Antique ‘En Tremblent’ Gold Brooch

Richard Ogden Gold Bird Brooch En Tremblent with turquoise and rubies

At Richard Ogden Gold Bird Brooch ‘En Tremblent’ with turquoise stones and rubies

Oh I just had to share this brooch with you fine folks, as it is just such a sweet and beautifully made piece of jewellery, circa 1880, so a late Victorian piece.  The style is referred to as En Tremblent, which obviously is French and means to tremble.  The name comes from the gemstones and sections of the piece being set so that they have some beautiful movement to them.  As an example, in this brooch the bird is set on a gold spring, which makes it tremble when it is moved around.  The ruby in its beak is only fastened with a small bit of gold, so it gives an extra dimension of movement to the piece.  It is so well made, which was also pointed out by one of the most skilled antique style jewellery craftsmen that I know here in London – he if anyone would know what quality when it comes to antique pieces!

Richard Ogden Gold Bird Brooch En Tremblent with turquoise and rubies

The back of the brooch, which is just about as beautiful as the front!

They started creating en tremblent jewellery in the late 18th century, as the movement of the gemstones so cleverly caught the light and attracted the eye.  They would mainly create floral sprays with the main flower en tremblent, to make it look like it was swaying in the wind.  We already know that these old cut diamonds were especially stunning in candle light, as the light would be reflected across the room in the most soft and romantic manner.

Richard Ogden Gold Bird Brooch En Tremblent with turquoise and rubies

Richard Ogden Gold Bird Brooch En Tremblent with turquoise and rubies

So how would you style it, since brooches are making such a wonderful comeback?

Victorian Bee Jewellery

Wohoo it is busy times in the shop at the moment!  The Christmas flurry has definitely set in and it is such fun to meet all these lovely clients that come by looking for gifts for their loved ones.

Victorian Bug Jewellery from Richard Ogden Jewellery

Butterflies and dragonflies from Richard Ogden

Today I was showing a lady some bee brooches – she referred to herself as a “purist” as she was a collector and wouldn’t consider any bees that were not of tiptop design, with all the correct details – number of wings, placement of stripes etc.

Now as I sat there by my desk, looking at the designs, I realised how much I actually love little bee jewellery – something I never would have even dreamed of before!  However, now that I have been exposed to some really stunning designs by the clever Victorian craftsmen, I just can’t seem to get enough of them!  Below is one of my favourite brooches in the shop at the moment:

Emerald and diamond bee brooch from Richard Ogden

The cutest little emerald and diamond bee brooch from Richard Ogden

For the Victorians nature was the new inn thing; bugs like butterflies, dragonflies and bees were symbolic of the transforming effect of love and all around people just couldn’t get enough of romance and nature.  Romantic poets like Wordsworth centered their works around the beauty of their surroundings and in late Victorian pieces you can see how this echoes on, with extraordinary craftsmanship that makes these little bugs look ever so lifelike!

Ruby and diamond bee from Richard Ogden

Ruby and diamond bee from Richard Ogden

So there we are, my love for bee jewellery all exposed to the world – oh and I am so pleased that brooches are making a comeback, because now we can wear these sweet little things on our lapels and they make up the best conversation pieces!  This is true – I finally meet people who are asking for brooches, and you guys might remember the push we did here on Decades of Elegance last year to revive brooches?  Well it worked wonders, so I hope you are digging out your favourite brooches for the Christmas celebrations!

Here are a few posts from last February – if you scroll past the first few you will start seeing all the stunning brooches that we looked at back then:  Decades of Elegance February 2015.

Antique Diamond Cluster Ring

It is December and we are finding ourselves in glittery and sparkling outfits, that during the rest of the year would be seen to be a little OTT but now is just right!  So I thought that it was time to revel in all this extravagance and this Georgian style diamond cluster ring is the perfect place to start:

Georgian Style Diamond Cluster Ring at Richard Ogden

Georgian Style Diamond Cluster Ring at Richard Ogden

So I didn’t used to be in to cluster rings, I suppose coming from Sweden/Finland where there is a great appreciation for clean and simple designs, cluster rings were never a consideration for me.  However, having seen so many beautiful Victorian and Georgian rings here in England, and seeing what a beautiful part in the history of jewellery design they are, I now absolutely adore them and always enjoy viewing them when one comes around the shop.  There is such a romantic look around a really beautifully set diamond cluster ring and the one that I have hijacked for this post is a perfect example: 

Georgian Style Diamond Cluster Ring at Richard Ogden

Georgian style diamond cluster ring in a cut down setting

This is a Georgian style diamond cluster ring set with a cushion cut centre diamond.  This beautiful cushion is surrounded by old brilliant cut diamonds and it is all set in a Georgian style cut down setting in 18ct white gold, with the shank of the ring mounted in 18ct yellow gold.
Let’s take a closer look at what this actually means: first of all the Cushion Cut is in my eyes the most romantic cut of diamond that there is and it makes a wonderful choice for an engagement ring.  It has a soft and subtle sparkle to it, which (and I know that I have mentioned this before) is best viewed in candle light where the brilliance comes to its own right when the flames are reflected in the facets of the diamond.

Victorian Style Diamond Cluster Ring at Richard Ogden

Victorian Style Diamond Cluster Ring at Richard Ogden

As for the Georgian cut down setting: this is a different style to what we are used to seeing in contemporary designs, as today quite often diamonds are held in place with gold or platinum claws, however here you can see how the white gold surrounds the diamonds in a very period typical design.  In order to bring out the whiteness in the diamonds the white gold is closest to the stones, whereas the yellow gold makes up the shank, which I think is the ideal design for a classic cluster ring.

