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Gold and Diamond ring

Happy in its box

Here we present an absolutely fabulous vintage (yes OK so not quite antique but still with some age) dress or cocktail ring. It is snazzy and sparkly and totally top class jewellery. Stylistically this is a mid 20th century ring but lets say 60s for safety.

The base of the ring is 18 carat yellow gold. Marked 18k AND 750 (18 ct weight standard) meaning it was not originally from the UK. It is most likely American, but could equally be from some parts of Europe. There is another mark of CO6 or C06 but can find no reference to what this means. It could relate to the stones. 

A stone on fire

And on the subject of the stones, and this is what we think makes this ring a little bit special – the design. The ring features a single centrally placed diamond weighing in at a fabulous 1/2 carat in a round brilliant cut – and oh boy does it capture the fire of this stone, however for added brilliance, the central stone is flanked by chevrons and under those twin vertical bars laid with horizontally set baguette cut stones. 

No cheese with these baguettes

It is impossible to guarantee the carat weight of all those baguettes but there is a substantial amount of ice in this ring. Overall, this is a simple ring with echos of Deco styling but not overblown and not heavy on ostentation. The gold (though usually white gold will highlight diamonds better) allows the stones to speak for themselves. 

We really think this ring has something a little bit special. Its a goodly size at UK “O” (US 7.25), plenty of gold and good solid construction. A real treat.

Stats

  • 18 carat yellow gold, marked 18k + 750
  • 1/2 carat central diamond, brilliant cut
  • baguette set chevrons and panels
  • UK size O, US size 7.25
  • 50s/60s in date

If you are interested in this item, please fill out a contact form quoting stock number AP1804

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Lens, Roamings, countrymen

Mists of time, or time of mists?
Mists of time, or time of mists?

In the dim and distant past (cue swirling mists of time, tumbleweeds and the shcraaaape, shcraaaape of the Tardis),  about six months ago, those of you who check in regularly may remember my camera lens was involved in a vacuum cleaner hit-and-run incident.

NO?

Well it was. The poor thing suffered major internal injuries and despite some instant remedial care, macro surgery and a weekend visit to the NHS (yes, apparently doctors DO work on Saturdays) slipped on to the great photoshop in the sky. Unlike a person or a dog though it was replaced almost immediately. Since when, other commitments have meant said replacement has sat gathering dust. This week it has finally seen action.

As part of our re-brand a whole new batch of photos was needed. This, was how I whiled away yesterday while Business Partner went a-galivanting to learn all there is to know about underwater archaeology. The lens, you’ll be pleased to know, is excellent. Such definition and clarity even on a macro setting. Things which should sparkle, do. Things

Country Carnelian
Country Carnelian

which should have detail, do. Things which shouldn’t be blurry, aren’t.

This has all happened after a long process getting my all singing, all dancing beast of an Office Management System up and running. Thousands of items of stock have been found, lost, and found again – roaming in herds through the rooms of the house, bleating for the simple comforts of two weeks ago and their comforting dusty corners. (Some are still AWOL but we’ll get the gamekeeper to sort them out next week) but after the mass culling of our online stock, much of which has not survived, we are nearly ready to relaunch.

The aim is to give our online store (Etsy) more of a “country house” feel, though achieving this affair may take a little time. The place was run down for sure, crumbling architecture, tatty furniture and some quite frankly questionable jewellery and ornaments but we are working on bringing it up to National Trust standards. Etsy is a village which may not suit country living all the time, it has become urbanised and swollen but we hope to provide a bijou oasis in a sea of kitsch.

I can hear you wondering if I am going anywhere with this. In all honesty not really, I just wanted to drop in, say hello and reassure all our antique and vintage” countrymen” out there that we will be up and running again soon. New logo, new brand and (eventually) new stock. There are still more photos to be taken, still more dusty relics to be rounded up and still more wellies to be worn but we’re on the road. This site will also be getting a make-over, though quite when I’m not sure.

