15 June 2017

Father's Day: Last-Minute Gift Ideas

As you all know, it can be difficult to avoid the usual high street "gift ideas" that we often see in the lead up to Father's Day, which falls on 18 June this year. It is also a challenge to find something your dad will not genuinely expect to receive. So why not surprise him with something unique, we think the best way to achieve this is to buy vintage. At Grays we have so many treasures to choose from we're sure your mission will be accomplished by the end of your visit, and for the very last minute shopper, don't forget we're open from 11am until 5pm on Saturday.

Here's some of our top picks at Grays to help inspire you...

Penhaligon’s genuine silver bookmark with blue tassle. Offered by Past & Present.

Art Deco mantel clock. Offered by Old as Time Antiques.

Gold pocket watch, available from Spectrum

Carved green chalcedony cufflinks with diamond centres and surrounds, c1920. Available from Wimpole Antiques.
A finely enamelled brown trout brooch in silver and gold,English c,1930. Available from Nigel Norman.
Boston Bomber WWII plane model/ashtray. Available from Leon's Militaria.
Pablo Picasso. Portraitiste IV, original etching, (16th December 1966 IV, Mouguins). Available from Horton London.

8 June 2017

Signet Rings: A Unique Gift for Father's Day

If you are searching for a unique Father's day gift this year, something really special, then why not consider a signet ring? These beautiful, characterful objects are steeped in tradition, and yet are enjoying something of a resurgence in modern men's fashion.

Historically, signet rings were used as a seal of authentication for high status individuals, and played a crucial role in business, politics and society.

Seals of authentication - created from the method of inscribing a mirror image onto a hard surface - were used as far back as Ancient Mesopotamia 3500 BC. Signet rings are even mentioned in The Old Testament,

"And the Stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the King sealed it with his own signet."
(Daniel 6:17)

Their use proliferated throughout the Ancient world, became a permanent fixture of social status in the middle ages, and later enjoyed prominence in the Georgian and Victorian eras. In contemporary fashion, they are still prized for their unique historical and aesthetic value.

Here at Grays we have hand picked a stunning selection of signet rings from different eras, including some that aren't inscribed and are suitable for personalised engraving.

Ancient Roman ring dating from the 3rd century AD, silver with carnelian intaglio of clasped hand. Available at Ancient Jewellery.

Victorian amethyst and 18ct gold intaglio ring. Depicting a rearing horse with a monogram underneath. Available from The Antique Jewellery Company

Victorian bloodstone and 18ct gold shield shaped signet ring. Available from The Antique Jewellery Company

 Rare Art Deco engraved sapphire signet ring, depicting a stag's head crest. Signed Boucheron Paris, and dated 1930  Available from Havlik Fine Jewels

Top to bottom: Victorian 18ct gold  ring; Victorian carnelian on 18ct gold ring.
Both are part of a selection of plain signets available from Leila in the Mews and suitable for engraving. Visit Bennett and O'Connell Engravers for engraving enquiries.

1 June 2017

June's Birthstone: Pearl

Pearls are produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries. Because of this, the pearl has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable.

Pearls have always been synonymous with elegance. Coco Chanel once said  "A woman needs ropes, and ropes of pearls".  Audrey Hepburn, ensured that black flats, LBDs and of course, pearls, came to be reckoned as 'wardrobe essentials' for women around the world. 

Related image
Coco Chanel 

At Grays, we have a wide selection of pearl jewellery to choose from. Whatever the occasion, you will find a piece of jewellery that you can count on. Here are our current top picks:

French filigree 18ct Gold Silver Tipped Diamond Pendant, 1900s. Available from Robin Haydock.

Leo de Vroomen, 18ct, London hallmarked, mabe pearl and enamelled. Available from Paulette Bates.

Mother of pearl cufflinks, 1920s. Available from Wimpole.

South sea pearl necklace. Available from Michelle Payne.

Victorian pearl flower spray brooch. Available from Aurum.

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