In the middle of running errands, I realized I had a free hour. Fortunately I was very near a local antique mall that I had been meaning to visit. I still have to get used to the idea of antique malls, till we moved to the U.S., antiques malls were an unknown concept to me. I’m still not certain to love the idea but it does make browsing a lot easier when the stalls are all in one place.
Anyway, while visiting this particular one, there was hardly any interesting jewelry and no beads either. Just before leaving, I decided to check out the last glass case and here is where I found two beautiful glass buckles and a cross pendant. The colors on these pieces are so rich and saturated that this picture doesn’t do it justice. These pieces are from Bohemia and date back to the early 1920s. It’s possible that these pieces came from Jablonec, at that time, a huge glassmaking center in Bohemia. During its heyday in the 20s, some 45,000 people were working in the production and trade of glass beads, buttons and jewelry. Sadly this once robust industry is a shadow of its former self. Many of the glass factories are shuttered down and many of the old glass makers have no one to pass on their craft.
That’s why every time I see pieces like these, I snap them up. I love incorporating them in new pieces and giving them a new lease in life.
Hello friends, how is your week coming along? I’ve been a bit neglectful because I’ve been somewhat preoccupied but to make up for it, I decided to share with you some of the interesting things I’ve seen at the last antique show I had the pleasure of attending.
I didn’t have a very long time to spend at the show. In fact I told myself I’d do a quick round and go. Of course I ended spending more time than I should because there were so many things to look at. Not so much furniture and big antique pieces, but there were loads of beautiful jewelry and interesting curios and knick-knacks.
First thing that caught my eye were these gorgeous boxes and photograph albums (pictured above). They are celluloid covered boxes and were very much in vogue between 1893 and 1910. There’s something so lady like and delicate about them though I’d be hard pressed to know what I would do with them now.
And just look at these pretty and unused powder puffs from Germany from the turn of the century. They were certainly the prettiest powder puffs I’ve ever seen and a far cry from the industrial ones they sell now Honestly, I was tempted to bring home one for me. There is something so decadent about them don’t you think?
Then I saw one lady with her amazing collection of compact cases. In the early 20s up to the 30s, ladies didn’t carry around huge cavernous bags like we do now. They would swan about with their necessaries,(hence they were called necessaries)– and by this it meant powder and rouge and they came in these pretty designs and shapes.
The lady whose booth I was in has been collecting them for the past 20 years and I have to say that her collection is pretty amazing. These two photos are but a fraction of what she has. I just love them for no other reason than that they’re pretty and as someone once pointed out, it only takes three to make a collection.
Lest you think I only looked at all the girlie things I could look at, I did spend some time admiring some gorgeous Straffordshire and wouldn’t you know it, I was taken by that cute teapot lamp. Oh wait, do these count as girlie things too?
Ultimately though, I came home with other things. And that dear friends, is the topic of the next blog post!
Hello dear friends, I hope you had a wonderful and restful weekend! It was a pretty quiet one chez nous though I did manage to go to a flea market. Its been awhile since I did a flea market post and today, I thought I’d share with you some of the more interesting items that I saw.
The first item that caught my eye was this vintage Barbie board game from the 60s. I have never seen a Barbie board game before and this one was in wonderful condition. There are tokens for 4 players and the winner gets to be …drumroll please…Queen of the Prom!! It looked like a fun enough game and I hesitated long and hard about whether I should get it. Finally, I put it down because I kept thinking about the kind of message this kind of game would send to a little girl. Would it be a good or bad message? At the end of the day, its just a game and probably good for a laugh but I’ll leave this question to be answered by another…
I noticed that a number of booths were carrying commemorative pins such as this one and I loved how they’re packed individually. This booth had literally boxes and boxes of pins and it made me wonder how long they’d been collecting them?
Another seller I saw collects vintage linens, some of which date back to the early years of the 20th century. She had the brilliant idea of turning some of them into pretty little pouches. Made to keep your delicate little unmentionables, no two pouches were alike and they hark back to a more genteel time.
