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Flea Market Jewelry

20 Jun

I love jewelry, and while I have a soft spot in my heart for Tiffany, my favorite place to buy baubles is at flea markets. I don’t know if you’re aware, but flea markets are fucking awesome. I’ve been going to flea markets since I was an infant, and my parents went for years before me (and their parents before them). It’s in my blood. Since childhood, one of my favorite things to do at a flea market was pore over all the great jewelry on display. You can find all kinds of cool pieces at a flea market that you won’t be able to find anywhere else – meaning you get a special piece of jewelry with a cool backstory, and you know no one else will have it. 90% of my favorite pieces of jewelry are either from flea markets or stolen from my grandmothers (grandmas are like a free at-home flea market).

Normally I only like to recommend things that can be easily found online, so that no matter where you are you can access the wonders I present to you. BUT, since flea markets are everywhere, and I always want to show off my flea market finds, this is an exception to the rule. I present you some of my favorite flea market jewelry, which hopefully inspires you to think about spending your weekend digging through people’s old junk to find something awesome.

This is one of my favorite possessions, period. I’m a lifelong Michael Jackson fan, and when I saw this necklace I nearly fainted. Actually, I got this as a freebie when I bought a signed picture of MJ from the Jackson 5 days. The picture is cool, but this necklace has become a more treasured item. Almost every time I wear this someone will say, “Does your necklace say ‘I love Michael Jackson?'” and I’ll answer “Fuck yeah it does! JEALOUS?!”

Stylistically I have what you might call eclectic taste. To a more conservative person my style might be more often described as weird. I think I just like stuff that’s awesome. This necklace falls under that category. There’s so much going on: The S, which obviously stands for Sarah, the sword, which stands for being a badass, and it also makes a $ symbol, which is just ridiculous. I haven’t been wearing this that much recently because it’s in desperate need of cleaning, but when I do it steals the show. Because this is kind of an odd piece that not many (lame) people would be interested in, I got it for super cheap. I think around $2 or $3.

When I first saw this ring I thought it was neat and different. I knew it wanted it, so I snatched it right up. Then I looked at it for awhile, closely examining it, and realized, “OH MY GOD IT’S THE FIRST THANKSGIVING!” It’s a little hard to capture on film, but indeed, this ring is a depiction of the first Thanksgiving, which just so happens to be my all-time favorite holiday. I’m like a Thanksgiving groupie – I love it to an insane degree. So while I first loved this ring for its interesting design and uniqueness, once I discovered the truth I was completely infatuated with it. Seriously, how could I not be?

This ring is probably my single most favorite flea market jewelry find. I wear it just about every day. I love how it’s big, bold, and sculptural. I’ve had this ring for so long, I don’t even remember buying it. I know that once I did have it, however, it quickly became my go-to, everyday jewelry piece. This honestly looks like it could be from Tiffany or someplace, right? But I got it at a flea market for something like $20! If that’s not enough of a convincing endorsement for flea markets, nothing is.

A few things to remember if you decide to start cruising flea markets:

1. You have to dig. You know how Forever 21 has 15 million things, and you’ll go through the whole store and maybe find one top? Flea markets are the same way. There can be a big payout, but you need to put in the time to find that perfect something.

2. Flea market doesn’t equal cheap. Sure, most of the things I’ve found at flea markets were relatively inexpensive, but that’s because I’m cheap, not because flea markets are cheap. Some vendors really know their stuff, and they’re not going to sell you a sparkling sterling silver ring for $5. Or maybe they will. It all depends. Just don’t go in thinking a flea market is an everything-must-go garage sale with rock bottom prices.

3. Yes, you can haggle, and no, it’s not as stressful as it may seem. Here’s an example of how to make a deal. Say there are two rings I like, and one is marked $20 and the other is $30, so $50 total. I’ll take them up to the vendor and say, “Will you take $40 for these two?” The vendor will look your items over and either say yes, no, or counter with another offer like, “I can do $45, but that’s it.” You either accept their answer or you move on. I was intimidated by the idea of haggling at first, but it’s no biggie. Vendors usually know what their bottom line is, and they’re prepared for people to make them offers. Just smile and don’t be an asshole and they’ll be nice right back.

4. Have fun! A flea market is a great place to spend a day. There are usually food stands with all kinds of unhealthy food, and sometimes they even have an area with a band or some other live entertainment. Plus, browsing the stalls can be really fun. There are all kinds of weirdos with weird stuff that flock to flea markets. There’s no other place where you’ll see such a varied collection of items like you will at a flea market. Not to mention the people watching! One of my favorite things is to see what kinds of stuff other people have bought. Some are just straight up crazy and amazing.

Flea Markets: At a fairground, football field, or parking lot near you!

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