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

HOW IT WORKS…
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!!)

WANT TO SELL?
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.

WANT TO BUY?
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.

WHEN IS THE NEXT CLOTHES SALE?
Thursday 6th August 2015, 7:30 – 10:00pm
See event details here:https://www.facebook.com/events/1074722942557319/

HOW TO GET THERE…
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: info@decadesofelegance.com

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!

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!

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!

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!