‘I couldn’t stop thinking about it’: one woman’s hunt for Facebook Marketplace treasure

When Jorja Brown moved into a Melbourne rental, owning only a bookshelf and a bed just as the Covid pandemic took hold, she knew furnishing her new home would be a challenge.

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In her search for essential items, such as a couch, the vintage interiors curator took to the treasure-filled quagmire of Facebook Marketplace, and soon found herself obsessing over a 2 x 1.5m weaving made of pure alpaca wool and depicting a trio of musicians.

Unfortunately, she’d missed the deal.

With the piece still on her mind days later, Brown reached out to the seller for more details. “She couldn’t tell me much, just that she’d bought it while travelling in South America.

“But I couldn’t stop thinking about it … I even reverse-image searched it [on Google], but nothing came up.” She contacted the seller again.

“I asked if she’d help put me in touch with whoever bought it, but she wouldn’t. I had to tell myself: ‘Let it go, it’s not meant to be.’”

A few weeks later, Brown was scrolling through eBay in search of a dining table. She says her eyes “instantly lit up” when she noticed a floor rug in one of the thumbnail photos. Some quick inquiries revealed it was the very same weaving she’d coveted , already back on the market.

“I just love the line work. You don’t know what it is at glance and that makes you look at it longer and deeper.”

And more serendipity was to come.

“I drove out and met [the seller], we ended up chatting for four hours about art and design – he was a curator himself.” After hearing her enthusiasm for transitioning to a new career in interiors, Brown says the seller gifted her several motivational books, and suggested she start with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

“It took me about six months to get the courage to quit my job, but that book was really the seed,” says Brown.

She is now self-employed and runs a vintage furniture and home decor business from her home.

As Brown’s business grows, the weaving often makes a background appearance in photos of furnishings and homewares.

“People often ask about it, but it’s definitely not for sale.”