How to throw a 1920s Great Gatsby party in style

Hello sweetheart, I wanted to tell you about this wonderful 1920s style Great Gatsby birthday party that I went to a couple of weeks ago, because it made me realise that I have been born in the wrong decade for sure!  I had far too much fun planning my outfit, hair and makeup (and far too little time to execute it all!) and it was so wonderful to spend the evening among all these beautiful feathers, pearls and jewellery!  I shall begin by telling you how I put my outfit together (clearly the pressure was on, with all my antique jewellery experience!!)

1920s Great Gatsby style outfit

                      A vintage boa, a sequin silver flapper dress and vintage heels

I paid a visit to Vintage Shrewd in Dorking for inspiration and ended up finding this glorious black, 1930s (close enough to the 20s) ostrich boa, which I thought was the perfect accompaniment to my silver sequin (close enough to be) flapper dress and my vintage heels (that are probably 1940s, but oh well!)  As for my makeup I spent far too many hours studying 1920s makeup clips on youtube, and as with all things vintage it is so interesting to see how it all fits together into the different times in history… let me tell you more:

1920s hair and make up, vintage boa

1920s hair and make up, vintage boa.  Please ignore the sultry look and the pout – when in 1920s red lips one does however get away with anything!

1920s red lips makeup

1920s red lips – highlighting the centre of the mouth and avoiding the corners to create a proper pout

During the 1920s makeup became available to ladies of all social classes, so with this new exciting way of transforming your appearance, ladies were layering it all on!  Eyes went dark dark dark and eyebrows very thin and drawn quite far down on the sides; suddenly lipstick was applied in public with the trendy colours ranging from red to plum.  I didn’t actually have time to buy any plum coloured lipstick, so I stuck to my favourite red one from Mac – Satin.  I started out by drawing the contours with a red lip pencil, highlighting a soft “cupid’s bow” shape, and I also made sure not to go all the way out to the corners of my mouth, to create that 20s pout that was so desirable (however, my thoughts kept wandering over to Helena Bonham Carter in Alice in Wonderland, which was not exactly the look I was going for..!)

Andrew Prince Tiara, 1920s outfit

Andrew Prince headpiece

I also ended up wearing this headpiece by our very own Andrew Prince.  I curled my hair and rolled it up in a bun-like creation – leaving a few strands to hang down to frame the face.  As for my jewellery I wore a 1920s bracelet from Cape Town, some drop earrings and an agate ring with marcasites, not to take away focus from the headpiece – although the 20s is the one period that is very forgiving if you want to pile on lots of jewellery!

And over to the other guests – I LOVE how everyone made such an effort, and managed to capture so many different details of the 20s – you will see what I mean:

1920s Great Gatsby style birthday party

OMG how much do we love the looks of these 1920s people!?  

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The lady on the far left is wearing a glorious hat, which became the talking point of the party – we all loved it!  In the middle the long sequin dress shows how fun the decade was, with extraordinary clothing designs that would sparkle and shine until the small hours!  And our dapper gentleman on the right was correct from top to toe – including his super awesome white shoes, as shoes were a very important detail for the 20s gents, and used to perfect their look and make a statement!

1920s Great Gatsby style birthday party

And some more fashionable 1920s ladies…

And in the photo above, on the far left we have the perfect 1920s bob haircut; the ladies of the time would chop off their long, luscious locks, and wear the most creative headpieces with their new, short hairdos!  Second to the left we have the fabulous birthday girl in the Daisy Buchanan headpiece and a long sequin dress.  Second from the right we have the period typical contrast of white and black, which you also find a lot of in 1920s Art Deco jewellery design – strong colours against white, love!  And on the far right the marked drop-down waist which was so fashionable at the time, not to mention rows and rows of pearls – thank you Coco Chanel!

1920s Great Gatsby style birthday party

A champagne coupe tower – doesn’t get much more fabulous than this..!

1920s Great Gatsby style birthday party

Pearls for the girls, feathers, glitter and sparkle – I was in heaven!

And then we danced and ate the night away among all these glorious 20s decorations – check out the little champagne glass tower, just amazing!!!

