to include the re-sizing fee. Of course, the ring could also likely be re-sized locally by your jeweler. If you’re like me and are a visual learner, these charts below will show you ring re-sizing in layman’s terms. In addition to the process pictured below, our jeweler also reshapes the ring, tightens and adjusts stones, and then does all of the finishing to blend the added metal in to the ring.
Before listing our pre-loved vintage items for sale, all of our jewelry go through several steps of deep cleaning, ensuring they are all set for another lifetime with their new owners. I’m going to breakdown proper jewelry care and maintenance. The most important thing to note when cleaning your jewelry is to check that all prongs and stones are secure in their settings! Even the lightest cleaning can cause damage to a weak prong or stone. One of the best parts of the job is cleaning new inventory. In a matter of seconds you can take a patina covered 100-year-old piece and bring it back to life. The transformation gets me every time. Sometimes our pieces arrive black with tarnish and seeing the end result is amazing.
WEARING RECOMMENDATIONS Here’s what we do at MJV: first thing first, we always put our jewelry on right before we head out the door. Everyday products like hairspray, makeup, lotion, and general household cleaners can cause damage to jewelry. While you can wear a solid gold or solid sterling silver piece in the water it is just good practice to remove all jewelry before showering or swimming. Wearing anything gold filled, gold plated or a base metal in the shower is a big no-no. Secondly, we remove all jewelry before we go to the gym. Gyms are gross as is, and you don’t want someone else’s sweat building up in your ring shank along with your own. Leave it at home. When cleaning we always take off our rings and bracelets and throw on a pair of gloves for good measure. Rings often can rip through gloves making the gemstones vulnerable to damage. We suggest considering your lifestyle, location and occupation when shopping for your next piece or simply wearing a piece day-to-day. There are simple everyday things we do that can hurt our jewelry. Have you ever gotten a necklace stuck in your winter scarf? Something to consider! Ever worry you’ll lose your earrings on a roller coaster? Something to consider! Have fun, look cute, but be cautious.
My engagement ring (a MJV ring, of course) ripped through my gloves while cleaning new inventory. Now I take it off before cleaning.
SILVER JEWELRY First thing we do when getting a new piece in is to use a mild dish soap and very soft toothbrush to remove what we can before moving on to silver cleaner. Silver cleaner can be bought from the grocery store or pharmacy. Dip and swish for just several seconds, then rinse with water and pat dry. We then use a treated jewelry cleaning cloth to polish off any remaining stains and tarnishing. With a little elbow grease your piece will be sparkling in less than 5 minutes.
ORGANIC STONES Organic stones include stones such as amber, coral and pearls (and more). Any piece with organic stones will absolutely need to be hand polished. You’ll notice that any cleaner used (dish soap or silver polish) can dry out organic matter like coral, shell or pearls. Revive them by rehydrating them with a small dab of coconut oil. You wouldn’t want to dip a pearl strand necklace in the cleaner. For that we suggest using a mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush. Be sure to lay the necklace flat and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before wearing. The string of the strand may stretch if it is wet. If you have jewelry that features any kind of wood do not submerge your piece into water. We recommend using a beeswax to revive your piece. Always keep harsh cleaners, makeup, hairspray, lotions, etc. away from these stones. The stones are porous (see MoHS chart below) and may get discolored with too much exposure to the aforementioned household/beauty products.
SOFT STONES A good rule of thumb to go by is to consider anything under a 5 on the MoHS scale as a “soft stone.” These stones should never, ever be put in an ultrasonic. Here are a few stones we consider to be soft and treat with care while wearing and cleaning:
GOLD & GEMSTONES Soap, water and a treated polishing cloth will generally do the trick for solid gold pieces with gemstones. Sometimes we get a new piece in that needs a little more than just elbow grease, so we will put the piece in an ultrasonic machine. Ultrasonics can be used on some more durable gemstones. Wikipedia breaks Ultrasonics down really well (my professors would kill me for citing Wikipedia). “Ultrasonic cleaning uses cavitation bubbles induced by high frequency pressure (sound) waves to agitate a liquid. The agitation produces high forces on contaminants adhering to substrates like metals, plastics, glass, rubber, and ceramics….” At MJV we use a mild dish soap and hot water in our sonic to shine up our inventory. After we “sonic” our pieces we will then steam pieces to ensure sparkle and shine as well as remove any filmy layers that may be on the back of faceted stones (often caused by lotion). Steaming is pretty straightforward: we have a machine with a hose that sprays a fine but high pressured mist of steam. We place the piece in the steam for a couple seconds while rotating the piece to ensure all crevices are blasted.
ANTIQUE In order to be considered antique by most sources, an item would have to be at least 100 years old. We take incredible care cleaning and storing our historical pieces. We highly suggest you take your antique pieces to a jeweler who specializes in antique and vintage jewels. Over cleaning could damage the piece and also reduce the pieces value.
