With “R” for “Reliquary”

A reliquary is a small box or recipient commonly used in the past to wear hanging from the neck. The very first use was entirely religious as a case to keep relics that once belonged to saints.

Withing Christianity a reliquary is the remains of a sanctified person and by extension a relic is a memory that belonged to them or to those who met the saint and reliquary is then the tiny recipient where it was kept.


There’s evidence of reliquaries already back in the 4th century. It was found in the Treasure of Monza, a gift that Saint Gregorio gave to the queen Teodolina.

Among that treasure there are several tiny bottles very common back in the time that only had cotton wet with blessed oil or that one inside the lamps close to the tomb of a martyr.

However, over the years the use was growing in popularity and the little reliquaries started containing the remains of a close familiar. When this happened people commonly kept hairs belonging to a loved one and the name evolved to “locket”, a piece which definition you can find here.



Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an icon

I am pretty sure you all who frequently read our vintage blog know that Audrey Hepburn is one of our most beloved muses. Among our most admired jewelry is the reproduction of the pearl necklace she wore while filming Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And it seems it also is you favorite piece, not only ours.

That is why today we’ve decided to write about this beautiful exhibition in London that will be opened until Octobre 18th… Hurry up! Still have time to plan a visit to this impressive city and pay it a visit!

The National Portrait Gallery hosts this time over 70 portraits all about Audrey’s life, starting from the very beginning, when she was part of the choir at the West End Theater in London, up to the last days she dedicated to charity, including her trips to Sudan.

Many front pages of the most glamorous magazines from the 50’s and unpublished cinematographic scenes are some of the nice surprises you can find in this exhibition, besides the never published pictures made by the most acclaimed photographers in the time like Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson o Irving Penn.

It’s especially curious how The Gallery is using social networks to offer its visitors details about this show. In order to do that, they have the specialist Helen Trompeter frequently tweeting about the exhibition, including a very especial tour about Hepburn’s history through images and the explanations of this expert (visit her profile here)

This last August, the show got the award to the Best Exhibition of the Month.


10The National Portrait Gallery was founded back in 1856 in order to pick and show the most famous and international collections of British portraits. This exhibition about Audrey Hepburn is the private show displayed only until October 18th. However, if you decide to pay it a visit, don’t hesitate to also visit the rest of the gallery. The permanent collection has over 200000 portraits from the 16th century up to date.

For further information, please, visit the  National Portrait Gallery website

The wedding dress inspired in the Queen Victoria’s gown

Angelina Russell was married only six weeks after the Queen Victoria of England did. This wedding was a highlight of inspiration for bridal fashion in the time.

I have decided to write a post about the queen’s bridal gown, a jewel that still today is an inspiration for designers and a truly icon in the bridal fashion. However, let me focus today in the Agelina’s design.

Although the piece is quite similar to the Queen’s, Angelina knew how to be special and she gave the gown a personal touch only brides are able to do.

The fabric was a very light silk decorated with a damask floral motive very popular back in the time. Angelina’s dress was completed with a beautiful bodice with an open neckline finished off with a hand-embroidered flounce. The top of the bodice is tight to the chest with wide casings. The front has a simple decoration though, with five beautiful laces made in the same silk.  This sort of details are still today in fashion. We still see modern brides with laces decorating a noted part in their designs.


Sleeves in Angelina’s dress are pleated ending around the elbow with another hand-embroidered flounce.

The skirt is linked to the bodice through a tiny 55 cm diameter waist. Please, go ahead and grab a meter so you can imagine what a diameter of 55 cm is. To me it’s so extrange that those women could fit in a waist of a little girl.

Angelina Russel was married with James J. Faran (1808-92) in 1840. They both moved to Cincinnati, James’ home city.

Faran became into a successful lawyer and editor. For 23 years he worked as a manager of editors in a local newspaper, The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The couple lived in a modern area within the center of Cincinnati where they grew five children and enjoyed their marriage for over 50 years.


Wedding Perfection- Two Centuries of wedding Gowns- Cynthia Amnèus

The first rings for men arrive to our vintage collection

We are truly glad to introduce the first ring for men we add to our Vintage Collection, the reproduction of a vintage piece that was worn by Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi in this superb Raphael’s painting.

This classic and restrained composition is a great portrait, a master piece where we can see the Cardinal seated with his robes and grabbing a goblet in silver in his right hand.

I’m sure you didn’t miss the bright of the red silk and the texture in his robes. It’s just amazing. His deep-looking face shows a minor gesture with his mouth like telling you “I’m superior”.

Well, this Cardinal is wearing three rings, all of them will arrive this month to our vintage space.

Dovizi was the Pope Leon X secretary for a while and later he became the representant in France. It was around this time when he posed for one of the big masters of the Italian Rennaissance.


Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi was extremely inteligent and a brilliant humanist in his time, with a special taste for Literature. He even was the author of “The Calandria”.

Since he was a close friend to Raphael, he not only ordered this portrait to the artista but the decoration of the most beautiful and symbolic rooms in the Vatican.

For this project, Raphael counted on the help of one of his outstanding disciples: Giovanni de Udine. It was 1519 back then.