Oh yes, there may be some complications. We are in fact changing our name. Easy enough on Etsy but not so here (wordpress), or other social media sites, so we’ll keep them the same but make sure its the same theme so no-one gets confused (I am already) so here are the  social media links…if you fancy. Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Keep an eye out though, apparently I promised something about an Instagram account???

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A long story, made short and then lengthened again

flatback
Flatback to the drawing board

How time flies…and other such bon mots of clicheville. I hadn’t realised it had been over a month since my last post but it has, it seems, and as the minutes, hours, days and weeks headed south for the winter, so my attention was turned to other things.

Anyone in business will understand that if something isn’t working it needs changing. Cue some hefty decision making and sacrifices on our part to try and head in a more profitable direction. Our main aim (that’s business partner and myself) is to be able to find ourselves a bigger place to live. We currently occupy a shoebox. One where the architect’s aim was to capitalise on the ground space available rather than the living conditions. There is a slight similarity with Victorian living for us: cramped conditions and too many ornaments, though thankfully we do have running water and an inside toilet.

We’re not after a jet set lifestyle (though a holiday would be nice), or loose cars and fast women; there are no ambitions towards rock n’ roll hedonism just a second bathroom, a kitchen with more than a metre of worktop space and a workshop for me so I don’t have to sand furniture outside in the rain.

The first part of realising this ambition began in November with our “Posh Fair”. Our relative success has spurred us on and we have now booked for four more this year. We have revamped our stock: collecting together beautiful objets d’art, fabulous jewellery and rare collectables (ouchies for the bank account). To clear out some of the bits n bobs which have been hanging around for so long they are, quite frankly, starting to hurt our eyes with their lingering, mouldering presence, we are also operating as wholesalers – let someone else deal with all the Staffordshire flatbacks, broken snuff boxes and bright copper kettles ( really not one of my favourite things).

This is a sweeping change. In one corner – top quality antiques, jewellery and fine art and in the other, old bits of brass, diamante and poorly executed daubs. Really? who can tell the difference I hear you ask. Well the discerning collector for a start. One who won’t quibble over price, who will expect to pay what an object is worth and who think the E in Ebay stands for evil.

I actually do, even after a week of cell blindness
I actually do, even after a week of cell blindness

As part of this business partner and I have decided to clear out our Etsy store by having a bit of a sale. Most of the stock will be removed and the shop will retail only the best quality (we may even move to Ruby Lane) Its hard work as there is a lot of sorting involved but we’re closing next  Monday for a complete revamp. So yes there is only one week to grab a bargain with a 25% discount.

All this, plus building the ultimate in office management suites (it should have been done in MS Access but quite frankly that sent shivers down my spine so I’ve ended up creating a rather magnificent, if I do say so, beast in Excel), has torn me away from the interwebs – a rent, I must confess , which has not been so difficult to bear.

So please, forgive our absence for a wee while longer. We will be back with a new name, new branding, new stock and of course our world beating Office Management Suite…if I ever get it finished. Now where did I leave that macro?

Follow us on social media: Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest  for more on these exciting developments as they happen.

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You label me, I’ll label you

The tax man cometh
The tax man cometh

Greetings fellow antique enthusiasts and vintage doyens. I have to report some singularly high stress levels not realised since my glory days in youth offending (I mean I worked in youth social care – I was not a young offender). A different kind of stress than that though: who knew that the powers that be, crushed beetles and tiny bits of paper on string could invoke such panic!

The week got off to a fairly bad start with an “admin” day. this largely involved filing three…yes THREE tax returns for her majesty’s revenue and customs (they collect the revenue and their custom is to make life as difficult as possible). Now this isn’t the forum for political rants; but seriously the UK government needs to sort its act out. They are now forcing us to BUY software in order to file a tax return online. One suspects our honoured (sic) chancellor may have shares in these software companies. Upshot being that we have thrown eco-friendly and expediency to the wind and filed a paper form – LATE!

