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!

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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…

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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!

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Your Secret Jewellery Collection – the Pearl and Perfume chapter

Jewellery collection Chanel perfume and pearls

Jewellery collection Chanel perfume and pearls

I thought we would round off the week with this beautiful and inspirational jewellery collection from one of your readers in Stockholm.  It is the updated version of a previous post: Your Secret Jewellery Collection – the Before and After-chapter!

I love the idea of using a tray to keep all the jewellery in, as you can see how it reflects all the pieces and creates another dimension to the collection.  This gold plated tray is from the charity shop Stockholms Stadsmission, where the proceeds go to the homeless, so get out there and scavenge through the charity shops in your area, as we love shopping with a good conscience.  They always have the most unusual things in charity shops, so you might even get some great, unexpected inspiration!  The drawer is teak and was found in an old house in the Swedish countryside – clearly it found a very loving new home!

Keeping your perfumes and jewellery together is so fabulously Old Hollywood and we recognise the Iittala Mariskooli from the previous post, as one of our favourite jewellery holders.  (As I was linking it to this post I noticed that it is on sale at Skandium in various colours, woop..!)

So happy weekend sweetheart and I will see you again next week!

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The Wallace Collection in London

Hello dearest, I hope that your summer has been just wonderful so far!  I thought that I would share with you today my trip to The Wallace Collection, as it was just such a wonderful experience!  I went there with a friend of mine and we took a whole afternoon to wander through the different rooms and we also had afternoon tea in their glorious courtyard restaurant.  The collection is the perfect sneak peek inte the life of London’s high society some hundred years ago, so come along, let’s check it out:

The Wallace Collection Paintings

One of my favourite rooms at the Wallace Collection – I just love the combination of the wallpaper and the gold frames and gold furniture

You will find the Wallace Collection just behind Selfridges, and as you enter the building you leave all modern day things behind and become surrounded by furniture, armour, porcelain, objects d’art and paintings from the 15th to the 19th century.  There is a great emphasis on French 18th century furniture, with over five hundred pieces, so it almost feels like stepping into the private home of Marie Antoinette!

The Wallace Collection

One of the beautiful rooms at the Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection is the result of five generations collecting souvenirs from around the world for over a century, and it includes pieces like Rembrandt’s Good Samaritan; six paintings by Canaletto, who was considered one of the finest landscape painter of his time; and a gold dagger believed to have belonged to Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor famous for having erected the Taj Mahal.

The collection was built by the First, Second, Third and Fourth Marquesses of Hertford and when the Fourth Marquess’s illegitimate son Richard Wallace inherited the collection in 1870, he bought Hertford House.  When he then died in 1890, he left everything to his wife Julie-Amélie-Charlotte Castelnau, who in turn left the Wallace Collection to the nation.  It opened as a museum in 1900.  

Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher, 1759 at the Wallace Collection

A painting of Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher in 1759

The Souvenir by Jean-Honoré Fragonard at The Wallace Collection

The Souvenir by Jean-Honoré Fragonard at The Wallace Collection. Rousseau’s heroine, Julie carves the initial of her lover on the bark of a tree, while observed by her pet spaniel, the symbol of her fidelity.

There are spectacular paintings on display and so much to learn!  For example, I found out that a dog in a paintings is a symbol of fidelity, so when the high society ladies had their portraits painted – almost like a modern day contact ad – they would often incorporate a dog in the picture to show that they possessed this trait.  I personally would have loved to see more jewellery from the family, but I suppose that has gone somewhere else – there are however a few pieces on display well worth looking at: adorned with rubies, sapphires and other beautiful gemstones.

The Wallace Collection Paintings

More of the paintings, again, with a glorious wallpaper as the backdrop

The Wallace Collection

Oh how much I loved this room!  I know that one cannot decorate a regular home like this, but I might still try…!!!

Armoury at the Wallace Collection

Oriental and European Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection

There is also something for the tough guys here, as you will find European and Oriental arms and armour collections with almost 2500 pieces on display.  The horse outfit above I can assure you is rather intimidating when viewed from close, as it is massive!

And when you visit, do make sure that you have lunch or afternoon tea in the stunning courtyard: it is covered by a tall glass roof, so you get all the sunlight, yet you can still eat outside even if it pours down with rain – not to mention what it would be like to sit there, under the stars, on a Friday or Saturday evening and enjoy their famous French cuisine.

