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  • The Antique Collector


This week we ask 10 questions to -

Lara from Antique Devotion who is based in Paris/United States and specialises in

rare unique jewelry and objects of devotion..

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

I’ve always enjoyed collecting things. I can remember collecting postcards from my trips around Europe with my parents and then in the 1990s while living in Switzerland, it was popular to collect the tops from coffee creamers. In Switzerland it’s kind of like collecting stamps. About 10 years ago, I started to collect late 19th/ early 20th century French religious medals, this lead me into trade. Over the past 7 years my taste has grown to include 19th century French regional jewelry as well as 18th & early 19th sentimental pieces. I still trade medals but there are so many other pieces that I love to offer; the rare, the memorable, the intimate.

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

There have been quite a few good pieces. The most memorable was probably an early 19th century locket featuring a miniature portrait by Boquet that opened up to reveal an anachronistic Memento Mori. It was a large piece made in memory of a deceased wife and daughter. The grieving husband/ father emotes in the very fine silver engraving. It was a very popular piece and found the perfect home.

3. What is the piece that got away?

My biggest regret was a pearl-studded oval ring with a fête champêtre(pastoral scene) as its central motif in gold setting. A unique, beautiful early 19th century piece that spurred a very aggressive auction that I heavily invested myself in… until it sold. A very sad moment that anyone familiar with this very particular brand of business, blending as it does opportunism and sentimentality, will no doubt be all too familiar with. You can't always get what you want!

4. Have you a dream piece to own?

Certainly, having the Koh-i Nor would be incredible! But seriously, my dream piece would be a 18th century snuff box decorated with a miniature painting by French-Flemish Louis-Nicolas Van Blarenberghe, the most well known member of the legendary, supernaturally gifted dynasty of artists sharing the same namesake. The family (father and son Henri-Joseph) were awarded the prestigious position of official miniaturists at the Palace of Versailles and the specific piece that blew me away was a miniature view of the La Ferté-Vidame castle on a gold enamelled snuff-box circa 1750. An exquisite piece; the colours, perspective, overall aesthetic are really something to marvel at.

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

The crown jewel of my personal collection is, after very careful assessment, a miniature, 18th century portrait ring of fabled French fashion designer (marchande de modes) Rose Bertin. A octagonal ring in 14kt gold, it presents an elegant profile perspective of this exceptional woman, a personal favourite of queen Marie-Antoinette widely credited with having elevated haute couture to the forefront of popular culture. The appeal of this piece lies therefore not just in its startling pictorial excellence (notice the charming detail of the azure blue head band or the meticulously representation of both dress and hair) but in its unabashed celebration of a true pioneer whose dedication to elegance and, dare I say it, fun, chimes with the delightful fantasies of women of all ages, the world over.

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

My favourite era of jewelry is from 1750-1830. It encompasses the English Georgian period and various periods in French and European design such as Roccoco, Neoclassical and Charles X.

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

Pick something that you are passionate about to get started, the passion fuels the drive and you need that to get going. It’s also important to allow yourself to be open to other styles, periods, etc. Allow yourself time for discovery. It’s important to renew and refresh your passion in order to avoid burnout.

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

Collecting is very personal. Each assemblage is a unique reflection of the individual collector. That being said, the best collections are ones that take years to form. Your collection will change as your knowledge grows deeper. Important pieces are those with provenance and are the least corrupted by time. Remember if something has survived 100, 200, 300 + years, chances are that in 100-300 + years from now it will continue to captivate people, thus creating a tangible link between the past, the present & future.

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

So much has changed in the business in such a short period of time. I started selling on Instagram and Etsy seven years ago but now I rely on my own website, the Antique Collector and even private appointments. Instagram and Etsy are no longer my main avenues of revenue. Sourcing items had become challenging too. The competition is fierce, especially for the rare & highly sought after pieces.

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

Clearly, this particular line of work is fuelled by passion for the craft, interest in art history and taste for competitive purchases. Winning a piece that knocked you over is really one of the greatest thrills one can ever experience, especially after a, literally, nail-biting, often frustrating auction. Yet ultimately, the most rewarding dividend is not hoarding beautiful examples of rare & highly sought after pieces; it is the capacity that you, in such a competitive market, have to satisfy the dreams of potential customers; offering them unique, genuine works of art that will mean so much more than just an expensive trinket and not simply because of the price tag but because it resonates sincerely and will be passed on for generations to come. As the saying goes: “Give a girl the right jewelry and she can conquer the world”.

Thanks so much to Lara of Antique Devotion for the interview!

If any of our other lovely dealers would like the spotlight on them in the same way, please message or email

The Antique Collector team

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