Maybe it was my mother dragging me to every museum in NYC and Washington, DC that first drew me to love the museum gift shop.  As a child, I don’t think that we really appreciate the beauty and history that a museum holds…but the gift shop is a wonderland for little eyes.

My very first purchase was a Unicorn in Captivity Poster from the Cloisters (Metropolitan Museum of Art) sometime in the mid 1970’s.  It remained with me for many years.


(image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

But I digress, as usual:).  In addition to the prints, tapestries, replicas and other assorted museum gift shop items, you will many times find beautiful jewelry items that are either replicas of a current jewelry exhibit (i.e. Egyptian, Greek, Art Deco, etc.) or small pieces that are somehow reminiscent of a particular time period or cultural exhibit currently on display.  They are typically beautifully made and affordably priced, allowing you to walk away with a little piece of your visit.

I am intrigued by these jewelry pieces and pick them up whenever I find them, either on a museum trip or vintage ones that I come across along the way.  The condition of the vintage pieces is usually remarkable, a testament to the quality.

These brooches, bracelets, rings and necklaces are a wonderful way to start a new collection.  The pieces below are from a few of my favorite shop owners on Ruby Lane (myself included:)).


Vintage 1995 Ancanthus Leaf Brooch

from The Metropolitan Museum of Art at WhimsicalVintage.  This brooch was sold during an exhibit of not only Hellenistic Jewelry but also an exhibit of Greco Roman Architecture in which the Ancanthus Leaf plays a great role.

mma sunnyside necklace

Vintage MMA Metropolitan Museum of Art Enameled Bracelet

from Sunnyside Farms Antiques on Ruby Lane


Vintage David-Andersen Norway Sterling Folk Museum Brooch ~ 1960s

from The Gilded Room on Ruby Lane.


Vintage MMA Persian Empire Ornament Money Clip – Achaemenid Lions

from Great Vintage Stuff on Ruby Lane


Vintage Metropolitan Museum of Art Enamel Flower Brooch Pendant

from WhimsicalVintage on Ruby Lane

I encourage you to either search out pieces online or through your local museum links.  In addition to the larger museums mentioned many smaller, local museums have beautiful offerings.  It truly is a wonderful way to start your own collection of jewelry that is an artistic, historical and/or cultural fit for you.

Thanks for reading! …and many thanks to the above shops for contributing their lovely pieces to my post.