Fifteen years of this treasure hunter’s adornment

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

When he started doing business in Atlanta in 1996, Jonathan Shapero had a plan. He’d already helped open a jewelry store in Florida and had spent nine years learning the industry. In Atlanta he scoured estate sales, reselling his finds at places like the Scott Antique Market. Today Shapero is marking his fifteenth anniversary in Atlanta, where his by-appointment-only boutique in Buckhead, JonathanBuckhead, has built the Indiana native’s reputation as a friendly guide through the often confusing world of personal adornment. Shapero even has his own collection, featuring chandelier earrings, diamond rings, and travel jewelry made from sterling silver and Swarovski crystal—with price tags less than $350. But it’s the estate jewelry about which he is still most passionate. Shapero’s stature has grown to the point where his inventory now comes to him, whether it’s through banks, estate attorneys, or families looking to liquidate a relative’s brooches or bracelets. His pieces include diamond watches, platinum deco jewelry, and even an Edwardian locket from 1850. “Estate jewelry to me represents green, reusing and recycling, at its most basic,” he says. Designers include Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Buccellati, and David Yurman.
In his Armani suit and lace-up sneakers, Shapero is the personification of the mixed decor of his boutique, with its elegant crystal chandeliers, black marble flooring, rugged exposed ceilings, and upbeat music filling the space in between. “Everyone walks away in love with me,” Shapero says with a grin. This fall he plans to launch JonathanBridal, offering his own designs as well as custom engagement and wedding rings. 110 East Andrews Drive, Suite 4, 404-846-7988,

This article originally appeared in our July 2011 issue.