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Midweek lucky finds

 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.

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A look back at 2014

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As I sit and write this last post for 2014, I can hardly believe that we are on the cusp of a brand new year!   And what a memorable year 2014 has been! As we wait on the eve of 2015 with all its glorious possibilites, I wish you all dear friends and readers a most wonderful year ahead–full of blessings, great and small and heapings of great happiness!

Here’s a look back at some of our most memorable moments..


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A shorter length


Hello friends, remember the piece from the last post? I wasn’t entirely sure about its length, so when it came to working on a second necklace, I decided to go for a shorter length.  It still features one of my antique pendants but this time, it features a few carved orange glass beads from the 50s.


Now that I’ve made the two, I realize that they’re quite lovely paired up together. Don’t you just love them?


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Some recent finds



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.  20140630-091534-33334937.jpg

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!



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French antiquing

20140626-073813-27493699.jpg   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!               20140626-073810-27490809.jpgDespite 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.  20140626-073812-27492583.jpg       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.20140626-073811-27491739.jpg

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.  20140626-073814-27494538.jpg

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!

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A Royal Society Spool Cabinet

Vintage sewing cabinetHello 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.