The Antique Guild is an Old Town Alexandria institution; it has been selling antique and estate jewelry (as well as holloware and flatware) in the same place for 33 years as of March 10th, 2013. The store’s owner, Mara, first discovered a love of jewelry and antiques when she was a child. She remembers accompanying her military father to antique shops all over the world with her father and receiving little trinkets and pieces of jewelry from the sellers she met. With such a past, its no wonder that she became a collector and store owner herself.
The shop itself is fascinating – small and bursting with treasures, it feels like a jewelry box itself. I’m sure I was a nightmare to hold a conversation with because I couldn’t go two seconds without dropping down to knee level to look at a ring on the bottom level of a case or stooping to get a closer look at earrings sitting at elbow-level. Lucky for me, Mara and her lovely associates are as friendly as they are knowledgeable about jewelry. They not only tolerated me being in the store for five hours, they also invited me to join their (delicious) sushi lunch. It was a glorious visit and I will be going back.
So why was I there for five hours? First of all, because I was having tons of fun. But also because I was taking pictures of the pretties for you, my dear readers. And all of these pieces – except for the one I bought- were for sale at the time I left the store two weeks ago, so if you see anything you like, head on down to Old Town Alexandria.
Two Art Deco rings I fell head over heels for. Left: yellow gold, white gold, and amethyst. Right: gold and diamond. And yes, the amethyst is the one that came home with me.
This store profile is going to be a two-parter: I took far too many photos to fit them all in one post. Click here for part 2!
This was referred to at one point as “the big bling” and I think it’s a pretty appropriate name. If I was a lady given to fainting, I would have keeled over when this came out of the safe. It’s an Edwardian collier-de-chien – a multi-strand choker with a central decorative plaque. This piece is made primarily of pearls, with a central plaque made of platinum, diamonds, and pearls in a flowering vine-like motif.
Here you can see that the clasp of this piece was just as pretty as the front of it. Can you imagine how stunning this necklace would be on a lady with an elegant updo? Pearls and diamonds everywhere.
If this Art Deco bracelet is still there when I go back to The Antique Guild, it’s coming home with me.
This is the first piece that Mara handed me and it is antique Tiffany and Co. Art Nouveau, to be precise. It’s a gold brooch with a design of cherry blossoms in yellow and rose gold. It’s spectacularly detailed.
A detail shot of the floral design on the Tiffany brooch. A tad blurrier than I’d hoped it would be, but you can still get the general idea. (Warning: I did my best with these photos, but it’s been a few years since my last photography class.)
This was one of the coolest pieces I saw. The central band of this ring is half ruby and half sapphire. The outer diamond bands are hinged; they can flip flop either way. It’s [insert math here] rings in one!
Here’s one of my favorite pieces: a beautifully worked antique gold lorngette. Note the loop on the end – these would have been worn on a chain around the neck as a pendant.
Here’s a closer view of the floral details. As someone who received her first pair of glasses at age 8, I’m particularly fascinated by lonrgettes. If I could get glasses this pretty, I would stop wearing contacts.
And finally, an elegant and beautiful Art Deco diamond and filigree brooch.