Anyway, the whole affair near drove poor business partner to tears so I suggested she start tagging and labeling all our goodies for the posh fair which is now less than a week away. This she has duly undertaken with nary a moan or whimper: more a sort of death rattle of frustration and tedium. Meanwhile I have ruined two perfectly good tables with substandard proprietary French Polish – I shall be boiling my own beetles from now on. The labeling and pricing continues apace but not fast enough for either of our tastes and there is still a mountain to climb as the days tick-tock-tick-tock away.

All about the money, money, money
All about the money, money, money

Having said all this however, the week has not been entirely unsuccessful. The list of jobs, though still substantial, is shrinking and the world of online retail appears to have woken from a five month hibernation despite dwindling items and caretaking of our Etsy store. Be aware that the shop may fall foul of changing circumstances in the new year so all the vintage goodies we have on offer are basically on a last chance to by option for the next two months. Preparing for posh fair has relieved me of my online SEO and copy tagging duties to some extent and that has proved something of a blessing despite all the paper tags still needing to be written.

Well far be it from me to assign undue labels (a firm believer in live and let live) but HMRC are over priced, over valued and pointless. French polish is best if it comes from France, and price tags are probably best left to Jessie J. I’m off to try and rectify the polish issue,  console business partner as she attempts to write Birmingham 1903 on yet another impossibly small treasury tag, and destabilise the UK tax system.

Find out how I get on by giving us a thumbs up (or a heart) in cyberspace: Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

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Doing some busy-work

Not quite this bad...Yet!
Not quite this bad…Yet!

It’s all got a bit out of hand!

So much to do, so little time to do it and the house is piling up with an eclectic mix of goodies which we hope some people will pay some money for. And that, in a nutshell, is the crux of this weird and wonderful life of antiquity. Everything one undertakes is based purely on hope.

With less than three full weeks before we jump into the fine arts end of the market with little to support us but a PayPal card reader and some hastily printed business cards, we are a little flustered but we do think we are well on our way to some small victories. Research indicates that one or two of the pieces we have bought have some SERIOUS fine art collectability – notably a 19th century bronze cherub with cornucopia style single stem vase by Rousseau (a Belgian Sculptor) and a fine art monochrome study by Herbert Sidney who, despite his unassuming name, seems to fetch quite a packet at art auctions.

My French polishing arm is well and truly lubricated too and business partner is threading beads like they are going out of fashion – which, given the number of necklaces we have, we sincerely hope is not the case. In the meantime of course we still have what we call our “BOG fairs” (bloody ‘orrible garbage) and an Etsy store to run; something is on the way to giving. With less and less time to spend online, our Etsy shop will gradually be diminishing in size over the next week as we take items off for Avisford Park. As a by product we have been running a “last chance to buy” promotional thread on Twitter

This campaign has to all intents and purposes been very successful and we have sold some of our Avisford Park stock; can anyone else see the flaw in this otherwise perfect plan?

So, as we prepare for another day doing busy-work and delving into artifacts from a time when jazz ruled the airwaves and before they decided to put cancer in cigarettes (and that might give some idea of the level of cleaning some items need), a time of elegance and hand crafted design – pre plastic and pre formica – here are a few pieces which will be coming offline very soon. Come and join us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest  for more as it happens

 

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Port out, starboard home

Booking now
Booking now

It may, or may not depending on your point of view, be evident that after a week or so of daily posts, we have been a bit quiet of late. It’s all to do with timetables. We have so many regular (and irregular) engagements that there are obvious times when my laptop (I call it Saucy because its an HP) seems a million miles away and despite the obvious advantages of m-m-mobile technology the rigors of our schedule keep me at a fingertip distance from my beloved interwebs.

We have weathered some real peaks and troughs this week: after a VERY dry spell we have had some spectacular orders online, not least a bulk order of four items and yesterday (while shopping POSH, and more on that in a minute), both mine and business partners phones were cha-chinging like crazy – we are very pleased to have sold some pearls to the costume department at Warner Bros. studios in Hertfordshire so fingers crossed you’ll be seeing our necklaces in the movies very soon.

