Georgian and Victorian Jewelry at The Spare Room Antiques
This is the second year of our Gifts for The Holidays Guide for which we enlisted modern jewelry retailers and antique shop owners and experts. For each installment, we have asked for suggestions from their brick and mortar or online stores. We have also asked what gift they would choose for themselves this holiday season.
If you are in the market for Georgian through early Victorian jewelry then look no further than the Spare Room Antiques which sells directly from their website as having a shop on 1st Dibs. They also participate in antique shows throughout the east coast and it might be wise to check their listings if you want to meet them and their jewels in person. Co-owners Marcia Moylan and Jackie Smelkinson have been the closest of friends and co-owners for over 50 years and when talking to them in person, they not only provide an encyclopedia of information but they finish each other’s sentences. They are also two of the funniest and loveliest women I have had the pleasure of gaining knowledge from while I bought many of my Georgian jewels. Jenny Smelkinson, Jackie’s daughter joined the company a few years back and recently Sarah Eastman has become part of the Spare Room, expanding the dynamic duo into a family of four.
All four have participated in sharing a gift they think is perfect for the antique collector and lover of early period jewelry.
Sarah Eastman, “This lovely Victorian bracelet of aqua, “pink” topaz and natural pearls is one of our favorites this year. It’s feminine while still having a modern appeal. And the colors are even on trend with what you will be seeing in fashion in 2018 warm weather months But let’s talk about my favorite part of this bracelet for a moment and what makes it even more special. Pink topaz is a rare gemstone mined from Brazil, which started life as golden topaz, but achieved this glorious pink tone upon being heated. Not all golden topaz contained the element chromium which yielded this beautiful pink hue. As a result, most golden topaz fractured or was rendered colorless. Bracelets are always a great gift idea because of many woman mix and stack them and with the colors against the warm glow of gold, you really can’ go wrong with this beauty.”
Marcia Moylan, “During Georgian into early Victorian times, paste jewelry was a part of every fashionable woman’s wardrobe. Pastes are stones made from leaded glass to imitate diamonds, but in many ways better than diamonds; the degree of skill required to construct the jewelry surpassed that of diamond crafters, simply because the abundance of materials allowed them to focus on technique. Antique paste pieces are so soundly made that they can be worn frequently and not just pulled out of the drawer for special occasions. For this reason, and that we just love these long glamorous earrings with perfect graduated stones. These antique paste and silver drop earrings are also perfect to wear for holiday parties and to festively ring in the New Year but they can also be worn year round.”
Jenny Smelkinson, “Shakudo art describes the wonderful metal work behind the ornamentation of Japanese sword making, which became the most respected of all crafts during the Samurai period. The features that made the craft so beautiful were the gold and copper inlays and alloys known as ‘Shakudo’.
When the Japanese government no longer permitted the wearing of the sword after 1877, the craftsmen turned their attention to creating jewelry. The asymmetric, organic qualities and natural forms of the Shakudo art appealed to the followers of the Aesthetic movement. The simplicity of the nature symbols and geometrical patterns taken from ancient Japanese culture have a timeless and enduring appeal. And so our antique Skadudo ring, dated c 1890, is the third piece of jewelry on our list this holiday season.”
The women of the Spare Room Antiques chose Jackie to tell us what gift she would want herself for the holidays.
“After almost 50 years in this business, I often think I have seen it all. And then I find something magical again. I have seen many rivière necklaces in my time, but I have not seen one (that is not in mine cut diamonds) as exquisite as our Georgian rock crystal version. When you can find them in good condition and not broken up for earrings and other jewelry, you traditionally see these necklaces often with graduating stones in rose and mine cut diamonds, colored gemstones or paste. but rock crystal is extremely rare to find. Set in 12K gold and silver, it is the gift I covet this year. Rock crystal is a natural, transparent quartz. Legend has it that when viewed from one’s boat out at sea, the glittering lights of the French Riviera resembled a glittering necklace, and so was called the Riviera or rivière, which translates to river and in this case ‘river of light’. The necklace is made from graduated perfectly matched stones with barely visible connections. The gold backing prevents one’s skin from being tarnished. I hope to be blessed with this as my holiday gift this season. And if that’s not a major hint–I don’t know what is.”