STORAGE, MAINTENANCE & RING INSURANCE If you are hesitant about cleaning your piece we always suggest going to a trusted local jeweler. It is important to get pieces like rings checked every six months, gemstone prongs are especially susceptible to breakage. Why not use this visit to the jeweler to get your piece cleaned?
Now you understand the ins and outs of cleaning your piece, but are you storing it correctly? There are tons of safe storage options available for all price points. We recommend keeping your pieces stored in a soft-lined box, where your jewelry can be secured, protected, and separated from other pieces in your collection. If you are in a pinch and need something on the fly we suggest keeping your piece in a secure bag -- we use small resealable bags from Amazon for storage. Lastly, we love the idea of getting insurance on your most cherished pieces. We hate to think of bad things happening in our lives, but they do. Protect your investments. To learn more about ring insurance, check out Estate Diamond Jewelry’s guide to ring insurance.
Savannah here, I’m happy to announce that I will be dishing out new posts on the regular!
I thought I would make my first post about something we get asked about a lot at MJV - gold plating vs gold filled vs solid gold. I hope this break down helps you when you’re shopping for your next piece and gives you a little background into the science and history.
For as long as history has been written down, gold has been a commodity of enormous value and held in high regard. Wars have been fought over it, the age of exploration was driven by it, people have moved across countries in hopes to strike it big off of it, and economies have been based off of and backed by it! Am I refreshing your social studies memories of the three G’s: Gold, Glory and God?
Gold plating (“GP”) could be an option for the price conscious shopper and is readily available in many stores you may frequent when shopping for your latest wardrobe. The origins of the first gold plating practice was first discovered during excavations in Peru during the 1980’s. Archaeologists discovered that the ancient smiths used copper alloys with gold which is known as tumbaga on their ceremonial pieces which date back to 50 - 300 AD! Fast forward many, many years to the early 19th century when Italian scientist by the name of Luigi Brugnatelli invented electroplating and was the first successful person to plate a thin layer of gold onto a piece of silver. Essentially, gold plating covers a base metal (brass, copper, nickel, etc.) in a thin layer of gold through electroplating. We’re talking super thin, as in 0.00023622 of an inch. The pros are the cost. The cons are the cost. Can you pick up that cute necklace for a steal? Yes! Can you sell that necklace for a good price? Nope. The gold content is almost immeasurable, meaning you couldn’t even scrap it. Another downside to gold plating is that the gold finish just won’t last; you may get a couple of wears out of it but in a short while the gold will start to rub off exposing the base metal. This is especially annoying if you have an allergy to base metals like nickel. Nothing says “cute” like a green itchy rash around your neck (I know from experience).
You won’t need to worry about your allergies with gold filled jewelry (commonly referred to as “GF” or less commonly “Gold Rolled”) as GF jewelry is often guaranteed to last 30 years before beginning to wear. GF pieces have a much thicker layer of gold on them than gold plated.
Gold filled pieces manufactured in the United States are legally required to contain 1/20 (5%) gold by weight. This is why you’ll see stamps on GF pieces stating “1/20 XXk GF.” Do keep in mind that not all countries conform to these same standards.
The Modern Bazaar explains the gold fill construction process wonderfully:
“Gold-filled is constructed in two or three layers. The core metal is jewelers’ brass. Single clad gold-filled has all the gold content in a single layer on one side. Double clad gold-filled splits the gold content into surface layers on both sides of the material. The gold alloy is then bonded to one or both surfaces of the brass core with heat and pressure. The bonded raw material is then sold as sheet or wire to jewelry manufacturers for use in designs.”
It is important to note that gold filled jewelry, especially with lower carat weight (10-14k) may be more durable than a higher gold content. The higher the carat number, the softer the gold (science class refresher!). GF jewelry may be a good choice for you due to it’s more affordable pricing and longevity. Besides, since fashion is often cyclical, you may retire your GF piece for a few years until that style is in again, making it last longer than 30 years.
As mentioned, gold is very malleable and doesn’t always make for the best everyday pieces (bracelets, rings). To strengthen pure gold other metal alloys are mixed in with it. Gold is measured in carats, and pure gold is 24k. The more alloys that are added to the gold reduce the carats, but strengthen the metal overall. The added alloys retain the desirable aspects of pure gold: luster, color, shine and most importantly value. This chart ought to help you understand gold purity breakdown:
10k: 41.7% gold -- The minimum standard for gold in the USA. Very strong and will hold up well.
14k: 58.5% gold -- Good, pretty strong.
18k: 75.0% gold -- Good strength, good balance in purity.
24k: 99.9% gold -- The purest gold you can buy, very malleable.
Each type of gold has its pros and cons, and it really depends on what you are going for: an accessory that matches your outfit for a special occasion that is affordable, or a staple piece that you can wear for the rest of your life.
This March, to celebrate Women's History Month, we wanted to highlight some female owned businesses that we admire!
