The Village Jewel opened in October - perfect timing for collecting and reselling Columbus' vintage jewelry, said owner Gina Dustin.

The Village Jewel opened in October - perfect timing for collecting and reselling Columbus' vintage jewelry, said owner Gina Dustin.

She and her husband, Mitch, are jewelry appraisers who decided that since many families are selling heirlooms to earn some extra cash during the recession, it was time to launch the business they'd always daydreamed about.

"We thought this would be a great time to get a hold of these pieces and resell them to people who appreciate them," Dustin said. "That's why we started it."

About one-third of the pieces in the store - which specializes in vintage estate jewelry and also sells some modern and costume pieces - were brought in on consignment.

Dustin said she's been surprised by some of the pieces that have surfaced from Columbus residents since the store opened, like an opal and diamond ring from 1925, and a rare matching pair of 18-karat gold, platinum, diamond and enamel hinged bracelets from the Victorian era.

The jewelry is divided among the cases by material. The sterling silver display case has a wide selection of bracelets as well as pendants and art-deco-inspired pieces. Interestingly, there are fewer vintage pieces in the gold jewelry case because most older jewelry was made of sterling or brass, Dustin said.

Other cases include some of Village Jewel's showpieces, like an 18-karat yellow gold and onyx "mourning brooch" from the 1860s, a set of coral cameo earrings and the real showstopper - a ladies' Piaget watch, its wristband and face studded with round, full-cut diamonds.

Vintage wedding rings have been popular with young couples, Dustin said.

Historical finds are scattered among the cases for display as much as for purchase: a glass-ball-topped hat pin and a book-chain necklace with a locket that includes woven human hair.

In the costume jewelry case, rhinestone earrings are mixed in with faux ivory pendants. There are also $2 and $5 "grab baskets" of assorted jewelry items.

The store's grand opening celebration is this weekend, timed in conjunction with Shop Clintonville's Holiday Open House. The grand opening will include a Friday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony, a Saturday afternoon champagne toast and identification of unknown jewelry all day Friday.

Those interested in consigning shouldn't hesitate to stop by anytime with their pieces to be considered, Dustin said.

"We tell people, 'Just bring it in,' " she explained. "Because a lot of times, people don't know what they have."