Vintage Wedding Pearl Tiara from Arabella Bianco

You guys… when I was at Arabella Bianco’s in Grays Antique Centre the other week I came across a vintage wedding tiara with a pair of matching earrings – they are adorned with faux pearls and diamante accents *swoon*

It came in this beautiful little fitted box and it is just so lovely when they go that extra mile and make the whole jewellery shopping experience much more special by adding details like these!  The design is Thomas Sabo (I have written about their vintage jewellery before, in case you remember the green tourmaline earrings from the post Tourmaline and silver earrings from Cape Town?

Vintage wedding pearl and gold crown, Arabella Bianco at Grays Antique Centre

The specially madeVintage wedding pearl and gold crown, Arabella Bianco at Grays Antique Centre

And yes, I may have tried it on – just for the fun of it!  And I looooove it!  At the moment – and for a little while now – my favourite jewellery comes with pearls set in gold, preferably with some sparkle to them, and these beauties tick all the boxes! Can you imagine how beautifully it’ll go with a boho style wedding dress, hair a little wavy and unruly:

They are so amazing at Arabella Bianco when it comes to picking out these special little pieces, that transform a whole outfit and make it unique and so you!  I have said it before and I will say it again – do pop by Vintage Modes in Grays Antique Centre, as the most fabulous vintage costume jewellery can be found on the lower ground floor, at shops like Arabella’s.  Love!!

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Michelle Lindsell Wedding Photographer in a Midwinter Night’s Tale

I had the privilege to work with creative wedding photographer Michelle Lindsell the other day and I have so been looking forward to bringing you her beautiful work:

Iida Heikkinen Midvinternatt Michelle Lindsell Photography

Michelle Lindsell Photography for my album Midvinternatt

We worked together on my Christmas album Midvinternatt.  Midvinternatt means Midwinter’s Night in Swedish, and for the photo shoot I decided to wear my very favourite vintage midnight blue dress from Vintage Shrewd.  It was an absolute joy to work with Michelle – she gave me such brilliant instructions on what to think about to get a certain sentiment in the photo and how to stand to bring out the best in the dress – very important!  I also love how she was able to pick a clearing in the forest in Barnes, London, that turned out to be the perfect backdrop to the photos!

Michelle is first and foremost a creative wedding photographer and having known her for many years I can only vouch for what a romantic she is, and how perfectly she has found her calling in life, eternalising people’s most romantic moments!  You will see in her photos that she has a way of capturing the stillness and love during a couples’ wedding day – a day that is so often characterised by excitement and buzz.

I also love how she captures and presents the fun and joyful moments, to that make you feel as though you were present at the very second that the photo was taken:

So to all you lovely brides-to-be who are looking for a wedding photographer; take a look on Michelle’s website and see if she might in fact be your dream catcher.

And if you are curious to take a closer look at my Christmas album, you can find it on iTunes: Iida – Midvinternatt,  There are five tracks on it; a bit of Christmas love from Finland, some from Sweden and a few beloved songs that you might recognise.  Merry Christmas dear!

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Moira Fine Jewellery at Richard Ogden in the Burlington Arcade

Cushion-cut diamond ring, 5.57ct old-cut diamond, with micro pave-set round brilliant-cut diamond surround and shoulders, mounted in platinum from Moira Fine Jewellery

Such a beautiful cushion-cut diamond ring, with a 5.57ct old-cut diamond, micro pave-set round brilliant-cut diamond surround and shoulders from Moira Fine Jewellery

I am so pleased to bring you today’s post, where we are getting to know Moira Fine Jewellery, a family-owned antique jewellery shop with the most beautiful jewellery collection.  My favourite part is probably the 1920s section – they always have me dreaming away to the Great Gatsby cocktail parties with beautiful flapper dresses and fabulous Art Deco clutches and hairpieces!

Antique diamond set cluster ring, mounted in 18ct yellow. Probably late Victorian from Moira Fine Jewellery

Antique diamond set cluster ring, mounted in 18ct yellow – probably late Victorian.  From Moira Fine Jewellery

Their collection ranges from twentieth century signed originals from design houses like Cartier, Tiffany & Co, van Cleef & Arples – obviously the fabulous Art Deco period, as well as 1940s gold work, and over to the modernist creations of the 1950s to the 1980s (think big and bold!).  They also carry a selection of classic and vintage engagement rings that get a LOT of attention from the people passing by the shop!