Funnily enough, I didn’t find anything beads or findings that I could really use for work. I did find these books though that are perfect for work. I am especially excited to dive into the book on American jewelry. Most of my jewelry library is concentrated on European jewelry so I’m certain that this new one will be an important one to fill gaps in my jewelry education. And yes, I bought a book on hankies, I couldn’t resist because I love hankies and who knew there would be a book on that! As for the lace book, how could I pass it up given that my last puchase was….. this beautiful handmade 1940s lace jacket. I had to have it even though it is probably the most impractical, most delicate thing I could add to my garde-robe.
No matter, its beauty justifies itself. Do you often get the impulse to buy something just because it is beautiful? Tell me I’m not alone.
Hello friends, lat week I talked about my recent visit to the Puces de Vanves. Today, I want to share my finds from that visit. There were so many tempting things for sale but I decided to focus on things that I could use for work. It is after all the main reason why I was at the Puces. I think I was quite fortunate this time. I barely arrived when I found my first piece (pictured above). The seller had bought out someone’s metal stamping business and this piece was one of the last from that lot. While the design of this lady looks like it is from the early years of the 1900s, this piece was actually made in the 1960s. It is not that old but I love the design. And it even has the original tag from the business.
Another piece that I acquired dates back to almost the same period. This forget me not pendant made of little glass beads resembling turquoise and cut steel dates back to the early years of the 20th century. The necklace it probably came with is gone but I am happy to have this gorgeous statement piece.
A bit of walking brought me to my next find. A pair of gorgeous French made pendants from a much earlier period. The piece on the right dates back to the period of 1890 while the other pendant is dates back to the beginning of the 1900s. Both were fashioned by hand and the enamel work is in very fine condition. I’m very excited by these two and I can’t wait to work on them.
The next set of pieces are quite interesting too. These were made in the 1890s and they were designed to be either lockets or as ornaments for men’s watches. As these particular pieces weren’t lockets, they were most likely used for men’s watches. In those days, men used pocket watches and at one end of the chain, there used to hang decorative little pendants such as these. Most of these pendants were made out of a mixture of brass and copper hence their rosy color. This particular mix was first authorized for use in jewelry by King Louis XVI in 1785. Previously, it was forbidden by the king. I think they would make for great pendants!
And my next find also dates back to the same time frame. This tiny enameled piece used to belong to a bracelet but all the other pieces are now lost. I don’t quite know what to do with it yet, but I just couldn’t resist it. The enamel work on the piece is still intact and I love the little flower design.
Finally, just as I was about to head home, I found some gorgeous beads. Finding these beads just about completed my day. These are early Venetians from the beginning of the 1900s. Its been awhile since I found some gorgeous beads in an antique market so I just had to have them!
I’m quite happy to be back at my desk working away with these gorgeous new pieces!
One of the things I miss about France is the weekly brocantes and the Puces (big weekend antique markets) I used to frequent. I may not always find something, but an afternoon or morning spent browsing amongst the different stalls was always interesting and fun. Needless to say, going to the Puces is one of the things I look forward to the most when we make a trip back. This particular visit, I spent one morning browsing through the stalls of the Puces de Vanves.
It is a much smaller affair than the Puces de Clignancourt, and they keep shorter hours, from 7 am to 1 pm only. Some years ago, when I first started going there, most, if not all of the people browsing were locals. Bargaining or even conversing with the sellers in my fledging French was an adventure to say the least! Well the times, they are a-changing. Now, there are as many foreigners as locals browsing the stalls and even more surprising, the French (as can be!) vendors are speaking English! You can’t imagine how surprised I was by this! Despite these changes and the increasing difficulties in sourcing good quality antiques (a refrain I heard from many vendors), the Puces is still replete with many wonderful objets d’art, curios and trinkets. There are a few furniture pieces but for those things, it is better to go to the Puces de Clignancourt anyway. There were a lot of beautiful paintings and prints on all manner of subjects. It was wonderful to see the wide variety available on sale.
My eye was caught too, by all the pretty and dainty dinnerware sets and silverware that hark back to the days of washing everything by hand. It was only the thought of lugging all these back in a luggage that stopped me from buying some pretty dishes.
And if you are looking for pretty things, there was no shortage of those as well. Just check out the pretty petit point bags and delicate lace jacket from the beginning of the 20th century pictured above. They were all handmade and in beautiful condition. And while some stalls specialized in one of a kind objects, some others stands had boxes of things. This one in particular had crates of old candy boxes from the turn of the century. Turns out the seller had bought out the entire left over stock of an old candy shop. As I left, I overheard someone bargaining to buy the box. I t made me wonder what he will do with them.
