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Vamp It Up: The Bohemian Garnet Ring
06 / 08

 

XOXO VAMP! & OUR JEWEL OF THE WEEK

 

 

antique garnet cluster ring

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

Last year was the 20th anniversary of Chanel’s Vamp Nail Polish. It seemed that no one really made a fuss. There was no new version, no relaunch or 20th anniversary edition. As a lover of Vamp and all things Vamp colored, all I can say is – Big mistake Chanel!

 

The color launched in 1994, was made famous by Uma Thuman in pulp Fiction and Madonna in her music video, Take A Bow. By 1995, it was almost impossible to get your hands a bottle. It has been continuously knocked off ever since. It has quietly become, should I say it out loud? …A timeless classic.

 

Why is its appeal so everlasting? Maybe it’s not for everybody, but it is hard to resist its rich, deep, black-red color. It conjures up thoughts of so many lovely, mouthwatering things: The deep rich red of Cabernet, the purple-red of ripe summer blackberries and cherries, and another fashion favorite – LV’s Vernis in Amarante.

 

 

things that are the color of Vamp by Chanel

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

 

things that are the color of Vamp by Chanel

 

Elie Saab Fall/Winter 2014

 

ANTIQUE BOHEMIAN GARNET CLUSTER RING ON A GALLERY OF GLEAMING ROSE GOLD

 

It is also the inspiration for our jewel of the week, an Antique Garnet Cluster Statement Ring.

 

Previously a brooch (circa 1880/90), now in its second incarnation as a ring, it is comprised of concentric layers of rose cut garnets in round and pear shapes. Like most garnet jewelry from this period the cluster is set in what is called garnet gold, sterling silver or other base metal washed with gold. The gallery and band are made of solid 14 Kt rose gold, a weighty 9.3 grams.

 

Wear it as a cocktail ring on its own or add another cluster ring in a contrasting color: hot pink sapphires, diamonds, orange fire opals.

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

CREDITS

 

Liberty School Winery

Guide to picking blackberries, SFgate

Cassis Pearls

Oscar Tiye Shoes featured on Kayture

Chanel Vamp Nail Polish

Another favorite: Wicked by Essie

03 / 27

 

THE TRADITION

 

From the late 1800’s into the mid 20th century, when an engagement ring was purchased at a luxury jewelry store, a sterling silver ring box was included. Unfortunately, Tiffany’s, Birks, and others no longer offer this option. Your diamond ring is now most likely to be presented in a velvet or leather box, which of course is still nice. But somehow, its not quite the same as a velvet or silk lined sterling silver ring box that screams – HEIRLOOM.

 

Why have these ring boxes become so highly sought after? Perhaps it’s the fact that silver can be engraved with initials or a special date hinting (a work of art in itself). Or perhaps some can’t stop collecting until they get their hands on THE ONE. Whatever the reason, women love these pretty sterling silver objects and men know their wife-to-be, will appreciate having an antique or vintage box to go with their antique or vintage engagement ring. 

 

vintage sterling silver ring box

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

These boxes are a beautiful way to display, store, or present an important ring (Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary) and we are always on the look out for ones to add to our online collection. And like many of you, we like to know as much as we can about the details of the antiques that we buy and enjoy sharing with those that are interested.

 

vintage sterling silver ring box

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

Over the years we have come across a few from the U.S., some from England, but the majority of the ones we have been interested in, come from Canada (Birks, Ryrie, Ellis Bros.). The English ones are relatively easy to research and date due to England’s system of hallmarking. Canadian ring boxes can be a bit trickier.

 

an example of a Canadian Sterling Silver Mark

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

While the Canadian silver ring boxes are for the most part marked sterling or plated, dating them is a bit harder. You can’t simply look at the hallmarks, look for the city mark and then look up the date letter to determine the year the piece was made. It was this quest that led us to dig a bit deeper. It is unlikely that you will be able to pin down the year, but you will have a better chance of identifying the period correctly.

 

the inside of a vintage sterling silver ring box

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

A LITTLE HISTORY

 

So we did a little research, tracing the histories of these Canadian Jewelry companies that used to offer these sterling silver little beauties: when they merged, when they changed their names, and how their maker’s marks have changed over time. This, in conjunction, with the style of the box, the amount/type of wear, and the materials used, helped us get a better idea on the circa of the box.

 

Here is some of the information we compiled. It is a brief chronology (not an in-depth study) that provides some clues via key dates in the history of these famous firms.

vintage sterling silver ring box

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2015

 

RYRIE, ELLIS BROS. & BIRKS

 

Ryrie, Ellis Bros., and Birks were all premier jewelry companies in Canada during the 19th and 20th centuries. Birks is the only one that continues on today.

 

Birks or Henry (or Henri depending upon the reference) Birks & Sons was founded in 1879 by Henry Birks in Montreal. Ryrie was founded in 1879 by James Ryrie in Toronto (later becoming Ryrie Brothers in 1897). P.W. Ellis Jewellery Company was founded in 1872 by Philip William Ellis and brother Mathew C. Ellis in Torronto. It later became Ellis Bros. Limited. The company is listed as PW Ellis & Co. Limited on a catalogue dated 1915/16 and Ellis Bros. Limited on a catalogue from 1922. While these dates do not point to the exact date of the name changes, they are good reference points, from primary sources, which you can use to assess the maker’s mark that is on your box (or piece of jewelry from these makers). Keep in mind, that it is not an exact science and the marks did not change overnight.

