30 March 2015

Dior and I

The Grays team were very excited about the much anticipated release of new film 'Dior and I,' a documentary about creative director Raf Simons’ first collection for the iconic fashion house. Directed by Frédéric Tcheng, it gives the viewer a rare behind the scenes glimpse into the day-to-day running of the Christian Dior brand.

Tcheng's passion is the exclusive world of big fashion houses; his past documentaries include, 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel' and 'Valentino: The Last Emperor'. It is clear that the filmmaker's process focuses on the toil and creativity that goes into producing the brand's designs and portraying a sense of fashion as a collaborative art form. 

Dior and I official trailer

We are lucky enough at Grays to have dealers who stock vintage Dior pieces, such as June Victor of Vintage Modes and sister centre Alfies Antique Market, and costume jewellery specialist Linda Bee

Here is a selection of what we have on offer:

1970s Christian Dior necklace, from Linda Bee.
Navy blue Diorling jacket, from June Victor.
1970s Silk Chiffon Christian Dior two-piece, from June Victor.

8 carat gold ring by Christian Dior. From M Ventura-Pauly .

Brown 1950s Christian Dior dress, from June Victor.

20 March 2015

First Day of Spring

On the day of the equinox, the Sun's centre spends a roughly equal amount of time below and above the horizon in every location on the Earth, making night and day almost the same length. At the poles, the rate of change for the length of daylight and night-time is also greatest, being the start of the transition from 24 hours of night-time to 24 hours of daylight.

This year there is a total eclipse of the Sun on the day of the equinox, this is a rare event that does not occur again until 2034. An equinox is a phenomenon that can occur on any planet, most notably on Saturn, placing its ring system facing toward the Sun. This produces a visible thin line that can be seen from Earth. The most recent exact equinox for Saturn was on 11 August 2009 occurring again on 30 April 2024.

It was due to the equinox that in 1610, Galileo became the first person to observe the rings of Saturn. They looked to him like two enormous satellites nearly touching the main body. Two years later he noticed the so-called satellites had disappeared but subsequently materialised. He wrote, "I do not know what to say in a case so surprising, so unlooked for and so novel."

In addition, on March 20 we have a second celestial event with a Supermoon in our sky turning into a "New Moon". To celebrate the start of spring and all the life and fruit that comes with it, we have selected a range of fresh and fruity pieces to bring in the new season.

Vintage plastic cherry brooch avaliable from Linda Bee

1950s murano glass necklace avaliable from Linda Bee

Strawberry brooch avaliable from Tings Jewellery Box

1930s grape hat with bow avaliable from Unicorn
1940s grape bangle avaliable from Unicorn

1960s lemon necklace avaliable from Unicorn

14 March 2015

Cocktail Rings

Big, bold and bling! These are the essential qualities of a cocktail ring. It is certainly a ring that demands attention and allows its wearer to make a bold statement.

Its fascinating history goes back to the 1920s; the start of the Art Deco period synonymous with exuberant style and dazzling jewellery. It was a time of Prohibition in America, where illegal cocktail parties became the norm among the wealthy. More fashion freedom for women, cocktails and cigarettes, as well as dancing 'til dawn at illegal parties were all part of women’s emancipation at the time. “Dare to wear” was a guiding rule for women, who would wear their grandiose cocktail rings ostentatiously.  A typical ring of the time would display at least a three carat focal stone, surrounded by small diamonds or coloured gemstones. Cocktail rings were usually worn on the right hand ring or index finger and reflected the style and personality of the modern woman.  A symbol of “Girl Power”, a cocktail ring was certainly something to be reckoned with!

Today, cocktail rings continue to be in demand and can be worn to many different occasions. While the earlier rings showcased precious stones, the 1950s saw many cocktail rings made by costume jewellery designers using faux stones and thus becoming more affordable.

Whatever your style or budget, the dealers at Grays have some really eye catching cocktail beauties to chose from:

Emerald cut amethyst & diamond cocktail ring in platinum, c.1925. Offered by Robin Haydock

1940s tourmaline cocktail ring in 18ct gold. Offered by The Pearl Gallery

1940s old cut diamond cocktail ring in 18ct gold. Offered by The Pearl Gallery

1960s lapis lazuli and diamond cocktail ring in 18ct gold. Offered by Anthea

1960s coral onyx & diamond cocktail ring in 18ct gold. Offered by Anthea 
Square ring with large brown faux stone surrounded by white paste stones, c.1960s. Offered by Linda Bee

1980s blue glass stone cocktail ring in gilt metal. Offered by Gillian Horsup

6 March 2015

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Each year we celebrate Mother's Day which is an occasion for honouring mothers and giving them presents. Unbeknown to most people it is also known as Mothering Sunday, a Christian holiday which is celebrated on the mid Sunday in Lent by Catholic and Protestant Christians in some parts of Europe.

The origins of Mothering Sunday are attributed to Constance Penswick-Smith who was inspired by a campaign by Anna Jarvis (1864-1948), an American. Three years after her mother's death, Jarvis held a memorial ceremony to honor her mother and all mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in West Virginia (today the International Mother's Day Shrine), marking the first official observance of Mother's Day. Anna Jarvis embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognised holiday and eventually succeeded.

In the UK, Constance Penswick-Smith established a movement to promote "Mothering Sunday". She believed that “a day in praise of mothers” was fully expressed in the liturgy of the Church of England for the fourth Sunday of Lent. Her idea was that Mothering Sunday should not be limited to one Christian denomination, and its popularity spread through open organisations such as the Boy Scouts and Girls Guides. Under the pen-name C. Penswick Smith she published a booklet The Revival of Mothering Sunday in 1920.

Although Mother's Day and Mothering Sunday are often mixed up, they essentially have the same objective - a day of the year on which mothers are particularly honoured by their children.

At Grays, we have a selection of gift ideas your Mother would appreciate.....

Cameo brooch gold mount 9ct, c.1900 offered by Alice Gulesserian

Brooch watch gold plated, c.1920s offered by Alice Gulesserian
Ladybird box, enamel and silver, c1920, offered by Jack Podlewski
Felspar porcelain armorial fruit bowl c1840 by Copeland & Garrett (1833 - 1847), offered by Alan Wilson

Boxed silver grape shears, London 1893. Offered by AMS Antiques Ltd

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