Sadly, and thanks to a contretemps between business partner, a vacuum cleaner and my camera (a Nikon D60 for anyone interested) we have given the last rights to my macro lens, but every cloud and all that and a new one is winging its way towards me as we speak. But the main excitement has been our extensive buying for our posh fair (see Antiques Takeaway) We have really stepped up the quality of goods thanks to the Wimborne antiques centre and some very generous traders. However in the pursuit of poshiness, our home – a shoe-box of  Borrower’s proportions – has the look and feel of the basement at the British Museum (or Steptoe’s yard for British sit-com fans)

It has also involved us wading through our online stock to find the creme-de-la-creme ready for the fair; this has been catalogued and will be soon relieved of duty on Etsy so there is plenty of “last chance to buy” going on.  We’re telling Twitter all about it but there are a few choice pieces shown in photographic form below as a sort of tribute to the macro lens. We just hope that aiming posh, with a yen for a 1st class berth with port out, starboard home lands us on the QE2 and not the Titanic.

We’d love to see you on Google+ page, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where you can find out all the last minute bargains before a mass delisting occurs

 

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So many Pies, so few fingers

Image courtesy of googleBusiness partner said once that we needed to think outside the box, push the envelope and have our fingers in more than one pie. While I wholly disapprove of the business speak (which envelope? Where do I push it to? Just across a desk? When I’ve pushed it what would have been the point – its an envelope?) and we do sell some boxes (including a rather nice writing box which needs some attention but will be glorious) and I do like pies, the point was a good one.

Sometimes this game can be a bit like digging the garden with a teaspoon – an inordinate amount of work for very little reward – so spreading the work makes sense. A little bit online, a few choice fairs and so on and so on. Ideally we’d love to convert an old country pub into an antiques centre, keeping the bar and optics in situ (but of course only I would be allowed a tipple during opening hours);  but until the market picks itself up from the slump it appears to be in, we are stuck in our shoe-box, carefully picking our way to bed through a mountain of Arts and Crafts copper, bronze lamps and art deco beads.

The trouble with spreading the load is that it still creates more to do – don’t get me wrong, this is a far better way to earn a living than any other I have tried, but sometimes the lure of a little jobette in the local bakery, where my fingers could be in a completely different, fruit based pie or two, can be quite strong.

Nevertheless we do have our fingers in many vintage style pies and recently took a cabinet in one of our local antiques centres. A charming place in a little market town with great footfall and 7 day opening. We started with a few lower end items of “yesterday’s antiques” but despite business partner’s reservations, have now decided to raid our better quality stock – well it just looks better (and it is assuredly outside any of our boxes)

SO, every so often you may visit our store and find something missing – this is due to what we call our Antique Relocation Programme (ARP): don’t worry, if it hasn’t sold in the shop, it will be back online in our Etsy store within a couple of weeks.

The point of all this waffle?

Ahhh, today is the first day of re-integration for some of our ARP objects and we have some choice pieces too. They are back online with fluffy new descriptions and ready for the scrutiny of the Interwebs. Pictures (but no links) below. Keep up to date with whats on and offline by visiting us on our Google+ page, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. And under duress from business Partner, hopefully there will be a more topic ridden blog coming soon – maybe something on pies…or pyrex!

 

 

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Weekends shouldn’t be that tough

Sometimes, just sometimes, things don’t go the way they were planned. The weekend just gone being no exception. We’re not sure what it was – maybe the last day of our Indian summer, maybe just a quiet time of year, who knows but one of the toughest antique fairs for a long time. It’s a long day, with plenty of heavy lifting and not much of a chance to sit down and seemingly, despite A LOT of talking, few customers with a full wallet.