A vintage 18ct yellow and white gold, evening clutch bag, set with diamonds, by Chaumet. Circa 1950s. From Moira Fine Jewellery

A vintage 18ct yellow and white gold, evening clutch bag, set with diamonds, by Chaumet. Circa 1950s. From Moira Fine Jewellery

The family has built their stunning antique jewellery range with regular exhibitions in Palm Beach, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas; the Far East – Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore; and Europe – the Olympia and LAPADA London shows.  It is so much fun seeing all the jewellery get packed up to be taken across the world – and to see what returns to the shop afterwards!

Diamond set long drop earrings in platinum with a total of 11.44ct of round brilliant-cut, baguette-cut and briolette-cut diamonds. From Moira Fine Jewellery

Aaaand how much do we love these?  Can you imagine them as wedding earrings for example, with a beautiful vintage wedding dress?  Diamond set long drop earrings in platinum with a total of 11.44ct of round brilliant-cut, baguette-cut and briolette-cut diamonds – from Moira Fine Jewellery

And those of you who follow us on Instagram have already seen some of their beautiful pieces that I have had the pleasure of playing around with in the shop:

Moira Fine Jewellery Diamond Stud Earrings

A pair of 4ct diamond stud earrings from Moira Fine Jewellery 

Antique style snake bracelets from Moira Fine Jewellery

Antique style snake bracelets from Moira Fine Jewellery – the one on the left being my very favourite, which I would love to wear with a white dress and some more mixed colour jewellery – gold and sparkle

Aquamarine and diamond pendant from Moira Fine Jewellery

A heavenly aquamarine and diamond pendant

So if you are looking for the most exquisite pieces of antique and vintage jewellery – and some contemporary pieces made in a classic style, then you really must pop by Richard Ogden in the Burlington Arcade, where the collection of Moira Fine Jewellery is on display.

Moira Fine Jewellery at Richard Ogden, 28 Burlington Arcade, London, W1J 0NX

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December Birthstones – Turquoise and Tanzanite

If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate’er you do.

This was the twelfth birthstone poem in Tiffany & Co’s pamphlet from 1870, “of unknown author”, where we learn that Turquoise is the December birthstone.  In 2002 the American Gem Trade Association also added Tanzanite as a December birthstone.

Tanzanite and Diamond rings at the Jewel Tree, Cape Town, South Africa

Tanzanite and Diamond rings at the Jewel Tree, Cape Town, South Africa

We learnt all about Tanzanites in the blog post You Brilliant Tanzanite back in November 2013, after my visit to South Africa where they have a lot of lovely Tanzanite jewellery.  Just to refresh our memories, this blueish/purple stone was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, and Tiffany & Co brought it to the world in 1969 – and it received a very warm welcome indeed!  These days only small scarps of Tanzanite are found in the mines and the general consensus is that there is a supple of another 15-20 years left, before we completely run out, which only increases the demand for this beautiful gem.  Tanzanite is said to calm an overactive mind, to help you relax, slow down, and bring you back into balance.

Antique Turquoise Brooch Sweden

Antique Turquoise Brooch Sweden

So I am a HUGE fan of turquoise, December’s original birthstone.  There is just something about its beautiful, soft colour and appearance that appeals to me – and the fact that it is my grandmother’s favourite gem might obviously have something to do with it!  In the photo above I am wearing a turquoise brooch that was found in the fascinating house in Sweden that I wrote about last year in the blog posts: A Window Into Early 20th Century Sweden – one of my favourite blog posts to date!

Turquoise brooch and earrings

Turquoise brooch and earrings

The turquoise has covered so many different countries; travelling to Europe via Turkey (where it received its name), having been a favourite among the Ancient Egyptians, the early Victorians, as well as the Navajo Indians.  It is believed to protect its user from falls, and was attached to the bridles of the Turkish soldiers’ horses.  It is also believed to change colour due to the condition of its wearer – growing pale if the person is sick and regaining a stronger colour every day when transferred to a new, healthy owner (or hopefully changing colour as the owner that was unwell starts feeling better again!)  It is also believed to bring luck, success, ambition and creativity to its wearer.  So Happy Birthday to all of you sweet December children – now go and enjoy your lovely birthstones!

