17 April 2014

The Victorian Brooch

Brooches have been in vogue for many centuries. The Victorian era saw brooches commonly worn with styles to fit every occasion.  Most Victorian brooches also doubled as a pendant for necklaces. The 1960s brought back a Victorian revival of this versatile accessory, the difference being the clasp and materials, such as aluminium, copper, stainless steel and white gold.

Victorian brooches were handmade and commonly made of Pinchbeck, an inexpensive yet sturdy alternative to gold. The art and workmanship are evident in these brooches. Carvings and enamel paints were intricately applied, creating an elegant and detailed piece.

Find heirloom quality Victorian brooches at Grays, that will be shared with generations to come.

Below is just a small example of the many brooches some of our dealers have on offer.

Victorian gold plated memorial brooch with fern design made of hair, offered by Ting's Jewellery Box

Victorian brooch with flower spray with faux pearl, offered by Ting's Jewellery Box

Gold framed Victorian brooch with shell hand carved cameo, offered by Ting's Jewellery Box

Memento mori Victorian brooch with religious subject in gold frame with shell hand carved cameo, offered by Ting's Jewellery Box

Victorian brooch of hand painted portrait of a lady on china, offered by Ting's Jewellery Box

Pietra Dura brooch, c1860, offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

15ct  Gold & chalcedony brooch, c1860, hand painted flowers. Offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

Sardonyx, chalcedony and turqouise brooch, c1860, offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

15ct Gold bow brooch with turquoise enamel, diamonds and natural pearls, offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

Victorian jet brooch, offered by Alison Massey

Victorian bog oak brooch, offered by Alison Massey

Victorian jet brooch, offered by Alison Massey

10 April 2014

The Great Gatsby Style

Did you know on this day 10th April, 1925, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Since then, The Great Gatsby style has been a prominent feature in fashion over the years. It's easy to recreate an authentic look for those in the know - vintage jewellery and accessories from this era are plentiful at Grays Antiques.

Emerald & diamond Art Deco ring offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

Green glass (Peking glass) and marcasite, Art Deco necklace, offered by Gillian Horsup Vintage Jewellery

1920's 18ct gold bow brooch, offered by M & A Kaae

1920s Czechoslovakian glass necklace, offered by Linda Bee

1920s platinum plaque brooch set with diamonds, offered by Satoe

20 March 2014

Suffragette Jewellery: A Mesmerising Aesthetic Legacy

A request for suffragette jewellery has thrown us into a frenzy of activity at Grays and reignited the flame for the particular sensation that gems and jewellery create. Votes for Women, and purple, white and green, are inextricably linked together by this historical and geopolitical moment.

Amethyst, peridot and seed pearl brooch c1910-1915, offered by The Antique Jewellery Company

9ct Yellow gold amethyst, peridot & pearl bangle, c1920s. Offered by Westminster Group

Suffragette Brooch, c1910-1914. Offered by Unicorn

Purple, white and green were the colours chosen by Pethick Lawrence for the huge demonstration that took place in Hyde Park, in June 1908, as a symbol of belonging to the movement. The term ‘suffragette’ was first used in a derogatory way by a London Daily Mail journalist for women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom and in particular for members of the Woman’s Social and Political Union.

The colours were adopted for their symbolic value: ‘Purple, is the royal colour, it stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity; white stands for purity in private and public life, green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.’ And they were used for banners, flags, rosettes, badges etc. Supporters showed their commitment through accessories and jewellery. Mappin & Webb, issued a catalogue of suffragette jewellery for Christmas 1908.

15ct Gold earrings with peridot, pearl & amethyst, Edwardian. Offered by Westminster Group

Fine gold enamelled asymmetric amethyst diamond and natural pearl pendant. 1890 - 1910. Offered by Rowan & Rowan

Pendant c1910, large faceted amethyst and enamelled in green and white. Offered by Rowan & Rowan

British suffragettes were mostly women from upper and middle class background frustrated by their social and economic situation but their movement quickly gained momentum and was joined by mass groups of men and women across all levels of society.

Tourmaline, peridot, amethyst, pearls and diamonds, emeralds, garnets and green beryl set in gold or silver in traditional late Victorian, Arts and Crafts Movement or Modernist styles, are typical of suffragette jewellery, which is extremely rare and very precious. It holds a special place in the history of antiques jewellery making because of its aesthetic significance and its powerful connection with social history.

In our blog post this week we have brought together several suffragette and suffragette inspired jewellery pieces to welcome Spring.

