22 May 2014

Flower Fever

With spring in full bloom we have been feeling spellbound. Flowers inspire all areas of life and are used to adorn almost everything: jewellery, hair, clothing, home decor, to name a few. Not surprisingly floral prints and motifs are back in fashion this spring and floral inspired jewellery is always a popular choice.

Flower-mania has hit Grays, and here are some of our favourite pieces:

George Hunt Arts & Crafts enamel brooch signed 1923. 
Offered by Van Den Bosch

George Hunt Arts & Crafts enamel brooch signed 1923. 
Offered by Van Den Bosch

1960s brooch set with violet nephrite, amethyst and diamond. 
Offered by Michael Longmore

Dorrie Nessiter Arts & Crafts brooch set with moonstone and blue zircon, 
circa 1930s. Offered by Van Den Bosch

1950s plique a jour carved amethyst brooch set in 18ct gold.
Offered by Antique Jewellery Company 

1950s diamond, sapphire and ruby gold basket brooch.
Offered by Michael Longmore

 Emerald, ruby and diamond basket brooch set in platinum, circa 1920-1930.
Offered by Antique Jewellery Company

 1920s carved coral and diamond ring. Offered by Bellum Antiques

 Chinese famille rose saucer dish, Yongzheng (1723-35).
Offered by Guest and Gray

Porcelain lidded container, circa 1900. Offered by R.G. Grahame

Silver and enamel compact, circa 1930s. Offered by Evonne Antiques

1950s cream satin hand painted Waldy handbag.
Offered by Vintage Modes

1920s clutch bag with faux coral and turquoise detail. 
Offered by Vintage Modes.

Bruce Oldfield silk dress with matching bolero.
Offered by Vintage Modes

Bellville Sassoon strapless cocktail dress.
Offered by Vintage Modes

For more of this flower-fever visit www.graysantiques.com

13 May 2014

An Abundance of Beads: Ancient and Antique

Beads are everywhere at Grays. There’s a sea of beads, and when one starts looking, is left speechless for their varied materials, historical range and exquisite quality. Beads may be divided into several categories which are often overlapping. It could be the manufacturing process, period or location of origin, shape or material, mode of use or symbolic significance.

The word ‘bead’ comes from the Anglo Saxon word ‘bidden’ which means ‘to pray’. Beads have been used as currency for exchange, as anti-tension devises, gaming, talisman, status symbol, as jewellery to bring fortune and wisdom, or simply used as an aesthetic object. Dating as far back as 40,000 years, beads have been discovered to have been made from pebbles, clay, teeth, shells etc.

But the discovery of glass production about 4,000 years ago revolutionised the beads’ history and transformed cultural practices, commerce and trade across continents. Early beads have been unearthed in Mesopotamia and Egypt around 2,300 BC. Ancient techniques and designs of glass bead making from Asia were reinvented in Europe in the fourteen century.

Beaded necklaces offered by Kitty Verity

Glass beads were particularly valued in West Africa where they were used for the creation of high-status decorative objects. As glassmaking technologies developed in Europe, beads proved to be an efficient means for exploiting African resources. In particular it was mostly Venice, Bohemia and the Netherlands that traded with Africa, and manufactured an extraordinary variety of beads which were produced according to demand. Large number of people was involved in the production and trade of beads which circulated globally.

A selection of vintage beaded necklaces, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery
Beaded necklace offered by Ting's Jewellery Box 
Chunky Beaded Necklace offered by The Hungry Dinosaur

In London, Moses Lewin Levin, a bead merchant, donated his collection to the Museum of Practical Geology, located at Jermyn Street. Established in 1835, the museum was created in order to illustrate the ‘mineral wealth of the United kingdom and its colonies’. It contained examples of industrial and artistic production, and its displays included glass objects. Much of this collection is now with the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The British Museum. 

Beads have been used all over the world and they are sought after for more than just personal adornment. Each bead encapsulates a phenomenal amount of cultural information that has the power to connect and alienate, in one sweep, people and continents. 
Beaded necklaces offered by Ting's Jewellery Box

Beaded necklaces offered by Kitty Verity
Beaded necklace offered by Kitty Verity
Beaded necklace offered by Kitty Verity
A selection of vintage beaded necklaces, offered by Tribal Tent

Orange bakelite beaded necklace offered by Ting's Jewellery Box
19th Century Amber necklace, offered by IQ Antiques Ltd

For more information visit www.graysantiques.com
Written by Titika Malkogeorgou

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