A Trifari Vintage Treasure

Good morning my lovely, I hope you had a nice weekend!  Mine was just wonderful as I was out in the countryside and it turned out that the monthly Village Antique Fair was on, which I decided to pop by early on Sunday morning.  I spent over an hour browsing through everything from old clocks and watches to photographs from the 19th century (when people would only have their photo taken once in their lifetime, so you can imagine what a big day it was and how important it was to wear their very finest clothes and jewellery!), loads of jewellery and other objets d’art.

Vintage Trifari necklace

Vintage Trifari necklace – not in its original box

I soon stopped by one of my favourite jewellery stands, where I was shown this gold coloured vintage Trifari necklace, covered in rhinestones.  It had the Trifari hallmark on the clasp and I believe that it is from the 50s or 60s.  It is always so lovely to see pieces in perfect condition, with all the design features intact for us to admire.

Vintage Trifari necklace

A closer look at the Trifari necklace

I know that I have mentioned Trifari before, and I thought that the necklace gives us the perfect excuse to look at the history of this famous jewellery company:

Trifari was founded in New York in 1925 by Gustavo Trifari, Leo F Krussman and Carl M Fishel in New York.  Gustavo Trifari came from Naples, where he had been trained by his grandfather in his little goldsmith workshop.  When he moved to New York in 1902 he initially worked for a company called Weinberg and Sudzen, and after ten years his started his own company together with Leo F Krussman, and simply decided to call it Trifari and Krussman.  

In 1925 Carl Fishel joined and this is by many seen as the start of the company, but others only consider the firm to have been complete in 1930, when Alfred Philippe became the head designer.  Philippe produced some of the company’s most recognisable pieces, and with a background designing high end jewellery for companies like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arples you can understand what an air of elegance and luxury he would have added to the designs.

Despite the rationing during the war, Trifari flourished and produced some of their finest pieces, which is quite remarkable since so many other companies drew their last breaths during these difficult years.  Gustavo Trifari passed away in 1952 and Krussman and Fishel continued without him until 1964 when their sons took over the business, and continued to run it for many years to come.

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A Burmese Ruby and Diamond Three Stone Ring

Happy Friday my lovely!  Oh I am always so glad that I picked Friday as one of my days to post, as it means that I can say those four words to you first thing!

So yesterday in the antique jewellery shop I was looking closer at our Ruby collection and suddenly realised that one of the ruby and diamond three stone rings in fact had a Burmese Ruby as its centre stone!  Now you might remember the previous post Ruby – the King of the Gemstones, where we learnt that a Burmese Ruby, also known as Pigeon’s Blood Ruby, is the most sought after colour in this gemstone, and I am so pleased that I can now show you what it looks like:

Burmese Ruby and Diamond Cluster Ring at Richard Ogden, Burlington Arcade

Burmese Ruby and Diamond Three Stone Ring at Richard Ogden, Burlington Arcade

While working in the shop I have noticed that three stone rings are quite a popular choice for engagement rings, and some say that they represent the couple’s past, present and future.  To some people the arrangement has a religious meaning, said to represent the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  When it comes to this design of three stone rings, you may also find that they are referred to as Trinity Rings or Trilogy Rings.

Burmese Ruby and Diamond Three Stone Ring at Richard Ogden, Burlington Arcade

An angled view of the ring – I haven’t made any alterations to the picture, to give you the chance to really see the colour of the Ruby 

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A look into the renowned house of Chaumet

So I have been working in an antique jewellery shop in Burlington Arcade for a while now and those of you who follow me on Instagram have seen a small selection of their collection, which is indeed to die for…

Chaumet Gold Clutch 1960s with diamonds

Oh I just thought I would strut down Burlington Arcade with this little beauty – it goes so well with my work outfit, don’t you think my dear?

Then yesterday one of the ladies in the shop took out this absolutely gorgeous gold bag encrusted with diamonds, which I obviously had to take photos of for you.  It is a Chaumet bag, and as I was trying to take a photo of it in the shop, one of London’s most experienced jewellery traders popped by the shop, looked at it and said “Oh I remember when the ladies would wear these bags all the time!  It was back in the 60s.”   Love it!!!  This is one of my favourite parts of the job – when someone starts reminiscing about these beautiful times gone by, when the antique or vintage jewellery that we wear today were at the height of fashion and everyone would be ever so stylish and the streets were filled with people wearing Deco jewellery or a fabulous hat in the middle of the day!