Child & Child garnet pearl diamond and enamel pendant, c1895. Offered by Havlik Fine Jewels

1930s silver pendant with amethyst & pearl. Offered by Ting's Jewellery Box

French gold and silver brooch, set with diamonds, amethyst, and drop cultured pearls. offered by Nayabelle

Gold and amethyst friendship brooch, Art Nouveau. Offered by Alice Gulessarian

Gold target brooch with diamond. Offered by  Alice Gulessarian

Heart shaped leaf friendship pendant with 3 garnet stones. Offered by Alice Gulessarian

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

13 March 2014

Vintage Handbags from Grays Mews

Are you a bag lady? If yes, you are in the right place. A vintage handbag is not just a mere item or accessory. It completes the outfit and defines your style and personality. There is something special and irresistible about vintage bags. The quality, texture, style, great design and let's not forget they are a little piece of fashion history. The real fun though is in the hunt. Finding the right bag for you is quite a magical experience. We certainly enjoyed finding these springtime beauties in Grays Mews.

A lovely Art Deco clutch bag with embroidered pattern. Offered by Unicorn.

1920s evening black beaded purse. Offered by Vintage Modes.

 1960s straw bag with flowers and bamboo handles. Offered by Linda Bee.

1980s bucket bag with unusual copper coloured clasp. Offered by Vintage Modes. 
Now it is your turn to find your special vintage bag in Grays. Visit from Monday to Friday from 10am-6pm and Saturday's from 11am-5pm.  Enjoy the hunt!

6 March 2014


March's birthstone is aquamarine which is a variety of precious beryl. This gemstone symbolises courage. Since ancient times, aquamarine has been regarded as 'the sailors' lucky stone'. It is most famous for its breathtaking sea-blue colors which can range from light blue to dark blue.

At Grays our dealers have an impressive collection of aquamarine rings to choose from.
Here are just a few...

1940's Aquamarine Cocktail Dress Ring offered by Leila in the Mews
Art Deco Aquamarine ring with baguette diamond. 18ct gold. Offered by Alice Gulesserian
1940's Aquamarine Brazil and diamond on platinum ring. Offered by Persis Antique Jewellery

Art Deco all platinum with diamond shoulders, fine square aquamarine. Offered by Westminster Group
1930's Oval aquamarine diamond ring. Offered by Paulette Bates
Art Deco aquamarine ring with diamonds set shoulders. Offered by Watches Jewellery & Art Ltd
A fine coloured single stone aquamarine ring, 1950's. Offered by Nigel Norman

A selection of Aquamarine jewellery offered by Beaut and the The Pearl Gallery

27 February 2014

Vintage Modes

As fashion weeks in London and Paris draw to a close we have been taking in the new trends, shapes and colours for 2014 whilst browsing Vintage Modes at Grays.  Tucked away in the Mews building, Vintage Modes is a collective of four luxury vintage fashion dealers with chic and wearable pieces from the 1920s-1980s.

Here are a few of our favourite on trend pieces for Spring:

Bold prints and bright colours

Florals & pastel shades

Pretty 90s inspired slip dresses
Royal blue as well as lace and sheer layers

Grays Mews has become a destination for vintage seekers looking for clothing and costume jewellery.  Regularly featured magazines such as Vogue, Tatler and Stylist Magazine, Vintage Modes and the other vintage dealers in the Mews stock an unrivalled collection.  Situated just opposite Bond Street Tube Station it couldn't be easier to reach.  Visit Tuesday - Friday from 10am-6pm or Saturdays from 11am-5pm.

30 January 2014

Chinese New Year

The start of Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, will start on Friday 31st January. According the the Chinese Zodiac 2014 is the year of the horse, bringing great energy and success for some. Traditionally celebrated in Asia for 15 days with parades, firecrackers and festivities, here at Grays we have found some interesting and auspicious pieces to welcome in the New Year.

Japanese wood netsuke of horse emerging from a gourd,
signed with kakihan, circa 1840. Offered by K&M Antiques.

Carved ivory ojime bead, Meiji, signed Yukimasa. Offered by Guest & Gray

Pair of 18ct gold horse head and stirrups cufflinks, c1950s.
Offered by The Antique Jewellery Company.

You can celebrate Chinese New Year in London on Sunday 2nd February with events taking place throughout the capital - the largest celebrations outside of Asia, according to Visit London.  Why not plan a trip to Grays to find some treasures of your own.
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