Adventures in MDVII-Land

Posted by Susan Hoimes on

Peering through the glass panes of a narrow door of a tiny shop in San Francisco, one might think of the phrase “Curiouser and curiouser!” from Alice in Wonderland. Indeed, upon entering MDVII you tumble into a wonderland of vintage curiosities and exquisite costume jewelry

The MDVII shop is a visual cacophony of silver cups filled with ropes of painted beads, boxes stacked on a rosewood inlayed stool, and drawers tucked with delicate shells and glittery ephemera. But this is no dusty jumble of forgotten trinkets. It is the carefully curated fantasy of Susie Hoimes who transformed her passion for the decorative arts and fine costume jewelry into a respected, long-standing Russian Hill business. Gathered from around the world each piece in MDVII carries a provenance that Susie will happily recite as easily as a childhood rhyme.

“The store is really an incarnation of my early childhood,” said Susie. Describing her formative years in Kenya [East Africa] she recalls magical family holidays in Mombasa with its “…pristine sandy beaches and masses of sea shells.” Susie’s family eventually moved to England, and their love of international travel continued. “My childhood experiences exposed me to so much beauty and art, not just jewelry. My father loved antique silver… and there were books everywhere!”

While exploring the shop one can easily be made part of the scenery by being draped in an African beaded necklace or topped with a silver crown from France, but don’t let the playful atmosphere minimize the serious nature of the collection. As you dig through the layers of treasures you are suddenly cupping a 19th century diamond and sapphire brooch, and the reality is intoxicating. When asked about the items she sells, Susie said, “I feel that everyone needs to own a beautiful object or piece of jewelry – no matter how small…When you own something beautiful or wear something you love it lifts your self-esteem significantly.

As all adventures must come to an end there is a bittersweet headiness leaving MDVII. It’s time to return to life as one knows it, but stepping outside you just can’t help but smile your own Cheshire grin.

by Sheila McElroy, guest blogger

MDVII is located at 1507 Vallejo Street, San Francisco,
(415) 931-4213. Susie is often on the hunt for the next exquisite treasure –
best to call ahead or take a chance on the shop being open.
Antiques Collectables Curios Curiosities Decorative Arts Designer Home Decor Interiors Merchandising Russian Hill San Francisco small business Sourcing style Susie Hoimes Vintage

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