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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Weddings at Irene Country Lodge, South Africa

Good morning sweetheart, I hope you have had a lovely week so far.  Mine has been just wonderful, and very busy, which is why our Monday-post is now a Wednesday-post!  It is however one of my favourite posts to write until this very day, as we are visiting the divine Irene Country Lodge in South Africa:

Irene Country Lodge, Centurion, South Africa, Wedding Venue

The view that greets you as you enter the coutryard of Irene Country Lodge – the weddings are held at the far end in this photo, with a view of the lake ahead

You might remember that we briefly popped by the Lodge in last week’s post Wedding Fair at the Irene Country Lodge, and today we are looking closer at what the Lodge itself has to offer our lovely bridal couples:

Irene Country Lodge Wedding Venue, South Africa

We just loved the decorations here – just look at the hay bales on the left, so romantic…

Irene Country Lodge Wedding Venue, South Africa

With a peaceful and tranquil view of the lake in the background this is such a beautiful setting for a wedding ceremony 

Irene Country Lodge Wedding Venue, South Africa

My mum loved how the chairs had been decorated: with just a simple piece of fabric in your favourite colour the whole venue is transformed!

What a beautiful place for a wedding!  The guests will be overlooking this lovely lake and the meadows that surround the Lodge and we just loved how the venue had been decorated.  My mum got a lot of inspiration from the bows on the chairs, that really changed the look of the whole venue.  All you need to do is add the ribbons to the chairs closest to the isle – or to a few randomly selected chairs, to create a beautiful setting like the one above.

Irene Country Lodge Wedding Venue, South Africa

With Irene Farm just a short walk away, beautiful details that bring our thoughts to the farm are to be found in the most elegant and subtle details  

The Lodge is in close cooperation with The Irene Dairy Farm, which is just a few minutes walk away, and a place that we will visit in a future post.  This is reflected in the loveliest little details, like the hay bales in a photo a little further down:

Irene Country Lodge Wedding Venue, South Africa

One of their ideas for decorating the wedding tables 

Wedding table decoration, Irene Country Lodge, South Africa

Pearls, roses and and candleholders

Wedding table decoration, Irene Country Lodge, South Africa

Wedding table at Irene Country Lodge

Irene Country Lodge Wedding Venue, South Africa

Sweet little reminders of the adjoining Irene Farm

You can find out more about weddings at Irene Country Lodge by clicking here.

Irene Country Lodge Wedding Venue, South Africa

The wedding ceremony venue is overlooking one of the most beautiful lakes in Gauteng with the lovely meadow in the background

We had the pleasure of trying the Presidential Suite at the Lodge, and I can so warmly recommend a night there for the newly weds (and anyone else who wants to stay in the most luxurious hotel room!).  Before I had seen the suite, a friend told me that staying there feels like being in the jungle, and I completely understand what they meant!  The balcony opens up to a hidden away Camdeboo forest and offers the most serene setting for a relaxing morning coffee or chilled lunch:

The balcony of the Presidential Suite at Irene Country Lodge

A view of the balcony in the Camdeboo Forest

… and the hotel room is just so beautiful, with the tallest ceilings, wonderful underfloor heating in the luxurious bathroom, and your own kitchen and drawing room area:

Presidential Suite at Irene Country Lodge

The beautiful bedroom…

The Presidential Suite at Irene Country Lodge

The kitchen and sitting room at the Presidential Suite at Irene Country Lodge

So, there we are good folks, a wonderful visit to Irene Country Lodge which is now my favourite place on earth.  I haven’t even mentioned the food there, and that was one of my absolute favourite parts of the stay!  We had scrumptious breakfasts in the restaurant where the chef was making us omelettes, scrambled eggs and pancakes to our hearts’ content – not to mention all the fresh fruit and juices.  The Library Bar saw far too much of us in the evenings, where we snacked away on sharing platters of hams and cheeses and had delicious cocktails and several bottles of bubbles!

