Wednesday, March 7, 2012


By Sharon Wolff

Bossman presents: The Blob

You'll find the Nucleus (also referred to as Bossman's Jewelry Blob) upstairs at Wolff's Flea Market Palatine in Bossman & Son's Booth. What is this mysterious mess that rises above the innocuous red skirted table? How and why could such a thing exist? Over the past 2 years I have occasionally visited this conglomeration and it seemed about time to take a closer look at its contents and followers. I spent a couple of weeks observing and talking to the variety of people who routinely gather around Bossman's Jewelry Table.
Customers sift through Bossman's Jewelry Blob
Some folks are initially put off by the confusion experienced when viewing this display for the first time. They glance at it, then quickly avert their eyes and walk away, as if something so tightly tangled could be maniacal if provoked. It is true, that on occasion, the Blob has been known to bite. I highly recommend that visitors use a scraper or other poking device to move the items around.
Example of a "scraper" being used to navigate the Blob

But what exactly is this Blob/Nucleus? According to, "A Blob is a shapeless or amorphous mass; a vague shape or amount...a clump, group or collection that lacks definite shape." That sounds familiar! 

The Blob consists of two equally mesmerizing parts of Bossman's Jewelry Table. It elicits a sense of urgency fueled by the possibility of a cool find. The main section is a tabletop entity measuring approximately 3' x 4' x 5" and consisting of loose brooches, necklaces, chains, bracelets, ribbons, stray earrings, cameos, single cufflinks, vintage buttons, watches, costume jewelry, vintage jewelry, unknown metal mysteries, broken bits and pieces and beads and baubles.

Hilary closely inspects a bauble while Pam (background) encounters the Nucleus

At the center of it all resides the Nucleus, an approximate 2' x 1' x 7" ebbing and flowing tangled hub of chains, strands and beads and anything else that mysteriously and independently weaves itself into the nest. Many people are convinced that the Nucleus possesses magical powers, which enables it to subtly swallow up whole chains and envelop them in its tangled web like structure. "It's definitely alive", claims Carol who comes up to visit Bossman every time she shops at Wolff's Flea Market Palatine. She believes that "elves and fairies" come at night to add to the Nucleus. Carol likes to find various types of necklaces, broken or not, and rework them into new creations that she keeps for herself. So, while the actual Blob is large, the individual parts are not big at all. They could be quite minuscule; often requiring a magnifying glass or jeweler's loop for close identification.
Pam carefully extricates a necklace from the Nucleus

Would you be brave enough to interact with the Nucleus? Pam determinedly dug in and extracted a sweet little necklace. Daughter Hilary stuck to the loose items and claimed, "The more you dig, the more you find." She said she was at this task for hours. "I think I'm done, then I find something else."

Hilary and Pam prefer it messy and have been at this for hours

Why are people attracted to the Blob? Craig says that "the bottom is the best part" and that he's "pulled all kinds of old ____ out of here".  Dalia collects old jewelry and "puts it in a drawer" for her "son to sell when she is 70". Bossman described a customer who had a lot of stress in her personal life. "She visited the Blob for relaxation and therapy". 

Hilary's Find
All in all, it appears that everyone looks for something different in the Blob. But we can all agree that one thing is true; the Blob is here to stay. Debbie (Bosslady) says that new stuff is added weekly and that once in a blue moon you may actually find the mate to a lone earring. So, if you are plucky enough to face the Blob or have patience ala Maniac Magee to untangle the Nucleus, grab a plastic bowl and a scraper and dig in. You'll meet interesting people and find even more intriguing morsels. 

The Blob, enhanced by ambient lighting
Over the last few weeks, I couldn't just stand there without digging in. My finds included a token chip from the 1934 World's Fair, a bronze replica of the Capitol in Washington, DC, a ring, a Chai charm, a nickel with 3 holes, a tiny brass duck, 3 cufflinks, an owl pendant and a weird vintage bronze belt buckle.
A nickel with holes, 3 cufflinks & a miniature brass duck

A cool find

Oh yeah-did I mention that everything you find in the Blob costs only $1?
Happy Hunting!
Dionte of Bossman and Sons is not afraid of the Blob