1920s Great Gatsby style birthday party

I mean, who doesn’t need a Pictorial Review Fashion Book!?

1920s Great Gatsby style birthday party , Newfoundland Dog

The handsome Bentley 

… and finally, since we are on the subject of the 20s: Bentley above is a Newfoundland dog – and most of today’s Newfoundland’s can be traced back to a English show dog named “Siki”, who lived in the 1920s.  “Siki was an outstanding example of the breed, but more importantly, he was a very prepotent sire that produced outstanding progeny.  Siki and three of his sons were imported into the United States and when crossed with the American Newfoundland, began the definition of the Newfoundland standards as we know them today.  Almost all Newfoundland’s can trace their pedigrees back to Siki” – including Bently here. (1)


(1) Watercubs and Kivisilmän – The Newfoundland – Breed and History

At the heart of London’s Vintage Fashion scene: Vintage Modes

Hello my dear!  So I wanted to take you to last week’s Thursday’s vintage catwalk at Vintage Modes in Gray’s Antiques; you know the beautiful building just behind Bond Street station where you can revel in antique jewellery, watches, objects d’art, exquisite amber designs…

Vintage Modes Fashion Catwalk at Grays Antiques

                                  Vintage Modes Fashion Catwalk at Grays Antiques

Vintage Fashion Catwalk at Vintage Modes, Grays Antiques

   This met us when we arrived at the vintage fashion catwalk at Vintage Modes in Grays Antiques

The downstairs area of Vintage Modes had been turned into a catwalk, and the models came pouring down the runway, wearing the most gorgeous vintage outfits!  I had a lovely chat to the newest member of the Vintage Modes team, Geeta Handa of C-Atomic, who showed us some of her own designs that often feature original period fabrics as well as our favourite details from eras gone by.  I fell in love with this 70s style dress and I couldn’t take my eyes off a 60s dress in a dark blue pattern fabric and that time typical high collar!

Geeta Handa of C-Atomic at Vintage Modes, Grays Antiques

                    Umm hello 1970s!  From Geeta Handa of C-Atomic at Vintage Modes

Vintage Fashion Catwalk at Vintage Modesm Grays Antiques

                       Vintage Fashion Catwalk at Vintage Modes, Grays Antiques

The funny thing is that we see so much 7os revival fashion in all the contemporary fashion shops around town at the moment – and here we are, walking into Vintage Modes where the walls are draped with all these stunning pieces that are actually FROM the 70s!  I don’t think that I am the only one preferring to do my shopping here, where we know the designs will last us years and years..!

Vintage Fashion Catwalk at Vintage Modes, Grays Antiques

                          Vintage Fashion Catwalk at Vintage Modes, Grays Antiques

Vintage Modes Catwalk, Grays Antique Centre

Who can say no to some Brigitte Bardot inspiration on a vintage shoppimg? Apparently she rivalled Marilyn Monroe as the world’s most photographed woman

The catwalk featured designs from Chanel, Biba, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Ossie Clark and gave us some great inspiration for the autumn.

Arabella Bianco at Vintage Modes, Grays Antiques

  Just a few pieces from Arabella Bianco‘s vintage costume jewellery collection 

Grays Antiques, Vintage Accessories from June Victor

                                          Vintage accessories from June Victor

Vintage Parrot Brooch Gillian Horsup Vintage Modes Grays Antiques

                                 Vintage Costume Jewellery from Gillian Horsup

Suffragette jewellery from Richard Ogden, Burlington Arcade

                      Suffragette jewellery from Richard Ogden, Burlington Arcade

And wore this glorious pieces of suffragette jewellery from Richard Ogden to the catwalk, love!!!  You might remember that we have looked closer at the suffragette movement in an earlier post: Suffragette Jewellery and the history is very fascinating indeed. In the pendant the three colours of the movement; green, white and violet, are symbolised by a pear shape peridot, three natural pearls and a round pink topaz.

And so I just can’t wait for the next show at Vintage Modes, and I do hope to see you there my dear! (Please watch this space for further info on timings!)