Breakfast at Irene Country Lodge

My divine breakfast at the Lodge

Oh an I will take you to their glorious Camdeboo Spa next time…

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Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

You guys!  I worked at the most wonderful antiques fair over the weekend, Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair, and I wish I had had time to tell you about it last week, so that you could have visited!  The good thing is that the fair was such a success that it will most likely run again next year, and I will of course keep you updated on that!  Now, let me show you what the days were like – and why you will love to visit next year:

Petworth House 17th century mansion in Petworth

Petworth House 

Petworth House 17th century mansion in Petworth

Petworth House

Petworth House 17th century mansion in Petworth

The entrance to the grounds of Petworth House

Petworth House 17th century mansion in Petworth

Petworth House 

The fair took place on the beautiful grounds of Petworth House – and if you haven’t yet been,  I can tell you that it is the most extraordinary 17th century mansion – think Downton Abbey!  They have a magnificent art collection with works by Turner, Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake, ancient and Neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons.  The rooms are just breathtaking, and you wander through the Beauty Room – with paintings of all the fair ladies of the house hanging far above you and above the gilded mirrors that also adorn the room; the staircase room with the most beautiful curved staircase, a grand piano and sofas seated under the stairs, where you expect to see the Victorians kicking back and enjoying the music; not to mention the Carved Room with its extraordinary details on the walls – you just have to see it for yourself!

The Servants' Quarters at Petworth House 17th century mansion in Petworth

Entrance to the Servants’ Quarters at Petworth House

You can also visit the servants’ quarters, where you get the feeling of having stepped 200 years back in time!  The kitchen looks like it is about to be filled with cooks and maids, who any second will continue to stir the soup and cut the onions.

Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

At the fair there were around 40 exhibitors, predominantly members of the British Antique Dealers’ Association and LAPADA The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, showcasing furniture, jewellery, sculpture, glass, objets d’art and silver to oriental carpets, paintings, drawings and many other decorative and unique works.  This was our stand:

Richard Ogden at Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

Richard Ogden at Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

… and boy had we brought along some extraordinary pieces!

Richard Ogden and Moira Fine Jewels at Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

Here is just a small selection of what we brought along from Richard Ogden and Moira Fine Jewels…

Padparadscha Sapphire bracelet from Moira Fine Jewels

I am hopelessly in love with this Padparadscha Sapphire bracelet from Moira!  How stunning it would look with a white summer’s dress, or a black dress for that matter!  You can view it at Richard Ogden in the Burlington Arcade 

Padparadscha Sapphire bracelet from Moira Fine Jewels

Padparadscha sapphires are the orange/pink ones that you can see above.  They are just so rare and absolutely beautiful, that I couldn’t take my eyes off it during the fair!

Aquamarine and diamond necklace, and aquamarine and diamond ring from Richard Ogden and Moira Fine Jewels

We also brought along this beautiful aquamarine and diamond necklace, the aquamarine and diamond ring and a stunning amethyst and diamond ring – with a Siberian amethyst, which is distinguished by a tint of red in the purple.  And little Piggy Cufflinks on the fair right 

Golden bird of paradise with rubies and sapphires from Richard Ogden

I was wearing this beautiful Bird of Paradise in yellow gold, set with rubies and sapphires from Richard Ogden

So next year I recommend that you come by the fair, then continue on to Petworth House for a wander through this extraordinary mansion.  You can then finish off your trip with lunch in Petworth village, just a few minute walk Petworth House entrance, as it is the most quaint little historic market town, with picturesque streets and of course a wide range of shops and antique centres.

Spriggs Florist in Petworth

Spriggs Florist in Petworth – just one of the lovely little shops in the village

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Wedding Fair at the Irene Country Lodge

Hello my lovely and welcome back to the blog after three long weeks!  I have had the most wonderful time in South Africa and seen so many beautiful things that I want to share with you, so let’s start straight away:

Irene Country Lodge, Centurion, Gauteng

A view of the restaurant at the back of Irene Country Lodge, with the lake in the background

We stayed in a small town outside Pretoria called Irene, at Irene Country Lodge.  I would move into this hotel forever if I could – it is the most amazing place that I have every stayed at, and so many of my friends said the same thing.  We were served the most delicious food (a breakfast buffet to die for every morning); the rooms were big and spacious with glorious lake views and chickens roaming around freely on the grounds; not to mention their heavenly Camdeboo Spa where I spent far too many hours!