 

All three luxury jewelry companies have storied pasts that became intertwined during the first quarter of the 20th century.
Ryrie Bros. was an independent company until 1917, when it became part of Birks. It appears that fundamentally, Birks purchased Ryrie (some report it as an affiliation and others as an amalgamation). The Ryrie reputation must have had value, as the combined entity was then renamed Ryrie-Birks, with the Ryrie name in the first position.

 

Ellis Bros. was also a successful jewelry business in Toronto. It was an independent, acquiring others along the way until 1928, when the wholesale portion of the business folded. In 1933, the retail business was absorbed by Birks. This time, the name was changed to Birks, Ellis, Ryrie. Eventually, the combined businesses became just “Birks” as it is known today.

 

 

01 / 08

 

JEWELRY AND NAIL COLOR: FAVORITE PAIRINGS

 

Nail color is a great way to try out the latest trend, get in the mood for a new season, or compliment your latest jewelry acquisition. Below is one of our favorite pairings.

 

antique gold bangle and gold glitter polish from Deborah Lippmann, Cleopatra in New York

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014, and Courtesy of Deborah Lippmann

 

OUR ITEM OF THE WEEK: ANTIQUE GOLD BYPASS BANGLE

 

This pretty 14 ct gold bangle is a recent addition to our Victoriana collection and is available at Sugar et Cie. It is in the Etruscan Revival style from the Victorian period and is called a bypass bangle. You can see the lovely work in the details: the gold granulation, the fine wire work and the bloomed gold, all characteristics of the Etruscan Revival style.

 

We’ve paired this bangle with Deborah Lippmann’s Cleopatra in New York. It’s a black lacquer studded with gold which can be worn on its own or as a second coat over another color.

 

The bypass bangle has always been popular. The clean modern form of the body of the bangle is a nice contrast to the elaborate terminal on each end of the bracelet, which is similar in shape to a royal scepter.

 

DEBORAH LIPPMANN’S GLITTER COLLECTION

 

I haven’t always been a fan of glitter nail polish, but Deborah Lippmann has won me over with her sophisticated palette of glitter nail lacquers. What makes them different? The glitter components are octagonal in shape and made up of small and large pieces. The effect is chic, almost bespoke and doesn’t look like my six year old niece gave me a manicure.

 

Deborah Lippmann glitter nail polish, Cleopatra in New York, Ruby Red Slippers, Boom Pow Pow

 

Not quite ready for a black-based lacquer? Try Lippmann’s Ruby Red slippers, Boom Pow Pow, or any of the 23 polishes in her glitter collection.

 

12 / 17

 

ITEM OF THE WEEK: ANTIQUE VICTORIAN GOLD BUCKLE RING, HALLMARKED

 

This is a hand engraved (star in lozenge) and hand-carved (plumes) gold band ring with a buckle motif from the Victorian period. We’ve been looking for the perfect gold buckle ring for stacking and this one checks all the boxes.

 

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

The buckle motif has been popular throughout jewelry history. It was popular during the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods (the design of the buckle changing with style and time).

 

Victorian life was filled with symbolism and jewelry was no exception. A buckle symbolized fidelity in love, or loyalty in friendship, through the joining of the two pieces. When the buckle wraps around a finger, like the serpent or snake, it can be interpreted as a symbol of eternal love (an unending circle or bond).

 

From our latest buying trip in London, this buckle ring would make a great stacking ring or wedding band.

 

 

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

SHOPPING IN LONDON: MUST HAVE AND LUST HAVES

 

I couldn’t leave Knotting Hill without checking out some of the vintage fashion boutiques and a few of the home design stores. Specifically on my list was Jane Bourvis (located on 89 Golborne Road, London). Known for her antique and vintage wedding dresses and accessories, she also has a selection of vintage and reproduction skirts and dresses. Brides come from all over, making appointments to carefully select one of her designs, or a one-of-a-kind vintage or antique dress.

 

For me, the inside of her boutique was like being in a candy store: lots of lovely tulle, lace, feathers, and silk. I tried on a few of her tulle skirts. I really liked the one below, a vintage black tulle skirt with gold embroidered flowers (1940’s/50’s). I would wear it over a pair of leggings and boots for winter days and perhaps over a black slip for evening.

 

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

 

 

Tulle for Winter

 

 

 

For details on any of the above, see Sugar et Cie on Polyvore.

 

Next stop, a stroll along Bond and New Bond street to see the latest from Mappin & Webb (dating back to 1775) and Bentley & Skinner (est. 1880). My favorite was this necklace/choker from Bentley and Skinner.

 

 

 

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

A modern piece in the vintage spirit made to represent the night sky. It is exquisite in-person, made by hand, and with more diamonds than I wanted to count. Each diamond is bezel set (millegrain edge) on a velvet ribbon in midnight-sky blue.

