After graduating from Kansas State University in 2013 with a degree in English, I joined the family business and quickly developed a passion for jewelry. I highly enjoy helping people find something that they truly love and establishing new relationships. I also specialize in guiding people through the process of selling the jewelry they no longer wear or want. It is my goal to make you feel comfortable selling what you have and loving what you find.
I graduated from the University of Missouri and pursued a career as an Electrical Controls Engineer for several years. After being newly married and traveling most of the year my very generous grandfather offered me a position in the family business, which would allow me to be at home with my family, so I joined Lilliane’s in 2016. Although not many engineering skills transfer to the jewelry world (not surprising!) I have found jewelry/gemstones to be very unique and interesting. I also appreciate building relationships with the great people that come through our doors. My true knack in the business has been the “behind the scenes” technical and accounting operations, but I still get to enjoy interacting with people on a day-to-day basis.
Abe and Lillian Chaitman started out with next to nothing. Trying to make a living, Abe acquired some antique jewelry from a good friend of his and attended a jewelry show in Lawrence, KS in 1965. The success he experienced with the show gave him a new vision for his life. It became his dream to find unique and interesting jewelry that would excite his customers.
Abe decided to name the business “Antiques by Lilliane” in honor of his wife, although he added an “e” for visual appeal. Together Abe and Lillian built up the business out of a station wagon traveling from one show to the next. They grew an entire collection of fine jewelry from all time periods including Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Retro, Modern and everything in between. Looking for new outlets to expand the business they began dealing in all varieties of fine antiques. Their two sons Jerry and Marty Chaitman joined the business and learned the ways of the trade from their Mom and Dad. Over time they bought and sold exceptional antiques including the 3 Viennese enamel and silver neffs (sailing vessels) that were commissioned by Franz Joseph I of Austria and were used on the 3 tables in the royal banquet hall. Each one measured over a meter tall. The Chaitmans worked as a family day in and day out. In 1984 they found a brick and mortar storefront in Overland Park, KS. Whenever they were not traveling to shows they set up shop at the store.
In 1988 Abe passed away. Lillian, Jerry, and Marty continued living his dream. Eventually life on the road grew stale. In 1994 they found another location in Prairie Village, KS. It was a building that used to be a horse stable that housed race horses, in particular a horse named Lauren who won the Kentucky Derby. They once again narrowed the focus to specialize in jewelry and changed the company name to “Lilliane’s Fine Jewelry.” Business remained strong. The brothers partnered with another woman named Nancy Bertelsmeier in order to keep up with the demands of a growing business. Lillian passed in 1997 and since then Marty and Nancy have retired. Now we have a total of 5 employees: Jerry Chaitman, his wife Diane, their two grandsons Alex Stephens and Austin Chaitman, and our talented in-house jeweler Sarah Bichsel. We are in our new, larger, and more beautiful location following our motto, “Life is too short to wear ordinary jewelry.” We thrive on finding unique pieces that you won’t find anywhere else!
Store Locations History
Mission Road Antique Mall
2018 – Present