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How to Make Your Table Look Like Ladurée’s & Introducing Sugar et Cie Home
11 / 06

 

INTRODUCING SUGAR ET CIE HOME: JEWELRY FOR THE HOME

 

Sugar et Cie is branching out into the home. Well sort of. From time to time when we are are out scouting the antique markets, we find beautiful decorative items and accessories for the home. A bit like jewelry, they add that finishing touch or color that completes the look.

 

We aren’t launching fully into the home, nor are we forsaking gems and jewelry. But we would like to give you access to our secret stash: a few special pieces of silver (e.g. rose bowls, ring boxes), linens (antique monogrammed linens), crystal lighting fixtures and other decorative accessories that will make your home sparkle – jewelry for the home!

 

CREATE YOUR OWN LADUREE SALON DE THÉ AT HOME

 

I know that I am not the only Ladurée crazy out there. I am confident that many of you exist. We love everything Ladurée. It’s more than just the macarons and the pastries. It’s the colors, the table setting, the decor. I have to say that I agree with Ladurée’s Co-President Elisabeth Hodler who recently said “…we are—more than a pastry shop, we’re a lifestyle.”

 

 

Courtesy of Ladurée

 

My first experience with Ladurée was more than a few years ago. The Ladurée on Rue Bonaparte happened to be down the street from my hotel. I just sort of just “discovered” it. The pastries and macarons drew me in, but the decor and the tea salon made it a place that I wanted to visit again.

 

While there are many Ladurées outside of Paris, sadly, there is not one in every city. Even if they did open one in SF (hint hint) tomorrow, sometimes I want to enjoy the look and feel of Ladurée in the comfort of my own home.

 

That’s how this three-part blog post started. We’ve studied, dissected, pondered, and insta-stalked the Ladurée look. We wanted to create our own version to share with our family and friends, and with you! So read on to find out how they created their look and get inspired to create your own version. We will reveal some of their sources and some of ours. Nothing frustrates me more than blogs and instagram posts that show pretty pictures, but never tell you what it is, whose it is, or where you can get it. We will!

 

Part 1 – How to Make Your Table Look Like Ladurée’s: Design Influences for those of you that are interested in the details

Part 2 – How to translate it to your own home and where to get it

Part 3 – Sample Menus to help you with the food part of the equation

 

LADUREE’S DESIGN INFLUENCES

 

There is an entire book on the topic of the decor of their Tea Salons: DECORATION & INSPRIATION LADUREE PARIS. They say they pull their inspiration for the décor of their Tea Salons and their overall aesthetics from three female tastemakers, from three different eras. Each, a design star in her own century: Madame de Pompadour 18th c., Empress Eugenie (a Marie Antoinette fanatic) 19th c., and Madeleine Castaing 20th c.

 

 

Courtesy of Ladurée

 

So much of Ladurée’s style philosophy can be directly traced back to Madeleine Castaing. An eccentric Diva who’s antique shop/design salon, is now occupied by Ladurée in Paris’ St. Germain de Pres neighborhood. Many of the Ladurée’s have at least one room which incorporates some of Castaing’s design trademarks (Rue Bonaparte, Harrods London). In those rooms, her influence is proudly on display.

 

The New York SoHo location is the perfect example. The blue velvet chairs with braided fringes, the striped wall covering and the Leopard print carpet, all classic Castaing. What I love most about her design philosophy is that it was not necessarily about the pedigree of the pieces themselves, although some were museum pieces. It was about creating a beautiful and comfortable environment. She mixed pieces from a variety of her favorite periods and of varying degrees of quality. She was a proponent of what we call today, mixing high and low.

 

THE COLOR PALETTE

 

If you have seen a few pictures of Ladurée or purchased one of their products, you are probably familiar with the colors they favor. They remind me of the colors associated with Marie Antoinette. Officially they list them as Pink (really a pale pink to be precise), Violet, Black & White, and of course the Ladurée Green. “Green was the original shade chosen for the walls of the first salon on the Rue Royale, founded in 1862. This basic colour, in its many variations, has symbolized Ladurée ever since….” The green has certainly evolved. Originally more of a Celadon green it has evolved to what I would call a pale apple green (very pale on the boxes to a more saturated green on the bags).