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection

And please do share your experience with us here, as we would love to hear all about it!

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Summer Sparkle and a Summer Break

Happy Thursday my sweetheart!  So it has been a few super fun weeks at the antique shop and those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen a few of these photos already, but here I can tell you a bit more about them!

Aquamarine and Diamond rings from Moira Fine Jewels and Richard Ogden

I may have had a little play around with all the beautiful aquamarine and diamond rings from Moira and Richard Ogden…

I have such a soft spot for Aquamarines and they sure tally up well with diamonds!  When you get a really beautiful one it is like gazing into the Mediterranean Ocean, with that light-blue, see-through colour, where you almost expect little tropical fish to swim past!

Multicoloured gold necklace from Moira Fine Jewels

Multicoloured gold necklace from Moira Fine Jewels

Ahh this was a funny story..!  The guys at Moira Fine Jewels asked me to wear this necklace in the shop and I took a few photos of it for their social media.  I then unwrapped it once around my neck to take it off – only to realise that I got myself into a real tangle and sure couldn’t get out!  One of my colleagues tried to help me but gave up after five minutes – fortunately my favourite jewellery craftsman walked through the door that very moment and decided to help and after another five minutes I was freed!  But that ridiculous feeling of being trapped sure came over me for a split second – although I can think of worse ways to go than in a £23,000 necklace with garnets, aquamarines and amethysts!  We also decided to measure it as it is so super long, and here is a live shot from the exercise:

Multicoloured gold necklace from Moira Fine Jewels

How to measure jewellery

There were no two ways about it: it had to be done manually with a tape measurer and we made sure that all the aquamarines, sapphires in a rainbow of colours, citrines, peridots and zircons were included – and ended up with an impressive 7 feet!

So anyway, that is what we have been up to lately and I will now be going away for two weeks, and I won’t have very much internet connection, so it means that I will see you again after the 13th of June!  Wishing you a wonderful summer until then – and make sure to wear all your most beautiful pieces during that time!!

Cushion cut diamond ring from Moira Fine Jewels

Cushion cut diamond ring from Moira Fine Jewels

And here is one more for good luck – a stunning cushion cut diamond from Moira Fine Jewels… and we swoon!

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The dazzling Alexandrite

Hello my lovely!  So in an earlier blog post called The Enchanting Birthstones of June, I mentioned a gemstone called Alexandrite, but I didn’t have a photo to show you at the time.  Well, the other day a stunning Alexandrite and diamond cluster ring did a short stint in the antique shop, so I took the opportunity to take a couple of two photos of it for you.

The spectacular thing about this gem is that it appears to change colour when viewed in different light: green in daylight and red/purple in incandescent (electric) light:

Purple Alexandrite and Diamond Cluster Ring

The Alexandrite displays a purple hue when viewed in the shop lights…

Green Alexandrite and Diamond Cluster Ring

… and then it turned green when I helped it up in the daylight that came through the window

Alexandrite was first discovered in 1834 in the Ural Mountains in Russia, and legend has it, that it was called Alexandrite because it was found on the same day that the Russian tsar Alexander II came of age.  Because it displayed the colours of old Imperial Russia, red and green, it soon became the national stone of tsarist Russia.

An Alexandrite with great colour and that is finely faceted, is one of the most valuable gemstones around; often surpassing diamonds, sapphires and rubies in price.  They were very much sought after as they came out of the Russian mines, but when the supply diminished, so did demand.  However, in the late 1980s an Alexandrite mine was discovered in Brazil, and there was another surge in interest for the gemstone.  The Russian stones are however still the most valuable ones, so all you lovely June babies, this is your birthstone – and if you get your hands on one then hold on tight, as the ones with great colour change seem to be very rare to find these days!

There were two antique jewellery dealers in the shop when this ring appeared, and one of them asked the other one whether he would choose a three carat diamond ring or this Alexandrite, if he had the choice.  The other dealer didn’t hesitate for a second, but answered the Alexandrite, as it would make such an interesting piece of jewellery, although the diamond ring would potentially be a better investment.  The first dealer agreed with him and would also have chosen the Alexandrite.  And I couldn’t have agreed more – I definitely would have picked the unique Alexandrite!

