September 3, 2014

CJS Sales: The Best Vintage Jewelry Supplies Warehouse in New York

Early last month Tim and I spent a week in NYC and had a chance to stop into our very favorite jewelry supplies warehouse in the city, CJS Sales: Crafts Jewelry Supplies. That's me up there, making my through the chain supply room — in utter heaven!

I've written about this amazing (magical!) place here on the blog before, and wanted to share more from our most recent trip since it's been such a popular post we continue to get lots of questions about. For the full rundown with directions on how to find CJS (a 5,000 square foot jewelry supply warehouse hidden in the heart of Manhattan) and tips for shopping wholesale while there, check out this writeup we did last winter.

The thing is, this space is a bit of a secret. When jewelry designers find an amazing source after years of research and travel, it's something that becomes a bit "hush-hush" in the industry. As you know by now, Tim and I are much more about sharing, plus the beauty about CJS is their specialization in one-of-a-kind vintage and closeout stock. It's not like anyone can waltz in, get the same exact supply and compete on prices — it's more like, if you're there and see something you like, you better buy it ASAP, because there's a great chance it'll be gone the next day.

It's also just one of those places that's an experience to visit. You won't find another place like it and it's worth dropping in as a place to see if you've never been. You'll find room after room of wall-to-wall and stacked-to-the-ceiling boxes filled with vintage jewelry supplies and all sorts of other things. Tim walked all around, capturing these pics while I sat, sifting through different boxes:

It would be impossible to go through everything in one visit — which is both exciting and a little terrifying for a personality like mine. I love the element of surprise, but also like feeling like I've seen everything there is to see in a place before moving on.

Here I am again, sorting through the chain in an entire room filled with vintage and deadstock chains in every make and finish you can imagine:

I'm always on the hunt for finished vintage brass necklaces, which can be hard to come by in general, so it's always fun to sort through and find exactly what I'd been hoping for.

While the warehouse specializes in vintage jewelry supplies, there is so much more to this place! You never know what you'll find from trip to trip...

If you are a collector or purveyor of vintage supplies, jewelry or general goods, this place is for you too. Every time we visit, Elyse (half of the father/daughter duo that run CJS) always has new vintage finds to show us — this time we left with a tote full of jewelry supplies among other things, like belt buckles, deadstock tie clips, designer Judith Leiber travel combs, trinket boxes and even vintage shaving razors with Art Deco appeal. I'm telling you, it's a treasure trove and that element of surprise is what keeps us coming back.

Elyse knows I love vintage supplies with a little patina, hollywood rhinestone sparkle, anything with lockets or made of bakelite, and just plain old oddities so those are the things she saves for me to look at if she knows we're coming by or can point me in the direction of where to start digging.

Outside of my specific tastes, there is SO much more. As you saw from the photos above, there are walls filled with boxes of vintage glass beads, an entire room filled with vintage chain stock — if you can dream it, they've probably got it and then some.

If you're still interested, I'll show you all the things we brought home from this latest visit — it was a good mix of jewelry supplies and components for making new designs along with a bunch of deadstock vintage jewelry and accessories. We even happened upon a few oddities we couldn't leave without..

In terms of supplies, I was excited to find all sorts of things — from charms and raw pyrite beads, to vintage lockets, whistles and other components to rework into new jewelry:

I'm absolutely dying over this bunch of vintage stick pins with different shaped lockets attached — how amazing would these be as stand-ins for groomsmen boutonnieres or accessories for a wedding? I can't remember if there were more of these at the warehouse, but wish I'd scooped up the full lot of them if there were:

Similarly, we came across loads of mid century modern tie clips with different colored stones and even a few with pictures of golfers and different tool shapes:

One of my favorite things to source are full pieces of vintage jewelry. There are all sorts of designs and styles, all with a past and all waiting to have a second debut:

Along those same lines, there were some fun oddities we brought back like vintage shaving razors, belt buckles and a couple designer travel combs from the Judith Leiber collection:

Finally, it wouldn't be a vintage hunt without bringing home loads of chain necklaces for making jewelry with — don't you just love how it sparkles?

So! That's how we faired during this latest trip — and we're already looking forward to going back. I hope it was a fun look into one of our favorite places to visit in the city that's definitely off the beaten touristy path. If you're a designer or small business owner looking to make the trip to CJS, we wrote up another post with more info and another haul of supplies right here. And a few more details...

You'll need a tax id for your business to shop and come prepared to buy in a wholesale format — everything you find is typically sold by the bag, box, or lot. Because stock is limited and changing so frequently, prices vary, but Elyse is usually around and eager to answer questions!

Contact Info:
CJS Sales Ltd.
390 Fifth Ave, New York, 10018
Entrance between Fifth & Sixth Avenues
Suite 411
Phone: (212) 244-1400
Hours: M-F 9am-4:30pm
Website: CJS Sales Ltd.

If you're in the area and stop by feel free to let Elyse and Carl know that Mary & Tim sent you — they'll be happy to give you a tour and help you locate anything you might be looking for or have in mind.

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