As for my finds, I’m happy to report that I came away with a few special things. But that is for another post! Happy weekend everyone!
Hello friends, for today’s Throwback Thursday post, I thought I’d write about a recent antique show we visited. I was pretty happy with the show as it was a very good show full of nice furniture, interesting curios and some beautiful jewelry. As always my main focus is jewelry but I have to admit that some pieces of furniture caught my eye. One dealer had this cool vintage red piece (pictured above) that was actually used to store hardware tools. It was really nice and for awhile there, I could see it as a new home for my beads. But did I really need another piece of furniture for my beads?
Another dealer was himself a cabinet maker and restaurer of old furniture. He salvages old glass window frames and builds new cabinets and bookshelves around them. One example is the bookshelf pictured below. I love the idea of being able to save these glass frames and doing something completely different with them!
Of course, I lingered longest over the stands with the most interesting jewelry and curios. One stand had a gorgeous collection of buckles from the Victorian times,
as well as pretty miniature frames.
Another person had gorgeous Victorian era bangles and my favorites were the ones with the unusual black enameling. Aren’t they pretty?
But my favorite was this complete children’s tea set from the James W. Tufts company from Boston. I love tea sets and this set of 6 teacups came complete with all the little tea spoons along with the teapot, creamer and sugar bowl. The Tufts company was founded in 1875 in Boston where it quickly became a successful business in silver plated tableware. This set is quite rare because of it is still complete and is in fine condition. I still can’t believe that this tea set was made for children!
It was such a nice afternoon spent among lovely things. Hopefully with the arrival of spring (though winter seems to be lingering given the below freezing temperatures we are still experiencing!) there will be other equally interesting antique shows!
Friends, I am officially obsessed with tables and desks. Remember our trip to the Midlands antique fair where I tried unsuccessfully to find myself a work table? Well since that trip, I have been dreaming about finding my desk. I know there are other more important things to think (and obsess) about I feel hampered and unsettled by the lack of a proper work space. The fates must be conspiring too because ever since that trip, I have come across various kinds of desks, none of which are exactly what I need or want. I feel a little like Goldilocks!
First there were these adorable Florentine nesting tables from the 50s….cute but not at all what I am looking for!
Then there was this desk, also from the 50s with a mirror. But this one was a little too small, there would’ve been too little work space.
Then there was this absolutely gorgeous carved flip up desk from the 19th century. Isn’t it just pretty? I was literally drooling when I saw it. Unfortunately practicality reared its head–this simply wouldn’t have enough work space for me. Believe me it was hard to walk away from this beauty! I might have another lead which I aim to follow up tonight. I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll be the one. But if it doesn’t work out, maybe I should just go for this one..
This one is by Industrial Artifact, an etsy seller I just discovered. Their philosophy is to find old industrial artifacts or objects and give them new life by repurposing them. I love this philosophy. Its the same guiding principle behind my jewelry. And this table certainly fits my work requirements. So I wonder if this is actually the one.
What about you friends, any object related obsessions lately? I’d love to hear about them.
And if you have ideas where I can find my table, feel free to share them!
Since we moved, I’ve been on a mission to find a work table. A table which can host my myriad little beads, my tools and the other accoutrements of my trade. I have an idea in mind, not so big because it has to fit in our house but big enough for all my things, some drawers to put in my things and preferably antique. Its been surprisingly difficult to find this table. It was with this mission in mind that we’ve been trying to visit the bigger antique fairs
One antique fair we recently visited was the Midlands Antiques and Collectible Fair. And it is a huge fair. It houses several buildings and myriad stalls outside its extensive grounds. I had high hopes.
It started off well enough especially when I saw one stand’s beautiful collection of antique perfume bottles. They were mostly from Austria and Czechoslavakia from the turn of the century and they were exported to the US in the 40s/50s. Each one seemed like miniature masterpieces but as I was looking for a table, I reluctantly left them behind.
