Located in the historic Pike Place Market, Isadora’s has specialized in exquisite antique jewelry for 38 years. Our discriminating collection includes pieces from the early 1800’s through the 1950’s, without a reproduction to be found. Our precious pieces are sent to North American Gem Lab for independent appraisals. We invite you to call our toll free number for applicable discounts. On many of our pieces, we are able to offer between 10-25% off of appraisal value.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Laura !!

Thank you for showing and sharing so much happiness and love..
We Love You...

Valentine's Baubles...

As more and more couples try to make green choices about everything from organic soy latte they drink to the fuel efficient car they drive, Isadora’s offers what it has always has offered: A way of preserving the past and the future.

. European Collection: Victorian “Adore” Ring .

Isadora’s sells antique and vintage jewelry. Antique jewelry is a consumer conscious alternative for couples trying to avoid not only conflict diamonds but also diamonds, gemstones and even precious metals that are mined in such a way that their procurement has a deleterious effect on the environment. By purchasing an antique ring a couple makes an investment in the future, both theirs and the worlds. They also preserve the past by curating and loving jewelry that has been around, in many cases, longer that they have.

. Edwardian Diamond & Ruby Earrings .

And having made a choice to purchase a piece of antique or vintage jewelry, couples and individuals are often surprised to find how truly exquisite the selection is. Isadora’s has pieces of jewelry dating from 1820 through 1950: Each piece of jewelry a work of art. Unlike most jewelry today, the jewelry of yesterday was usually created, at least in part by hand, giving them a level of detail, craftsmanship and individuality that is unsurpassed today, whether it is a European cut diamond surrounded by platinum filigree or an architectural Art Deco ring. And there is sort of a wonder and awe that comes with wearing jewelry that has survived all of history’s pitfalls and highlights. Antique jewelry is unsurpassed on so many levels.

. Vintage Ruby & Diamond Ring .

So whether you are shopping for a engagement ring that makes her say “I do” or if you are seeking that perfect Valentine’s gift, Isadora’s has a piece that is beautiful, timeless and green.

Friday, January 22, 2010


"The visit went off successfully, as was to have been expected. Old Mrs. Mingott was delighted with the engagement, which, being long foreseen by watchful relatives, had been carefully passed upon in family council; and the engagement ring, a large thick sapphire set in invisible claws, met with her unqualified admiration.”

This passage from Edith Wharton’s 1920’s novel “The Age of Innocence” set in the world of late Victorian wealthy New York refers to the sapphire engagement ring given by an oh so proper upper class gentleman to his lady love.

Working in an antique jewelry store I spend a lot of time around engagement rings and so, inspired by Edith Wharton’s quote, I set to thinking about engagement rings: their history, their symbolism, their beauty.

The ring goes back to ancient Egypt of if legend holds true, our oldest ancestors, cavemen. It is said a caveman would wrap a string around the finger of the woman he desired for his mate. Perhaps it is a legend less romantic than a man on one knee but it is perhaps not untrue.

The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Chinese all considered the ring a symbol of eternity, although each culture gave this symbolism its own nuance. The Egyptians saw the circle as something without end. And therefore love and life as symbolized by the ring had no end. The Romans saw eternity in a ring and also the circle of life. And the Chinese thought of the ring as an endless cycle of unbroken continuity.

And while retaining these initial meanings the ring evolved to encompass more as it came to be a part of the marriage ceremony. It became a manifestation of a promise: It became a covenant, a vow, a commitment to a common fate, a physical symbol of affection freely given.

The look of the engagement ring has had many permutations over the centuries: To the caveman it was a piece of string; to the Romans a band of iron. During the Medieval era gemstones were introduced. The wealthy chose symbolic tokens to layer with the rings essential meaning. A man might give a ruby ring to symbolize love or a sapphire ring to symbolize the heavens. And in 1477 Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy on the announcement of their engagement. This is the first recorded history of a diamond ring used as an engagement ring although certainly not the last.

It is said for a time the Puritans tried to vanquish the engagement ring in their quest for a more austere world but they were unsuccessful. I think a couple, not all couples, but most, need a symbol something to announce to the world that they have made a public commitment to each other and that they have chosen the most beautiful thing they can to symbolize it.

And so I’ve decided I like the symbol of the engagement ring in all its permutations and I am fiercely glad that we have found such beautiful ring to express lasting commitment, whether it be a diamond, sapphire or a lovingly engraved band.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Butterflies: Love’s Beauty

A friend enraptured with a new ring on her much bejeweled finger – a bold Victorian piece shaped like a butterfly queried me about the symbolism of butterflies in the Victorian era. I was in a rush and I said something glib about metamorphosis: caterpillars to butterflies: A creature both beautiful and fleeting. But the question sat with me. I remembered a Persian play I’d been extremely moved by 7 or 8 years ago in which a butterfly came to symbolize humanity and its struggle. I see a number of plays but I remember this play’s imagery so well for its aching beauty. And so two weeks later I return to the topic of butterflies and their symbolism having reflected and most importantly researched.

The butterfly as symbol re-occurs in many cultures, as do the ideas it symbolizes, primarily the soul, love and rebirth. In the tales of ancient Greeks we learn that cupid turned psyche into a butterfly and thus the word for butterfly is “psyche”: The psyche being soul and mind. The Romans also saw the butterfly as symbolically attached to the soul but it’s meaning grows even richer, for to the Romans the soul is the place where love originates from.
Traveling to China I learn that in Chinese culture two butterflies flying together became a symbol for love and in Japanese culture we return again to the soul. A butterfly is seen to be the personification of the soul: living, dying or dead. And yet again the intertwining of the soul and love: A beautiful Japanese superstition is the belief that if you find a butterfly in your guestroom perched behind a bamboo screen, the person you love most in the world is coming to see you.

And so I finally arrive at the Victorian era from whence it all began. A very Christian era when it comes to European jewelry the butterfly has a very Christian meaning. The butterfly this time symbolizes Christ’s rebirth for as the butterfly journeys through three stages—caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly so Christ experienced life, death and resurrection. (On an interesting and almost connected side note, during the Victorian era flies and moths symbolized the heart and soul hovering dangerously close to love’s flame.) And my last meaning in my obsessive quest for the heart of the butterflies meaning, art nouveau jewelers believe, simply put, butterflies were a metaphor for love’s beauty.
I now realize the butterfly is as beautifully complex symbolically as it is visually. Pick your own meaning.

Monday, January 11, 2010