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Featured Shop: Gold Adore

Dec 29, 2016

by Sharon Steel

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

It all began with a mysterious diamond. Gillian Griffiths was wandering around San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood and stopped at a small garage sale, where she found a diamond ring for $100. Gillian hesitated: If it was authentic, that was a great deal, but how could she be sure? She decided that day to learn how to tell if a diamond was real or not. After earning a degree in Gemology from the Gemological Institute of America, Gillian began working as a production manager for a large jewelry retailer, learning every aspect of the gem trade.

Eight years later, Gillian gave birth to a daughter and decided to strike out on her own; in 2011, she launched Gold Adore with just five pieces of vintage and antique jewelry that she’d collected. “For me, it was just a gamble, like, well, let’s see if I can make this work,” she recalls. “I sold the first piece in less than a week, and the shop took off right away. Now we have almost 900 vintage pieces in stock.”

Today, Gillian’s vintage jewelry business is thriving: She now employs a full-time technician who works exclusively on jewelry resizing and repairs, as well as an assistant who helps with shipping and customer service at Gillian’s new, by-appointment-only showroom in San Francisco. “Without Etsy, none of this would be possible,” she says.

Read on to find out how many pieces of jewelry Gillian looks at every day, her tips for caring for antique rings, and shop the Gold Adore collection.

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How has selling vintage jewelry on Etsy affected your creative process?

Selling jewelry in general is really fun: You’re helping people with a big decision and a big purchase. It’s usually one of the happiest times of someone’s life, so being a part of that is really awesome. If someone is shopping for an engagement ring, they’re going to be looking at it for a long time. I want people to love it just as much as they did the day they bought it.

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What’s a typical day like for you?

A big part of each day is spent on customer service, answering people’s questions and helping them shop. I also do a lot of shopping for jewelry, whether it’s going to estate sales or looking at auctions or buying from private collectors. I know a lot of jewelers, and they know what I’m looking for. Once the jewelry has been professionally cleaned, I grade it and do the gemology behind it. Then I work on listings — we list new pieces every day.

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What do you look for when you’re sourcing pieces for your shop?

I think we have a really unique style and an expectation of a certain quality. I try to buy things that I love — a lot of what I stock is what I’d want to own myself! Of course, I do also look for pieces that may not be my style, but I have to be able to see the person who would wear it. And when I say that I spend a lot of time looking at jewelry, I mean it! It’s not unusual for me to look at hundreds of thousands of pieces in a day. The styles I stock are very different, but there’s a common thread in beauty.

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How do you try to make the shopping experience reassuring and enjoyable for customers who may have never shopped for fine jewelry online?

The main thing that we do is to offer returns. It can be hard to picture what something is going to look like on you. When you buy from us, you can put a ring on your finger, you can try it on, you can even have another jeweler check it out and see what they say. If it doesn’t work for you, ship it back. It may not be the right piece for you, but it will be the right piece for somebody.

What’s your best tip for storing and caring for antique jewelry?

My first tip would be just to cherish the piece. Allow yourself to enjoy it, because that’s what jewelry is meant for. But at the same time, if you’re going to do something you think might be damaging, take the ring off. Once a year, I recommend taking your ring to a qualified bench jeweler. This will prevent a catastrophe, like losing your center stone. I also recommend having your jewelry insured, which will give you peace of mind. But all that said, don’t be so worried about a piece of jewelry that you don’t wear it.

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Do you often hear back from customers who have proposed with a Gold Adore ring or given a piece to someone for a special occasion?

All the time! We do a lot of interesting custom stuff, like making matching wedding bands for authentic vintage pieces. Recently, we sold a man one of our antique engagement rings. The bride loved it so much she decided she wanted a fitted wedding band, which is a band that fits perfectly flush with the engagement ring. The bride shipped the engagement ring back to me and we made a perfect, tight fit, and shipped it back. She absolutely loved it.

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What’s next on the horizon for your shop?

Over the past few years, I would meet people in coffee shops to show them rings, because people wanted to try things on and see pieces in person. Every weekend, I’d be at a cafe whipping boxes of diamond rings out of my purse! It wasn’t a problem, but at some point I decided it would be a better use of my time if we actually got a showroom. We just opened a showroom space here in San Francisco; right now, it’s by appointment only, but we’re hoping to spend the year settling in and thinking about other opportunities, like a pop-up shop that’s open to the public. For now, anyone can contact me on Etsy to set a time and come see what they like.

Find Gold Adore on Instagram and Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Gold Adore.

