Erie Basin

Erie Basin


Neighborhood: Red Hook
Type of Place: Jewelry Antiques/Crafts


In the past, Red Hook has gotten a bad rap for being one of the most undesirable places in Brooklyn; but no more. The area is quickly increasing in popularity and hipster-appeal, particularly in response to hidden treasures like Erie Basin. Planted on Van Brunt Street, Red Hook’s main drag, Erie Basin is a wonderland for indie-style customers. The shop’s pieces date back to Victorian Era, or the turn of the century, as well as a handful of work from contemporary designers like Philip Crangin, Paul DeBlassie, Mary Preston and others.

The boutique carries more than jewelry including candles, candelabras, frames, vases, and quirkier goods like hand-blown glass pieces, vulcanite watch chains, curious artwork, tiny spoons carved out of bone and various figurines carved out of wood. A ring that has caught my eye for many visits now is the 1890s English Victoria Turquoise and Diamond Marquise shaped Cluster ring. At $2395, the ring has an 18K gold band, and an exoticism that is just striking. Steeper in price ($8995) but equally as breathtaking is their 1930s Art Deco Emerald Cut Diamond ring cushioned into a platinum setting with baguette diamond sides (price unknown). On the lower end of the spectrum, check out their 1950s Emerald and Single Cut Diamond Ring in a 14k yellow gold mounting at $795.

Russell Whitmore, owner of the shop, is an expert at sifting out perfection at antique shops and estate sales. His impeccable eye is demonstrated by how he showcases his inventory so immaculately; each piece has its own space to radiate, reminding me of how a butterfly enthusiast might brandish each of his precious specimens.

You’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to put your mortgage up in order to procure your purchase. Russell caters to different budgets; and he’ll patiently work out a payment plan, if that’s what’s needed.  A while ago, a precious gem fell out of my great-grandmother’s wedding ring, so I took it to Russell and he showed us his collection of these beautiful, empty settings in which he could place the misplaced stones in - and help me preserve a family heirloom.

If a wedding is not in your near future and you need a gift (perhaps for yourself) Erie carries a line of pendants such as a 1900s Edwardian Pearl Starburst brooch made of seed pearls and 14k yellow gold, courtesy of the Canadian jeweler, Birks, for $535. Just as lovely, a late 19th Century Victoria Shell Charm made of silver-plated brass which can be used as a charm or a pendant ($95).

The storefront of Erie Basin simulates an old home in rural upstate New York with its clapboard façade, and screen door. Inside, you may be thrown off by the black-painted pine flooring, but look up and you’ll feel as though you've been beamed into a museum gleaming with a blend of antique, vintage and contemporary work.

  - Janice Bevilacqua

Erie Basin
388 Van Brunt St
Coffey St & Dikeman St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 554-6147