top of page
  • The Antique Collector


Updated: Aug 18, 2023

One of my favourite rings, acquired from Bell and Bird,

'Que Lamour Qui Nous Unit' - which translates as 'the love that unites us'

This week we ask 10 questions to -

Antique Animal Jewelry, known for her love of snake jewelry and specialisng in pieces from 1750- 1860

1. How did you get started in the antiques trade?

I actually started selling mid century furniture with a dear friend in about 2002. He has a son, a rare book dealer, so I started to immerse myself in antiques of all types, hanging around auctions, and buying mid century and industrial furniture, lighting and ceramics, whilst also working as a freelance fashion designer.

I had zero interest in jewelry...... because I had not discovered Georgian Jewelry! In my mind all jewelry was large brilliant cut diamonds, or unwearable tiaras, or rather dull flowery Edwardian pieces.

2. What is the most memorable piece you’ve ever sold?

Oh well! That could be many, many things! But I guess one such piece was a Victorian black enamel snake bangle. And it was memorable to me because I stepped up my game a little and it was an expensive piece. I went from buying £1200 max to suddenly £8000 .. and it sold straight away. Of course because it was very beautiful. And it gave me the confidence that quality sells!

3. What is the piece that got away?

Well here is one of many that I owned but regretted selling, a rare Georgian Rebus ring - Elle Aime Lui, Lui Aime Elle = She Loves Him, He Loves Her. Would you sell this? Was I crazy??

4. Have you a dream piece to own?

Even though I do have some micro carved rings I do hanker after more of them. Bell and Bird had this wonderful plaque ring, and I yearn after the Albion Art Institute Crucifiction ring. And then... I adore the Bloodstone and diamond ring sold by Inez Stodel, and the sundial ring (found on Pintrest, owner unknown)

5. What is the most significant piece to you in your personal collection?

This is a very hard question. Significant is different to favourite, so i will say my micro carved ship ring which I bought at auction in 2017. This late 18th century ring has a carved scene of a harbour, with a fisherman on the on the left of the port with a fishing boat and a french man of war ship on the right flying the tricolour, and the town in the background

6. Have you a favourite era of antiques/vintage?

Without a doubt from 1750 to 1860.

English, French, German. I am not alone!

When I was a child I loved those old marbles, I loved winning fish and the funfair in those plastic bags, I loved snow globes. There is a theme isn't there? I loved miniature scenes.Especially three dimensional scenes. I also loved the clockwork toys. Now imagine my surprise when you could buy tiny three dimensional scenes, sometimes clockwork.. in a ring! Each totally unique with skills that are sadly now lost to the world. I love the sheer brilliance and invention of that era. And the fineness. Today, even though people still have brilliant ideas the results are much more chunky, less refined.

7. What piece of advice would you give to dealers just starting out?

Quality sells. But buy what you can afford. Treat buyers with respect. Don't try the 'I don't do returns' and all that jazz. Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself.

Build a brand and find a backdrop for your photos that is recognisable as you. Find your own brand name. Don't choose a name that someone else has and then make it slightly different.

8. Do you have a piece of advice to collectors looking to add to their collection?

I feel like giving some different advice, that purists might hate. Buy what you love. So what if the shank has been replaced, or the glass. Or some of the smaller stones. Do you see anything out there today that comes close to these antique pieces? The machine cut bland diamond rings that to be honest people only wear as a status symbol and not for any reason of beauty. These pieces are 200 - 250 years old and the only way they are in perfect order is if a) they have never been worn (rare) or b) the dealer is fibbing to you and has done a lot of restoration work. So when a dealer says I have had to repair it here and there, don't run away in horror for then you are perpetuating the need for dealers to lie and tell you everything is perfect when it never is. Don't listen to those negative nancys on instagram who want to sell you their expert advice when actually what have they ever really handled?

Find a dealer or two you trust and buy via them to start. If you are loyal, they will be loyal back to you. And if they say things like they do not offer refunds, dump them. But don't take the mickey and set up layaways that you cannot meet online etc.

9. How has the trade changed since you started your business?

Clearly covid was a seismic moment for most industries and the antiques world was no different. Lockdown pushed all the dealers online, even those resisting computer dealing were forced into it and during their home incarceration they were busy knocking up a website. I'm sure this was one of the desirable outcomes wanted by the government, the next step being to digitise money. This resulted in many older dealers taking the opportunity to retire, and many arcades closed their doors forever. Internet auction prices shot up as more and more dealers were suddenly unable to buy from their old sources who were now online. So quite a big change really

10. And finally, what do you love most about your work?

Like all dealers, I love the hunt, I love the beauty. I love talking to other dealers about a piece, it's history and what has happened to it along the way. I love finding a very damaged piece and restoring it back to it's former glory, I love recreating pieces like stickpins and brooches that have fallen out of favour and giving them a new era of glory.

Thanks so much to Antique Animal Jewelry for the interview!

48 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page