Shop Gold Adore

Stunning Art Deco Vintage Filigree Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 1.00ct.
Stunning Art Deco Vintage Filigree Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 1.00ct.
GoldAdore
$3,495.00 USD
Stunning Vintage 14K White Gold Halo Oval Diamond Ring Engagement Ring with EGL certificate - 1.64ct.
Stunning Vintage 14K White Gold Halo Oval Diamond Ring Engagement Ring with EGL certificate - 1.64ct.
GoldAdore
$4,945.00 USD
Gorgeous Large Leafy Open Work 18K White Gold Ring - 1.66ct.
Gorgeous Large Leafy Open Work 18K White Gold Ring - 1.66ct.
GoldAdore
$1,495.00 USD
Stunning Vintage Art Deco Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 2.63ct.
Stunning Vintage Art Deco Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 2.63ct.
GoldAdore
$11,995.00 USD
Amazing Vintage Art Deco Platinum Diamond and Sapphire Engagement Ring - 2.97ct.
Amazing Vintage Art Deco Platinum Diamond and Sapphire Engagement Ring - 2.97ct.
GoldAdore
$6,495.00 USD
Gorgeous Vintage Filigree Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 1.34ct.
Gorgeous Vintage Filigree Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 1.34ct.
GoldAdore
$5,495.00 USD
Gorgeous Antique Platinum Diamond Cluster Engagement Ring - 3.17ct.
Gorgeous Antique Platinum Diamond Cluster Engagement Ring - 3.17ct.
GoldAdore
$4,995.00 USD
Gorgeous Vintage 14K White Gold Diamond and No Heat Natural Yellow Sapphire Engagement Ring with GIA Cert - 13.16ct.
Gorgeous Vintage 14K White Gold Diamond and No Heat Natural Yellow Sapphire Engagement Ring with GIA Cert - 13.16ct.
GoldAdore
$24,945.00 USD
Gorgeous Georgian Antique 14K Yellow Gold/ Silver Diamond Rose Cut Ring Engagement Ring - 2.65ct.
Gorgeous Georgian Antique 14K Yellow Gold/ Silver Diamond Rose Cut Ring Engagement Ring - 2.65ct.
GoldAdore
$7,895.00 USD
Stunning Edwardian Platinum Diamond Navette Ring - 1.60ct.
Stunning Edwardian Platinum Diamond Navette Ring - 1.60ct.
GoldAdore
$7,475.00 USD
Deco Vintage Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring with Baguettes - 1.80ct.
Deco Vintage Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring with Baguettes - 1.80ct.
GoldAdore
$7,295.00 USD
Antique Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 1.08ct.
Antique Platinum Diamond Engagement Ring - 1.08ct.
GoldAdore
$6,995.00 USD

68 comments

  • PrimCountryCurtains

    Francine from HomespunHeartofMine said 56 days ago

    You definitely have a great eye when it comes to spotting beautifully classic vintage rings, Gillian! Your collection is stunning and I can see why you have been so successful on Etsy! Congratulations on the feature and many blessings for your continued success!!! :D

  • suemako

    Sue from SuesAkornShop said 56 days ago

    Gorgeous and lovely pieces. Congrats on the feature.

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 56 days ago

    Beautiful shop! Congratulations on the feature!

  • DecoUno

    DeUno from DeUno said 56 days ago

    Very attractive jewelry pieces! Congratulations on the feature!

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 56 days ago

    Love the passion and commitment you pour into your pieces. Lovely sense of style, congratulations!

  • rhondastubbs2

    Rhonda Stubbs from RhondaCorner said 56 days ago

    I love looking at jewelry, but can not wear it. Thank you for sharing a great story and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

  • solomia7

    Monika Moroz from NickoArts said 56 days ago

    Congratulations on the feature of your beautiful store and much success :)

  • truthbeautyandlove27

    Colleen O'Neal from truthbeautyandlove27 said 56 days ago

    Absolutely awesome! My boyfriend and I might be in the market for an engagement ring soon and these are the sort of rings that I adore, I love that they have history and have already stood the test of time, that makes each piece even more special!

  • JewelMeShop

    Georgia from JewelMeShop said 56 days ago

    Lovely jewelry pieces! You're such a talented person!

  • rachbing

    Rachel Bingaman from BingArt said 56 days ago

    Such beautiful pieces :) Congrats on your success!

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts said 56 days ago

    I enjoyed reading your story! It's amazing to think this all started with a trip to a garage sale! Beautiful shop and gorgeous pieces! Congrats on the feature and the success of your shop!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 56 days ago

    Such beautiful vintage jewelry!

  • JewelrybyDorothy

    Dorothy from JewelrybyDorothy said 56 days ago

    Gorgeous pieces. Congrats on the feature!

  • AshleeAlvis

    Ashlee Alvis from WindyMoonByAshlee said 56 days ago

    Beautiful! Everything in your shop is beautiful.

  • bedouin

    Nicole from bedouin said 56 days ago

    Beautiful shop ~ Fun reading ~ You mos def found your nitch ! The vast land of vintage is an amazing place ! ~ Cheers to much continued success.

