Tuesday, 30 June 2009


A few weeks ago I mentioned I had bought two new antique brooches, the first of which was my beetle brooch, who I introduced to the world here. The second of the brooches is this example of Victorian tortoiseshell pique work. Pique refers to the technique of inlaying gold or silver into the torstoiseshell, by means of pressing a heated rod of the precious metal into the tortoiseshell, thus metling it slightly. The tortoiseshell then hardens around the precious metal as it cools. The results are amazingly refined and detailed. My brooch only showcases a small example of pique work, but much larger, more elaborate examples can be found. Good quality Victorian tortoiseshell is always in demand, and its increasingly difficult to find good examples in undamaged pique work, so I feel quite lucky to have found this brooch at a very good price (if you're interested in seeing more examples....earrings, brooch, pendant, coin purse and journal, more earrings).
Britain is going through a bit of heatwave at the moment, which means I can happily wear my favourite summer sandals. I purchased them last year, when they successfully kept my feet cool and looking pretty. I also wore my fringe top, which doesn't get nearly enough wear, and accessorised with plenty of long beaded necklaces. Todays bag is one of my most favourite vintage pieces ever. It is a c.1920's black velvet bag with gold thread work in the form of the Taj Mahal. Its kinda kitsch, but the detail is incredible and I love it!

Shoes (Bruno Premi), vintage bag, trousers (H&M), top (H&M),

Make-up shot below - I always wanted to be able to do mad black and white 60's eyemake-up (you know, like this)...but everytime I try, I fail. I think my eyes are too small to carry it off properly, but I'll keep practicing and eventually get something with more oomph than this.


helenlouise said...

amazing bag!

Grace said...

Head to toe... love it. Especially the top.

Love Grace.

Marian said...

You look wonderful, i love that amazing brooch! the detail on that bag is like art!!!

Anonymous said...

great sheos

Rainbow Factory said...

Your hair is so cool!
How do you do it?

x Michelle

harlen said...

You had this awesome green glitter nail polish in a previous post--what was it?


harps said...

Harlen - it's called Green Glitter by Barry M.

Michelle - my hair is really thick (and long at the moment) so it helps that I already have a lot of volume for creating big up-do's. I basically turn my head upside down so my hair is falling away from my head down to the floor, I then twist it, straighten myself up again and hold it in place with a huge clip, I then tidy up the sides and neaten the shape with smaller clips or pins. Lots of hairspray is then required. Sometimes if I want mega big hair, I will backcomb just to get that extra few inches of height. Hope you understood at least half of that, its kinda tricky to explain!

Jess x

Gisela said...

love the fringed top! and most of all i love the rich burgundy color of those trousers! i love how you combine interesting pieces, kudos!

Isabel said...

Oh my gosh, your is honestly so fantastic! Wow, I'm jealous. You have excellent taste.

KAELA said...

incredible bag! xx


miranda said...

Hello! You have such a great eye! I'm looking for art deco jewelry and love the pique earrings you posted with the inlay of stars at top. Can you advise on where to get ones like them? PS you should open a store!

harps said...

Hi Miranda, thankyou for your lovely comment, its nice to know someone out there appreciates the same things as I!

If you're looking for Art Deco jewellery, I suggest Ruby Lane. This site is far nicer than ebay or etsy as the sellers are often professional dealers and are very knowledgeable and helpful. The selection of antique jewellery there is huge and the prices are often very reasonable.

Pique jewellery was popular quite a few decades before the Art Deco period, so you'd be lucky to find pique jewellery in a Deco style. The earrings you liked were from Morning Glory Antiques but have unfortunately sold out. I have however had a dig around for some similar earrings and found quite a few...

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

The final pair on ebay are perhaps the best value I have come across- really pretty design, in good condition, and the seller is open to offers. I'm quite tempted myself!

I do have a little etsy store, but I fear it may disappoint you. I only really sell things I no longer want, or vintage things from my mums youth that she wants me to sell. I do hope to one day put a little more effort into the shop, but I'm a little fussy and don't want to be another shop that sells just any old tat. You can find me here.

Hope I helped, Jess.

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.

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