Vintage Fashion Catwalk at Vintage Modes coming up

Hello my lovely, I have just found out that Vintage Modes at Grays Antique Centre is organising a fabulous day next Thursday, the 10th September from 12pm-5pm!  You might remember that we have visited them before, in the blog post Vintage Modes in Grays Antiques Centre?

Grays Vintage Mode

Who can say no to bubbly and a catwalk I wonder?  And our favourite Arabella Bianco will be showcasing their lovely collection – we have obviously them quite a few times before and lost ourselves in their wonderful collection: Arabella Bianco on Decades of Elegance:

Arabella Bianco Vintage Jewellery at Grays Antique Centre

We will get spoilt even further on the day, as June Victor, Gillian Horsup, Linda Bee and C-Atomic are all taking part with their glorious collections – this is one that all you Vintage lovers really mustn’t miss!  Last time I popped by Gray’s I ended up having a lovely chat with June and I have seen what treasures they possess, so I can warmly recommend that you check it out for yourself!

June Victor at Vintage Modes, Grays Antique Centre

Just a small preview of June Victor’s collection of vintage pieces… anyone looking to make                                               a fabulous entrance at the next cocktail party!? 

Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

Just a teeny tiny fraction of what Gillian Horsup has to offer us in terms of vintage and                                                                                vintage-style jewellery

Vintage Mode Dresses, Grays Antiques Centre, Fashion Show

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So I am really hoping to see you at Vintage Modes next week for a day of stunning vintage fashion!

Vintage Modes

Lower Ground Floor

1-7 Davies Mews




Burlington Arcade – then and now

Burlington Arcade, Mayfair, London

                      Burlington Arcade with its beautiful new floors – we are huge fans!

Hello my dearest one, you might have wondered why there have been so few new blog posts lately and I can only blame it on the bane of my misery: IT.  But things should be up and running now so that we can get back to our beloved antique jewellery!

It has been a few really fun weeks in the antique shop; we have had some beautiful pieces come through the door and we are now in the middle of putting together the Christmas Catalogue! (I know right, in August!?)!  But it is all great fun and I am learning TONS, and obviously passing on the most interesting information to you fine folks!

Necklace clasps and old Burlington Arcade postcard

      A few diamond set clasps for necklaces that I was showing a client – on top of an old                                                Burlington Arcade postcard

Yesterday three photographs of the Burlington Arcade at the beginning of the 19th century popped up on my desk.  We have looked at the history of the Arcade before, in the blog post the Burlington Arcade in London, but there are a few more fun pieces of information left to learn:

Burlington Arcade, 19th century, antique London photos at Richard Ogden

               Antique photographs featuring the Burlington Arcade – at Richard Ogden

In the top photo you can see one of the Beadles (the gentlemen guarding the Arcade) addressing a man with an umbrella, as you are not allowed to carry open umbrellas in the Arcade.  Legend has it that even after the bombings in the 1940s destroyed the roof of the Arcade the Beadles would enforce the no-umbrella law – that is how seriously they take their duties!

Burlington Arcade, Mayfair, London

                       The new floors of the Burlington Arcade, as modelled by Fluffy

And you might not know this, but whistling is not allowed in the Arcade either, and there is quite a shocking reason to this: during the 1800s the first floors in the Arcade were used by “working ladies”, and every time that the police approached the Arcade someone would whistle to warn these ladies – and the men who were with them – so that they could make a quick escape!  So whenever someone walks down the Arcade whistling, they get a kind reminder from the Beadles that it is not allowed.  I do in fact hear quite a few people every week trying to whistle a little tune in the arcade, and it is a shame in a way that you are not allowed to, as the acoustics are so great now that we have the beautiful new floors there!

Then and Now - the Burlington Arcade Entrance

                             Then and Now – the entrance of the Burlington Arcade

And in the bottom postcard we have a view of the entrance to the Arcade before it was redesigned in the 30s.  I had a lot of fun putting together the two photos above, as they really highlight how much has changed in these past 100 years – just look at people’s outfits!  Not to mention all the vehicles blocking the way for my perfect photo!!

I would love to hear which one of the two designs you prefer – and also whether you have visited the Arcade and maybe have some special memories from there?  For example seeing a pair of glorious earrings, or maybe shopping for an engagement ring?

