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Many front pages of the most glamorous magazines from the 50’s and unpublished cinematographic scenes are some of the nice surprises you can find in this exhibition, besides the never published pictures made by the most acclaimed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 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

A brilliant wedding dress for a practical woman from half of the 19th century

Abigail Holmes chose for her wedding silk in golden color, which makes her different from the rest of the gown samples we’ve seen in this section “Iconic Wedding Dresses”.

Abigail was married with Clark S. Potter in October 1839 in New York and she chose an open neckline design with a bell-shaped skirt and a very tight bodice. I love that kind of designs with pleated sleeves tight over the elbow and also to the wrist.

Right those years fashion about sleeves was changing to a less bulky around the shoulders. That way that part of the body was better highlighted. Years after, sleeves started getting narrower and many women adapted their dresses to the new trend.

This dress seems to be more a daily piece rather than a wedding dress. It’s not presumptuous or ostentatious which is the opposite to the rest of the dresses we’ve seen here over the past few months. As decorations there are just a few simple wrinkles and a garland strategically set. Although this is not the only gown in color we’ve seen, if you remember the Mary Waters’ made almost a century before.

The selection of such a dark color was totally unusual for brides back in the time. Take into account the white silk was more expensive than silk in color and besides the cleaning was harder in a clear dress.

Abigail was probably the most realistic woman we’ve known so far, since she opted for a dress she perfectly could use after the ceremony for other uses. Her decision was also based on the fact that the couple was going to make a cruise right after the wedding. A golden-colored dress is more practical to travel. Actually the young bride also ordered a cape in the same fabric.

I couldn’t find much more info about the Holmes family. Although they were not rich, Mr. And Mrs. Potter prospered over the years. In the Federal Census of United States (1860) they were written to be living with their 8 sons in Albion. Clark Potter was a Rental Office employee.

A brilliant wedding dress for a practical woman from half of the 19th century.


Wedding Perfection- Two Centuries of wedding Gowns- Cynthia Amnèus.

Eleonora Gonzaga´s Jewerly

Tiziano made this Eleonora Gonzaga’s portrait back in 1537. The painting was created with an admirable accuracy and precision and it’s plenty of meaningful details, like the jewelry she is wearing. Of course, among all her jewelry I paid special attention to one of the tiny rings she is wearing in her finger, and that was the chosen piece to take part of our Historical collection. An amethyst and two peridotos were the semi precious stones we chose to decorate it.

But first, let’s know more about Eleonora’s life, which was crucial in the old History.

Eleonora Gonzaga was born in December 31st in 1493. She was the oldest among her brothers and sisters. Her parents were Francisco II Gonzaga and Isabella d’Este. Her mother was the duchess of Mantua and one of the most important women in the Italian Rennaissance. Isabella was a very good patron and a leader in fashion trends. Her trendy style was copied by all women in the whole Italy and also France. She regented Mantua when her husband was out and also while her son was still too young to do it.


She was a perfect model for her daughter Eleonora. In 1509 she was married with Francesco Maria della Rovere, Julio II Pope’s nephew. This marriage made her duchess of Urbino and gave her two sons and three daughters.

Eleonora was not only recognized because of her good work at arts like her mother, but also because she was able to manage Urbino’s government when her husband was exiled. It’s probable that her mother was her model also on this.

Among the main details of the painting is Eleonora’s jewelry, marta’s sking and also the animal head in gold highlighted over her chest, plenty of pearls and rubies that give her style more luxury if possible. Tiziano reminds us all the time about her power and influence. The dog is a intimate detale but also a symbol of happiness. The last detail worth of mention is the clock we can interpretate as the meaning of the fugacity of life.

Eleonora became widow and soon enough she passed away in 1570. But we’ll always have this impressive portrait by Tiziano. The oil over canvas painting (114×102.2 cm) can be visited in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.



@María Vintage Photography

The history of the Spanish portraits

The exhibition goes across the whole history of the portraits in Spain, from Juan of Flandes to Antonio Lopez and offers an overall about the paintings in the court, from the 15th century to the 21st.

