When people bring in beautiful things to sell!

This was part of an inheritance which was destined to languish in a drawer until our client brought it in to us and brightened up a very English rainy summer day.


It’s mid 20th Century, and boasts a rather beautiful Opal of 3.3 carats surrounded by almost 1 carat of Diamonds.

Needless to say it is now (after some TLC) a very exciting addition to our collection! It looks so beautiful on I’m sure it won’t be here long, but at least we get to look at and appreciate it while it’s here.

That’s the other fab thing about having a shop!


Sapphires are one of my favourite gems. It started with a birthday present my husband bought me – a large yellow sapphire solitaire ring – which was something of a revelation as like a lot of people I wasn’t really aware that Sapphires came in other colours! I asked our gemologist about it and he was so enthusiastic and passionate about the subject I think some of that enthusiasm rubbed off on me. 


When we think of sapphires I think most of us picture a vibrant blue gem, similar to the stone set in Princess Diana’s (now the Duchess of Cambridge’s) engagement ring. That rich, lustrous royal blue which catches the eye even without diamond embellishments. And we’ve all seen the dark blue, almost black stone which is usually used in commercial jewellery but how many people are aware of a third, fourth or even a fifth option? 

Sapphires come in many colours; pink, green, yellow, purple, orange – the list is endless. And whilst the occasional Pink Sapphire seems to have made its way into High Street Jewellers in recent years, we still don’t we see them as often as their Blue counterparts. Maybe it’s down to tradition, maybe fashion, or maybe it’s just cynical marketing? Either way it’s a real shame as the colour variation can be spectacular! 

I added a green sapphire to my collection a while back, and we’ve had pink, purple, orange and even white examples in the shop, but my overall favourite is the Padparadscha which can only be found in Sri Lanka, and like it’s namesake (padparadscha means Lotus Blossom) it is a gorgeous pinky/orange colour. 

There is still a real drive for individualism and uniqueness in jewellery, despite the current climate which has us all counting our pennies. And I think as so many of us develop emotional attachments to our jewellery we don’t necessarily want to invest in “disposable” fashion pieces. The price variation in Sapphires is huge, depending on colour choice and whether you favour natural or man made gems, meaning you can enjoy the prestige of actual gems (instead of glass or paste fashion stones) for not much more money. Sapphires are a fabulous way to introduce some of your own personality into your jewellery using precious gems without necessarily breaking the bank!

Many antique pieces circa 1910 will be set with “Created” Sapphires as this was around the time when the process was invented. At the time, it was the height of technological achievement and the stones were highly prized! Now, they command far smaller prices and little gold gypsy rings set with Faux Sapphires can be found for under £100.

It’s also becoming more common to see Sapphires set in Silver (keeping the cost affordable) but gold doesn’t have to mean expensive if you try to source Second Hand and have an eye for a bargain!

I’ll certainly be keeping mine peeled!

It may not be our most wearable piece but this ring is beautiful and charming and is greatly admired by our customers.



It’s a Georgian portrait ring, circa 1820 which contains a miniature painting of a young girl.

Lots of people have admired it, and a few have considered buying it but they have all decided against on the grounds that they can’t wear it everyday. 

The trouble is people expect different things from their jewellery nowadays. Most of our customers want maximum wear for minimum effort. They don’t want to spend thousands on a piece of jewellery that they can only wear on high days and holidays. 

When this ring was made life was very different. Everyone knows these portable portraits were the first incarnation of the wallet photo which has since been replaced by mobile phones and icloud. We own thousands of pictures of our loved ones, but it’s quite likely this portrait was the only image possessed by the original owner of this ring and would have been greatly treasured. Personally, I think it was probably a gentleman; mainly due to the size of the ring. It’s possible that the shank has been replaced at some point but the size is still large for a woman of that era. The portrait was likely painted specifically to be set in this ring and may be 10 years or so later due to the style of dress the girl is wearing. The pink of the bodice is reflected in the blush of her cheeks and her blonde hair and blue eyes give her a charming appeal. It’s also probable that the identity of the subject and/or the artist may be written on the back of the picture. Unfortunately it would be risky to tamper with the glass so we have left the secrets of the ring’s history hidden within.

She is certainly very attractive and was undoubtedly a great love of the wearer although we may never know what form of love this was – either suitor, guardian or friend. The portrait has been beautifully and painstakingly executed. It is hard to imagine only having one image of your loved one when we are so used to uploading holiday photos on facebook and chatting to loved ones via webcam. How many times was this portrait gazed at? And how long were the owner and subject apart?

I must admit I’m slightly disinterested in galleries, but these tiny artworks really resonate with my hopeless romantic side. I could quite easily find a home for a ring like this (and consequently, no doubt others like it!) It survived this long specifically because it was treasured and not worn during mundane chores like shopping and washing up. So for the time being we have become it’s guardians, at least until someone else falls as in love with it as the original owner did all those years ago. Pieces like these always find the right person the end.

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When this locket came into our shop the central panel was full of decades of dust and lint which completely obscured the beautiful micro mosaic within. When we removed the panel, at best we were hoping to find an old sepia photograph but it became apparent quite quickly that we were dealing with something special! It took a lot of time and (careful) effort but we managed to gently brush the dirt away to reveal the intricate mosaic beneath and then carefully cleaned away the more stubborn grime. It sounds silly but I did feel a bit like an archaeologist unearthing a long lost artifact – like Indiana Jones without the spring loaded booby traps!

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The backing for the mosaic appears to be mother of pearl, and the design is just staggering in its intricacy. Most of the pieces are 0.5mm long, so it’s difficult to comprehend the skill required in cutting each individual gem or stone to create this picture. These pieces are typical of those purchased as souvenirs by wealthy Victorians – this piece is 18ct gold and was more than likely made in Rome. The image is that of a bird with a fish in it’s beak. I’ve tried to find what this may be symbolic of but am still unsure, if anyone out there would like to hazard a guess I’d be very interested!!

The faded picture in the back is the original; it could be replaced but I don’t think that’s our decision to make. I love it, but then (as dad tells me) I love most antique jewellery. Still, I don’t think it’s difficult to see why in this case. It’s unique, beautifully crafted and very wearable. Personally, I think it would go fabulously with any outfit; dressed down with trousers or jeans or dressed up with a fabulous LBD!

Our latest delivery of Fine Enamels jewellery arrived this morning! They are so beautifully crafted from Sterling Silver and hand painted enamel, and are a very wearable alternative to original Art Nouveau jewellery of the same design.

Charles Horner is probably one of the most famous designers of the time. The trademark organic, sinuous lines and elegant enamelling are not only iconic but timeless, and pieces in good condition can command very high prices.

We have been lucky enough to have some examples in the shop over the years, but not everyone feels comfortable wearing such precious and delicate heirlooms on a day to day basis, and that is why Fine Enamels have grown into such a popular brand.

My favourite is the Kingfisher pendant (still don’t own one yet… hint hint!) but the new range of dragonflies and owl pendants which are set with White Sapphire eyes are really stunning too! And most designs come in a range of colourways, with starting prices as low as £19.99 – you can’t go wrong really.

Way before Swarovski became the global icon it is today, ladies were drawn to crystal not only for its glistening beauty but also its affordability.

High quality pieces were out if reach for some, but crystal jewellery made sparkle more accessible to the masses and surviving pieces are as wearable today as they were at the turn of the century.

Cut glass is more prized than moulded, and so called “pools of light” necklaces which feature large faceted and graduated crystal balls are some of the most beautiful examples.

We have several pieces in the shop, all in excellent condition and fresh from restringing. I just can’t decide which is my favourite!!