by Diana Cook
Especially in small towns with decades of history, family members and treasure-hunters can often find a trove of items in their possession which they aren’t quite sure what to do with.
They might be antique coins or furniture, old and sometimes broken, old gold, silver or costume jewelry and vintage clothing or other items reflective of years gone by. It was that very experience, and an intrigued interest that inspired Selma Adydan, a number of years ago, to start a business in Syracuse called “Behind the Iron Gates”, where she has now filled 21 rooms of an old Victorian home on Genesee Street and welcomed customers to come inside to seek its treasures within.
Now, as they have grown to a strong and positive reputation on both a local and national level (including as underwriters for four years with the “Antique RoadShow”), Behind the Iron Gates has opened a new location at the south end of Phoenix on Route 57, in the brick stand-alone building at Three Rivers Plaza. Named “Behind the Iron Gates II”, this new location hopes to respond to those in the north country, bringing in even more visitors to enjoy their antique shop atmosphere, where people can build a ‘buy and sell’ relationship and generate even more good feelings... making everything old, new again.
While people may see the signs saying that the store ‘buys and sells gold, silver, coin collections’ and the like, owners of “Behind the Iron Gates II” want people to know that this is “not at all your typical pawn shop”.
What it is, “is a second-time around antique shop that happens to buy jewelry, precious metals and other vintage items,” says Adydan.
“Behind the Iron Gates II” buys and sells 10 karat, 14 karate, 18 karate and 22 karat gold, silver and other fine jewelry.
The manager Maria Poppe is from Phoenix and is a conneiseur of gem stones, able to identify more than 300 different kinds, along with recognizing time period settings and styles, making her a valuable element for customers wanting to know what they have in their possession. “She has attracted a lot of repeat customers,” Adydan says.
Poppe is humble - although her passion for the field is obvious. “When you do what you love, it’s not a drugery,” she says smiling.
Some of what the store has in-stock now falls under the category of ‘rare’, including sleeping beauty turquoise and angel coral. There are also beautiful traditional diamond rings as well as settings featuring other unusual gemstones.
Adydan claims that 79 people have gotten engaged in their store and says that with their establishment, “you will spend hundreds instead of several thousand on some of these rings. People can buy here at a fraction of the cost”.
They cut out the middle man, she points out, and when it comes to adjustment or repairs, they can go directly to the goldsmith, with repairs done on-site. Plus, Adydan points out, everything taken in is logged with the police - part of a much larger network - and there are reporting laws as part of carrying a precious metals license.
“My reputation is a good one. We make top dollar offers and have high quality items,” she says. The reality is that “most people may not know what they have,” says Adydan, “but when they leave here, they know.”
Another service - gold digger parties - which can also serve as a fundraiser. People invite their friends to a party, encouraging them to bring their broken jewelry. They will evaluate it - whether gold, sterling silver, or otherwise - and designate value. The store will donate 20 percent of whatever profit is achieved to the organization or event. “It’s an opportunity for them,” Adydan says, “We say, ‘Your broken jewelry is worth its weight in gold!’”
The store in Phoenix, “Behind the Iron Gates II”, is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or evenings by appointment. Any questions can be directed to the manager by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can be reached at 569-6374. “Behind the Iron Gates” also has an internet presence at www.irongat essyr.com and can be found on Facebook.