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 56 days ago

    I totally agree that being part of the happiest times of someone’s life is so important to the job. It's not just money, it's connection. Congratulations on the feature.

  • msbijouxjewelry

    Cathy White from msbijouxjewelry said 56 days ago

    beautiful rings! Great feature, thanks for sharing

  • VintageDepartment

    Sharon from VintageDeptStore said 56 days ago

    Gorgeous! Love how your daughter is looking through a loupe! Congrats on timeless vintage!

  • TropicalGarden

    TropicalGarden from TropicalGarden said 56 days ago

    Gorgeous! Congratulations on the feature!

  • GTDesigns

    renee and gerardo from GTDesigns said 56 days ago

    stunning collection.....GORGEOUS in style, beautifully nostalgic. congrats on the feature!!! tfs!!

  • tlpjenpierce1

    Jennifer and Gary Pierce from LoftAtticEarth said 56 days ago

    Love your vintage pieces. Your photography highlights your rings beautifully. It is obvious you love what you do! Congratulations on your etsy success and with your showroom. Great family picture! Blessings to you all in 2017.

  • TheNorthWayStudio

    Maria B. from TheNorthWayStudio said 56 days ago

    Absolutely gorgeous feature and of course, jewels! Congratulations!

  • hippiegardenshop

    Pathumwadee Pathumwan from Hippiegardenshop said 56 days ago

    You are talent women : ) Very beautiful works

  • infinitlit

    Farideh Nouri from FlairPaintings said 56 days ago

    All of them are beautiful!!! I really love your shop!

  • cardhugs

    Rosemary Lambert from cardhugs said 56 days ago

    Gorgeous designs. It must be exciting to shop for all those pieces!

  • AnuevaJewelry

    Jennifer Vinje from AnuevaJewelry said 56 days ago

    So glad to see your shop featured! I browse your pretties often :)

  • Seraph25

    Vadim Moroz from IconPainter said 55 days ago

    Very nice store! Congratulations on the feature! All the Best!

  • birdhouseaccents

    birdhouseaccents from birdhouseaccents said 55 days ago

    Congrats

  • PruAtelier

    Jeanne B from PruAtelier said 55 days ago

    What a beautiful array of jewelry....such classic beauty and not the same old, same old! Congrats on your feature!

  • cre8majic

    M. J. said 55 days ago

    Please be safe! As one jewelry maker to another, I have to say that I was glad to read you don't meet people in coffee shops anymore! phew! It's best to have a location, by appointment and never carry a lot on you. Also be careful of where you park, never go at night, etc. I've heard horror stories of "home jewelers" getting robbed with their families present as the robber plunders the family home/garage. Also women jewelers, if it's suspected you are carrying things with you,thieves will stick a nail in your car tire, or do some slight damage to your car, then follow you and offer "help" you when you break down. I' not trying to scare you, or be a downer but as you grow, you will become recognized. You want to have the reputation that you don't carry valuables on you or in your car. It's so exciting to read how your business is growing. I personally find the older jewelry not only unique and unlike modern pieces, they also are better made, more craft and a better sense of design for the whole piece. I love all of what you've shown here. By writing this I wish you much success and happiness in following your dream, but keep your eyes open!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 55 days ago

    Great story! Congrats!

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 55 days ago

    These pieces really adorable! Wish you the best!

  • RandMhandmade

    Renee from RandMhandmade said 55 days ago

    Beautiful shop..Congratulations!!

  • theroyal

    elm the person from elmtheperson said 55 days ago

    I really really really like the long platinum one.

  • LadyInPurple

    Jennifer Tyson from LadyInPurpleJewelry said 55 days ago

    Such an amazing collection! Congrats on the feature Gillian!

  • Adventacular

    Adventacular from adventacular said 55 days ago

    Gorgeous pieces.

  • assistantvirtual

    Mammino from Mammino said 55 days ago

    You have really nice items, congratulations !

  • joyfulsips

    C. Annie from joyfulsips said 55 days ago

    Wonderful shop and collection! A true special find you are!

  • minipotterybyanita

    minipotterybyanita from potterybyAnita said 55 days ago

    Gorgeous jewelry! You have a great eye for quality and design! Congrats on the Feature! ♥♥♥

  • krivedesignphoto

    Karla Rivers from theKRIVEshop said 55 days ago

    Gorgeous! Wish I had known about this before Christmas. Would've made a perfect gift for mom. Congrats on the feature!

  • YearsAfter

    Sharon from YearsAfter said 54 days ago

    Gorgeous Jewelry and I love how all the rings look together. The more...the merrier! Congrats and Happy 2017!

  • CreationsbyMaryDe

    MaryDe from MaryDeCreations said 54 days ago

    It must be so exciting to be featured! Congrats to all of you. I hope the New Year is great for us all?