Follow along and learn about some ladies that are kicking butt in their industries. This is just a very small list, and we know there are so many more out there we are missing! Please feel free to comment below with some of your favorite women business owners (self promotion welcome!).
Furniture & Home Decor - Always Never Done
Located in Salunga, PA, Always Never Done is a trendy parlour featuring repurposed furniture and home decor. The owner, Amy, loves turning the old into new. A lady after my own heart!
Jewelry Blogger - Gem Gossip
If you love jewelry, then you have likely heard of Danielle from Gem Gossip. Danielle is a GIA Graduate Gemologist and a jewelry blogger with an incredible following! She travels the US, highlighting amazing jewelry stores across the country.
Jewelry Appraiser - Katy Clites, IJA
When we acquire a higher end piece of jewelry, we send it off to GIA Graduate & appraiser, Katy Clites. Katy has been in the jewelry industry since the late 1980s and has an immense amount of experience and knowledge when it comes to appraising. Katy is the founder of Independent Jewelry Appraisers.
Vintage Clothing Store - Malena's Vintage Boutique
If you are looking for a unique piece of vintage clothing in excellent condiiton, Malena's (in business since 2003) is the place! Located in West Chester, PA, this adorable boutique is stocked with clothing and jewelry spanning many different eras.
Brow Boss - Brows By Tara Giorgio (The Brow Bar)
Founded in October of 2016, The Brow Bar is a gorgeous salon specializing in brow waxing. Owner Tara takes "personalized measurements to guarantee your brows have the perfect start, arch, and end for your facial features." In addition to brow services, the bar also features local artisans' work available for purchase.
Wedding Florist - Lips Tulips Flowers
Lips "Tu"lips flowers was founded in 2015 by Michelle of Lititz, PA. The business specializes in stunning floral designs for weddings and events. See a gallery of some of the gorgeous arrangements here!
Salon & Spa - Studio 8
Located right in downtown Lancaster, Studio 8 is owned by the darling mom and daughter duo Jane & Kate! The adorable salon specializes in waxing, eye-lash extensions, hair, makeup and much more.
Artist - By Meg Korzon
Meg is an artist that specializes in creating beautiful pieces with watercolor and pen. You can see some of her stunning featured work on her Instagram feed here!
This month we are reflecting on all the smart & resilient ladies in our lives. Hats off to all the hardworking women doing important work - you inspire us every day!
We have been having so much fun working on this project with our jeweler. Made with recycled gold and ethically sourced stones, our 6 original designs are sure to appeal to the vintage loving lady that wants to add a modern handcrafted twist to her ring stack.
Our bands, designed by the owners of Maejean Vintage and inspired by vintage aspects we love, are perfect worn with a vintage engagement ring, worn alone, or are great for stacking!
Each band is carefully handcrafted right here in PA by our trusted jeweler. All the original designs are lovingly named after our inspiring female ancestors: Rebecca, Lucinda, Luella, Cora, & Jane.
Completely handcrafted by our jeweler, right here in PA!
The Rebecca Band, handcrafted in 14k white or yellow gold, is studded with six round brilliant cut genuine diamonds and detailed with milgrain edging. This vintage-inspired ring is dainty, romantic, and timeless.
The Lucinda band features a gentle arch, perfect for snuggling right next to your engagement ring. The band is handcrafted in 14k yellow or white gold, and embellished with five genuine sapphires, all securely bead set.
This band would look nice worn with a classic solitaire, or a ring with complimentary sapphire accents.
The Luella band is simple, classic, and oh-so-stackable! The polished band is finished off with hand embellished milgrain. This timeless band is easy to wear in a diverse amount of ways. It pairs nicely with a large range of engagement rings and is also a fun stacking band.
The Cora band is a chevron beauty, handcrafted in 14k yellow or white gold. This unique band contains a sparkling genuine diamond, bezel set at the tip of the V.
The Cora band would pair nicely with a simple solitaire engagement ring. It's also an amazing stacker, which instantly steps up the game of your ring stack.
The Jane band, named after our great-grandmother who was an artist, contains sweet nature-inspired leaf motifs, studded with diamond accents. The band, which is made in 14k yellow or white gold, contains a slight curve, and could easily be worn alone or paired with an engagement ring.
The band would look lovely nestled up to a wide range of engagement rings, and would be perfect for the nature-loving lady.
The Jane jacket is the perfect piece to enhance your engagement ring! The jacket will truly transform the look of your ring, giving it extra diamond sparkle, and adding more of a statement flair.
The jacket contains a total of 18 diamonds, and is detailed with leaf motifs and milgrain. A stunning and very unique piece!
Which one of the Maejean Vintage hand-crafted wedding bands is your favorite?
It has been an amazing seven years selling on Etsy, and we cannot wait to see what the upcoming years bring us! Huge shout out to our fantastic photographer, John Williams at JDUB Photography for capturing us in our studio for the interview.