By AML Publisher
Photos Courtesy of Jadite Kate (Kate Smith)
Kate Smith always dreamed as a young girl of opening up her own antique store in her hometown of Allentown. And, now, the twenty-three year old graphic designer by day (shabby chic collector by night) has done just that. Her booming business featuring popular Depression-era kitchen ware is run out of her own house and through her successful Etsy site, Jadite Kate. And, as her name suggests, a large focus of her sensationally shabby chic collection consists of Jadite.
The most well-known producer of Jadite was the Anchor Hocking Glass Company, which was founded by Isaac J. Collins, in 1905, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In the 1940s and 1950s, Jadite, a stain-and heat-resistant glassware, was quite common and sold in hardware stores and five-and-tens. Sometimes a piece of Jadite would be included in a bag of flour or a box of oatmeal as an inducement to the consumer to buy the rest of the set. Today, Jadite is an increasingly popular and valuable collectible. A ball jug that once sold for $5 could sell for as much as $5,000 today.
Jadite (also acceptably spelled Jadeite) was flying under the radar a few years ago until Martha Stewart showcased her comprehensive Jadite collection. Stewart and her daughter Alexis are voracious collectors of Fire King Restaurant Ware, a very popular and increasingly hard-to-find pattern. Not surprisingly, once Stewart publicized her appreciation for the milky-green glassware, prices soared almost overnight and collectors scrambled to get deals.
For Jadite junkies, the challenge of amassing a collection that is identical in color is nearly impossible. When it was produced in the ‘30s, there was little quality control for what was then, inexpensive glassware. So, most cabinets piled with the pressed-glass dinnerware are a variety of delicious shades of the apple green. What makes Jadite especially fun for collectors (like Kate Smith) is the hundreds of different items available. There is everything from basic tableware and kitchenware to unusual, even quirky items like cigarette boxes, footed bulb bowls, juice-saver pie plates, door knobs, water dispensers and more.
Etsy Site: jaditekate.etsy.com
Started on Etsy: January 19, 2009
Price Range: $7-$90
Hometown: Allentown, PA
Occupation: Freelance Graphic Designer
Love At First Sight: Smith fell in love with Jadite when she was putting away groceries for her grandmother one day and spotted her Fire King Jadite Batter Bowl.
Price Points: Smith’s Milk Glass Sunkist Juicer/Reamer is $29 while the coordinating piece in Jadite sells for $60. Smith explains the Jadite is more difficult to find and more coveted by glassware collectors.
Publisher’s Pick: The gorgeous periwinkle shade in Smith’s collection of Fire King’s Azurite has us drooling!
Kate’s Pick: Smith is so fond of Fire King’s Turquoise Blue, seen on the kitchen cabinet pictured here, she is thinking of painting her kitchen walls the same hue. She also loves vintage egg plates because “they look like flowers when displayed on a shelf, I love how feminine they are.”
A Win-Win Philosophy: “I’ve always wanted to open up my own antique shop. I stumbled upon Etsy one day and I was impressed with how organized it was considering it’s a global market. The cool thing with Etsy is it made my dream come true-in a way that allows me to have a customer base I could never achieve in a traditional ‘store front.’ Yet, I am still supporting local shop owners by purchasing from their antique malls or stores-so everyone wins with Etsy.”
Cool Customer Story: Smith had an Etsy client who purchased a mixing bowl that was the same bowl [the customer’s mother] had gotten as a wedding gift over fifty years ago. “The woman emailed me and said they were always so afraid to bring out the original bowl in case it got broken, so they purchased the exact one from my Etsy store. They planned on using the bowl for picnics and parties-and keeping the original family heirloom tucked away. I loved that story! You think someone is just buying a bowl, but sometimes it’s really those simple things in life that have so much meaning,” explained Smith.
Dishwasher Disclaimer: Smith is quick to point out that even though Jadite is durable and does not break easily, it has to be hand washed and absolutely cannot be cleaned in a dishwasher as it can dull the opalescent sheen over time. “I write a personal thank you note to each Etsy customer when I ship their glassware, and I always politely remind them not to put their Jadite or any pieces in the dishwasher. People forget they were produced during a time when dishwashers didn’t exist so it’s not prudent to take that risk. You are better off taking a moment to hand wash your pieces.”
Jadite and More: Smith wants to expand her collection to other popular, quality glassware and preppy collectibles in the same genre-while still maintaining a Jadite focus. She recently required a vintage lunchbox and some wire egg baskets on a recent weekend jaunt. Her blog showcases her adventures shopping for great antique finds across the Philadelphia region.
A full selection of Kate Smith’s Jadite and vintage glassware and kitchen can be found on Etsy.com at jaditekate.etsy.com. Kate details her weekly flea market finds and antique store adventures on her blog: jaditekate.blogspot.com.
Know a great Etsy vendor that’s based in the Delaware Valley? Send us their link for consideration for our Etsy Phavorites series. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org