INSIDE: Vintage Gem

Vintage Gem is owned by Mother and Daughter duo, Pat Nilsen and Gem Symes. Opening in April 2011 on Station Road in Radyr, this adorable little shop sits on a passion for boot-sales, flea markets and auctions.

Gem's cherished Victorian pine cupboard (photo courtesy of Gem Symes)

Gem’s cherished Victorian pine cupboard (photo courtesy of Gem Symes)

Gem tells us that the family caught a “collecting bug” from her Great-Grandmother who frequented auction houses and second-hand sales. Gem says, “one of my most treasured vintage pieces is a beautiful yellow tea set that my Great-Grandmother bought in an auction.” Today, Gem and her Mother Pat, spend their spare time doing the same thing.

The items in the shop are carefully selected. Gem explains that the majority of the stock belongs to either herself or her Mother, all which they’d happily showcase in their own homes. “My favourite vintage piece is the Victorian pine cupboard in my kitchen. In fact we had the kitchen designed around it as I was determined that it was not going anywhere! I keep all of my sewing items on top and the cupboard is packed full with vintage tea sets, craft items and fabric,” says Gem.

50s make-up compact by Melissa (photo courtesy of Gem Symes)

50s make-up compact by Melissa (photo courtesy of Gem Symes)

And it’s not just the collectables, Gem is passionate about the whole ethos behind vintage. “I love to know the provenance or history of an item, each piece has its own story and it fascinates me,” she says. “We have a 1950s makeup compact by Melissa, It has been very well taken care of and I think that the lady who once owned it must have been incredibly stylish and went wonderful places with it.”

Gem has an enthusiasm for the 1940s, whilst Pat enjoys French vintage items and chickens. The shop reflects their love for collectables and second-hand treasures and occasionally takes items to sell on a commission.

Vintage Gem will be attending vintage fairs this year, keep up to date via their Facebook and Twitter page. Below is a gallery of the shops favourite items.


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