Before I went to Philadelphia for a conference, I researched antique and vintage stores, and had decided to take a walk from the Convention Center to Antiques Row on Pine Street one unstructured afternoon. I went on Monday, so I was disappointed that so few of the stores were open but Provenance Antiques was. The shop has all kinds of neat furniture, ceramics and trinkets but I immediately honed in on the jewelry. The case by the front window had a sign that everything in it was 50% – my kind of sale! There was a section of colorful Bakelite pins, bangles, and earrings, lots of colorful rhinestone jewelry from various decades, and other sparkly treasures.
I saw a rhinestone bracelet I thought would make a perfect souvenir. The friendly woman working there was pretty busy but when it was my turn to buy my bracelet, she took her time to find a nice box for it, and chatted with me a bit before I had to trek back to the conference.
The proprietor, Tom, is charming and knowledgeable, and truly knows how to make his customer feel welcome. He’s also an avid reader and has lots of books in the store, including the novel he was reading. My current obsession is with dress and shoe clips, which I didn’t see on my first harried visit, but when I asked Tom if he had any, he brought out a box with bags of of interesting old clips. I was immediately drawn to this old pair with with pink stones. They look Victorian but the clip mechanism has a patent number from 1931. They could be Victorian, though, because the clip may be new; there had been some soldering done at one point on the backs for some other kind of mechanism. They metal isn’t silver but my guess is it’s some kind of base metal or pot metal. They may have been painted black on the front or perhaps it’s patina from age.
The other thing that caught my eye was this ring with blue stones. They look like sapphires set in a mod silver setting but they’re glass. It has an indecipherable mark in addition to the “925” mark. I’ve been searching for something similar so I can figure out the date but no luck so for.
There was a large floor to ceiling glass case with lots more jewelry and other trinkets. Tom showed me (and let me hold!) a couple of beautiful antique NOT COSTUME rings. So pretty but so outside the realm of possibility! I could have spent hours longer looking at the jewelry and talking to him about books (there were lots of them, too, but I was focused.) It was a great experience, with excellent customer service, and was a perfect place to spend some time away from the busyness of the conference. Rumor has it two librarians I told about the place went in the next day to shop!
1042 Pine Street