The ring is beautifully finished off with fleur de lis design shoulders, which you can see quite nicely in the photo below:

Georgian Style Diamond Cluster Ring at Richard Ogden

Fleur de Lis design shoulders

This ring was made up by one of the most wonderful craftsmen that I have met here in London, who specialises in Georgian and Victorian designs, and it is just a joy to see all the amazing designs that he comes up with, often using old cut diamonds.  I hope you enjoyed this just as much as I did, I would love to hear your thoughts below!


Carved Turquoise Earrings

Turquoise, emerald and diamond earrings, Art Deco

Turquoise, emerald and diamond earrings, Art Deco

Yesterday a customer came into the antique jewellery shop where I work and wanted to try on a pair of turquoise earrings from our window.  I went to get them out and judge by my delight when I realised that I hadn’t actually seen them before (it is always exciting when new jewellery comes into the shop, as every piece teaches you something new) and I loved them!  Let’s take a closer look:

Turquoise, emerald and diamond earrings, Art Deco

Turquoise, emerald and diamond earrings from Moira Fine Jewellery

You guys probably by now know my love for the Turquoise stone, which has been my grandmother’s favourite all these years.  She is so cute when she dresses up in a turquoise outfit top to toe and wears some turquoise jewellery with that – and a hat, always a hat!

Okay so back to the earrings: we weren’t completely sure of their age, but to me they look like your typical 1920s – or even 1910 – design, which is given away by that beautiful millegrain setting (when then metal is pulled up into tiny little beads along the edge).  At the top we have a natural pearl, which is a very rare thing these days and tends to fetch top dollars.  Suspended from the pearl is a diamond and emerald set cap withand on the bottom a carved Persian turquoise.

So these beauties are from Moira Fine Jewellery and I suspect that they won’t be sticking around in the shop for too long so I intend to spend all of today looking at them.

Have a lovely day my dear!

Ruby and Diamond Rings

Oh I do hope things are well with you dear!  At my end it has been busy times indeed but all great fun.  The shop is gearing up for Christmas and the Christmas Catalogue has been taking up a lot of time lately but it looks so amazing now, yei!  We have a little helper in the shop at the moment, Suki, who is clearly taking her job very seriously:

Richard Ogden Jewellery

Boss Lady

I was helping a customer the other day with choosing an engagement ring and it is always fun when someone goes for a different stone than a diamond.  I was showing them these two beauties:

Ruby and Diamond engagement rings at Richard Ogden

Ruby and Diamond engagement rings at Richard Ogden

The left one is a Ruby and Diamond Cluster Ring in an Art Deco style, which I find is very popular at the moment.  The right one is a Ruby and Diamond Target Ring and just the most fabulous design – it gets a lot of attention from those who want something classic but still different.

Ruby and Diamond engagement ring at Richard Ogden

Ruby and Diamond engagement ring at Richard Ogden

The ruby and diamond cluster ring is also referred to as a Halo Ring, where the diamonds surround the centre stone like that.  It is especially lovely when the guy has taken the girl’s birthstone into consideration (for those who are lucky enough to have a strong enough stone as their birthstone that is – my Amethyst for February sure wouldn’t make a great one as it is far too soft!)

The July-born ones are very lucky to have the Ruby as their stone – and the September Sapphire is another great one.  Emeralds in May are a bit softer and might not be the best choice, because if you accidentally hit it against something in the wrong place you might be looking at a mighty fine crack all across the stone.  However, as I think I have mentioned before, some people look after their jewellery very well and I know someone who has worn the soft aquamarine for 30 years without any damage to it!

Ruby and Diamond Target Ring, Engagement Ring, Richard Ogden

Ruby and Diamond Target Ring, Engagement Ring, Richard Ogden

This Target Ring is so special and you won’t find another one in many places (except a sapphire one that we also have at the shop!) because they are made by this one craftsman who isn’t creating any more of them at the moment.

So there we are, I so love going to work and helping people find their dream jewellery – there are so many beautiful designs out there for us to enjoy!

Well Diamonds Sure Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Hello dearest, I know that I haven’t written in a long time but things have been pretty hectic all around – and you can always follow me on the Decades of Elegance Instagram page, as that one definitely gets updated on a regular basis!  Now let me take you for a quick spin at the antique jewellery shop to show you what I have been up to lately:

Diamond Drop Earrings from Moira Fine Jewellery

Oh you know, just another week at work, trying on a pair of Diamond Drop Earrings from Moira Fine Jewellery

In the photo above I was trying on a pair of antique-style diamond drop earrings from Moira Fine Jewellery.  The earrings are a “bow and swag design” and they feature old cut and rose cut diamonds and the stones are mounted in silver upon gold.  This was a key feature of the Victorian era, as it made the diamonds face up whiter than they would if mounted in yellow gold.

Floral Diamond Earrings from Richard Ogden

Floral Diamond Earrings from Richard Ogden

One of the things that has been taking up my time is measuring diamond weight – and yes, the calculator above gets more attention that any of the pieces of jewellery in the shop!

Floral Diamond Earrings from Richard Ogden

Floral Diamond Earrings from Richard Ogden

Diamonds are measured in carats, and one carat equals 0.2 grams – in other words five carats would weigh 1 gram.  So whenever I do valuations for insurance at the jewellery shop I will count all the diamonds in a piece and measure their size in order to determine their value.  In the photo above you can see the metal thingy that is used for determining the size of very small diamonds – I just always forget what the little tool is called – stencil?!

Diamond Bracelet circa 1920s Art Deco

Diamond Bracelet 

Art Deco Diamond Bracelet at Richard Ogden

Art Deco Diamond Bracelet at Richard Ogden

And just to finish off the post: a couple of breathtaking Art Deco diamond bracelets, definitely something to keep dreaming about.  I know that these would both go so beautifully with all outfits in my wardrobe..!

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?