Little Treasures

I’ve been revamping my studio over the past week – adding height to my shelving, going through boxes to see what I’ve got stashed away. I’m listing some little treasures on Etsy – precious things that I probably won’t use because the moment has passed for me, but my customers will probably find a good use for these items. There are some interesting things to be listed in the coming days. Check them out here.

Meanwhile I have been sorting through my own treasures – both for my collections and also for making some new jewellery designs. I have a thing for the Neoclassical style and its use in the time immediately after the French Revolution. I love the classicism, the streamlined looks and romantic aura of decorative arts, fashion and jewellery from this time. I have a small collection of jewellery from this time – I pick up the odd piece here and there when I see a good deal. Here are some recent acquisitions.

Cloak buckle

Above is a cloak or dress buckle which dates to around 1820, maybe a bit earlier. It has carved mother of pearl discs, brass detailing and rich red coral stones in the middle. The little S clasp is an absolute treasure, in the form of a stylised snake. I might have this snake cast to use in my own jewellery designs as I have another one similar but about twice the size so it would be lovely to have a smaller one as well.

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This stunner above was probably a bracelet element, or might have been used for a choker necklace. It dates to around 1820 and on the back is the slot into which a clasp would have fitted. I intend to use it in a bracelet design, but it really does not need any more embellishment. The stones have a green tinge to them and I am not sure if they were originally green, or if they were clear and have greened up with verdigris over the years. It is in perfect condition, and at nearly 200 years old it a valued treasure that I will keep and wear.

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Here is a perfect cloak clasp (one half of it) with an Aztec style brass centre surrounded by coral beads. You often see parts of these items, but not always the whole thing. I’m not sure what I will do with it yet – I might just hoard it for a while.

Below are some elements I will be making into designs, mostly for my Etsy store. I usually lean towards simple and elegant designs but now that it is cooling down and we can feel winter in the air I am inclined to try for a bit more bling and chunkiness than usual. It remains to be seen what I will combine these pieces with – I have a few ideas, so stay tuned for new designs very soon.

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Finally, here is a little treasure I wanted to share. It’s a small book that dates to the latter decade of the 18th century. It is post-Revolution but pre-Napoleon. Its pages are printed on thick paper, with delightful illustrations, stories and music. At the back is a real treasure – part of a French Republican Calendar. After the revolution the French adopted the Republican Calendar from 1793 till 1805. The days and months are different to the Gregorian calendar and I won’t bore you with the history of it, but you can read more here.

I just love this little book, with its gilded end papers, letterpress print and thick papers. It has been hand stitched and has a leather cover impresses with gold decor. Here are some pictures of it – it measures 95 x 60mm – so not much bigger than a modern business card.

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