Oh well, we did sell some beautiful things so it was worth it but boy did we appreciate a glass of wine and an episode of Poirot last night (thoroughly recommended if you love Art Deco and superb characterisations). The day was topped off when I very bravely (not) faced down the biggest and shiniest, most evil looking 8-legged monstrosity I have ever seen. Perched on the gap between the wall and my wardrobe (slash stock cupboard) bold as brass and with 8 beady eyes fixed on me, waiting for me to drop off so it could sink its ten foot fangs into my neck and drag me back to its lair!!!

OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating but it was not a pleasant end to an exhausting weekend and rather than evict the blighter I only chased it further into the cupboard; made putting the stock away this morning a little terrifying to say the least (and before you say anything, ANYONE would have raised a shiver at the sheer Mephistophelean glint from this thing)

Still we soldier on and despite swearing to have a day of R&R, a few things needed to be relisted in store so that’s what I did. No links here but they are all available to peruse from our home page, or you can view them on our Google+ business page. Just for you though – yes you – a few piccies. It’s mostly top end stuff so maybe on the pricey side but we do offer payment plans – all it takes is a little helloooo

Join us elsewhere online for more as it happens (no more spiders though)

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Email

info@touchstonevintage.co.uk

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Brooching the Subject

Norwegian Enamel Butterfly
No-one wants to wear this beauty

Our antique fair tables groan under the weight of our wares. From clocks to curios, glass to gewgaws, brass to buckles and everything in between. More than half of our display is of the jewellery persuasion and there is very little we don’t stock (bearing in mind that ALL our stock is vintage or antique in some way.)

Recently we were “reliably” informed by a passing customer who gazed, glassy eyed at the table in front of her that the piece she held in her hot and grubby “Was pretty but no-one wears brooches anymore.” This in itself would have been scorn enough, save that it was accompanied by an expression of distaste, even disgust at the thought that anyone would be as common as to pin a bit of jewellery to their clothes.

I grant you that there are some horrors in existence, especially some of the kitsch from the 60s and 70s, but somebody somewhere loves them. And I cannot deny that there has been a shift away from brooch goodness but there remains a classical elegance to brooches which adds a certain je ne sais quoi to an outfit.

True love ways
True love ways

It all depends on one’s personal taste. Maybe an elegant, sentimental Victorian bar brooch is apposite: the one shown here consists of ivy leaves and a circlet of rope signifying ‘bound in love forever’, the rubies & pearls standing for pure love.

For a party or wedding, nothing beats a “bitta glitta”. Diamante and rhinestone, or even a delicate butterfly wing with iridescent hues really add a touch of class to an LBD or slinky off the shoulder number (as well as helping with tricky straps) and though not strictly brooches, tie tacks and stick pins perform a similar function for the fellas.

The history of design and costume jewellery is littered with brooches of all shapes, sizes and descriptions and fashions come and go. What “no-one is wearing” depends on a point of view. No one was wearing drainpipe jeans in the 1990s, now hipsters rule the low slung, lanky look (no matter how inappropriately shaped their legs may be.) Beards and big moustaches, flapping flares and fingerless gloves; minis, midis, baby-dolls and berets have all come, gone and come back again.

Horror or fashion?
Horror or fashion?

With this in mind (and a hashtag campaign), we predict a new dawn for the brooch. A sunlit upland where the pin is king, where being called to the bar is a yearning for dark Victorian fancy, where swags and swoops and beads and birds and flounce and flowers once again claim their rightful place on the chests of the elegantly styled.

Mrs Sneer was wrong, some people are wearing brooches: forward thinking, fabulously fashionable, funky and fun people with a complete disregard for the average. Fashion and jewellery has become dull and staid; bringing back the brooch is essential to our sartorial well-being. Join the campaign with the hashtag #broochesareback

All characters portrayed in this blog should be considered fictitious and any relation to people living or dead inside is purely coincidental.

Check out some of our vintage and antique brooches in our Etsy store: http://etsy.me/1ufn5At

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TouchstoneVintage

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Email

info@touchstonevintage.co.uk