Thursday, 17 May 2018

Glass

Among some of the most vibrant pieces on show at Alfies right now is lots of coloured glass. Always popular and striking, glass also has huge scope, coming in many forms. Technically known as glass art, Murano is considered to be the birthplace of the modern styles and is still one of the most popular styles of glass available. 

As a decorative medium, glass was developed in early Egypt and Assyria and was desired by the Romans. The earliest evidence of glass blowing was found in Chogha Zanbil during excavations where many glass bottles were found and were dated to the 2nd millennium BC.

In the context of being used as an art form, glass reached the height of popularity during the Middle Ages, when the builders of the cathedrals of Europe began creating stained glass windows as a major decorative element in their architecture.

The 19th century saw factory glass blowers replaced by mechanical bottle blowing and birthed some of the great modern designers such as Lalique, Tiffany and Whitefriars which are still hugely popular in the world of antiques today.

Here are some of the most eye-catching pieces we have seen around Alfies...


Yellow and orange glass serving dishes, c1970s. Available from W & L Antiques

A cranberry crackle glass, c1890s. Available from W & L Antiques

Midnight blue and turquoise glass perfume bottle, c1980s. Available from Hayman & Hayman

An orange glass splash vase, c1950s. Available from Beth

A Davidson Pearline yellow glass sweet dish, 1915. Available from Beth

A French peach splash glass bowl, c1950s. Available from Horner Antiques

A Czech aquamarine glass vase, c1960s. Available from Robinson Antiques

An amber glass perfume bottle, c1940s. Available from Hayman & Hayman

A Whitefriars ruby glass vase, c1965. Available from Robinson Antiques

A Val St. Lambert lime green glass vase, c1950s. Available from Louise Verber Antiques 

A Murano crackle glass cased vase, c1960s. Available from Robinson Antiques






Friday, 11 May 2018

New Dealer: Planet Bazaar


A view of the Planet Bazaar stand

We welcome new dealer, Maureen of Planet Bazaar to Alfies. Maureen has provided a sourcing service for unique 20th Century pieces for the home for the past 20 years.


A view of the Planet Bazaar stand


We asked Maureen a few questions to find out more...

How did Planet Bazaar begin?
From my desire for collecting vintage pieces.

How would you describe your stock?
Passionate, colourful and eclectic.

A view of the Planet Bazaar stand


What is the most highly sought after item you have in at the moment?
The eyeball floor lamp.

The eyeball lamp

Which designer do you admire, and why?
Ettore Sottsass - because his work speaks to me.

Ettore Sottsass

What piece would you love to find?
I know it when I see it. I don't set out to find a piece. It's what gazes back at me from an object or work of art - the like of collecting.

If you could own any piece of art from history what would it be?
One of Francis Bacon's Screaming Popes.

 Screaming Pope by Francis Bacon

Visit the Planet Bazaar stand located on the first floor at Alfies, F057/58.


Friday, 4 May 2018

May's Birthstone: Emerald

May is the heart of Spring, making the Emerald a very fitting birthstone for the month with its colour matching the lush growth and landscapes of the season. Just as Spring is associated with renewal, in the eyes of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the emerald is a symbol of rebirth.

The Egyptians also valued emeralds, considering them to have protective powers, which led to them using the gem in jewellery and burial ceremonies. Cleopatra is possibly the most famous character in history with a fondness for the emerald, using them heavily in her personal adornment and even taking ownership of all the emerald mines in Egypt during her reign.

Some of the oldest emeralds are estimated to be 2.97 billion years old and are still among the most valuable gemstones to own today.

In honour of the dazzling jewel, here is a selection of our favourites from Alfies:

Emerald and diamond baguette ring, 1980s. Available from Kieron Reilly

French Art Deco emerald and diamond filigree earrings, 1920s. Available from Pari's Jewellery

French Art Deco diamond and emerald platinum ring, 1920s. Available from Kieron Reilly

A diamond and emerald bow brooch, 1940s. Available from Zeeba Jewels

A Columbian emerald and diamond gold ring, custom made, 1970s. Available from Pari's Jewellery

Diamond and emerald drop earrings, 1970s. Available from Kieron Reilly



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Last chance: ABBA | Super Troupers

ABBA: Super Troupers at Southbank Centre (until 29 April), charts the rise and legacy of the iconic Swedish pop group, whose upbeat music offered much needed escape and optimism during the strikes and financial turmoil of 1970s Britain.

The exhibition, narrated by Jarvis Cocker, takes a close look at some of ABBA’s original costumes, personal photographs and sketches, handwritten notes, album artworks and musical instruments.

ABBA were well known for their garish stage outfits, however they were not just influenced by the sequined needs of being a dancing queen; it recently came to light that the design of their clothes was also a form of tax evasion.

