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Today I want to debut a new feature that I’m calling “7 questions.” Basically, I plan to ask jewelry stores and/or jewelry designers the same seven questions. You all know how much I love jewelry….. this just lets me talk to other people who love jewelry, too! Here’s hoping that you, fellow gem gal, will discover a cool new store to visit or an amazing new designer that you’d like to check out!
First on my list was Isadoras Antique Jewelry, a fabulous store right by the iconic Pike Place Market in Seattle. Long recommended by friends of mine as the place for antique jewelry, I’ve always been astounded at how many beautiful things they’re able to put in such a small place. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the store’s instagram account (which you should follow, if you don’t already). Elizabeth Schoenleber, who owns the store with her mom, Laura Dalesandro, was nice enough to answer my 7 questions. Besides being completely charming and easy to talk to, she let me look at and try on TONS of stunning pieces. Needless to say, I was in heaven! She couldn’t have been nicer, and I’m so appreciative.
Let’s dive into the interview, shall we?
What’s unique about Isadoras?
1. What do you think is unique about your store? And what kind of customer do you appeal to?
Our store is unique because of our family history, the length of time we’ve been in this location, and our commitment to antique jewelry. You know, everything here is hand-selected. We have a unique curation. We pick pieces because we love them. We’re not just filling space or trying to get a certain number of something. We buy things because we love them.
Our customers are so diverse. That’s really the common thread. But they connect with us, they know our family. They trust us.
2. What do you enjoy most about being part of the jewelry industry?
Jewelry is art, and so are antiques. I treasure being part of art history. And helping people find something that’s really investment-worthy. There’s a circle of trust between us and our customers. I want to go the extra mile for them, and they know that. This business started with my mom selling vintage fashion in our garage. And then gaining a following. Our customers feel safe with us.
3. When people find out where you work or what you do, what’s their most common question to you?
Mostly, people want to know where we get our jewelry. We travel, go to shows, and have developed relationships with dealers over the years. We appreciate things that are old. Not new styled as old. Old. Not everyone understands that difference, but it’s important.
The history of Isadoras
4. How long have you done this and what kind of training did you need?
This business started 45 years ago, and I’ve been part of it for 25 years. At first, I didn’t know I wanted to do this, and it wasn’t expected or handed to me. I actually wanted a job where I worked with children, I wanted to be a psychologist. But I love it here. And I worked for it. I had managers who were hard on me. I learned, I listened.
5. What’s the biggest business challenge you face right now?
Just continuing to find top quality pieces. It’s a constant hunt.
What sells at Isadoras?
6. What’s your top seller? Why do you think it resonates with people?
We sell a lot of antique engagement rings. We see brides making a conscious decision to buy an antique diamond, and we appreciate that. Gold is also trending, I’m loving all the gold chains.
7. What’s your current favorite piece of jewelry?
I honestly couldn’t pick. It’s like trying to pick a favorite child! I just love helping people build their own jewelry collection.
I see jewelry pieces every day that make me smile.
-Elizabeth Schoenleber, Isadoras Antique Jewelry
My own view on Isadoras
Truly, gem gals, if you are in Seattle, you should hit up this store! If you want something antique, something where you will have no doubt about its provenance and quality, there is no better place on the entire West Coast. What they have in their store are stunning, sumptuous pieces. Their commitment to buying and showcasing their works of art is a labor of love. And I love supporting businesses like these!