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Christmas Gift Ideas and the beauty of Vintage shopping

Vintage Shrewd Dorking Surrey

Most fabulous collection of vintage clothing and accessories at Vintage Shrewd in Dorking

So it seems like the trend for Christmas shopping this year is choosing sustainable and environmentally friendly presents, which I think is lovely, with vintage and antiques being just what we were looking for!

I visited Vintage Shrewd yesterday – yep, they are also open on Sundays throughout December – and I found a million things that I wanted to buy!  There was a 1960s minidress in bold colours and patterns; a 1940s evening dress with the most delicate buttons at the back; and everything from vintage clutches and handbags to pretty sleepwear and gorgeous coats!

The most beautiful vintage evening dresses at Vintage Shrewd

The most beautiful vintage evening dresses at Vintage Shrewd

Just take a look at all the beautiful vintage hats and accessories in the top photo – you are bound to find the perfect present among these!  And the vintage evening dresses above were to die for – I tried on the canary yellow dress to the left and it was the most stunning 1960s piece!  A little bit too big for me, but the right lady will enjoy it for many many years to come.  And how about the red dress to the top right?  Ahhh can someone throw be a party so that I can get all dressed up in an evening dress!?

Vintage Shrewd

Some fabulous night attire from Vintage Shrewd

One of my favourite things when it comes to buying vintage is knowing that the person who receives the gift gets something unique.  Their dress won’t be worn by three others at the Christmas drinks, and their handbag won’t adorn every arm on the streets of London, Stockholm, Helsinki and Cape Town!  The fact that the price is just a fraction of what we pay for contemporary fashion and the quality a million times better are obviously just huge bonuses.

Christmas Brooches at Vintage Shrewd

Christmas Brooches at Vintage Shrewd

Christmas Brooches at Vintage Shrewd

I love these little guys – so very retro! 

I loved this little collection of Christmas brooches – such a fun little talking point when worn to a Christmas party, maybe securing a lovely scarf around your neck…

Christmas Brooches at Vintage Shrewd

Christmas Brooches at Vintage Shrewd

So let’s take the opportunity this Christmas to encourage our independent vintage and antiques shops, by buying our Christmas presents there.  Shopping with a good conscience is always a treat, and for me this is definitely one way of making that happen!

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The Trifari Birthstone Range at Arabella Bianco in Grays Antique Centre

 

I popped by Grays Antiques the other day to look at Arabella Bianco’s collection, which was a treat as always!  I am definitely getting my Christmas presents from these lovely vintage jewellery dealers instead of fighting my way through the crowds on Oxford Street!  I have already seen a bunch of beautiful and unique pieces, and if you are thinking along the same lines then definitely try Grays Antiques Market!

At Arabella Bianco’s I was drawn to the bracelets and necklaces in the photo above and Lesley, the owner, told me that they come from a Trifary collection from the 60s/70s.  They are simulated birthstones for each month and I was delighted to stumble across the above article from the Beaver County times, 22 March 1973.

Birthstone bracelet by Trifari at Arabella Bianco at Grays Antiques

Birthstone bracelet by Trifari at Arabella Bianco at Grays Antiques

Above we have January’s Garnet and February’s Amethysts, and below April’s Diamonds.  In newspaper adverts from the 70s we could read that the designs were the perfect way of  “celebrating the month that she was born” and that “one way to her heart was Trifari” – I love it!  It is also great that they come in white and yellow gold tones (not real gold though as it is costume jewellery after all) as it gives us more choice when it comes to styling them with our outfits.

April's Diamond Birthstone from Trifari

April’s Diamond Birthstone from Trifari at Arabella Bianco

We have learnt about Trifari in an earlier blog post: A Trifari Vintage Treasure, so do revisit that post if you can’t quite remember the fascinating story about this design house.

April's Diamond Birthstone from Trifari

April’s Diamond Birthstone from Trifari – at Arabella Bianco in Grays Antique Centre

So do make sure that you put Grays Antiques on your list of places to visit for your Christmas shopping, as I can promise you that you will find some unique and beautiful pieces of jewellery, to surprise and delight your family and friends with this Christmas!

Grays Antique Centre

58 Davies Street
& 1-7 Davies Mews
London, W1K 5AB

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A December Vitamin Boost Post

Vredenheim Wildlife and Winery, Cape Town, South Africa

The beautiful Manor House from 1789 at Vredenheim Wildlife and Winery, Cape Town

Good evening my lovely, I hope you have had a really nice day!  I have been looking through my photos today as I wanted to bring you a really interesting post, but instead of getting my heart set on certain pieces of jewellery, some very different pictures drew me to them:

View of the False Bay coast in South Africa

False Bay 

Penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town

Penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town

Penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town

The guy on the left was too cool for school – he decided to take a nap!