We will look closer at all of these, but first I want to invite you to the Wedding Fair that took place at the Lodge on 27th April:

Wedding Cheese Cakes from The Cheese Cake, South Africa

Absolutely adore this Wedding Cheese Cake from The Cheese Cake

Wedding Cheese Cakes from The Cheese Cake, South Africa

Nothing has been overlooked, and the cakes are accompanied by seasonal fruits, breads, crackers, jams and chutneys

Wedding Cheese Cakes from The Cheese Cake, South Africa

Beautiful displays of the scrumptious selections 

Wedding Cheese Cakes from The Cheese Cake, South Africa

Cranberry and cheese – one of my favourite combinations – and we love the display with the cheese dome and sign here

Beautifully presented Wedding Cheese Cakes from The Cheese Cake, where they have a sea of different cheese cake options for you wedding.  We are loving the presentation and the little quirky details that make it so special – and that will have your guests reminiscing for years to come!

Diamond Love Bridal Couture at the Irene Country Lodge Wedding Fair South Africa

Just a few of the beautiful dresses that you can find at Diamond Love Bridal Couture

Diamond Love Bridal Couture at the Irene Country Lodge Wedding Fair South Africa

Some lovely beadwork and beautiful fabric on this wedding dress

Diamond Love Bridal Couture at the Irene Country Lodge Wedding Fair South Africa

It is all about the lace and the pearls my friend

We also had a quick chat with the lady running Diamond Love Bridal Couture, and found out that they are an exclusive bridal boutique store elegant wedding dresses and accessories – stocking all the beautiful brands, like Enzoani, Kitty Chen Couture and Ivoire Los Angeles.

VW van for wedding photo booth from All About Photography

A retro VW van from All About Photography

Props to use for wedding photo booth pictures from All About Photography

Hats, wigs, umbrellas… everything you could possibly think of to make the wedding photos as fun as possible!

We then very much enjoyed meeting the guys behind All About Photography, who supply your wedding with an old VW van that caters as a retro photo booth!  They also had all kinds of wonderful props that you can use to make the pictures funny and crazy – I have seen these at weddings before, and believe me, after a few glasses of wine those photos get very interesting!  Such a wonderful idea though and if you are planning a wedding I do recommend checking these guys out for some unforgettable photos!

Okay we have some more stalls to visit, so I will save that until Wednesday… hopefully this gave you some ideas, for those of you who are planning weddings over in Pretoria!

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Magnificent Jewels at Sotheby’s Auction, New York

Hello dearest, so I will be going away for two weeks to our lovely South Africa, and since the weight of my laptop is about half the checked-in luggage allowance, I must leave the laptop behind and the blog will be back again the week starting 4th of May!  But before I bid you farewell, I have a few wonderful jewellery events to share with you:

Magnificent Jewels by Sotheby’s on 21 April at 3pm

Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction is coming up on 21 April and here on the blog we are just beyond ourselves with excitement:  many of the pieces are spring-themed and all these beautiful colours and designs just make us want to dress up in pastels, sun hats and light summer dresses.  We have also learnt that Sotheby’s will be partnering with eBay on this occasion, so it will be the first time the jewellery sale is available on eBay’s live auctions platform.  It means that even if we are not in New York, and even if we can’t afford these amazing pieces, we can still watch the bidding live – a bit like some high-end auction-window-shopping really!  And I have of course picked out a few pieces that I thought you might love:

153. Platinum Padparadscha Sapphire Ring by Cartier, from Sotheby's Auction on eBay

153. PLATINUM, PADPARADSCHA SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING, CARTIER
Estimate $125,000 – $150,000  Centering a square-cut padparadscha sapphire weighing approximately 13.10 carats, accented by single-cut diamonds weighing approximately .25 carat, size 5¾, signed Cartier, numbered 3998311.