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‘Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’ by Andrew Prince at Grays Antique Centre

 

Andrew Prince 'From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, a Grays Antique Centre

Andrew Prince ‘From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, a Grays Antique Centre

You guys!  I visited Grays Antiques on Monday and was swept off my feet by Andrew Prince’s stories about the different eras around the turn of the century – it was so amazing!  He whisked us away to faraway lands with tales and legends about Maharajas, Victorian socialites and the shocking style of the 1920s when women started applying make up in public.  One of the things that we learnt was that only the highest ranking Maharaja was allowed to wear a full crown, so the other Maharajas would wear tiaras over their turbans, that only just didn’t connect at the back, to get around the rule!  So sneaky.

Andrew Prince 'From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, at Grays Antique Centre

Andrew Prince ‘From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, at Grays Antique Centre

And the above photo is from my favourite story of the day – although for my life I can’t remember the name of this Victorian socialite!

Two young ladies in the 1890s were enemies in everything, from wealth to clothes to men, and always tried to outdo each other.  One evening, at a great ball, Lady 1 above appeared wearing all her jewellery, as you can see in the photo.  The rivalling Lady 2 could’t believe her eyes, and sent for her maid, who brought along a trunk filled with all of Lady 2’s jewellery.  She plonked on the table in front of Lady 1 one and said: ‘There!  I have so much that I simply can’t wear it all at once!”  The young socialite in the photo allegedly huffed and puffed – and left the party in a fury!

1940s 18ct yellow gold ring with diamonds

1940s 18ct yellow gold ring with diamonds

There is also so much that goes on outside these talks, as in antique jewellery there is just never a dull moment!  One of my fellow listeners was wearing this amazing 1940’s 18ct yellow gold and platinum ring with brilliant cut diamonds that we all just swooned over!  I thought for a moment that it might have been a 50s piece, because of its extravagant design but I do agree that there are lingering Art Deco features in the ring, like its geometric shapes which was so typical especially for the 20s and 30s, so 40s it is!  Isn’t it just amazing?!

1920s blue zircon bar brooch

My own look for the day, with a 1920s blue zircon bar brooch

1920s blue zircon bar brooch

1920s blue zircon bar brooch

I decided to wear my favourite brooch in the whole wide world – a blue zircon flanked with diamonds from the 1920s, and I thought that it went so beautifully with my turquoise scarf.  In fact, if you are following us on Instagram you will see that I am going through a white and turquoise phase, with everything I wear being those two colours!!

Arabella Bianco Vintage Jewellery at Grays Antique Centre

An array of gold bracelets and bangles from Arabella Bianco in Grays Antique Centre

Arabella Bianco Vintage Jewellery at Grays Antique Centre

A close up of these stunning treasures from Arabella Bianco

I obviously had to pop down to Arabella Bianco in Grays after Andrew’s talk, as I am on the lookout for some gold coloured bracelets at the moment.  She of course had a wide range and so I hung around for far longer than I had intended to!  There were stunning pieces by the big vintage jewellery houses and I fell in love with a pair of Art Deco style drop earrings, but already have something similar at home so I didn’t end up buying them (not that that has stopped me before..!)

Arabella Bianco Vintage Jewellery at Grays Antique Centre

Beautiful vintage jewellery from Arabella Bianco in Grays Antique Centre

So I would like to thank Grays Antiques for setting up this wonderful day of behind the scenes antique jewellery talks, and I hope that we will have many more to look forward to!  And I would absolutely love to see you guys there, as I think that it gives such an extra dimension to wearing your vintage or antique pieces, when you know the eras a little bit better, and you can associate certain details and designs to a particular time.  And thank you Andrew for giving such an amazing talk – entertaining and fascinating, as always!

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‘A day of antiques: looking beyond the trade at Grays’

Pendant earrings by Andrew Prince for Downton Abbey

Pendant earrings by Andrew Prince – who is giving a talk at Grays Antique Centre on Monday 15th of June

Ladies and Gents, I am so excited to let you know that on MONDAY we can all visit Grays Antique Centre and listen to talks spanning the arts, antiques and collecting spheres – speakers include our very own Andrew Prince, BBC2 Collectaholics Mark Hill, the owner of Grays and Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray and many others!  I sure will be going and hope to see you there!