Chaumet Gold Clutch 1960s with diamonds

As I was taking a photo of this beautiful bag one of the antique jewellery traders came by and offered me his thoughts on it…

Since I am quite the newbie to the House of Chaumet, I decided to look into their history, and boy was I excited to read such an exciting tale!  Chaumet dates back to 1780, when the founder, Marie-Etienne Nitot, made a name for himself as one of the most magnificent jewellers in France.  They provided jewellery for the wedding of Napoleon and Josephine de Beauharnais, and later with the Archiduchesse Marie-Louise de Habsbourg-Lorraine, niece of Queen Marie-Antoinette.  They also created Napoleon’s coronation crown as well as a great part of all the jewellery that offered the French Empire its splendour.  No other jeweller in Europe was more famous than Nitot at the time and he had built up a very loyal and prestigious client base.

Chaumet Gold Clutch 1960s with diamonds

Oh you know, just another day in Burlington Arcade, wearing a Chaumet gold clutch with my work outfit 

During the Romantic Period (1815-1885) the pieces designed by Chaumet were very much inspired by the decorative arts and the Italian Renaissance, as well of 17th century France.  After the French Revolution in 1848 they established a shop in London, which attracted the attention of customers like Queen Victoria.  During the late-19th century Chaumet focused very much on creating beautiful tiaras, finding inspiration in the Renaissance style.

Chaumet Gold Clutch 1960s with diamonds

Chaumet Gold Clutch 1960s with diamonds

The house became one of the leaders of Art Deco style, having taken part in the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris – which we know by now started the whole Art Deco movement. Now do feel free to refresh your memory when it comes to Art Deco in the blog post How the world fell into the hands of Art Deco.

The brand has kept itself à jour with fashion and made sure to stay new and exciting ever since, and we are so pleased that this beautiful bag has made it into our hands.  If one of you lovely ladies out there are considering buying yet another Birkin bag I would suggest that you choose this unique and beautiful design instead – you can find it in Moira’s collection at Richard Ogden in Burlington Arcade, and I would be delighted to show it to you if you decide to pop by!

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A tennis tournament and an English garden tea party

Happy Monday to you my dear, I hope you had a lovely weekend!  I had the most divine Sunday afternoon at a village tennis tournament in Surrey, where four hours just flew past!  The walk to the house where the event was held took us past some of the most picturesque English countryside houses:

Beautiful old house in Surrey

I would absolutely love to live in a timber framed farmhouse like this one!

If any one of you lovely readers know anything about English architecture I would love to hear your thoughts on the houses in this post.

Beautiful old red brick house in Surrey

I am just fascinated with these old houses in the Surrey countryside.  It really is the most divine thing to drive down those winding roads lined with these beautiful old houses and walls! 

The house where the tournament was held is one of the most impressive buildings that I have seen in Surrey, and it created the perfect backdrop to the day:

Beautiful Surrey countryhouse

Such a beautiful place to have a summer tea party!

We all brought our folding chairs and blankets and sat down outside the fence to the tennis court:

Tennis tournament in Surrey

The beautiful tennis court where the tournament was held

After the semi-finals everyone queued up outside the kitchen window and were handed a cup of tea and a plate of sandwiches and cakes – so very Alice in Wonderland’s tea party!  I had one of the best carrot cakes to date…

An English afternoon tea garden party

I managed to get a quick snapshot before all the cakes were gone… you can see in the bottom right corner how someone has already had a nibble of the most divine carrot cake…!

I can’t wait to have my own garden one day, where we can have the most fabulous tea parties!  Part of the fun would be to go through my vintage and antique jewellery collection to find the perfect match for my dress of the day.  Yesterday I hadn’t brought too many things with me so I ended up wearing a pair of pearl and gold earrings from South Africa and my turquoise flowy summer dress:

Vintage Seiko watch with rose gold, gold earrings with pearls, turquoise summer dress

It was such a warm day that I opted for a very light dress and just a few simple pieces of jewellery

An English afternoon tea garden party

And here I am – enjoying my tea and cakes far too much!  I wore my great-aunt’s watch, which I thought was so suitable for the occasion – and I also wore my Audrey Hepburn-style sunglasses but I didn’t get a photo of that!  The day was so hot that I was glad that I only went for this little summer dress and nothing warmer! 

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The 2 year anniversary of Decades of Elegance!


Vintage earrings from Finland in gold and turquoise

Vintage and antique jewellery everywhere – love it!