Giovanni had successfully used the technique with stucco, he even made up his own system with lime of Travertino. His master Raphael loved this discovery so he decided to count on him to decorate the three rooms in the Vatican: the stufetta (bathroom), the Loggetta and the Loggia.

Cardinal’s stufetta is particularly shocking: the decoration is a bit too much intimate and even erotic. The theme is the life of Venus and her relationship with the rest of the gods, a matter too erotic for the time, so they finally decided to cover the stuffeta with wood and make of it a little chapel.

Cardinal Bernardo was so happy with the result of the paintings that he decided to marry Raphael to his niece Mary, however this was not possible since he died before the ceremony.

And today we want to inmortalize part of Raphael’s work with this simple and classical piece of jewelry.





Images. @María López-Linares Vintage Photography 



With R for Rascamoño (Ornamental Hairclasp)

Let me put this image in your head: long needles usually decorated in one of the two ends with stones in different colors. Women used them both to hold a bun on top of the head or to just dress it.

The term describe perfectly the use we give to this vintage jewel.


It’s a piece of jewelry women use still today, specially in the Spanish are of Valencia, thanks to their popular tradition. In fact, the pics we are enclosing are about a few pieces from Maria Casanova’s family collection.

Images: María López-Linares Vintage Photography

The Rothschild family treasures now in Boston


This month Boston is the heart of our recommended exhibition. Restoring a Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures bring us to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston – opened until next July 5th – a magnificent European show with beauties looted by the Nazi during the II World War, but returned to its owner in the last years: the Baron and Baroness of Rothschild of Vienna.

The exhibit consists of 186 objects of art, and among them you’ll find jewelry, decoration objects, furniture, miniatures and even books belonging to the Viennese family. What we’ve found specially interesting though is the Baroness’ personal collection with 80 objetcs, including an outstanding and beautiful jewelry from the time.


We’d like to highlight out of all jewels exposed a tiara – and necklace at the same time – from 1920 made out of 9 pear-shaped diamonds and also an Art-Decó brooch with two emeralds from 1937. However all pieces are worth of being admired since they are an excellent working of precious metals, like gold, agate, lacquer, enamel or gemstones.

The Rothschild family

The Rothschild are descendants of a court jew (kind of banker from the time) from Frankfurt who set up a very prosperous banking business in Austria in 1760. However his greatest success was to stablish an international banking system through his 5 sons, who finally became nobles and received the titles of Barons.

They reached so much power and influence that in France and Austria the Rothschild pressured to build and fund the railway and in general, all of them were somehow involved in the precious metals business, with a special taste for gold. It’s said they brought together the biggest private fortune in recent history.


In 1938 the Rothschild lost all their interests in Austria to the Nazi, what meant the end of over a century of being the heart of banking in Central Europe. After this happened, the family broke apart.

Nowadays, even though they are equally (or more) well known, their patrimony and dedication is now headed to a different field: banking and investment.

Thanks to the efforts of this family and some other movements like Monuments Men and Woman in Gold, it is known the pillaging made by the Nazi during the II World War. And thanks to them this amazing collection has been able to be shown.



Bibliografía e Imágenes:





Anita Delgado: The Spanish princess of Kapurthala

Back in the beginning of the 20th century, a powerful member of the royalty met a really beautiful – but modest origins- lady. He fell in love with her almost inmediately. Without much hesitation, he asked her to marry him. So far, this looks like the typical story through the years, but in this case, to Anita Delgado (born in Malaga in 1890) was not fiction, but the summary of her life.

When she still was young, she left her job as a singer in Madrid to get married to the maharajah of Capurthala. Anita was a “cupletista” for a living (kind of traditional singer in Spain). She used to work with her sister. Both were the duet “Camelias Sisters”. Back then she was only 16, but her life radically changed soon enough.


During the King Alfonso the 13th got married, she was hired as a singer. The rajah saw her on his way to the Royal Palace. To him it was a first sight love. According to Elisa Vázquez, princess of Kapurthala’s biographer, the maharajah arrived in an impressive carriage, wearing plenty of jewelry and a turban. But he couldn’t look apart from Anita. After just a few days, one of his assistants came with a petition of marriage. He asked her to go to Paris together with her family to plan the wedding.

She said yes. The scenerio, the French capital became this way into part of this amazing story. It was there where they got married before they moved to Bombay, the trip of her life. The fact that the maharajah already had others wives and sons didn’t matter to Anita.

After the wedding, she oficially was titled the first wife. The couple – that used to frequently travel to Europe – was always followed and admired by photographers of the time.

Anita had a boy, Ajit, and she was living a life of royal parties, receptions, trips and a very strict protocol. The many pictures of the time show a very elegant woman with a remarkable look.


Over those years, the Spanish princess wrote a diary that finally was published: The impressions of my trips to India. Her sister’s death (she still was very close to her) and many health issues – including a miscarriage and a long convalescence far from her husband – ruined what seemed to be a perfect life.

Anita ended up separating from the maharajah and came back to Europe. Over there, she had a very hectic social life, always in touch with intelectuals and celebrities until the II World War.