What an extraordinary stone!  We haven’t yet learnt about Padparadscha Sapphires here on the blog, but will do in an upcoming post.  The definition of Padparadscha Sapphires is debated within the jewellery community, but many agree that it captures sapphires that hold a colour between pink and orange.  Unusual and just beyond beautiful!
18ct gold Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring from Sotheby's Auction on eBay

78. 18 KARAT GOLD, FANCY VIVID YELLOW DIAMOND AND DIAMOND RING, BULGARI
Estimate $30,000 – $40,000 Of stylized floral design, centering a round Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond weighing 2.04 carats, accented by round diamonds weighing approximately 4.50 carats, gross weight approximately 12 dwts, size 6¼, with expandable shank, signed Bulgari, inscribed CM 2.04.

Oh I just love the spring-colour combination in the ring above!  Yellow diamonds are glorious in their own right and fetch very high prices – often higher than colourless diamonds – and paired up with white diamonds and yellow gold in the Bulgari design above encapsulates a sunny spring day for me!

81 Star Sapphire in White Gold from Sotheby's Auction on eBay

81. WHITE GOLD, STAR SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING
Estimate $15,000 – $20,000 Centering a cabochon star sapphire measuring approximately 18.1 by 14.7 by 12.6 mm, framed by round and baguette diamonds weighing approximately 2.60 carats, size 6.

Given my obsession with star sapphires I just had to include the ring above.  It is like looking at a starry sky in a clear night – magnificent!  We already know that in 100 sapphires found, only three will be star sapphires – and only one of these three will have a beautiful star as well as a beautiful colour, in case you remember the blog post A Star Ruby Romance.
114. Platinum Emerald and Diamond Bracelet at Sotheby's Auction on eBay

114. PLATINUM, DIAMOND AND EMERALD BRACELET
Estimate $15,000 – $20,000  Set with square, baguette, old European and single-cut diamonds weighing approximately 14.20 carats, accented by pear-shaped and calibré-cut emeralds, length 7¼ inches, one small diamond missing; circa 1930.

I was delighted to find this circa 1930s bracelet in such a distinct Art Deco design.  The emeralds have such a vivid green colour and there is nothing better than old cut diamonds – you know the kind that outshines and out-sparkles any modern cut diamonds when worn in a candle light-setting?
169. Platinum Diamond Pendant from Sotheby's Auction on eBay

169. HIGHLY IMPORTANT PLATINUM AND DIAMOND PENDANT NECKLACE
Estimate $3,800,000 – $4,200,000  The pear-shaped diamond weighing 52.26 carats, suspended from a chain set with eight round diamonds weighing .87 carat, length adjusts from 16 to 17 inches.

I just had to include this diamond pendant with an exquisite pear-shaped diamond.  A girl can always dream, right?  So let’s keep an eye on the auction to see how much these stunning pieces end up going for – and if you click onto the event page you will be able to dive into the rest of the collection…
Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall

Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall

And before I go I also have to tell you about another exciting event, which takes place a little closer to home: The Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair at Old Chelsea Town Hall.  Very pleased to be presenting the flyer above, which you must print and bring along to the fair on 26 April at Chelsea Old Town Hall, for your half-price entry!

Afternoon tea at Blackbird Tea Rooms at the Frock Me! Vintage Fair

Afternoon tea at Blackbird Tea Rooms at the Frock Me! Vintage Fair

We are already familiar with this fabulous fair, but for any readers, it is London’s leading vintage fashion and textiles fair and they have the most amazing vintage and designer pieces on display!  Our favourite cafe, Blackbird Tea Rooms, will of course also be there, and thinking about it, I haven’t yet posted from my last visit:

Afternoon tea at Blackbird Tea Rooms at the Frock Me! Vintage Fair

It is 7:45am as I am writing this, and I am now having massive cravings for Afternoon Tea!!

And if you haven’t been yet I would so recommend that you go!  The best thing is when the most unexpected things just jump out at you and you find yourself coming home with a beautiful collection of vintage clothes and accessories!

Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair / Sunday 26 April / 11am- 5.30pm

I now wish you a wonderful day in the sunshine and I will see you again on Wednesday 6th May!