Hello my lovely, I hope you are having a fabulous week in this tropical heat!  Well, I just had a look at the weather forecast around the world for the Decades of Elegance reader-base, and I know that the Nordic countries are blessed with some beautiful sunshine and summer warmth – lucky you!  The same definitely goes for the UK (it is so toasty in London right now, wonderful!) and also for you Australian east-coast and American west-coast readers – not to mention sunny Dubai!  You lovely South Africans who are almost always bathing in sunshine are having a bit of colder spell at the moment, but you will surpass the rest of us in glorious weather soon so I hope you are alright about it for the moment ;)  And for the rest of you lovelies, I hope you are also having a fabulous summer – or winter for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere!

Art Deco pearl and marcasite earrings

Art Deco pearl and marcasite earrings

And that is the Decades of Elegance Weather Report for the day.  I really didn’t mean to go on a tirade about the weather, but I was looking at my Google Analytics page to see where all you lovely readers are based, and that is what inspired the unusual intro to this post!

So we have been around for a wonderful two years this July, and my very first blog post was called Vintage and Antique Jewellery Today – which definitely inspired our catch phrase Vintage and Antique Jewellery Worn Today, which you can always see in our logo.  The post came to me as I was wearing this lovely 50′s necklace that my dear sister gave me – you might remember this picture, which also featured in that very first post:

Michelle Lindsell Photography, Decades of Elegance Vintage Jewellery

The 1950s necklace that inspired my first blog post back in July 2012.  Copyright: Michelle Lindsell Photography

It has been such an exciting journey ever since!  Lots of hairstyles have been created that either show your antique jewellery beautifully, or where the pieces have been incorporated into the actual hairstyles:

We have travelled across continents – from the UK to Sweden, Dubai and Cape Town:

Swedish antique jewellery, amethyst ring and bracelet

 Antique jewellery from Sweden – amethyst ring and bracelet.  From one of my favourite blog posts to date: A window into early 20th century Sweden

Dubai Deira Gold Souk

The amazing gold souk in Dubai, photo from the blog post Dubai’s Deira Gold Souk earlier this year.

Vredenheim Wildlife and Winery - beautiful Cape architecture

In Cape Town we have visited beautiful wine farms – from the blog post Vredenheim Wildlife & Winery in Stellenbosch, Cape Town

Tanzanite and Diamond Ring at the Jewel Tree in Cape Town

… not to mention all our exciting trips to the Jewel Tree in Cape Town – here a tanzanite and diamond ring from the blog post: You Brilliant Tanzanite

And we will not forget that sparkling month of February 2013, when Tiffany & Co complimented the blog and sent over photos of their collection for the Great Gatsby movie:

Tiffany & Co Ziegfeld Pearl Necklace for the Great Gatsby Movie

Tiffany & Co – Ziegfeld Pearl Necklace from the blog post Tiffany’s Great Gatsby Treasures  

I also so enjoyed the series Your Secret Jewellery Collection, where you sent in photos of your own collections with some historical information on the pieces.  It was an absolute delight to write about them and to see how you keep your favourite pieces stored:

And we have also had the opportunities to work with so many wonderful magazines and websites: The Antiques Roadshow Magazine, The Simple Things, Vintage Life Magazine, Vintage Brighton, Make and Sell Jewellery, The Sloaney, Londonswedes… you can find them all under the tab at the top of the blog called Press & Portfolio.

Decades of Elegance in a Vintage Life Magazine

One of the published Decades of Elegance articles to date – from the blog post: It’s a Vintage Life

And I couldn’t have done any of this, if it hadn’t been for You, my dear reader!  Your encouragement, comments and suggestions give me a whole embrace full of new inspiration and drive, and I love hearing your stories about how the blog has inspired you to wear some inherited jewellery or try a new hairstyle together with a piece of jewellery!

17th century ring Sweden

A virtual red rose to you my dear – and let’s take a moment to admire this ca 18th century ring from Sweden – just amazing that antique jewellery can be so well-made that it lasts for 300 years+!

So here is a big thank you for reading the blog and giving me the inspiration to keep learning more about beautiful antique jewellery and spreading the knowledge!  I now believe that if you do what you love, then the universe works with you to help fulfil your dreams.  I hope that the blog gives you some motivation to do what makes you happy here in life.

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Our interview in the Antiques Roadshow Magazine is now out!


Antiques Roadshow Magazine issue 4 August 2014

Antiques Roadshow Magazine issue 4 has just appeared on the newsstands…  

And so a brand new issue of the Antiques Roadshow Magazine has appeared on the shelves and I am absolutely delighted to let you know that there is a Decades of Elegance-interview on page 89!

Decades of Elegance interview in the Antiques Roadshow Magazine issue 4

The Decades of Elegance interview in the Antiques Roadshow Magazine is now out!

