Meet Stacey Payette at Sheldon Hill Vintage Jewelry
It’s rare to find someone who has the skills it takes to properly recognize an authentic and high-quality piece of antique or vintage jewelry.
Downtown Ithaca is fortunate to have such a person in Stacey Payette, founder and owner of Sheldon Hill Vintage Jewelry.
“I work with one-of-a-kind items. Finding new homes for old jewelry is very satisfying to me. Similarly, helping a customer find what they are looking for is a great feeling, too,” says Payette.
Payette caught the antique bug early in life. During her college years, she found an old-fashioned canned oak armchair and placed it her dorm room. The classic piece of furniture was an instant hit with the other students.
“They thought the chair was super cool,” says Payette.
After graduating from college with a degree in political science, she found jobs difficult to come by so she worked in the restaurant industry, and, in her spare time, she’d look for unique items by frequenting antique shops, malls, and shows. As she was reviewing the peculiar pieces, she’d ask the dealers lots of questions to help her learn about the antiques buying and selling trade.
For the last 25 years, Payette has been part of the antique world in some shape or form whether it was through owning her own shop or working in an antique mall.
“I’m drawn to beautiful things and I seek out good form and high-quality artistry as a matter of daily life. My academic background in history works well with my natural preference for antiques. After my daughter was born in the late 1990s, it was far easier to deal in small treasures, like jewelry, than large pieces of furniture. And, of course, I can wear the jewelry,” says Payette.
In 2000, she took a break from the vintage world to teach social studies at Ithaca High School. Then, in 2008, she quit her job as a teacher and opened Sheldon Hill in downtown Ithaca. In 2010, she found a storefront on the Commons for her unique boutique.
“I like nice weather days when I can open my store’s door and feel the energy on the Commons. This is heard through laughter, conversations, and our local street performers who add a unique flavor to the atmosphere. I also enjoy patronizing businesses owned by my colleagues. Living & working downtown makes that very easy,“ says Payette.
At Sheldon Hill, visitors will find vase collection of Payette’s special finds — stylish antique, vintage, and estate earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, brooches, and pins from the 1800s to the present. Some of it is fine jewelry and other pieces are costume jewelry. There’s also a large selection of women’s accessories — bags, vintage hats, and a limited supply of vintage evening wear.
“My store is special because, unlike traditional antique stores/malls which carry a variety of antiquities, Sheldon Hill specializes in antique & vintage jewelry. “I’m an avid art collector & I like to focus on local artists. Many of these works are on display at Sheldon Hill,” says Payette. “I consider myself a jewelry historian. I use my academic side to research my pieces and place them correctly on the jewelry timeline. Jewelry is history, too! It has a past and a journey. My job is to uncover it, when possible.”
“Finding your passion is a great gift. I couldn’t imagine my life without Sheldon Hill. It has taken on many forms throughout its existence and I know it will continue to evolve. Thank you, Ithaca, for these great years. As they say, when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” adds Payette.
When Payette isn’t busy operating her shop, she can be found hosting a popular Instagram show about; you guessed it, vintage jewelry. She also participates in Taoist Tai Chi classes.
“When my business survived the recession and the subsequent Commons Revitalization construction project, it showed me that my business was an important part of downtown. Mitigating these challenges with an extremely strong Instagram presence has been a great accomplishment. The Instagram success has brought local people into my store as well as some who’ve come from very far away. As for the Tai Chi classes, they are a wonderful experience for me. I’ve made strong friendships there and regular practice has improved my body, mind, and spirit,” says Payette.
To learn more about Stacey Payette and her highly successful business, visit the Sheldon Hill store at E. State St., The Commons, check out its website at sheldonhillvintagejewels.com, or the boutique’s Facebook Page, facebook.com/sheldonhilljewelry, or Instagram Account, @sheldonhill_vintagejewels.