Boulders Beach, Cape Town

These wonderful little creatures reside in Boulders Beach and to stray along the beach, to look for some fun, new places to hang out

Penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town

Heeey, ‘sup guys?  Think I’m gonna go for a dive!

Chapmans Peak Drive, South Africa

Chapmans Peak Drive, South Africa

When you do go to South Africa and Cape Town, you must take the drive up Chapman’s Peak – the views are just incredible, as you can see above!

Orange Irises at Vredenheim, Cape Town, South Africa

Orange Irises at Vredenheim, Cape Town

Red Rose at Vredenheim in Cape Town, South Africa

Red Rose at Vredenheim in Cape Town, South Africa

And then there was of course the beautiful flora at Vredenheim Wildlife and Winery.

I hope this has brought you a bit of happiness and joy on such a midwinter’s day!  I feel that I need to look at beautiful summer photos from time to time to remind myself of what I have to look forward to in just a few months!  And all you lucky South Africans who are in the middle of your glorious summer – enjoy!!!

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Antique Jewellery Heaven at Richard Ogden and Moira Jewels

With Christmas season upon us I have been having far too much fun playing around with the jewellery in the shop, so I thought I would give you a little sneak peek into what I got up to last week:

TIffany necklace from Moira Jewels

21ct diamond necklace from Tiffany & Co at Moira Jewels

Eeeeeh just a little something I threw on!  This is the most stunning diamond necklace from Tiffany’s, which belongs to Moira Jewels at Richard Ogden.  Fit for any old Christmas party I say!  Next time you walk through the Burlington Arcade, do make sure to peek into our windows at Richard Ogden – the centre one is extra prominent at the moment with a glorious selection of Moira’s jewellery!

Tiffany diamond necklace 21 ct from Moira Jewels

Close up on the Tiffany diamond necklace…

… and then I may have found my way to our pink window…

Pink sapphire and diamond rings from Richard Ogden

Pink sapphire and diamond rings from Richard Ogden

Oopsy!  I couldn’t help myself.  On the far left you can see a five stone Garnet gold ring.  Five graduated oval almandine garnets are set with rose cut diamond points and it is all mounted in a Victorian style carved claw setting in yellow gold.

Next to it you can see a HUGE purple Tourmaline and diamond cluster ring, where the tourmaline is cabochon cut and surrounded by a single row of brilliant cut diamonds.  

One my ring finger I am wearing a Tourmaline (7.03 carats!) and diamond cluster ring.  Such a sweet design which I know will woo a few of you.  I just love cluster rings by the way, and I believe that Diana – and now Kate Middleton’s sapphire and diamond cluster ring has eternalised the design.  I get so many people coming in to look at cluster rings, and mainly the sapphire and diamond ones – understandably!  

Continuing on to the far right, you can see my very favourite ring in the whole shop: the Star Ruby whose acquaintance we made in the blog post: A Star Ruby Romance.  It is just such an extraordinary design and I can’t wait to see who ends up buying it!

Sooo that was an enjoyable way of finishing off my Friday afternoon and I can’t wait to go back in again tomorrow to see what new (old) pieces I will have to try on!

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Suffragette Jewellery

Suffragette Jewellery at Richard Ogden

An extraordinary set of suffragette jewellery from Moira Jewels at Richard Ogden.  Purple is represented by amethysts, green by peridots and white by pearls.

This exceptional piece of jewellery, referred to as Suffragette Jewellery, came into the shop the other day and since suffragette jewellery has such an important and fascinating role in history, I thought that we would take a closer look:

Suffragette Jewellery at Richard Ogden

Suffragette Jewellery from Moira Jewels

The term Suffrage means the right to vote through the democratic process and in the late 19th and early 20th century members of women’s organisation movements  were referred to as Suffragettes.  In 1897 the The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) was formed.  The NUWSS weren’t very successful in their progress for the cause, something that a few members found very frustrating, and in 1903 campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst broke away from the party and founded The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) together with her daughters.  

