European buying trip

The weather since arriving in France in late September has been quite dreary but the buying of jewels in Paris has been excellent – truly excellent. The last 30 hours have been a revelation.

The pieces so far acquired are beautiful and will I think create a lot of interest – an amazing pearl, gold and diamond brooch by the leading French jeweller FRED; a pair of coral drop earrings which I was assured were once owned by the glorious Catherine Deneuve; as well as the most delightful Art Deco diamond drop earrings which are beautiful and will be one of the heroes to the upcoming catalogue without a doubt. I also found a 1940s “Gaspipe” necklace graduated and in great condition – another wonderful piece that I look forward to showing you all.

The buying day in Paris started with a pair of Retro pink sapphire and diamond earrings that was very exciting, but then when I found these other pieces I am now over the moon. Paris has been a wonderful experience and I have made some terrific new contacts, real dealers who have wonderful things so this will definitely be on all future buying agendas.

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I plan to also spend time in Bordeaux which is a city I love even more so than Paris I think as it has a slightly quieter pace. The buildings in Bordeaux are majestic while most of the streets are wide and cobbled so its quite tiring spending the whole day walking the streets but all for a good cause.

With good friends I visited Toulouse where I found a great 1980’s silver horse brooch. As you know I gave a talk in Benalla a few months ago and met a lady who said she loved silver jewellery and anything to do with horses. I thought of her and sent her an image from my phone. The wonders of modern technology!

I am now on a train leaving Brussels where I spent a few days. I had heard that the antique/art/jewellery markets in Brussels were famous. What I found was very disappointing. Little of interest and almost no service. But the buildings and architecture around the market square were full of character. The only good thing in that market morning was a wonderful raspberry and chocolate cake shop. Talk about guilty pleasures! The biggest raspberries I’ve ever seen. (see photo) The rest of the Belgium leg of the trip passed quietly. We travelled through Bruges which was beautiful and well laid out. It was sunny but freezing cold – in September!

Belgium did yield one gem – a gorgeous 1930s ‘cocktail’ brooch. A really unique piece that I’m really pleased with and it adds a lovely quirky feel to the new catalogue. Speaking of quirks, while we didn’t find any more chocolate or raspberries cake shops of note, Bruges is home to some remarkably cheeky sex shops with interesting window displays.


Before returning to Paris I will accompany my travelling companion to the Spoilbank Commonwealth Graves near Brugge, as her grandfather was here during the war. I think it will be quite moving and an entirely appropriate visit. As we travel on the train I have seen at least two sets of graves which reminds me of what so many people gave for us to have the life we do…..we are so lucky for what we have.