Time Dances By
--Last Updated: 07/21/2008 --
About Us . . .
Judy Jay - The Master Collector
First - I want everyone to know that I don't really want to sell my treasures. I'm only doing so because my husband, John, seduced me into it by saying that I have to sell them if I want to buy new and better treasures ( and I do!).
Second - I hate to write about myself or give interviews. I am a theatre director and I always try to get other staff members or cast members to do the interviews, but John says I have to stop procrastinating and write this. So, here goes . . .
My fascination with all things Native American started when I found an arrowhead and took it to school for "show and tell". I've continued that interest and just naturally gravitated toward jewelry. (You can't wear pottery!) My motto is "The Bigger the Better". Also, "The More the Better". I feel right at home in Santa Fe!
I fell in love with Victorian Mourning and Sentimental Jewelry made from human hair when I first became aware of it as an art form in the 1970's. I am very moved when I hold a beautiful pin made from hair. I think about the love or unbearable sadness that went into the choice and creation of each piece. I wonder about the people who wore them and what their lives were like. There is a mystery in each piece - a wife saying a final farewell to her soldier husband going off to fight in our Civil War, the surviving spouse of 50 years of happy marriage, a mother burying her young child. My eyes tear up just writing this. I am holding a piece of history in my hand. These things that meant so much to others before me have moved into my life where I will protect them and then pass them on to others who share my passion.
I have always dressed in a distinctive style - my own. My clothes and jewelry tend to be tasteful, but dramatic. I purchase my Mourning Jewelry to wear. Many times someone has approached me in the theatre lobby during one of our productions, such as Masterpieces (about the Brontes) or The Belle of Amherst (the life of Emily Dickinson) commenting on how lovely and unusual my jewelry is. "What is it?" "Human hair." "OH! (rapidly backing away), How interesting!" Followed by a whispered "That's bizarre!" to her friend. I love it!
Cameos are a more recent fascination. When you're shopping for Victorian jewelry, it's hard to ignore the gorgeous and varied cameos. We go to New Orleans each year and I have certain cameos that I have named and I visit regularly. I can't afford them, but luckily, not many others can either, so they have become old friends. Perhaps they are just waiting for me to buy them.
I was hit by Bakelite envy in the 1980's. Those of you who have started buying and wearing Bakelite know what I mean when I say that it becomes an "addiction". I want more! I go to the Triple Pier Antique Show in New York every year and drool over all the lovely beauties, but I buy from my personal dealer friends. I love putting together sets of Bakelite Bangles. What's particularly neat about Bakelite is that you can wear multiple bangles at once and if you are lucky you can find a big, bold Bakelite pin - and you'll see that I've found a way to add Bakelite earrings. What could be better for my theatrical style! Friends say they can hear me coming by the distinctive "clunk" of Bakelite.
Just a few more things -------
First - My dear friend Noel Noblitt, with her impeccable taste, is the perfect friend and personal shopper. She will go anywhere, in any weather, in search of the perfect treasure. I owe so many of my lovely things to her. Noel keeps things in perspective for me. When I can't decide what to buy, she says: "Have you ever seen another one like it?" "Well, no." "OK!" The times we've shared working on productions and seeing shows have enriched my life and lifted my spirits. May she always be there for me to share old memories and make new ones.
Second - I love our web master, Steve Slish. Steve was an integral part of our theatre company for about 15 years. Any technical job - he could do it. He's artistic, literate, with a love of research, all the technical know-how and skills, patient with computer illiterates like us and, on top of all that, has a great sense of humor. In our theatre community I have a reputation for being a "perfectionist". That's what my friends call it. Others say "She's bossy and demanding." Anyway, Steve knows me, has the same standards and puts up with me (sometimes better than my husband - don't tell him I said that). What more could a girl ask for? If any of you need a great web master contact "sabear.net".
Finally - an unexpected benefit of starting this business has been making new friends who share the same passions that I do. They are the generous dealers of Bakelite and Victorian Jewelry. I not only love buying from them, I have also enjoyed getting acquainted with them and learning from them. Please see our "Links" and visit their web sites.
And no one thought I'd ever finish writing this! Well, my show always goes on.