A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of Russell Whitmore of Erie Basin

by Grace Bonney

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When it comes to antique jewelry, I have only one person I go to and trust for everything: Russell Whitmore of Erie Basin. Since its opening in 2006 I’ve been a devoted fan and customer, primarily because Russell not only has interesting – and unique – taste in jewelry (and choice home goods as well), but he always is incredibly knowledgeable about each piece and the history behind it. I’ve learned more from Russell about mourning jewelry, mirrors and how people used to make faux-gemstones by layering colored paper under glass (so beautiful) than from any other source and the passion behind his shop is palpable. I’ve always wondered what Russell’s day-to-day life was like, so I’m thrilled to get a peek inside his life today. Thanks so much to Russell and his family for opening their home to us! xo, grace

Click through for the full post after the jump!

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Our boy wakes up very early, but his enthusiasm for life at 5am is inspiring. I take the early shift and Sara gets some more sleep.

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6AM I make a second cup of coffee.

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7AM When the weather cooperates the boy and I go out for a walk in the neighborhood. Brooklyn Heights is pretty in the early morning light— even in the winter.

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8AM Off to work. I go to the Diamond District at least twice a week to handle repairs and restoration work. I also buy and sell there.

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9AM Things I’m dropping off for restoration.

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There’s an underground Blue Bottle coffee beneath Rockefeller center which I frequent.

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I pass through Rockefeller Plaza on my way to the bank, and don’t ever tire of it. It’s the only place in New York where tourists have the right idea. I like to join them in taking pictures.

I leave midtown Manhattan and hustle back to Brooklyn to open up by noon.

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A lot of what I do at the shop during the week is photography. In the winter there’s a limited window of good natural light, so I spend the early afternoon taking pictures.

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Here’s the ring I was photographing there.

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I usually get a late lunch right across the street at Baked. Focaccia and a black coffee. My 4th cup of coffee for the day, apparently.

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My desk. I spend the late afternoon logging new inventory and editing photos to put up online.

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Home for dinner. We cook more these days and indulge in things like micro-greens and fancy cheese. My dinner always has hot peppers on it. Then we turn in early.


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  • I am so happy you posted about Russell! I love his store and dream of visiting the next time in in NYC.

  • I am a huge Erie Basin fan. My fiance purchased my beautiful engagement ring there this summer, and I also purchased a beautiful watercolor of a freighter there and gave it to my dad for his birthday this summer; a gift he truly loved. He passed away suddenly very recently, so it’s even more precious to my family. Erie Basin holds a very special place in my heart. Thank you Russell, and thanks Grace for the sweet feature!

  • Love this! I’ve been a fan of Russell and Erie Basin for several years now (much to the chagrin of my bank account). He always has the most unique pieces and is so wonderful to work with.

  • I love your quote about your son’s enthusiasm for life at 5am being inspiring. You rock (pun intended).
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Big Erie Basin fan! (Gorgeous treasures and great service; I was very thankful that Russell shipped a painting up to Canada for me.) Loved this peek into his work.

  • Exquisite ring..I’ve never been a fan of diamond rings but this beauty changed my mind! I would be a happy gal with this ring on my finger. Grateful for your artistry!

  • Could you do a post/ DIY on making faux gems. That perked my curiosity. Also what are micro- greens, a recipe of his dinner would be good. Great article.

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