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The Victorian Carved Half Hoop Ring

Victorian half hoop ring with sapphires and diamonds from Richard Ogden

An extraordinary original Victorian half hoop ring with sapphires and diamonds, this one is from Richard Ogden

Good morning dearest, I hope you had a lovely weekend in the sunshine!  Gosh this spring is really taking its time, and it has more than once made me think of a poem by the Swedish author Karin Boye:

Ja visst gör det ont när knoppar brister.
Varför skulle annars våren tveka?
Varför skulle all vår heta längtan
bindas i det frusna bitterbleka?
Höljet var ju knoppen hela vintern.
Vad är det för nytt, som tär och spränger?
Ja visst gör det ont när knoppar brister,
ont för det som växer
och det som stänger.

– Karin Boye

 Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking.
Why else would the springtime falter?
Why would all our ardent longing
bind itself in frozen, bitter pallor?
After all, the bud was covered all the winter.
What new thing is it that bursts and wears?
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking,
hurts for that which grows
and that which bars.

 

And now it is time to move over to jewellery!  I have been showing my clients quite a few carved Victorian half hoop rings lately and thought that we should take a closer look today:

Victorian three stone half hoop ring in yellow gold at Richard Ogden, the Burlington Arcade

Victorian three stone half hoop ring in yellow gold at Richard Ogden

Victorian three stone half hoop ring in yellow gold at Richard Ogden, the Burlington Arcade

A side-view of the ring, with the carvings clearly visible   

Victorian three stone half hoop ring in yellow gold at Richard Ogden, the Burlington Arcade

A collection of three stone half hoop rings at Richard Ogden – you can see how the designs vary, in everything from the cut or shape of the diamonds, to the width and design of the mounts 

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Victorian craftsmen started designing carved half hoop rings in the 1880s and they would either be worn as engagement rings or presented as gifts at the birth of a baby.  The rings came with three, five or seven stones, and featured either all diamonds, or all rubies/sapphires/emeralds, or alternating diamonds and these coloured precious stones.  Women would build up a nice collection of the rings, often with one in each colour: red, blue, green and white.

Victorian half hoop ring with sapphires and diamonds from Richard Ogden

A beautiful sapphire and diamond ring, with little rose diamond points in between the larger gemstones

Victorian half hoop ring with sapphires and diamonds from Richard Ogden

And a side view of the Victorian sapphire and diamond half hoop ring 

Mr Alastair Norman from Harvey & Gore mentioned that today Victorian half hoop rings would make excellent engagement rings, as they sit perfectly next to a wedding ring.  He also emphasised what wonderful quality coloured stones you can find in the early Victorian half hoop rings, the exquisite blue sapphire above here being the perfect example.

The rings would also feature little rose diamond points (in other words tiny diamonds in a rose cut) in between the bigger stones – you can see them in the photo above: tiny little fractions of a diamond at the foot of the sapphire and the diamond.

Victorian Half Hoop Ring with seven diamonds

A Victorian-style half hoop ring with seven diamonds

The ring above belongs to one of my colleagues, Mrs C, who was kind enough to share it and its history with us today.  It is a seven diamond Victorian-style carved half hoop ring (that is a mouthful!) that was given to her grandmother as an engagement ring circa 1918.  It is quite rare to see a seven stone ring, and when her grandmother received it she was told by her fiancée that it represented Seven Days of Joy – how wonderful indeed!

Mrs C’s grandfather was a Master Baker on one of the merchant ships during the First World War.  After the war he became a baker and quite a successful one, because at one point he was running three bakeries!  Mrs C told me that the family lived in the bakery, and at one point the engagement ring went missing “as one of the members of staff had pinched it!”  They managed to get it back though, and it was eventually passed down through generations, always to the youngest daughter in the family, which is why it now belongs to her.

And just for our curiosity: the single diamond ring that Mrs C is wearing in the photo above was her mother’s engagement ring, who got married in 1960.  According to her mother and father the ring was brand new at that point, but we are both convinced that it is an older ring, because it features a beautiful old cut diamond in a 1920/30s setting.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this Victorian design; could you imagine wearing one of these as an engagement ring?  What attracts you to it, and what doesn’t?

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