The two-year-anniversary of Decades of Elegance is actually here now, in July, and I must say that seeing this interview in print feels like the perfect way of marking this milestone.  The Antiques Roadshow is such a dear programme to so many of us and being able to take part in it like this is just the most wonderful thing!  In the article you will get to read about the history of the blog, the exciting things that have come my way in the course of blogging and of course why we should buy antique jewellery.

Glamour on the go - the history of cosmetics in the Antiques Roadshow Magazine

Glamour on the Go – another article in the latest issue of the Antiques Roadshow Magazine

We first made the acquaintance of the Antiques Roadshow Magazine in the blog post Review of the Antiques Roadshow Magazine back in April, as you might remember.  They are now on their fourth issue and things just keep getting more and more interesting.  I found myself engulfed in the article on the history of cosmetics, where we are taken on a journey that starts with the appearance of the ‘world’s first powder blusher’ in 1863; continues through the 30′s when women were suddenly seen applying lipstick and powder in public; and shows us some beautiful and clever jewellery inventions that allowed for beauty products to be carried around in a very fashionable manner.

So my dear, if you would like to read about the most fascinating stories behind beautiful antique objects, go behind the scenes of the Antiques Roadshow tv-program and also read the Decades of Elegance interview, I would warmly recommend that you pop out and buy the new issue of the Antiques Roadshow Magazine!

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Travel Jewellery for a Summer Holiday


Swedish Raspberries in the sunset

Raspberries enjoying the sunset

Hello hello my dear, I am now officially back from my super long holiday in Sweden and Finland and the blog can finally get back on track again!  I hope you are having a lovely time in this summer weather and that you are getting to wear all your beautiful pieces of jewellery to summer parties, picnics and suppers in the warm summer evenings.

White travel jewellery box with compartments

This travel box for jewellery came with a regular jewellery box that I bought recently, and now I can’t imagine going travelling without it!

Whenever I pack for a holiday I am such a jewellery geek and bring silver as well as gold pieces to make sure that I can match all my outfits, and obviously also something more dressy for fun nights out.  I absolutely love bracelets but I have found that I don’t wear them very often, probably because I always write so much on my laptop and they get in the way and get all loud and rattly!  Unpacking my jewellery this morning did however inspire me to write about what pieces to bring along on your holiday, so I hope that you will find this helpful!

Travel jewellery box with pearls, gold and silver pieces

You don’t have to pack a lot of jewellery, as long as you are clever about what pieces you take with you

For my three week holiday I found myself packing:

1) A silver necklace with a turquoise centre stone

2) A pair of Swarovski crystal stud earrings to match the above

3) An antique pearl necklace

4) A pair of pearl earrings to match the pearl necklace

5) Grandma’s gold earrings with turquoises as centre stones

6) Grandma’s gold locket necklace to match the earrings

7) A pair of gold drop-down pearl earrings with sparkling stones as my fabulous going-out earrings!

When you bring a good mix of styles, metals and stones, you don’t have to pack very much, since you will be able to easily mix and match them!

Travel jewellery box with pearls, gold and silver pieces

Travel jewellery box with pearls, gold and silver pieces

I love that the box comes with lots of little pockets and places that separate the different pieces, so that the pearls are kept safe from other pieces that might scratch them.

Travel jewellery box with pearls, gold and silver pieces

I only brought one pair of dressy earrings, which was perfect

Messy ponytail and drop down pearl earrings with gold

Messy ponytail and the drop-down pearl earrings

I don’t wear a lot of silver at the moment, but the pieces that I do wear are very special to me and so I decided to bring this antique-style necklace with a glittering turquoise stone, which is so versatile:

Swarovski crystal halo necklace in silver and turquoise

You always need something in silver, and this time around I brought along this silver necklace with a turquoise stone, surrounded by small crystals that goes with so many things from my wardrobe.

I hope this was helpful in case you are stuck trying to think of what to pack for your summer holiday!  I would also love to hear from you and find out what pieces you simply cannot travel without!

Summer Sunset in Sweden

Late afternoon sun in Sweden

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Snooping around in Snoopers Paradise, Brighton

Snoopers Paradise, Vintage Handbags, Brighton Vintage

Just a collection of stunning vintage handbags at Snoopers Paradise in Brighton… love!

So I am still in Sweden, now enjoying the glorious summer weather that has finally reached us!  Since my laptop decided to let me log into the blog again, I have been sifting through photos from just before I left the UK and I realised that I hadn’t posted these lovely ones from my recent trip to Brighton.  I went to Snoopers Paradise with a friend where we were in vintage heaven, looking through so many beautiful vintage purses, bags, shoes, books, objects d’art etc. etc.

