Jean Jean Vintage: Meet Duff!

Meet Emily “Duff” Duffelmeyer from amazing Michigan-based vintage shop, Jean Jean Vintage!

I have some lovely people sponsoring me here on Honey Kennedy. I thought it would be fun to get to know the funny, smart women behind these shops.

Duff has been selling vintage jewelry for about a year and a half. She really does an impeccable job of offering “early” vintage pieces from the 20s, 30s and early 40s in her shop, Jean Jean Vintage. For the past few months, she has been doing bigger, themed (usually by color) updates Mondays on her blog. She lists other items throughout the week, but Monday has become her big listing day. You really should stop by the blog on Mondays—her updates are so striking and cool to see grouped together!

A Fun Q&A with Duff:

1. What’s your sign?

2. Tell us something people don’t already know about you.
I don’t like closing things. Most of the cabinets and drawers in my house are all ajar right now. Also, I usually sleep with a hat on the winter. Sexy, I know.

3. Desert island Top 5 albums of all-time?
The Zombies: Odyssey & Oracle
Rushmore Soundtrack
The Best of Otis Redding
Chopin Noctures by Tamas Vasary
A mix from Lauren of Dear Golden Vintage

4. Dream concert. Living or dead, Top 5 bands who are playing?
Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, The Jackson 5, Edith Piaf, Otis Redding

5. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I would love to be able to play any piece of music on the piano, perfectly.

6. #1 pet peeve?
People who are mean or condescending to people in the service industry. It makes me mad just thinking about it. On a lighter note, I hate folding fitted bedsheets. I feel like I’m trying to fold a cloud. It is impossible. You should see my linen closet – Martha Stewart would cry.

7. What was the first piece of vintage that blew your mind?
My interest in vintage/antique jewelry started with Victorian mourning jewelry. I was spellbound by the morbid, intensely emotional quality of the pieces, as well as the craftsmanship. So the first pieces of jewelry that really fascinated me were sentimental lockets, hairwork pins, enameled rings, etc. The first thing I found that I knew was really special was a mourning ring with plaited hair around the band. To me, that purchase marks the beginning of my real love affair with vintage jewelry.

8. Do you have a favorite era? Why?
The Art Deco era is hands down my favorite. I love the aesthetic of the era and I think I would have felt very comfortable living/dressing during that time. Art Deco jewelry has such strong, almost masculine characteristics. Words that come to mind to describe the design of the era are velocity, rectilinear, streamlined, confident, etc. Yet somehow the jewelry was still ultimately very feminine and elegant. I also like the materials favored during that time – carnelian, chrysoprase, marcasite, camphor glass, bakelite, platinum, sterling silver, etc.

9. What is your fantasy vintage score that you hope to find one day?
Art Deco earrings are pretty hard to find and I would love to acquire a couple pairs. Anything from the Egyptian Revival period, especially beetle or mummy motif jewelry. But the best of the best for me would be an antique mourning ring, with enamel, hair work and an engraved name or date.

10. Any vintage shopping pro tips?
Make sure you thoroughly inspect a piece before you buy it. In the beginning, I was so excited about the hunt that I often got home only to find that a brooch was missing three rhinestones, or a pin didn’t have a working clasp or a ring was missing a prong. Some things can be fixed, but you have to consider the cost/labor of doing that and sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. If a piece looks good, my general rule is “Don’t overthink it–just buy it!”. This stuff isn’t going to be around forever.

11. What is your ritual for updating your shop?
I’ve gotten into a good habit with my Monday updates. I usually pick a theme and build a collection on Tuesday or Wednesday. I photograph everything on Thursday or Friday. Then, usually on Sunday, I sit down and write up all the descriptions and prepare the update. On Monday morning, the listings are all ready to go. By that time, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about/handling the pieces so I am really excited to share them with everyone.

12. How do you unwind?
Physical activity or cooking.

13. What are some other shops online that you love.
Ha! I don’t spend much time looking at anything other than jewelry! I like ogling Erie Basin, Lang Antiques, A. Brandt and Sons, Georgian Jewelry, etc.

14. Are you reading or watching anything lately that inspires you?
I’m reading a lot about pregnancy/babies/kids right now because we are having a baby in December. It is an impressive genre! It feels more like studying than reading for pleasure, though. I have to say I am truly inspired every week by the New York Times. I love the business section and the Arts & Style section.

15. Current snack of choice? Current fave restaurant?
Blue corn chips and hummus or chocolate covered raisins for a snack. Unfortunately, the restaurant scene in my town is absolutely terrible. There really isn’t a place that I would choose to eat. The one bright spot for me is this food truck called Trailer Parked ( The food is so great, better than anything else around. I tell those guys how awesome they are every time I go.

16. What’s your poison? Current cocktail or soft drink of choice?
Well, I worked in cafés for almost 10 years, so I love espresso. I see an espresso machine in my future. But lately I’ve been drinking orange juice with ice cubes. Actually, pretty much anything with ice cubes. I also really like Dr. Pepper but I never buy it for myself.

17. #1 dream vacation?
Any vacation where I come home tan! Doesn’t have to be an even tan – I’d settle for a farmer’s tan. I think I would really enjoy one of those fancy resort retreats where someone makes you work out really hard twice a day but then they give you a massage and make you a great dinner. My #1 nightmare vacation is being on a cruise ship.

18. What is the #1 most awesome thing about owning your shop?
I am surrounded by beautiful objects all the time, jewelry and accessories that women have worn and loved for decades. That is the best part.

THANKS, DUFF! Find Duff on her blog, Etsy and Twitter.


Images courtesy of Jean Jean Vintage


12 Responses to “Jean Jean Vintage: Meet Duff!”
  1. lauren says:

    highlight: “I feel like I’m trying to fold a cloud. It is impossible. You should see my linen closet – Martha Stewart would cry.”

    also, in all our years as friends, how did i not know you loved soul/motown music so much??

    • Melissa says:

      I enjoyed that line as well. I know the feeling all too well, too!

      Great post…very interesting and funny! Emily has a killer shop, and it was great to learn more about her and Jean Jean’s history. She always has such good jewelry – something that’s rare among vintage shops, IMO.

    • Jen McCabe says:

      Hahaaa… I think “folding a cloud” is an excellent description too. I can’t fold a fitted sheet to save my life either.

  2. Alexis says:

    Great interview! The opened cabinets would absolutely drive me batty though. I’m a closer, definitely a closer!

  3. Duff is too cute.

    I don’t know whether to drool over the jewellery, or over the books about the jewellery!

  4. maria says:

    oh man, duff is so awesome. thanks for asking good questions.

  5. Leslie says:

    great post and beautiful pieces! Thanks for sharing pictures!