It’s a great itinerary to enjoy the master works in painting, with the best samples in the National Patrimony. The tour, through 12 halls in the ground floor of the Royal Palace in Madrid, is completed with a visit to the castle. It’ll take you no more than a morning to finish the visit and it’s really worth it.

isabel-la-catolicaThe show is organized in two big sections: The House of Austria and the House of Borbon, and a tour in a chronological order that helps us better understand the history of Spain through its Royal families.
The exhibit opens with the Hapsburg dynasty, with the main portrait of Isabel the Catholic, drom the House of Trastamara. A painting by Juan de Flandes.

isabel de austria-reina de francia
It’s also remarkable in this section the portraits of Carlos V (by Jakob Seisenegger) and Felipe II (by Antonio Moro), and also you’ll find here one of the jewels of the show: a tiny miniature of the Conde-Duque de Olivares (by Diego Velazquez).

In the second section dedicated to the House of Borbon from the 18th century up to these days, you’ll find the best samples out of the National Patrimony: Felipe V, Carlos III or the wonderful Goya’s painting with Maria Luisa de Parma as a model. There are also works by Vicente Lopez, Federico de Madrazo or Franz Xaver Witherhalter, among others.

The show ends with two emblematic works by Salvador Dali and Antonio Lopez, both about the Juan Carlos I’s Royal family.

infanta maria isabel de borbonA great selection of work-arts worth visiting if you happen to be in Madrid this days. You only have until the 19th of April!
Here’s the link to the web in case you decide to pay a visit:

Bibliography and images:
National Patrimony 

infanta- maria isabel de borbon isabel Ii niña


Sarah Bernhardt: The French golden voice

Sarah Bernhardt: The French golden voice

Considered as one of the best actress ever, Sarah Bernhardt’s artistic curiosities included plastic arts and Literature. Sara (Paris, 1844 – 1923), known as the queen of the postures and princess of the expression, was the daughter of a Jewish family from Holland and her true name was Henriette-Rosine Bernard. Her beauty and deep dark eyes together with her great bearing made her bright over the stage. Bernhardt studied Interpretation in the prestigious Conservatory of Pais, but before that she had passed most of her childhood in a convent. It was around 1870 when she started achieving a big success.

She was extremely gifted and her expertise was perfectly understand the psicology of the characters. Very soon, she was known as “the golden voice”. The audience admired her because of her spontaneity, her high knowledge and also, her eccentricities… She loved travelling by hot-air balloon and the coffin she always had with her to sleep in sometimes… In her trips she also used to take with her a lot of pets (cats, birds and turtles, among others).


London was her first hit out of France. She had an enormous success also there. One year later, Sarah Bernhardt launched her own Company, she became an entrepreneur and started the first of her many tours in the US. She was an international star soon enough.

Her career was long and she had the chance to play any kind of role, far away from her own character and personality. Some of her hits were Rey Lear (as Cordelia) or La Dame aux Camelias (by Dumas). Rumours say that the last scene in this stage play was so realistic that a few women among the public fainted.

When she was 70, she created Hamlet. One of her many virtues was modernize Shakespeare’s work. Instead of recite, she spoke the “to be or not to be” just whispering, which was an innovation.

After she suffered from the amputation of her right leg after an accident, she started donating funds for soldiers injured during the first world wide war. From that momento onwards, she only could accept roles where she could be sat in a chair.

Life was so good to her that she had even time to write her memories and publish a novel. However, death came to pick her up in 1923 when she was getting ready her new work. Her beauty, her talent and her personality made her be admired by men like Sigmund Freud and Oscar Wilde, and remembered as one of the best actresses in Europe.


Texto @ Esther Ginés
Fotografias Wikipedia y @ María Vintage Photography

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.