 

They also favor the rich jewel tones, another influence of Madeleine Castaing’s “I use three colors: red, sky-blue, and the green of the gardens,” she explained. Saturated blues, greens, and reds can be seen in their salons and purple, turquoise (perhaps Castaing blue) and orange have been featured on their packaging.

 

 

Courtesy of Laduree

 

It seems that at many locations one room is decorated in a mix of pastels and/or neutrals and one is usually in darker jewel colored-tones. Everything they do is trimmed with or highlighted by a touch of gold, silver or platinum. Very fitting for a brand that refers to their salons as modern day jewel boxes.

 

Next post. How to create your own Ladurée tea salon at home!

 

08 / 29

 

GEM QUOTES

 

 

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

 

Even those of us who write about jewelry on a regular basis sometimes lack the words to describe the beauty of the gems and jewels sitting right in front of us. When I find a quote or a passage so vividly written that I can actually visualize the piece, I save it. The only downside is that I usually end up wanting something I can’t have.

 

If you too love a good literary jewelry reference, read on, but at your own risk!

 

OPALS

 

Pliny The Elder:

There is in them a softer fire than the ruby, there is the brilliant purple of the amethyst, and the sea green of the emerald – all shining together in incredible union. Some by their splendor rival the colors of the painters, others the flame of burning sulphur or of fire quickened by oil.

 

PEARLS

 

20,000 Leagues UnderThe Sea, Jules Verne:

“My worthy Ned,” I answered, “to the poet, a pearl is a tear of the sea; to the Orientals, it is a drop of dew solidified; to the ladies, it is a jewel of an oblong shape, of a brilliancy of mother-of-pearl substance, which they wear on their fingers, their necks, or their ears; for the chemist it is a mixture of phosphate and carbonate of lime, with a little gelatine…

 

DIAMONDS

 

My Antonia, Willa Cather:

I used to imagine that the nobles’ of whom Antonia was always talking probably looked very much like Christian Harling, wore caped overcoats like his, and just such a glittering diamond upon the little finger.

 

The Diamond As Big as the Ritz, And Other Stories, F. Scott FitZgerald:

“That’s nothing.” Percy had leaned forward and dropped his voice to a low whisper. “That’s nothing at all. My father has a diamond bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.”

 

EVERYTHING

 

The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde:

On one occasion he took up the study of jewels, and appeared at a costume ball as Anne de Joyeuse, Admiral of France, in a dress covered with five hundred and sixty pearls. This taste enthralled him for years, and, indeed, may be said never to have left him. He would often spend a whole day settling and resettling in their cases the various stones that he had collected, such as the olive-green chrysoberyl that turns red by lamplight, the cymophane with its wirelike line of silver, the pistachio-coloured peridot, rose-pink and wine-yellow topazes, carbuncles of fiery scarlet with tremulous, four-rayed stars, flame-red cinnamon-stones, orange and violet spinels, and amethysts with their alternate layers of ruby and sapphire. He loved the red gold of the sunstone, and the moonstone’s pearly whiteness, and the broken rainbow of the milky opal. He procured from Amsterdam three emeralds of extraordinary size and richness of colour, and had a turquoise de la vieille roche that was the envy of all the connoisseurs.

 

05 / 12

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie

 

WHAT DO THOSE MARKS MEAN?

 

Did you recently purchase your first piece of English antique jewelry? Would you like to know what the marks stamped on your jewelry mean? We’re here to help! While most of this post is for those new to the English hallmarking system, there is at least one piece of information that I guarantee you will be news to a number of collectors and perhaps even a few dealers, read on to find out.

 

WHAT IS A HALLMARK?

 

A hallmark identifies the type of precious metal and the fineness or purity of that metal. Today a hallmark is a legal requirement in the U.K. If an article contains precious metals and is described as such, it must be hallmarked.

 

WHEN DID HALLMARKING BEGIN IN ENGLAND?

 

Hallmarking in England dates back to 1300 when King Edward I, passed legislation to prevent fraud by goldsmiths. Silver had to be .925 (the same standard as sterling silver today) and at that time, gold was required to be 19.2 carats. (Source: Assay Office, London)

 

As the years passed, the standards required for gold changed and vairous Assay Offices were established. Some opened and closed more than once over their long history. See the list of Assay Offices and their dates below.

