February 23, 2008

One woman's trash...

... or, in my case, one Moroccan man's trash, is another jewelry-enthusiast's treasure.

After a trip to le Mall yesterday (yes, in the snow), and coming home empty-handed in my quest for unique jewelry for spring, I decided to try a shopping avenue to which I was previously a virgin. Yes, the Beanie Babies-laden land of shopping and bidding out of which middle-aged citizens of middle-America try to make lackluster businesses.

After seeing delightful enamel in gold and silver all over the JCrew catalog, but not deigning to pay $65 for a "Moroccan Bauble Bracelet" most likely made in India, and combing the mall for pieces that don't look like they belong on the 2/$1 rack at Claire's, I came home to my computer and decided to give it a go. Searching "enamel" landed dozens of pieces, of varying rarity and quality. The choices were many, and the prices relatively low.

Given, quality is very difficult to judge when using a 17" monitor to appraise a gold/enamel bracelet. But after seeing 100% feedback on the sellers, scrutinizing the pictures, and weighing the opportunity cost of gaining a fresh, affordable piece, while possibly striking out on others, I decided to take the plunge.

I had bid on several items, no more than $25 each, and left the computer, unwilling to sit in my room hitting "refresh" every 5 minutes on a Friday night. This afternoon, many of the auctions had ended, and to my surprise, with low minimum bids on each, I won almost all the pieces for low prices. Here's what I got, in order of my anticipation:

18K gold and blue enamel bracelet, $4.99. To wear with polos, work clothing, sun dresses.

Red coral and silver necklace from Morocco, $24.99. To wear with oxfords, sheath dresses and sweaters, in the winter.

24K gold and red/black enamel ladybug charm bracelet from Italy, $24.99. To wear with any casual spring outfit!

And finally, the piece I'm most excited about, for which I already have a silver rope chain, and which is going to be the most unique piece of jewelry I've had in a long time...

Moroccan silver and multicolor enamel pinwheel pendant, $24.99. To wear with simple, neutral outfits in white, khaki, tan, brown and black. A showpiece like this can't be cluttered. Love.

I'm still skeptical about the trueness to picture, the shipping quality and the speed with which the jewelry will arrive, so I will keep you all posted. Until then, give Ebay a try. Yes, you will have to stumble through Tiffany copies and dusty five-year-old Coach bags at first, but keep your searches specific, your bids low, and your eyes open on this hit-or-miss melange of hidden treasures.