Then I saw this absolutely gorgeous music box. According to the seller it is a Regina music box, which was one of the premier music box makers in the US in the 19th century and this particular beauty is from 1898. He very kindly played it for us and the music was beautiful and full-bodied.
So far no table in sight but outside we saw this gorgeous antique trunk from the late 19th century. This one still bears the name of the German family who used the trunk to travel to the US. I don’t know why this trunk moved me so much. I suppose its the idea of this trunk once holding a family’s worldly possessions as they crossed the ocean into a new life. It made me wonder how they fared and how this trunk came to be sitting here in an antique fair, waiting for a new life to start.
By this time, I had given up on finding a table. This fair didn’t seem to be the sort where I would find it but I was happy to have seen some gorgeous objects. So now, the question needs to be asked–did I come home empty handed?
Tune in tomorrow for the answer….
Hello friends, as promised, here is the bracelet I was working on yesterday. I am especially happy with this one as it incorporates several elements I love– antique beads, semi-precious stones and a newly learned technique!
The red and black beads were a bit of an unusual find for me because I actually found them in a bead shop rather than in an antique shop. I normally never find anything in bead stores, except for findings and such but this time, Zahia, a really cool bead store in Antwerp, had some stock of old Moretti beads. Not a lot but enough for me to be really happy that day!
Ercole Moretti et F.lli is one of the oldest bead making companies in Italy. It was started in Venice, Italy in 1911 by a family of glass makers. They created an enormous amount of beads that eventually made their way to the African continent thanks to the bead trade. Their most famous work is probably the Rosetta bead (otherwise known was the Chevron bead) though this bead was originally invented in 1480. They are one of the few bead companies that still exist today in Venice.
These particular red and black beads that I did buy from Zahia date back from their 1930 stock. It belongs to this family of beads pictured below and they are opaque ground beads. Despite their great age, they hardly look worn and the red and black color scheme looks as good now as it did back in those days. To mix it up a bit, I decided to use these faceted black spinels rather than more glass beads. I love gemstones and this is a good way to incorporate them to my usual work. To top it all off, I used my newly acquired wire-wrapping skill!
Hello friends, today I wanted to share the photo of the Uzbek coat which inspired yesterday’s piece. The colors were what attracted me to it and when I was told it was an antique coat from Uzbekistan, my imagination was caught. I had images of the fabled Silk Road going through my mind as I tried the coat on.
I don’t know much about textile but I do love unusual and colorful patterns. Often, these unusual and colorful patterns have a certain history behind them too. I love the idea of stories behind everyday objects. Much like beads, fabric can tell us so much about ourselves, our history, our culture and the way we perceive things.
Back to my ikat coat, it turns out that the term ikat is used to refer to both the cloth and the weave. It is a very old dyeing technique that originated in Southeast Asia and subsequently spread all over the region. The oldest piece of ikat is believed to be a piece of funerary cloth from Indonesia which dates back from the 14th century. It reached its zenith in the 19th century with the fabled ikat of Central Asia, specifically the ikat from Uzbekistan! So renowned was the beauty of the Uzbek Ikat that they were used as currency along the Silk Road. In Uzbekistan, the weavers of ikat even grew their own mulberry trees for the silk they subsequently used to weave the beautiful cloth. The more ornate and complicated the pattern, the more difficult it was to make and thus denoted much status for the wearer. It came to symbolize wealth and richness.
When I read that these beautiful fabrics were used for trade, it seemed even more fitting that this coat inspired my bracelet of yesterday whose beads were also once used for trade many many centuries ago.
As anyone who knows me can attest, I love antiques and antique hunting. So when I heard about an antique town, it was like a siren call I could not resist. Unfortunately, by the time we rolled into the town of Allen, most of the antique stores were winding down for the day. Disappointment at that was somewhat tempered by the idea of coming back and doing a proper trip and we were charmed by the setting of some of the antique stores.
Just look at these stores set amongst the woods. They lend an almost fairy tale aspect to the whole place!
Isn’t this just darling?I can’t wait to go back!
My find of the week was a bit of a surprise. As always I was on the lookout for beads (all for work of course) but there was a dearth of interesting beads at the flea market we visited. No matter, I consoled myself, I’ll have better luck elsewhere. It was just before leaving that I spotted this book. I think it was the title that caught my attention. I love children’s books especially older editions. This one definitely looked old. And according to the seller it was at least 100 years old!