 

THE ANATOMY OF A HALLMARK – THE BASICS

 

Here is an example of a fully hallmarked ring. Meaning (from left to right) it has a maker’s mark, a duty mark (not always part of a full set of hallmarks), a metal mark (gold), a purity mark, a city mark, and a date mark. The ones to focus on that will give you the basic information are the last three. The purity mark, what carat gold is it? The city mark, this will help you when looking up the date mark, and the date letter so that you can look up the year the piece was assayed.

 

A note on the metal mark. I am so familiar with what they look like, that they are almost invisible to me. But if this is new to you, visit the sites mentioned below, to get to know the marks for sterling silver (the Lion) and for gold (a crown). There are also marks for silver plate and platinum, but they are not covered in this post.

 

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie

 

THE PURITY MARK

 

This ring above is a mourning ring, black enamel over gold, made in England from the Georgian period (and at the time this post was published, available for purchase) Sugar et Cie. It is 18Ct, 750 parts gold per 1000 or 75% gold and 25% alloy metal. Other purity marks are:

 

22 = 91.6% or 22Ct gold

18 = 75.0% or 18Ct gold

15 = 62.5% or 15Ct gold

585 = 58.5% or 14Ct gold

375 = 37.5% or 9Ct gold

925 = 92.5% or Sterling Silver

 

THE CITY MARK

 

The second mark is the town/city mark, where the piece was assayed (tested and marked). This one is for the London Office. Some you will come to know, some are more obscure, and some changed over time.

 

LOOKING UP THE DATE – WHEN WAS IT MADE?

 

A date mark is a good approximation for when a piece was made, although it is possible it could have been made in one year and hallmarked in another (later) year. The reference I like to use (easiest to navigate) when looking up a date mark is an online site called British Sterling.

 

Each Assay Office has its own date chart. So the easiest way to look up the date is to identify the city/office first and then look for the letter on that city’s reference sheet.

 

This is where a sharp eye and experience comes in. Sometimes it can be challenging to identify the correct letter/year.

 

Believe it or not, one letter for example, a “J” from one year can look like an “L” from another.

 

You need to look for a match to the shape of the letter. Don’t focus on the background shape/cartouche (read on for more on this little known tidbit). Sometimes it is obvious, and other times it is not quite as clear. After I think I have identified the year/letter or at least or narrowed down the possibilities, I take a second look at my printout of the date charts directly from the Assay Office, Birmingham. They have historical date charts by City. I use my loupe to study both the mark itself, and the version on the printed date chart.

 

If you are hunting for antiques in the field and are concerned you may not have wifi or a cellular connection, you can take your printout or purchase pocket guide on Amazon.

 

OTHER MARKS YOU MAY SEE

 

You may also occasionally see other marks.

 

Commemorative marks: (20th c.) to celebrate an event e.g. Silver Jubilee.

 

Duty Marks: The Sovereign’s Head indicated that Duty had been paid on an item. They were used December 2, 1784 to April 30, 1890. During this period a variable tax was levied on all silver and gold assayed in Great Britain. Duty marks are less common and keep in mind the mark or symbol did not always change with the change of a Monarch.

 

A law was passed in 1842 to make it illegal to sell imported gold or silver in the UK unless it was assayed (tested) at a British office. However, the Foreign Mark was not added until 1867.

 

MORE ABOUT DATE MARKS – HERE’S THE LITTLE KNOWN FACT!

 

Here’s one of the interesting facts about dating your piece of antique jewelry (or anything with an antique British Hallmark). The cartouche or background for the date letter, are for silver. When it comes to looking up your mark for gold, the most important thing to match is the letter (as mentioned). The background may and can be different for gold. Here’s what the Assay Office says “The same letters were used for Gold, which has been marked in Birmingham since 1824, but with a background of a square with cut corners. There may be some variations in backgrounds during the late 19th century, especially on watch cases.” This may seem like a small detail but it has a big impact and I am guessing has led a number of people astray.

 

MYTH OR FACT

 

Myth or Fact? (1): Everything in the 18th and 19th centuries was hallmarked. If it doesn’t have a hallmark, it’s a fake or a reproduction.