Tickets are very reasonably priced at £10 (and include a glass of prosecco!) with a discount for multiple purchases and they have set up the talks to run throughout the day as follows:

Grays Antique Centre Monday 15th June 2015

11am: ‘Luxury: Between Opulence and Minimalism’, Professor Giorgio Riello
12pm: ‘From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, Andrew Prince
1pm: ‘Undressing Antiques’, Mark Hill
2pm: ‘Antiques: Looking to the future’, Bennie Gray
3pm: ‘How London’s heritage brands contributed to the war effort’ with Q&A, Penelope Sacorafou and Caroline Groves
4pm: ‘Post-War Rye Pottery: History and Collecting’, Elisabeth Bogdan
5pm: ‘Contemporary Chinese Print-Making’, Dr Anne Farrer
Price: £10 per talk, £18 for two or £25 for three
Duration: 45 minutes
Tickets will include a glass of prosecco and are available online at www.foxandsquirrel.com/london-talks/ or in person from reception at Grays on South Molton Lane.

Antique evening bag, Grays Antique Centre

Antique evening bag, Grays Antique Centre (NOT the copyright of Decades of Elegance – the blog is playing up today!)

Amethyst & Diamond Heart Ring. Offered by Spectrum.  (NOT the copyright of Decades of Elegance - the blog is playing up a bit today!)

Amethyst & Diamond Heart Ring.Spectrum. (NOT the copyright of Decades of Elegance – the blog is playing up a bit today!)

So I am very much hoping to see you at Grays on Monday my dear, until then have a wonderful weekend!

Tickets can be bought here: Fox and Squirrel – London Talks 15th June 2015.

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The Camdeboo Spa at Irene Country Lodge

Hello my lovely!  Again, I am so sorry for the radio silence but things are still pretty hectic at my end – and I think that we will be back on track again at the end of July, when all the festivities are over!  So until then, please bear with me while the posts come up on various days of the week:

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

So we are back at Irene Country Lodge, where one day I took a wander up the hill and was met by the view of their Camdeboo Spa:

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

We were greeted by a sunshiny entrance to the spa…

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

These beautiful buildings date back to the 19th century 

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

The building where the cooks used to live over a hundred years ago.  Now they are used as treatment rooms painted white with that beautiful turquoise accent colour that I always fall in love with when I visit South Africa

I thought it would be suitable for us here at the blog to visit the spa, as these beautiful buildings were built in the 19th century, which makes them antique!  The treatment rooms in the photo above was where the cooks used to live and now they have obviously been turned into the most beautiful treatment rooms, where you can get a relaxing massage.

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

While I was waiting for my massage I browsed all these lovely products – many of them made at Irene Farm

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

Nom nom nom I don’t know where to start – the scents are heavenly, how is one supposed to choose!?

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

Their fabulous local Milk Products

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

On the left there is a steam sauna and a regular sauna, and a shower with all kinds of advanced settings.  You walk through here to go to the pool area with its sun chairs…

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

The outdoor treatment room – doesn’t get much more relaxing than this!

This is the Camdeboo Tree which the spa is named after.  Camdeboo usually only grows in the Western Cape but somehow it has found its way to the Lodge, where it has created this beautiful forest of tranquility and beauty.

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

The Camdeboo Tree after which the spa has been given its name

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

A Camdeboo Tree stretching its branches and giving us a lovely bit of shade from the intense South African sun

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

The lovely spa café

The café is so lovely with a fresh and appetising menu featuring for example salads and also some wonderful smoothies, that are made while you relax by the pool.

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

The café area at the spa where we had some delicious freshly made smoothies 

We tried the massage (heavenly) in one of the treatment rooms that had been painted white, and had all the old features left from when the house was originally built: a beautiful open fireplace and tall ceilings with old wooden beams.  You can buy spa products that are made at the Irene Farm, just a hop and a skip away from the Lodge and their Milk products are just divine.

Camdeboo Day Spa at Irene Country Lodge

A view of the outside area 

So I hope that you decide to pop by the Camdeboo Spa if you live around Pretoria, then you can admire all these beautiful old buildings in real life – a do remember to tell us all about your stay in the comment box below!

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