Photo courtesy Barker's Antique Jewelry.

Barker’s Antique Jewelry remembers a fond tradition with a final order of heirloom slides

Known for its assortment of period jewelry dating all the way back to the Victorian era, Barker’s Antique Jewelry is saying goodbye to one beloved part of their collection. After 50 years of selling slides—pendants that wearers can slip onto a chain necklace or bracelet without a visible bail piece—owner Linda Barker has placed her last order of these treasured charms.

Since the 1970s, Barker’s sold a variety of slides that became part of heirloom bracelets for many in the city. The tradition started when Linda Barker ran into a dealer in Arkansas who was selling the slides, falling in love with them straight away.

Since then, Barker’s has consistently placed orders with a jewelry company in Florida who made the replica slides just as they would have been made in the 1800s, when women would often wear a decorative slide on a watch chain. When wrist watches became more popular, people started taking the slides off their chains and putting them on bracelets instead.

“When I started working here, I realized that these were phenomenal slides,” says Annie Kelly, who has worked closely with the slides at Barker’s. “They are like works of art. Each slide is different and each slide bracelet is unique because slides are typically added one by one for each birthday, anniversary or celebration.”

For the past five years, the company owner in Florida had been talking about no longer making slides altogether, realizing that Barker’s was the sole buyer of these particular pieces. “We would tell our customers we don’t know when they’re going to stop making them. And it became a joke with us because we would tell them every year that the slides might disappear, and yet we’d still have them to sell year after year,” says Kelly.

This time, the owner of the company called to officially announce his retirement. He told Barker’s that he will finally be throwing away the molds and not making any more slides, so Barker’s has placed one final order of about 90 slides that will be arriving in a few weeks.

“Now the bracelets truly will be rarities because you cannot get them anymore,” says Kelly.

To learn more about the slides and when they’ll be available, contact Barker’s at (225) 927-4406. And to find out more about Barker’s many other offerings, visit the store’s website and Instagram page.