 

This is a MYTH. Many pieces from this period were not hallmarked. However, if it is not hallmarked you either need to develop the skills to assess the piece on your own or ask an expert. An expert will look at the style, the materials used, the cut of the stones, the findings, and a variety of other factors to date it. Hallmarking gives you a bit more certainty (although even hallmarks can be faked) and helps you date it within a year (or two) rather than a range of time.

 

Myth or Fact? (2): Date Letters ran consecutively and repeated every 26 years

 

This is part MYTH and part FACT. Yes, the do run alphabetically and consecutively. However, the font can make it possible to confuse certain letters. Because of this, it is possible that a the letter i, j or l is skipped. As a result, the date letter cycle is usually 25 years.

 

HERE IS LIST OF THE U.K. ASSAY OFFICES

 

This is a complete list of U.K. Assay Offices. the second block are ones that are Historic and now closed.

 

Current

 

Birmingham Assay Office

Edinburgh Assay Office

London Assay Office

Sheffield Assay Office

 

Ireland

 

Dublin

 

Assay Offices Now Closed

 

Chester: 15th c. Officially opened 1700 – closed 1962

Exeter: Mid 16th c. Officially opened 1701 – closed 1883

Glasgow: Closed March 31, 1964

Newcastle: 17th c. – closed 1884

Norwich: Mid 16th c. – closed 1702. Note: The town marked changed over time.

York: Opened in the middle of the 16th c. closed in 1700, reopened 1701, closed 1714 and closed permanently in 1858. The town mark for this location changed and evolved over time.

 

10 / 17

 

FALL JEWELRY TRENDS 2016: BOLD STATEMENT PIECES

 

The fall runways were full of rich jewel toned colors which happen to be the perfect backdrop for statement jewelry for Fall. Ellie Saab featured standout, oversized chandelier earrings, but only on one ear.

 

 

Elie Saab Fall 2016 Couture Fashion Show Courtesy of Vogue

 

 

 

Elie Saab Fall 2016 Couture Fashion Show Courtesy of Vogue

 

STATEMENT NECKLACES & LOTS OF CHAINS


Versace sprinkled their show with layers of chains, large link long chains and chunky chokers.

 

 

Versace Fall 2016 Courtesy of Haper’s Bazaar

 

GOLD MEDALLIONS, POCKET WATCHES & MORE CHAINS

 

My favorite show for jewelry was John Galliano Fall 2016 Ready to Wear. His catwalk was full of gold medallions and pocket watches hanging from gold chains in an array of lengths, from Choker to Opera.

 

It perfectly illustrates our mantra: Making Antique Jewelry Wearable. Combining today’s fashion with antique jewelry (or what looks to be) to create a one-of-a-kind look.

 

 

John Galliano Fall 2016 Courtesy of Vogue

 

 

John Galliano Fall 2016 Courtesy of Vogue

 

 

John Galliano Fall 2016 Courtesy of Vogue

 

 

John Galliano Fall 2016 Courtesy of Vogue

 

HOW TO GET THE LOOK: JEWELRY EDITION

 

Here are some of our pieces, actual antique pocket watches and chains that you can combine with your fall cashmere and silk to create your own one-of-a-kind look.

 

ANTIQUE 15 KT GOLD POCKET WATCH & LONG GUARD CHAIN

 

This is a heart-shaped Antique Demi-Hunter pocket watch in 15 Kt rose gold.

 

 

Copyright Sugar et Cie

 

The versatility comes from the fact that there are two distinct sides to the Demi-Hunter or hunter pocket watch one. With the dial side out, you get the classic look of a pocket watch. With the cover side out, it looks more like a gold locket. We are showing it with an Antique Victorian rose gold guard chain. At 57 inches, you can double or triple it to get the layered chain look. The chain has a dog clip/swivel clip which makes it really easy to change what you wear on the end of it.

 

 

Copyright Sugar et Cie

 

ANTIQUE VICTORIAN “SHOOTING STARS” POCKET WATCH

 

if you love the chain and pocket watch Galliano shown on the model wearing the sheer skirt and white angora sweater, you will love our version. Below is our antique shooting stars demi-hunter pocket watch paired with our antique Victorian mid-length gold link chain.

 

 

Copyright Sugar et Cie

 

For more details or to make a purchase see our Pendant and Charms collection for the pocket watches and our Necklace and Chains collection, to browse our antique gold chains and other items.