Filippo Lippi and his Madonna pearl brooch

Let me show you today a jewel inspired in one of the Filippo Lippi’s most emblematic paintings. A small pearl brooch that the Madonna wears in Madonna and Child. It’s a 135 cm. tempera on panel the Renaissance artist created about 1645. Today it’s part of the Palatina Galery Collection, in Florence.

Filippo Lippi’s story

He was from a very humble family. In 1421 he joined the Santa Maria del Carmine monastery in Florence, very close where his family lived.

Therefore, the young friar had the chance to admire the frescos that within the 1420’s decade, Masolina and Masccio painted in the Brancacci chappel, in the close church. That experience was crucial to encourage Lippi to pain. Some said once the Masaccio’s spirit was dancing inside Filippo Lippi.


It was in 1434 when Filippo left the monastery to move in to Padua.  By the end of the decade he had already his own studio in Florence, where he could show his talent soon enough. In a letter from April 1st 1438 to Piero de Medici, Domenico Veneziano mentions Filippo Lippi and Fra Angelico as the best artists in the world (by the time).

Filippo made many religious paintings with smart and elegant symbolism: the “Pietá” (piety) theme and the Annuntiation as well as portraits. From 1440 Filippo evolved to a courtly sytle, with brighter colores, soften lines, more complex and more spacious around his main characters. That was the style wished by those who ordered a painting from him, mainly the Medici family and close friends. He also painted the communion table for Cosimo il Vecchio (before 1459).


Between 1452 and 1466 Filippo focused on his most ambitious project: the frescos of the Prato Cathedral. During his stay in Prato he fell in love with Lucrezia Buti, who lived in the Santa Margarita convent. Through the Cosimo de Medici intervention he got Lucrezia out of the convent in order to marry her. The couple had a child, Filippino, who followed his father’s steps as a reknown artist.

In 1467, when he was ordered the fresco “Scenes of the life of Virgin Mary” he moved to Spoleto with the whole workshop. He worked on this project until his death in 1469. Later, where Lippi was buried, Lorenzo il Magnifico made a monument to the artist, designed by his son Filippino.

Among his pupils and contributors were Fra Diamant, Filippino Lippi and Sandro Boticelli.




María Vintage Photography

Jane Goodall, a life devoted to primates protection

Focusing your life in a passion is not easy and just a few make it a success, like the British Jane Goodall (London 1934) did. She was one of the most acclaimed scientifics and a emblematic leading because of the work she did to protect primates.

She became a Dr. in the Cambridge University and after that, she got over 40 Honorary degrees awarded by the best Universities in the world. She also was awarded with a hundred of international rewards.


Her childish and sweet face with the white hair in a ponytail is as well-known as the fluffy toy she used to be photographied with. She always took it to her speeches. Her life was extremely bounded to these primates that she loved since she was a child.

When she was slightly over 20 she travelled to Kenya to perfect her studies with a prestigous anthropologist. That was her first move in her successful professional career that includes about 20 books, articles, documentaries and a pioneer investigation over the field about the wild primates life in Tanzania. She was developing this observation for almost 50 years.

Thanks to her good eye to detail and her empathy for these animals, nowadays we know much more about their fascinating behaviour rutines and all we share with them. Her studies in Africa were so relevant that meant a revolution in Biology.


Besides trying to protect primates, the British naturalist has always supported a sustainable existence and the respect for all species in the Earth.

When in the 60’s she already was a guide and a model for primate experts, she created the institute with her name, a global non profitable organization to investigate, spread and protect not only the primates and their universe, but also the rest of the creatures in Earth.

When she’s asked for her trust in humanity, she uses to reply with scepticism. She’s truly disappointed by humanity actually although she always hopes the new generations will change the world.


Goodall keeps working even today, when she’s around 80 and as involved in the primates protection as always. In the documentary about her life and work you’ll realize that passion and energy are two of the most important features of hers.

From her 70 years-long experience protecting Nature we’ll always remember this consideration: “If we’re the smartest and clevest beings in Earth, how is that we are destroying the Planet?

Artículo escrito por @Esther Ginés