According to a new book by Björn Ulvaeus, "the band's style was influenced in part by laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax - so long as the costumes were so outrageous they could not possibly be worn on the street."

ABBA: Bright colours, prints and metallics

ABBA: Sequins

ABBA: Black glam

At Alfies we discovered lots of eye-catching pieces that would not look out of place on Agnetha & Anni-Frid at an ABBA concert...

Metallic silver platforms, available from Tin Tin Collectables
Silver crochest dress, available from Tin Tin Collectables


Celia Birtwell for Ossie Clark blouse, available from Tin Tin Collectables

Star and Moon vintage clip-on earrings, available from Gloria Sinclair

Jean Muir metallic gold jacket, paired with a gold crochet camisole, available from June Victor

1970s designer red dress, available from June Victor

Sequin Moschino blazer, available from June Victor

Embellished corset, available from June Victor
Abba: Super Troupers at the Southbank Centre, London SE1, will until 29 April 2018.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Queen's Birthday

Happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth II who will turn 92 on April 21st! Whilst this is her date of birth, the Queen's official birthday takes place in June. All British sovereign are given the option of choosing an 'official' birthday to celebrate. This tradition dates back to 1748 when King George II decided to celebrate his birthday twice - once on his date of birth in November and again in the Summer, having decided that Autumn wouldn't be an ideal time for public celebration because of the weather.

On her birthday in April, the Queen will celebrate privately but the occasion will be marked by gun salutes in London at midday - a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. For her official birthday in June, a parade will take place in central London.

Here are a few fun facts about a hugely interesting figure in British history, Queen Elizabeth II -
  • She is the only person in the UK who is allowed to drive without a licence
  • She is the longest reigning monarch ever in Britain, beating Queen Victoria
  • The Queen first sent an email in 1976
  • She has seen 12 Prime Ministers come to power
  • Her favourite dog breed is the Corgi
  • She is a trained mechanic after having joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II
  • She has sent around 50,000 Christmas cards to date, and counting..

In celebration of Her Royal Majesty, we took a look around Alfies for a few objects dedicated to her:

A Royal Worcester 'Queen's 8th Birthday' figurine. Available from W & L Antiques

A selection of memorabilia mugs, c1950s. Available from W & L Antiques

A Silver Jubilee swim costume by Speedo, 1977. Available from Tin Tin Collectables

A selection of memorabilia mugs, c1950s. Available from W & L Antiques

A set of tea forks with the royal insignia, 1937. Available from Goldsmith & Perris

A Silver Jubilee stationary set, 1977. Available from W & L Antiques

A Silver Jubilee scrapbook, 1977. Available from W & L Antiques


Friday, 13 April 2018

Antiques for Animals!

It's National Pet Month, 1 April - 7 May 2018, which gives us a wonderful excuse to share our favourite animal themed items at Alfies! National Pet Month raises awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns, it also celebrates the benefits of our pets and encourages fundraising for the nation’s needy pets. It's a great thing to get involved with!

If you are a fan of both vintage jewellery, and our furry friends, you'll love these top animal picks currently in-store at Alfies:

Art Deco brooch, available from Gloria Sinclair

Butler & Wilson diamanté dog and bone brooch, available from Gloria Sinclair

Vintage cat and dog figurines, available from Gloria Sinclair

Limoges rabbit trinket box, offered by Hayman & Hayman 

1960s cat brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels

1960s cat brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels

1960s dog brooch, set on 18ct gold, available from Zeeba Jewels


1950s Cat on shells "Personal Ashtray", available from Dream Retro

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Diamonds are Forever

The birthstone for April is the show stopping diamond, said to be a girl's best friend, we have plenty on display around Alfies.

Almost every civilisation has had some form of lore surrounding diamonds. In Ancient Greece warriors wore diamonds because the stones were thought to strengthen the muscles and bring invincibility. They have also been considered the adornment of winners and were worn as a talisman by many leaders including Julius Caesar, Louis IV and Napoleon.

Throughout history the diamond has also represented eternal love, possibly symbolic of one of the diamond's key features - strength. Diamonds have the hardest structure of any gemstone, are believed to be the hardest substance known to man and can only be cut with another diamond. For all of these reasons, the diamond has become the traditional gem used for engagement rings. However we believe that diamonds look good on everyone!

A 1960s platinum and diamond leaf brooch. Available from Kieron Reilly

An onyx and diamond ring, c1930s. Available from Kieron Reilly

A Victorian silver and diamond brooch. Available from Pars Jewellery

An onyx and diamond ring, c1930s. Available from Kieron Reilly

A pair of Art Deco diamond earrings. Available from Kieron Reilly

An Edwardian platinum and diamond brooch. Available from Pars Jewellery

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