Old is gold at Brie’s Gift Gallery in Park Ridge
Annamarie McAlpin, left, and daughter Brigid own and operate Brie's Gift Gallery in Uptown Park Ridge. | Jennifer Johnson~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Brie’s Gift Gallery
ADDRESS: 137 N. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge
SPECIALTY: Handcrafted jewelry and vintage items
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:15PM
PARK RIDGE — Brigid McAlpin and her mother, Annamarie, have a knack for making what’s old new again.
Pieces of reworked vintage jewelry, lamps and knick-knacks fill their shop, Brie’s Gift Gallery, located at 137 N. Northwest Hwy. in Park Ridge. The pair purchases items on consignment from local artisans — mainly jewelry-makers — and antique collectors, but they also craft their own wearable art, something they have done for years.
The mother-daughter team began designing glass beads and crystal jewelry in 1995 under the name Windy City Jewelry. In 2006 they opened a store in Mount Prospect to showcase their collection of handicrafts and vintage items and five years later they relocated to their current home in Park Ridge, the town in which Brigid grew up.
Opening a store was “something we always dreamed of doing,” Brigid said. “We’ve always worked together and made one thing or another ever since I was a little kid. One day six years ago we just decided to take the plunge.”
Today the pair is still creating necklaces, earrings and bracelets using vintage glass beads and crystals as well as pieces of old jewelry that can be reworked into new designs. “Everything’s one of a kind,” noted Brigid.
Annamarie also makes felt and crochet pins, trinket boxes and pin cushions using small, antique statues that sit on top. All feature vintage beads and jewelry as embellishments.
“Because we’re the artists and we own the store we always offer 25 percent off on our pieces,” Brigid said. “This is the place to go if you like the best selection of our jewelry.”
In addition, Annamarie restores and rewires old lamps and has begun restoring small tables by adding some color to the legs or art to the tabletops.
Brigid and Annamarie find many of the material they use at estate sales which Brigid also runs.
“Wherever we are, we’re always looking for things,” Annamarie said.
Brie’s Gift Gallery is also filled with many varieties of beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings made by about 25 area artists. Other finds include vintage pins (Christmas shoppers should check out the collection of Christmas trees), glass, clocks and 50-year-old barware, the latter which has proven to be quite sought-after.
Also popular are long, clunky, gold necklaces from the 1970s.
“Young people who didn’t live through (the 70s) just go wild for them,” Annamarie noted.
Starting Jan. 1 the shop will be scaling back its hours to “extended weekends” once or twice a month, Brigid said. This will allow the owners to make each opening “a special event, like an estate sale,” she added.