  • BelkaUA

    Olesya Bagriy from BelkaUA said 53 days ago

    Beautiful shop! Amazing work! Congratulations on the feature!

  • orientaltribe11

    Lertpan Pathamavuthikan from orientaltribe11 said 53 days ago

    Beautiful collection. Congratulations ?

  • FieldsOfVintage

    Fields Of Vintage from FieldsOfVintage said 53 days ago

    Gorgeous!!! Congrats on the feature!!!

  • jackmat

    Rob and Stacy Kruse from HearthandHomeStore said 53 days ago

    Congrats on the feature! You have Beautiful pieces!!!!

  • vaspaulding

    Cheridah Spaulding from CheridahSpaulding said 53 days ago

    Such beautiful rings. Best to your future.

  • olga11223

    Olga from LinenAndTailor said 52 days ago

    Lovely pieces. Congrats on the feature!

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 52 days ago

    LOVE your product !

  • DivineOrders

    DivineOrders from DivineOrders said 51 days ago

    GLORIOUS! Congrats on the feature. Thank you Gillian for sharing your vintage passion, amazing intuition, and phenomenal jewel hunting skills with us. Peace.

  • husbandfatherfriend

    Michael Robinson from CarvedAccessories said 51 days ago

    Love the rings and the destructed vintage background. Its inspiring. Congrats

  • SallysVintageKitchen

    Sally from SallysVintageKitchen said 50 days ago

    Beautiful jewelry! Congratulations on the feature!

  • natthanitpoonphon

    Natthanit from Muntra said 50 days ago

    Amazing work!! Wonderful shop and products.

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    TreasuredMemoryLane from TreasuredMemoryLane said 50 days ago

    Beautiful pieces of jewelry! Great story! Congratulation on the feature!

  • krystlekitty

    krystlekitty said 48 days ago

    The ring on your left hand is beautiful (they all are) what is your price range??

  • kerikrieglmeier

    keri KRIEGLMEIER from kerikrieglmeier said 48 days ago

    WoW! Absolutely love your collection.... I know where I'm going to go when the time finally comes. Exceptionaly gorgeous selection. I certainly found Art Deco heaven ?

  • cswolf62

    Carol Smith said 48 days ago

    Love looking at all this awesome jewelry, especially the vintage silver rings! Too expensive for me but some are on my wish list! Good luck in your business!

  • angelaraco

    AJ California from angelaraco said 48 days ago

    Love the vintage rings. I would love to see your collection soon. Aj...

  • batikgala

    Gala from Galabeadjewelery said 48 days ago

    Oh, I love these jewelry. Very beautiful! Congratulations on the feature!

  • susanlsiegel2

    Susan L. Siegel from StudioCLD said 48 days ago

    Very lovely....FYI...in the 70's I bought a few bar pins at outdoor markets in London, England. I wore them only a few times but they sat in my drawer for years. This Fall I showed them to my granddaughters ....fortunately, they each liked a different one! They are now "bar" necklaces with lovely gold chain and hit just at the "breast bone" . I still have a few others...from early 1900's of my Mother's...in the similar style of your rings...they will be next! Wishing you continued success with your shop/s..... Susan

  • l52pendragon

    l52pendragon from MelissaToade said 48 days ago

    Gorgeous stuff. What tips can you (or anyone) give about best ways to do online marketing for jewelry using the usual tools--Pinterest, Facebook, etc? I'm just beginning to find a market for my own original jewelry and could use the input. Thanks.

  • sarahmarahparah

    Sarah Hayton from SnippetAndChives said 48 days ago

    What a gorgeous collection you have! Thanks for the inspiring story...hope you have a great year ahead!

  • NonieK

    Eleanor Mallory-Gaddis said 48 days ago

    Breathtaking!!!!

  • charmone1

    susan hopkins said 48 days ago

    I like to see people specialise and save the past its wonderful . the rings looks for and fines are hand made rings with the rose cut diamonds not like the settings today which are cast rings . Lot off people don't get to see these rings , the stones are remove and are reset into new models but these rings she is saving for a new life is wonderful. Susan Hopkins I specialise in new charms , but my next step will be one only pieces

  • margaretalipinski

    Margareta Lipinski from WishfulThinkingGems said 47 days ago

    It sure seems like GoldAdore sure know what they are into. Very professional. Goldadore is Winning my trust in their knowledge for quality and style. I believe you get what you pay for.

  • ballandchain

    Katrina Balling from ballandchain said 46 days ago

    Love this shop! :)

  • benguaccessoies

    Bengü Accessories from ACCESSORIESBENGU said 41 days ago

    Beautiful shop! Congratulations on the feature!

  • acharasilver

    Achara Patthong from AcharaSilver said 37 days ago

    Beautiful !

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