Anita spent the rest of her days with Gines Rodriguez, who she met many years before when she still lived in Malaga. She always wanted to write her memories, but death came in 1962 and she couldn’t make it.

The legacy of her memos, photos, missives and other documents went to her niece Victoria, who trust Elisa Vazquez to be the oficial biographer of Anita’s life. Her fascinating life has also inpired the writer Javier Moro, author of Indian Passion.


Fabergé Revealed: The fall of the Russian imperial family through his jewelry

If Vegas already is one of the most visited destinations worldwide, it’s lately becoming into one of the cultural preferences as well, due to the many exhibitions and cultural activities the city is displaying at the many luxurious hotels across the Strip.

This time we want to recommend a beautiful show that will be open until May 25th, so if you happen to be around Vegas, don’t hesitate to go a pay it a visit. We are talking about Fabergé Revealed. This exhibition shows almost 240 artifacts from the time, which means this is the biggest Fabergé collection shown outside Russia. The history behind these pieces tells us a lot about the Russian imperial family over the 19th and 20th centuries.

Faberge Revealed 2 - Easter Egg

The House of Fabergé designed and manufactured about 150,000 objects of art, jewels and articles made in silver. Most of them were unique and very rare, made exclusively for a distinguished client. The most famous series he did were the Easter Eggs, about which we’ve talked already in our Vintage Dictionary.

The luxury of his jewels and the refine craftsmanship he applied took him to the service of the Russian imperial family by the end of the 19th century. In this show, among other wonders, you’ll see 200 pieces this celebrated jeweller realized for the Russian Czars Alexander III and his son and successor, Nicholas II, including four Imperial Easter Eggs, unique in the world.

Faberge Revealed 3

Tarissa Tiberti, the gallery’s executive director – the show is displayed in one of the most luxurious hotels in Vegas, the Bellagio Hotel – said, as quoted in LA Time “these treasured objects encompass the beauty of art while also telling one of the most powerful stories in history: the fall of the Russian imperial family”.

The exhibition, whose pieces are a loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will remain open in the Bellagio Hotel until May 25th. If you are planning a visit, don’t miss it!

Find tickets and more info here: http://newsroom.bellagio.com/


The orient of the pearls

Do you know what “the orient of the pearls” means? The orient is the natural sparkle in a pearl, that iridescent shine so characteristic that differenciates a high-quality pearl. It’s probable that you’ve heard “these pearls have a beautiful orient”, haven’t you?

Orient is the light that reflects over the thin layers forming the surface of a pearl. That light becomes then into those beautiful iridescent reflections that grab our attention so powerful.

We call “dead pearls” those that have actually lost that shine and light.

The thiner and more beautiful the orient is the more quality the pearl will have. That’s something that you can distinguish with some experience and the habit of looking at pearls.


Joan Crawford’s jewelry collection

Most of the Joan Crawford’s jewelry collection was auctioned right after her death. Although other part had already gone before she left us, Joan Crawford kept her most loved pieces (not the most valuable though). This collection is mostly from the decades 30, 40 and 50 (20th century) when the style was daring and the trend was to wear big pieces with huge ornaments.

Among al her pieces let me highlight the following:

  • A wonderful set of jewelry formed by a necklace, two twin bracelets, earrings and a ring, all by Raymond C Yard, one of the most acclaimed jeweller in the States in the time.
  • One of Crawford’s favourite ones: a set in aquamarine and diamonds signed by the French house Boucheron (Verger Freres). Joan bought it in 1935 and since then she wore it in many occasions both, for the screen and her personal life too. After this set was acquired by Andy Warhol (for his “Collecion of Jewelry and Watches”) it finally ended up in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in the exhibition “Hollywood Glamour Fashion and Jewerly from Silver Screeen”


  • Alfred Steel, Pepsi’s CEO, was the husband who gave Joan most of the jewelry. One of these pieces was a tiny brooch in gold with rubies and bottle-shaped diamonds that she received as a wedding gift. Years after, this piece was auctioned for $5000. Other spectacular piece she was given was a wrist watch in platinum and diamonds, by Ruser. The design was quite daring for the time decorated with closter-shaped diamonds and a bracelet in similar stones. The jewel had this inscription in it: “To my love, Xmas 1958, Alfred”.
  • Impressive is also the set of brooches she acquired from the famous jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura. She used to wear them in her lapels to improve her look. Years after she started wearing them close to a diamond necklace she received, since the piece itself wasn’t enough sparkling.
  • By the end of the 50’s she added an amazing pair of earrings in diamonds to her collection. The design was also a closter in baguette, with diamond cut like markasites, each of them holding a little drop in diamond too.


  • Joan Crawford was so in love with the sapphires that she was known as “Joan Blue”. One of her favourite pieces was a set of bracelets with three starred sapphires (up to 70 carats each). She also had an engagement ring in the same form and stones and a superb emerald-cut 72 carats sapphire.

Her carisma, feline eyes and her ability to play dramatic roles made her one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.  She deserves to be part of our biggest jewelry collectionists.