 

Part III, Friday: Home Decor and the Dogs of London…

11 / 21

 

SNEAK PEEK: LATE GEORGIAN/EARLY VICTORIAN GOLD BAND

 

We’ve just come back from a buying trip in England where we picked-up some unusual and interesting pieces. I’m drawn to sentimental jewelry, especially ones that allow the wearer to stash a secret message, picture, or even a bit of perfume. We couldn’t pass up this late Georgian/ early Victorian ring that appears to be a just a simple gold band ring…

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Antique Victorian Gold Band Ring

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

 

SECRET COMPARTMENT RING

 

…but, press a small button on the side and the top portion of the band opens up to reveal a hidden compartment. Enclose a message or motto written on a piece of paper or engrave a note, monogram or date on the inside of this Secret Message Ring. A great piece to wear stacked with one of our micro pave diamond bands or a pair of gem-set eternity rings, one on each side. Emerald, sapphire or ruby would all pair nicely with the warm glow of the antique gold.

 

Antique Gold Band Ring with Secret Message Compartment

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

It’s only the first part of November and already all of London is dressed up for Christmas. The streets are decorated with tinsel garlands and Liberty, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, among others, already have elaborate winter and holiday scenes in their windows.

 

 

Double Decker Red London Buses on Regent Street, London

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

In between hunting for new pieces, I had a few minutes here and there to make a few “just for fun” stops.

 

DESIGN & DECOR

 

I am obsessed with this salon chair from Christopher Howe. It can be made with one of their fabrics, in leather, or with something one-of-a-kind, like a vintage flag. I love the one in the center below with the Union Jack.

 

Union Jack Flag Salon Chair From Howe in London

 

Courtesy of Howe, London

 

UNION JACK SALON CHAIR AT CHRISTOPHER HOWE SHOWROOM

 

I stopped by the Howe showroom late on a rainy London afternoon to take a look around. Located on Pimlico Rd., the store is filled with a mix of antiques and Howe’s designs.

 

Front of Howe Show Room on Pimlico Rd. in London

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

While I was there chatting, I found out that Thomas Pink had ordered chairs for their store, custom made with a pink and grey Union Jack pattern using their shirts. Later in the week, I just happened to pass by a Pink store and had to stop in to see if it was the ONE. Sure enough it was, and I snapped a picture. I’d love to have one in white linen with the union jack in hot pink and scarlet red silk.

 

Pink and Grey Union Jack Flag Chair at Pink Store in London

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

Options include an exposed back, if you like, and/or construction the old-fashioned way, with horse hair, said to last forever.

 

Christopher Howe Custom Salon Chairs at Pink in London

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

IF IT’S SUNDAY – IT’S THE COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET

 

Even though it’s November, London still manages to have its fair share of blooms. Every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3-ish, the Columbia Road Flower Market comes alive. A small stretch of Columbia Road is blocked off and the street is filled with flower stalls (and a lot of people).

 

It’s a great place to stock up on flowers for the week, grab a cup of coffee, and hang out, which is what 50% of the crowd seemed to be doing on this crisp, but sunny afternoon. Not into flowers? There are a number of fun and cute boutiques to check out. Two of my favorites: Suck and Chew (candy store) and Future Vintage (fashion).

 

Purple and Pink Tulips at Columbia Road Flower Market in London

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

Orange and Yellow Tulips at Columbia Road Flower Market in London

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

MORE FLOWERS IN NOTTING HILL

 

We also hit Portobello Road on a Saturday. Despite the crowds later in the morning, it is my idea of heaven. Vintage fashion, great food stands and restaurants, and of course a wide range of antiques. I wanted to buy up all of the roses at this corner flower shop on one of the side streets.

 

a sea of pink roses

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

roses at corner florist in Notting Hill

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

Vines growing up these plum and berry colored row houses on Portobello.

 

Colorful Row Houses Portobello Road

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

SWEET TREATS

 

I had to stop in for something warm at Fortnum & Mason, the most amazing mix of food hall, confectionery, gift emporium and cafe/tearoom/bar. I’m in love with their signature color. Depending upon the material/medium it ranges in shades from a robin’s egg blue to a turquoise blue-green to a pale mint green. I purchased a number of their biscuit (pistachio clotted cream, chocolate florentines, etc.) tins to turn into vases, a bon bon box, or possibly a velvet-lined trinket box. I haven’t quite decided.

 

Fortnum & Mason

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

The first floor at Fortnum & Mason, drooling over the jellies, Turkish Delights, chocolates, etc. in the confectionery area.

 

confectionery department at Fortnum & Mason

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

Stopped for something to eat in their second floor “Palour”: cappuccino, with a mini cappuccino ice cream cone on the side, and scones with the traditional clotted cream and strawberry preserves. The best scones I have ever had!

 

scones, strawberry preserves and clotted cream at Fortnum & Mason

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

Doughnuts from a food stand on Portobello Rd. They looked amazing and I so badly wanted a raspberry filled jelly, but I managed to resist.

 

Food Stands on Portobello Road

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014

 

More sneak peeks and fun pics from London in Part II. Check back!