 

10 / 04

 

THE FOX AND THE HOUND

 

Below are two examples of 19th century miniature portraiture jewelry. The names for these pieces are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact very different.

© Copyright Sugar et Cie

 

The fox and the hound are recent additions to the boutique. The Jack Russell Terrier brooch on the right, is a Reverse Intaglio Crystal Brooch. It is often erroneously called an Essex Crystal. So much so, that dealers often refer to these pieces as Essex Crystals, even though they know that they are not. The moniker is used so often and is so widespread, that it has sort of stuck. On the left, is a painted enamel miniature portrait of a fox by W.B. Ford, a student of William Essex’.

 

WHAT IS A REVERSE INTAGLIO CRYSTAL?

 

The reverse intaglio crystal is an art form that is time consuming, painstaking, and involves multiple steps.

 

It begins with a piece of rock crystal. The rough is repeatedly polished by hand, with a progressively fine polishing tool to create a domed cabochon on one side and a flat back on the other. The design is drawn on the flat back/reverse side of the crystal cabochon, it is hand carved, and then painted by a master artisan. This yields a three-dimensional appearance. In this particular example, you can even see the shadow of the dog’s muzzle. Finally, it is sealed with a back, typically mother of pearl or gold.

 

The technique originated in Belgium with Emile Marius Pradier (circa 1860). Reverse Intaglio Crystals were developed and popularized by Thomas Cooke in England (circa 1880). There are many out there, but the good ones are few and far between. It is relatively easy to see the difference in the quality from piece to piece. Take out your loupe and you can see the fineness in the details.

 

WILLIAM ESSEX, W.B. FORD AND THE ENAMEL MINIATURE PORTRAIT

 

William Essex (c.1784 – 1869) was an English enamel painter. He is widely regarded as the best enamelist of his generation. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1818. He was appointed enameler to Queen Victoria in 1839 and wrote a treatise on the art of enameling. Most of his work is based on copies of the Old Masters or works by famous contemporaries such as Landseer and Winterhalter.

 

William Bishop Ford (1832 – 1922), the artist who painted the miniature fox portrait at the center of the brooch above, was a student of William Essex’. Ford also specialized in the painting of miniature enamels and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1854 – 1895. Like Essex, Ford painted miniatures based upon oil painting by famous masters. The fox head portrait above, by Ford, is after “The Fox” (1817) by Abraham Cooper. An engraving print on paper, reflecting the work by Abraham Cooper (1787 – 1868), is part of Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection. According to V&A, the print is “…FROM THE ORIGINAL PICTURE BY A. COOPER.”

 

 

 

Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Abraham Cooper, The Fox

 

 

When I first started researching the topic, I wondered why painting a miniature portrait in enamel was considered its own art form. I was surprised to find out how difficult and challenging it was. According to the V&A museum, “The advantage of enamel over traditional miniature painting (watercolour painted on vellum or on ivory) is that it does not fade when exposed to light.” The cons are that it is a challenging process fraught with risk. “The first colours to be laid on the metal support have to be the ones that need to be fired at the highest temperature. Then more colours are added and the enamel is re-fired. The process ends with the colours that need the lowest temperature. Such labour meant that it was an expensive option.”

 

In an article from 1837 in The London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, “Some Account of the Art of Painting in Enamel,” Alfred Essex, William’s partner and brother, writes of the difficulty of achieving the desired colors and crispness of image required to rival the traditional medium of oil on canvas.

 

ESSEX CRYSTAL: MYTH OR FACT?

 

So why does the erroneous moniker “Essex Crystal” persist? Because it is so widespread, dealers still use it to help those that are looking for what they think are Essex Crystals find what they are looking for, and so it goes. How did the misnomer get started? There are several stories circulating as to the origin. William Essex was the enamel painter for Queen Victoria and created other amazing small portraits using enamels. It is possible that because the artwork is so fine and because both are forms of small portraits that Reverse Intaglio Crystals were attributed to William Essex.

 

HOW TO WEAR THEM


In love with the fox or the hound, but not a brooch wearer? A simple addition of one or two hinged bails would make it possible to wear the Reverse Intaglio Crystal as a pendant. I would pair it with an Albert Watch Chain (on the chunky side). Many enamel portraits are being converted to pendants or rings. The fox would also make a lovely pendant. It is relatively lighter and could be worn with a more delicate chain.