Suffragette Jewellery at Richard Ogden

Suffragette Jewellery at Moira Jewels 

The motto of the WSPU was “Deeds not Words” and they took a rather militant approach to campaigning, when compared to other suffragist group at the time; committing acts of arson and vandalism and going on hunger strikes when imprisoned.  You may have heard of Emily Davison, who died after jumping out of the crowd in front of King George V’s racehorse in the Epsom Derby in June 1913.

In 1906 the British press started referring to the ladies as Suffragettes and there was widespread support for the cause from the public.  In 1908 the official colours of WSPU were declared: Purple stood for dignity, White for purity and Green for hope – and you can see these three colours in the pictures above and below.  The WSPU’s honorary treasurer Mrs Pethick Lawrence described the meaning of the colours as:

“Purple…is the royal colour…It stands for
the royal blood that flows in the veins of
every suffragette, the instinct of freedom
and dignity…white stands for purity in
private and public life…green is the colour
of hope and the emblem of spring.”

Suffragette Jewellery at Richard Ogden

Suffragette Jewellery from Moira Jewels

Protesters in their hundreds would wear the colours and march behind similarly coloured banners – and Mappin & Webb, London jewellers to royalty, issued a catalogue of Suffragette Jewellery in time for Christmas 1908.  The same year 30,000 women took part in a demonstration in Hyde Park and they all wore accessories in these colours to  express their commitment to the cause.  Between a quarter and half a million people came to watch this extraordinary march.

Suffragette Jewellery at Richard Ogden

A beautiful suffragette bracelet at Moira Jewels in Richard Ogden, the Burlington Arcade

In 1909, leading suffragettes Emmeline Pankhurst and Louise Eates were both presented with specially commissioned pieces in purple, white and green.  In 1917 the WSPU changed their name to The Women’s Party and finally, in 1918 British women over the age of 30, who met certain property qualifications, were given the right to vote.  In 1928 suffrage was extended to all women over the age of 21.

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Citrine and Topaz – the November Birthstones

“Who first comes to this world below
With drear November’s fog and snow,
Should prize the topaz’s amber hue,
Emblem of friends and lovers true.”

Above is the November birthstone poem included in Tiffany & Co’s pamphlet from 1870, “of unknown author”.  So the traditional birthstone for November is the Topaz, however, the Citrine is considered November’s contemporary birthstone, as it is more reasonably priced and also more easily available than the topaz.

RIchard Ogden Ring Square cut topaz weighing an estimated 7.50 carats mounted in 18ct yellow gold, by Hemmerle, Munich.

From Richard Ogden square cut topaz, by Hemmerle, Munich

The topaz was given its name by the Romans, who discovered the stone on a small island in the Red Sea called Topazos.  Just to make things a bit more confusing; they also found the citrine on this very island, and I can assure you that these two gemstones can be very difficult to tell apart!  As history would have it, the topaz spent the rest of its life getting confused and mixed up with other gemstones, and most often with the citrine, as the two stones are very similar in colour – their shape and form are however different and helps us to tell them apart.

Citrine Ring ca 1960/70s

Citrine Ring ca 1960/70s, Decades of Elegance

The topaz comes in a wide range of colours – pure topaz is colourless yet with the addition of for example chromium, we get red and pink hues.  The most sought after colour is a reddish orange one, called Imperial Topaz, which can resemble the exceptional Padparadscha sapphire that I have mentioned before, but that I am yet to write a blog post about.  Topaz can also be found in tones of green, blue, yellow and brown – and these have all been mistaken for various other gemstones through times.  As a result of all these misconceptions, the topaz has been assigned a world of different healing properties!  It is associated with constancy, loyalty, faithfulness and friendship, as the poem above so beautifully points out.  It is also believed to help with health problems, including curing fever, asthma and insomnia.  Topaz is today found in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.

The topaz was popular amongst the royals during the Middle Ages and in the 13th century it was believed that a falcon engraved into a topaz would help its wearer cultivate the goodwill of kings, princes and magnates (2).

The other birthstone for November, the citrine, is known as the “healing quartz”.  It is believed to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer (3).  We can find the citrine in a wide range of colours; from pastel yellow to dark brownish orange and it is most frequently found in Brazil, Bolivia, and Spain.  There are so many wonderful things to say about the citrine, as it is known in crystal work as a success and prosperity stone – to the point that it is called the “Success Stone”! (4)

Sources:

(1) Birthday Gems

(2) EarthSky

(3) American Gem Society – Citrine 
(4) Crystal and Jewelry
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