A Belle Epoque Diamond Tiara to die for…

Oh you guys, I just had to share this photo with you – I am at Richard Ogden, trying on a Belle Epoque diamond set tiara which is just insanely beautiful!

Diamond Tiara Belle Epoque from Richard Ogden, Burlington Arcade

Diamond Tiara Belle Epoque from Richard Ogden, Burlington Arcade

The Belle Epoque stretched from circa 1895 to 1914 and ran alongside Art Nouveau.  In this tiara the brilliant cut diamonds are set in yellow gold, and it features the time-typical romantic design, which was lavish yet delicate with diamonds taking centre stage.

I have also just found out that brides can hire this tiara for their wedding (£200+VAT) and really feel like a princess for a day – boom!

The Great Putney Clothes Sale is on tonight!

The Great Putney Clothes Sale 2015

The Great Putney Clothes Sale 2015  Photography: Michelle Lindsell

Alright folks, tonight The Great Putney Clothes Sale is finally on again – you might remember that we visited a couple of years ago and had the greatest time!

The Great Putney Clothes Sale 2015

The Great Putney Clothes Sale 2015.  Photography: Michelle Lindsell

Bring & buy your nearly new unwanted clothes, shoes & jewellery in aid of a fantastic local charity Regenerate, who are doing amazing things with young people transforming communities from the inside out.

Keep your profits or make additional voluntary donations in stunning gardens of St Mary’s Church and Arches overlooking the River Thames. There will be cocktails, canapés and lots + lots of beautiful clothes at bargain prices (All items £20 or less!!)

We ask for a £10 donation to take part & have a stand. You are welcome to keep your profits, or if you would like to donate more there will be a little box for totally optional cash donations.

Come along! We would love to invite you to browse some lovely clothes & enjoy a summers evening in good company. Bring plenty of CASH as we won’t have card facilities! There is an ATM machine nearby on Putney High Street if needed.

Thursday 6th August 2015, 7:30 – 10:00pm
See event details here:

Nearest Tube: Putney Bridge
Nearest Train: Putney Mainline
Address: Saint Mary’s Church, Putney.

The Great Putney Clothes Sale 2015

We are also super excited about the Generosity Bar with this Elderflower, Cucumber and Mint Cooler with Gin..!   Photography: Michelle Lindsell

Decades of Elegance Summer Look-Back

Hello my dearest, I hope you are having a lovely summer week so far!  I am very excited as I have just found my camera, after having lost it about three months ago!!  And no, I don’t know how it ended up behind the fridge, but I will make sure to put it to great use again.

Vintage 1950s Necklace i Multi Colours

Vintage 1950s Necklace i Multi Colours

I have had an admin day today with my photos and thought that a little look-back at these past few years was in place!  In the photo above I am wearing one of my own favourite pieces – a 1950s costume jewellery necklace that my dear sister gave me for my 30th birthday.  She envisaged me wearing it with a white dress, and so for her 30th birthday party this is what I ended up in – a white silk and lace dress by Haiku Kimono.

Onyx and Marcasite Art Deco Cocktail Ring

Onyx and Marcasite Art Deco Cocktail Ring

Onyx and Marcasite Art Deco Cocktail Ring

Onyx and Marcasite Art Deco Cocktail Ring and a very handsomely dress Tedi

And at her 30th birthday party my sister then wore this Decades of Elegance Art Deco onyx and marcasite ring, and she paired it up with a white shift dress in silk by Haiku Kimono and her hair so beautifully half up half down with a black bow.

Vintage-Style Leopard Bracelet at Marys Living and Giving Event in 2013

Vintage-Style Leopard Bracelet at Marys Living and Giving Event in 2013

And of course there was this glorious Leopard bracelet, vintage style and also Cartier style – you might know how beautifully Cartier designs their leopard jewellery pieces, and this one always makes me think of their designs!

I would love to hear about your favourite summer styles and what vintage or antique jewellery you wear at the moment, so please email me a photo and write a few lines:

Happy Summer!

