The Art of Playing Dress Up, Part I

imag2451Most women remember playing dress up as small girls. They remember standing in front of a mirror in their mother’s shoes — little feet swallowed up in shoes that are far too big — and a party dress that on them resembles more of a fancy tent than an actual garment. They remember gingerly opening their mother’s jewelry box to peek inside, pulling rings and strands of pearls out and trying them on. This is a key memory for many women, much the same way that learning to shave is a key memory for men.

This fond memory is often revisited at Geolat. Today, Patti Geolat, appraiser/ estate jewelry buyer, and Judy Asa, vice president of operations, are mulling over the latest buys. The two women sit at a green marble table top covered in goodies—heavy brooches and necklaces, rings, bracelets, real tortoise shell combs, and even a pair of opera glasses. Patti and Judy are all smiles, trying on the jewelry and trading stories of playing dress up when they were children.

“My mom had a citrine ring,” says Judy, slipping a ring over her right ring finger, “and the mounting was in the shape of a hand holding the stone. We got it in Mexico, and I remember standing in front of her dresser with a little lamp on like this. I loved it. I put it on my finger and thought, ‘Oh, I look so elegant!’ And she had a necklace to match. I actually still have the ring now.”

imag2487Patti laughs and tries a few of the rings on herself, getting a feel for how each piece lays on her finger, feeling the weight of them. It is definitely a perk of the trade, but it also helps her sell pieces to potential buyers. She personally knows how each piece looks on an actual person, rather than on a display. Not only that, but between the two of them, Patti and Judy know the story behind practically every piece in front of them.

“When people come and have an appointment with us, we try to start with a conversation—something personal to ask them, or admire something they are wearing. We connect with people before we start because so much of what people need in an appraisal is beyond the obvious,” explains Patti.

“Sometimes they just want to talk,” says Judy. “They want someone outside of their circle to listen and tell them it’s ok to let go of a piece if that’s what they want to do. If they don’t, well, that’s ok, too.”

“People infuse so much emotion into jewelry,” says Patti. “Possibly more than art or real estate. I’ve noticed that the last thing a woman will normally sell is her jewelry. It means that much to her. But often it makes them feel better just to know that someone else will enjoy the piece, pass it on, and make even more memories with it.”

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