About / Vintage Fashion Jewelry


Sarara Couture…

is a handbag brand and source for 18th-20th century high fashion, couture, and designer accessories from around the world, private archives, museums, and estates. The focus is on a fashion narrative, an archive which pays homage to that heritage.  Our unique accessories collection includes rarer examples of 30s-90s pieces from Chanel, Gripoix, Schiaparelli, Lacroix, KJL, Dior, William De Lillo, Native American pieces, and YSL to name a few.

Rocky Barnes in Cosmo, wearing Sarara Couture vintage Navajo necklace.

We specialize in vintage body jewelry, rare examples, and statement pieces. Jewelry provenance, collectibility, and research is part of the process, but we go beyond the idea of costume jewelry into the realm of design. Pieces are chosen for their design quality.  We have been featured in W magazine, Glamour, The Daily, CR Fashion Book, Racked… Sara’s over 20 years of experience with vintage jewelry and a keen eye for fashion creates a unique online experience for her clients.  Based outside NYC, the shop has amassed a memorable selection of statement making vintage editorial style accessories in various shapes and sizes with a growing list of celebrity clients, stylists, and designers tapping into the archive.

Our Philosophy: 

The shop staples include: the large jewelry styles of the 70s, designer, jewelry created for haute couture, Native American, vintage burlesque, theater and showgirl accessories, Bill Smith body jewelry, and art deco examples. We stock both vintage designer pieces, as well as label-less historic selections. Everything must meet our standards of quality, design, and condition. The store’s fashion accessories selection feels luxurious, because we search the world for them and do endless research.  Pieces must have style, an edge or fashion relevance, and a bit of editorial appeal and an ease of wearability. We stock both fine and “costume” jewelry.  As customer satisfaction is important, please contact us whenever needed.


My grandfather was most definitely an original picker interested in preserving our country’s car heritage and utilitarian antiques.  His garage was like a wonderland of salvaged finds and antiques. His style is today a look that is popular, but it came natural to him. Born in the 20s he was handsome, rugged, road an Indian motorcycle and wore white t-shirts, leather jackets, and denim with loafers. My father was also instrumental in my love of vintage. He took me to auctions and sales at a time when you could find some magical things hidden in box lots and such. My aunt from Chicago had great taste in jewelry and seeing her rings and necklaces styled beautifully most definitely affected my level of taste and preference for statement pieces. My love of vintage jewelry and accessories has been a lifelong one. I’ve always worn vintage, starting with the cache of 60s-70s Levis my dad saved. He was a tall and thin so I stockpiled, altered, preserved and continue to wear some of them!  I find jewelry speaks to me the most because of how much passion, history, culture, and self expression can be in one piece.

Vintage Accessories are like a snapshot of an era and moment, grounding us in a sense of history while helping to define our current style… 


My affinity for history, culture, and jewelry began early.  I started by wearing and hunting down 1920s jewelry from auctions and designing accessories as an adolescent. I’m a southern girl born a few hours outside Nashville, with family roots in Tennessee and cultural links to other parts of the US and the world. Our family roots are diverse and blended, full of heritage which includes French, Native American, apparently a dash of South American indigenous roots, a touch of India, Sicily, Scandinavian, all of Great Britain… all crossing paths in an “American” landscape. I’m a little romantic, practical, bohemian, a lover of fashion design and a little rock n roll. I hope my history and foundation colors and enriches the shop’s choices and aesthetic.

This love of cultures, art, and history led me to pursue an anthropology degree. After graduating from Notre Dame and the University of Chicago in social sciences, I followed my natural inclination to travel all the way to the country of Brazil. At 20 years old, not speaking the language, I left alone and decided to do a doctorate in anthropology there. I left with a small scholarship, and the hope that I would get into their doctorate program on a fellowship. I became a Dr. of Visual Anthropology after completing my studies in Brazil- at UNICAMP.  My first area of love being indigenous cultures. I taught for 5 years at Scad in Atlanta before moving to the northeast and pursuing Sarara Couture full time. My experience lecturing includes cultures and jewelry, material culture, victorian jewelry, as well as modernist Native American jewelry…. I still enjoy giving talks on the subjects I love when I can. While living in Brazil around 1999, the natural materials, their flair for design and color use inspired me to begin to create accessories again. Those jewelry pieces started to gain national press around 2006, when the brand was born.

Our Name as Described by Sara: 

When I picked the shop name I knew it was unique, but it also has a history….just like our products. In Brazil it describes someone of mixed descent. Living and studying in Brazil for years enriched my life. Brazilians are great with nicknames and mine was Sarara. At once it is a reference to my name, Sara, yet also a nod to the concept of “criolo”. Brazilian music such as the song lyrics to Olhos Coloridos – “Sarara Criolo” by Sandra de Sa, addresses the meaning of the word Sarara. The exploration of the diverse roots of the Americas, is something that continues to inspire me. Sarara can really truly only be defined in the Brazilian Portuguese language, but it is akin to Creole. It represents “beleza” in diversity and the beauty of life for me. It is also a word that is found in the languages of other cultures. For the Namunyak people of Africa it refers to an area they call Sarara or singing wells…The word Sarara in Samburu is “meeting place” and refers to this watering hole “the singing wells”, because it is where the leopards, elephants, and people go to meet and get water. In the shop I strive to present jewelry which has not only a highly curated relationship to fashion, but also has roots in diversity, history, and includes various cultural examples.

Couture is loosely defined from the French as “high sewing” or “high dressmaking”, the creation by French fashion houses who meet legal requirements in France. They create custom clothing and accessories by very skilled hand, in many cases made in one of a kind or extremely limited examples. See Fashion Jewelry and Haute Couture, for more details or Couture by Caroline Milbank for the couturier history. I choose couture as part of our name- in reference to the creation of handbags and jewelry in our line, which we strive for best practices in our applications, we strive to meet couture standards although we are here in the U.S. My love of vintage haute couture accessories of course led me to search out as many examples of these for the shop as I can find.  We carry true vintage jewelry made for couturiers when we can, but we also strive to include pieces that are successful in similar ways. This for me includes North American one of a kind or rare examples created by hand that are of the quality that one expects haute couture to be.  Sarara for me has become a sense of peace in loving who you are, it’s curating, and celebrating your own style, while respecting the past.

Our Handbags…

are an extension of my study of North American design heritage with my own experiences based in travel, curiosity, and daring. They are made in the U.S.A by machine and hand. We do limited runs and styles each season, spending time on the design and unique look of each bag. The hope is to mix easy wear modern design with my love of uniqueness, vintage, textiles, and culture.


1stdibs- Sarara Couture

L’Armoire -102 Park St, New Canaan, CT 06840 (Jewelry and Bags)

Candy Shop Vintage-334 East Bay Street #158, Charleston, SC 29401 (Bags)

At 154 Grand Street-by appointment for stylist and designers) (Jewelry and Bags)

By Appointment for clients in Litchfield County CT and New York City-contact sara@sararacouture.com

Wholesale Inquiries

We recently opened our brand to retail partnerships with shops who are of a similar mind, yet that bring something new to our brand. Feel free to contact us: