Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? For the first time in its 105-year history, DeNatale Jewelers, a fine jewelry retailer located in New York City’s Financial District, is experimenting with carrying vintage and antique jewelry.
The retailer recently debuted a range of retro looks, priced from $50 to $150,000, including pieces from Tiffany, David Webb, and Buccellati. There are currently around 40 pieces in the collection. Art Deco, Edwardian, and even Egyptian eras are represented, and aside from the rare sterling silver piece, “everything is pretty much 14k gold or platinum,” says co-owner Jim DeNatale. “We’re really new to this, so we’re trying a little bit of everything. We’ll see how it takes off.”
DeNatale Jewelers’ front door, courtesy of Denatale Jewelers
DeNatale specializes in custom and bridal jewelry. “We’ve always sold new items,” says the retailer. “Years ago we were reluctant to do things like this But over the past three or four years we’ve had some very larges estates come our way and they’ve been very lucrative.”
The vintage stock, which will be perpetually refreshed, was culled from the collections of a few big-name vintage and estate dealers in New York City. “It never dawned on me that there were so many people involved in the vintage and antique business,” says DeNatale, “and that there would be such lenient [selling] terms. It’s almost all on consignment, so this is not a big out-of-pocket expense for me.”
But the returns could be huge. Fueled by the current mania for serial period dramas including Downton Abbey and Mad Men, the demand for jewelry with a history has never been more present. “It’s nice to sell something that’s truly unique and irreplaceble,” says DeNatale. “There’s a large audience out there that appreciates these things.”
Vintage diamond ring from DeNatale’s vintage and antique collection, courtesy of Denatale Jewelers
The shop’s trio of owners will be promoting the new collection on Facebook, Twitter, and the store’s blog. “We also have a beautiful poster going out on kiosks,” says DeNatale.
The boutique, which was founded by Italian immigrant Biagio DeNatale and was a part of New York City’s first generation of jewelers, is known for its traditional, not trendy, inventory, making merchandise that’s stood the test of time an especially good fit.
“We never go in for designer names,” DeNatale says. “We’d rather get something that’s a really classic item.”
Pieces from DeNatale’s new vintage and antique collection, courtesy of Denatale Jewelers