Snoopers Paradise, Vintage Brighton

All these beautiful things kept us rather occupied in Snoopers Paradise, Brighton…

After having spent a good halv hour downstairs we made up to the first floor which is my absolute favourite place in Brighton – Snoopers Attic!  We were greeted by this lovely staircase:

Snoopers Paradise Brighton Vintage

Snoopers Attic

We have visited Snoopers Paradise before, in case you remember the blog post A Vintage Take On Beautiful Brighton.  The lovely upstairs Snoopers Attic has collected over twenty designers who showcase their  collections, and where you can find the most fabulous pieces of vintage clothing and accessories:

Snoopers Attic, Vintage Brighton

Snoopers Attic

So if you have a day to spare I think it is time that you head down to Brighton and start treading through this vintage treasure trove!  The day I am decorating my house I am so heading back down there to look for unique and fun pieces – like those pretty lamp shades or a million different looking teacups for my afternoon tea parties… good times are ahead folks!

What would you look for in a place like this?  Clothes?  Shoes?  Bags?  I am dying to know!

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A Nordic Summer Timeout

Hello my dear, long time no see!  Those of you who follow me on Facebook already know that my computer decided to clock out and go on holiday last week – it always just blankly refuses to log into the blog from Sweden, where it looks a little something like this:

Sunset in Sweden

I just love these light summer evenings, when the sun sets after 10pm and rises again at 3am.  In between these hours you get a light blue summer sky

… so I decided to take one and a half weeks off to enjoy the lovely Sweden and Finland – and I will be back again next week.  Wishing you a few lovely summer days until then!

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The Enchanting Landscape of the Opal


Vintage Opal and gold necklace

My favourite vintage opal and gold necklace

Lately I have been exposed to quite a few pieces of jewellery with opals, and the more of them I see, the more I adore this beautiful gemstone.  When you look closely at an opal you will see that it captures a wide range of beautiful things; I think it looks like the highlands and the empty seas of the surface of the moon, set in the soft shimmer that is usually only reserved to Mother of Pearls, while reflecting all the colours of the rainbow, a starry sky and the shimmer of the Mediterranean Sea!  Yes, somehow it has captured all the most beautiful elements of nature:


Vintage Opal and gold necklace

Vintage Opal and gold necklace

Almost 95% of all opals come from the remote deserts in Australia, and is considered to be their national gemstone.  I just love this aboriginal legend of how the opals were first created:

“… the Creator came down to Earth on a rainbow to bring the message of peace to humans and at the point where his foot touched the earth, the stones started sparkling and came alive with all the colours of the rainbow.  Thus was the birth of Opals!”  (1)

Opals were quite rare until mid 19th century, when the first Opal blocks were found on an Australian cattle station called Tarravilla.  The mining of opals started in 1890 at White Cliff, which together with Lightning Ridge, Andamooka and Coober Peddy are the legendary sites of opal mining in Australia.  As I am sure you can imagine, opals soon became one of the most popular gemstones around the world, and the Art Deco era especially loved them as they were so well suited to be combined with enamel – a very popular material at the time.

Antique opal earrings at Richard Ogden

Antique opal and diamond earrings at Richard Ogden

However, we didn’t know what caused the lovely colour play in opals until the 1960s, when some Australian scientists analysed the gemstone with an electron microscope and discovered that small spheres from silica gel caused interference and refraction manifestations, that were responsible for this phenomenon. (2)   These spheres divide the light that passes through the stone and turns it into all the beautiful colours of the rainbow!      

Vintage Opal and gold necklace

Vintage Opal and gold necklace

So if you own a piece of opal jewellery you will be very happy to hear it loves to be worn on your skin!  Since the stone consists of various degrees of water, it can become brittle if left in a box unworn for a long time.  However, when you wear it on your skin it receives the required humidity from your skin and the air around you. (3)  It is quite a soft stone and only reaches 5 or 6 on the Mohs’ scale (whereas Rubies and Sapphires reach 9 and Diamonds 10, as you might remember from last week’s blog post Ruby – the King of the Gemstones).

Opal and gold necklace

Wear Me!  That is what your opal jewellery would say if they could speak.  By wearing them you will allow the opals to soak up some well-needed humidity that helps preserve the stone and prevent it from going brittle, as it is party made up of water – so don’t be shy to wear your opals as much as your heart desires! 


    (1) Opals on Black

(2) Gem Select

(3) Gemstone.org

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