I think the deal was pretty much sealed when I saw the colored illustration. I love the delicate hand that drew all the details you can see. I love its soft faded color that speaks of bygone days. And I wonder why its the only page that’s colored even though the rest of the stories are nonetheless beautifully illustrated in black and white. The stories themselves are short tales with a moral at the end.
Unfortunately the book is in very poor condition. The pages have completely come off the spine and I’m half afraid of opening it for fear of damaging it even more. And I probably need to find someone who can restore it.
I would also love more information about my book. Does anybody know anything about these books? I’d love to hear from you.
Hello friends, I’m very excited with my most recent find! It is a beautiful antique spool cabinet. And I’m so excited because its just about perfect for storing all my beautiful beads that are currently housed in various boxes. I’ve long wanted something like this but haven’t had much luck till now. In fact, I’ve never seen a spool cabinet before. I’ve only ever seen small sewing boxes. So you can imagine the little leap of joy I felt when I saw this.
A little research reveals that these cabinets were made for thread companies. It turns out that once the sewing machine was invented in 1844, women could now purchase ready made spools of thread for their own personal use at home. Before the advent of ready made thread, women would spin their own thread! The thread companies used the spool cabinets to store various sizes and colors of thread. The spool cabinets were made with either 5, 10 or 12 drawers and the inside drawers are subdivided into neat compartments to keep the wooden spools neat and tidy.
I tried to find more information about my model which was made by the Royal Society but haven’t turned anything up. But the seller estimates that this one was made early on in the 20th century and was used in a general dry goods store.
Isn’t it funny how things make their way to us? Consider this little cabinet’s voyage so far—from storing spools of thread in a store to storing beads in my home. I would love to know more about its past and history but I can live with just knowing that instead of languishing in some dusty attic or market, it is now once more doing its duty of storing things and keeping order.
I’m in the middle of doing inventory and its a painful but necessary process. But I got distracted by the news that L’Eclaireur was opening up shop in the Puces de St. Ouen in Paris. Now, as an inveterate antique and flea goer, I love the Puces de St. Ouen. If I could go every weekend, I would. There is always so much to see and admire and when you chat to the vendors, you’ll find that most of them have been dealing, buying and selling antiques most of their lives. You can sense their hard won expertise. There’s such an ambiance here, something that’s hard to define.
So the news that L’Eclaireur is coming to set up shop was a big surprise to me. L’Eclaireur (literally translates to one who lights the way), is one of Paris’ high end design concept store and they’re celebrating their 30th birthday this year. Whenever I visit one of their stores, I feel somewhat like I’ve stepped into an art or design installation. Fashion embedded within design within art is possibly as good a description as I can give. But how does it fit within the Puces? According to Vogue news, it will open right in the heart of the Puces, at the Marche Paul Bert and it’ll eventually form part of Vintage Village, set up by Habitat. Say what? Habitat in an antique market? (Habitat is a big home furnishing stores similar to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel)
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with either L’Eclaireur or Habitat. Both are perfectly fine stores on their own. I’m just wondering how they fit within the spirit of the puces. The puces started outside the walls of medieval Paris. It was the place where peddlers were supposed to stay and sell their little trinkets and goods. It has long since evolved into a big antique market with proper shops and all. Its true that in recent years prices have gone way up and its harder to find a really good deal but the spirit has always been about antiques–from Louis XV furniture, to delicate lace dresses from the 19th century to useless little trinkets that you nonetheless have to bring home with you. I’m just wondering how L’Eclaireur fits within such a place and what will it bring to the Puces? Will their presence drive up prices even more? I suppose only time will tell.
Here are a few photos of some of my favorite things that I’ve seen at the Puces (all photos are mine,except the top photo of L’Eclaireur which is courtesy of Vogue.fr)
A collection of antique dolls, end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th
A gorgeous painted set of drawers with marble top, from the 19th century if I’m not mistaken
A basket of mother of pearl buttons and embroidered flowers…
Pretty linens and embroidered handkerchiefs from the beginning of the 20th century
and my favorite, a small Venetian gold work cabinet. I love this piece and I still regret not having bought it!