A Divine Art Deco-Style Diamond Ring

Art Deco-Style Diamond Engagement Ring at Richard Ogden

Art Deco-Style Diamond Engagement Ring at Richard Ogden

Oh I have such a crush on this ring and just had to share it with you guys!  It is an Art Deco-style ring here at Richard Ogden, with a centre diamond that weighs approximately 1.50 carats and is surrounded by brilliant and trillion cut diamonds – the trillion cut diamonds are the triangular ones that you can see on either side of the centre diamond.

Art Deco-Style Diamond Engagement Ring at Richard Ogden

Art Deco-Style Diamond Engagement Ring at Richard Ogden

In the photo above you can see around the small top diamond a millegrain edge – one of my favourite features in antique jewellery!  Millegrain is when the craftsman creates small beads out of the gold, that then run along the edges of the jewellery.  I love how it gives a piece such lovely character by softening the lines and adding some subtle sparkle to the design.

Art Deco-Style Diamond Engagement Ring at Richard Ogden

Art Deco-Style Diamond Engagement Ring at Richard Ogden

So there we are, a bit of Monday sparkle to kick off this wonderful week ahead!

1920s Diamond Cocktail Watches

Ohh can I just share my latest obsession with you guys?!  Diamond set cocktail watches from the 1920s…

Moira Fine Jewellery Diamond Set Cocktail Watches with Emeralds and Rubies

I am in love with these two 1920s cocktail watches from Moira...

These two beauties came into the shop recently and belong to Moira Fine Jewellery, and the owner told me that it is quite rare to find watches that are also set with rubies or emeralds – usually they “only” feature diamonds.  Ahh the craftsmanship here is just exquisite, look at the flow of the gemstones, how evenly set they are without any interfering metal in between.

That is actually another thing I wanted to talk to you about; I speak to a lot of lovely people who are looking for engagement rings, and I know that many come into the shop for inspiration and then order their things online or have them made elsewhere.  That is totally fine, but the sad part is when they then bring in the jewellery a few months later and ask us to help repair them, because the stone is rattling in the mount or diamonds have fallen out… There is a reason why some pieces are cheaper online and you have to ask yourself if you want a ring that you can wear for the rest of your life, knowing that it is of the best quality – or if you want to cut corners now and then deal with the problems as they arise.  A handmade ring mount designed for your diamond is a million times better than a mass-produced cast mount, where any old diamond has been set… just something to keep in mind!

All of these beautiful antique pieces were handmade and these watches are perfect examples of what the end product would look like:

Moira Fine Jewellery Diamond Set Cocktail Watches with Emeralds and Rubies

Two stunning cocktail watches from Moira Fine Jewellery – the left one set with rubies and the right one set with emeralds.  Very unusual design, as mostly they are only diamond set 

They obviously would only be worn at special occasions – another thing for us to remember with antique jewellery; ladies of the time wouldn’t do a lot of housework and gardening, so the jewellery wouldn’t have been made with that kind of work in mind.  That is why one has to be extra vigilant with older jewellery and make sure to have them checked over by a jewellery once a year so that the claws are intact and holding the diamonds the way they are supposed to!

Now if only I had the perfect party to wear one of these to…

Diamond Jewellery from Moira Fine Jewellery

So I must say that my favourite part about working in an antique jewellery shop is trying on the pieces, as well as getting exciting previews of new items that come into the shop!

Moira Fine Jewellery Diamond Necklace, Bridal Jewellery

A previous of a diamond riviere necklace from Moira Fine Jewellery 

The other day we were putting a few items up on Moira’s Instagram page for all the lovely brides-to-be, so I was wearing this stunning diamond riviere necklace (and never wanted to take it off, but I had to in the end)….  It is Moira’s own design, a classic necklace set with 18.32 carats of round brilliant cut diamonds in 18 carat white gold – how stunning it would look when worn by a bride on her wedding day!

I also tried on these diamond cluster drop earrings with two beautiful old cut centre diamonds, and a total approximate weight of 8.44cts..!  There is something very special about bridal diamond drop earrings; I loved the ones that the Swedish Princess Madeleine wore on her wedding day, but I wonder if I might prefer the ones above, by Moira, since they are of a more delicate design, and would pair up beautifully with any other diamond or pearl jewellery that you might choose to wear on the day.  We swoon!