SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine

elvisWhen it comes to ‘Rocking Around The Clock’ it seems that Elvis fans around the world are still keeping the legend that is Elvis alive by celebrating his life and of course searching the world for any Elvis memorabilia they can find.

The passion for collecting anything connected to Elvis began well before his death and continues as an important collecting genre. In the early days fans collected concert tickets, posters, records, cuttings and anything they could find. Later on many licensed goods were manufactured and are, in fact, produced even more prolifically now. Vintage Elvis items are what the serious collector goes after although they are hard to find and very expensive.

Honouring Mandela

mandelaThe world went into mourning on December 5th 2013 when the news broke that Nelson Mandela had passed away at the age of 95. No other person, in living memory, was able to affect people from all corners of the globe with his life, his struggle and his legacy. Recognised as a peace-maker, he will go down in history as one of the most important icons of our time who sacrificed his freedom to free others and taught the world about compassion and reconciliation.

“One of the brightest lights of our world has gone out.” UK Prime Minister - David Cameron “We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth.”

US President - Barack Obama “Our nation has lost its greatest son.”

Collecting Vintage Mexican Jewellery

mexicanHeleen Bossi will be hosting an exhibition of her collection of Mexican Vintage Silver Jewellery at the Slee Gallery in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. This selling exhibition will open on Thursday, 20 September at 18h30 and will continue until the end of September. Heleen is the owner of Paisley’s Antique Jewellery and has been working in the field of antique and vintage jewellery for the past 28 years. She started collecting vintage Mexican jewellery many years ago and has travelled all over the world to put her unique collection together. This will be the first exhibition of its kind to be hosted in South-Africa and is endorsed by the Mexican Embassy.

“There will be approximately 250 pieces of Mexican silver jewellery on display, including pieces by well-known designers such as William Spratling, Antonio Pineda, Margot, Los Castillo and others. Most of the pieces were made between 1930 and the turn of the 20th Century.”

Restoration Revival

restorationTo restore or not to restore your loved antique furniture is always a question that many collectors want to know the answer to. Preservation, is of course, as far as I am concerned a must when looking after the heirlooms you have purchased or inherited.

Of course the huge secondary question once you have decided to have an item restored is why give the job to a professional when it seems so minor. Once you have realized you need the help of a professional restorer who will not cause more damage than good it is then time to seek out the right professional. In my line of work it seems easier said than done - I see so many pieces that have been bastardized during this process. I strongly suggest going to a few shops and seeing the work that they are having done and then find out who they use. You will need to get the restorer to come to your home to look at the larger items. Ask questions about what technique will be used and see what knowledge they have of your piece. Preservation should be restoring your item to as close to the original condition as possible - using correct procedures to do so is important.

Magical Matjiesfontein

MatjiesfonteinClyde Terry of Clyde on 4th re-visits Matjiesfontein and indulges in the sumptuous surroundings of yesteryear and revisits the ghosts that haunt it.

“Many years ago when I stayed overnight at the Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein I swear I saw a ghost! The apparition of a lady dressed in white regally standing on the stairwell of the room I was in that led down to the bathroom woke me and left me quite shaken. Did I really see what I saw or was I just overtired and over-stimulated. Suffice to say I left in a hurry! On this trip I was on a mission to find out the truth and dispel my fears. When I asked the new hotel manager, he said “are you not aware of the legends of the ghosts here?” I became more intrigued and now know that the apparition I saw is the lady many people have seen wandering through the house and gardens. I relaxed, knowing that I was not the only one to be ‘spooked’ by a lovely lady from the past who had lived in this magnificent house in Matjiesfontein – the heart of what is indeed an oasis in the Karoo.


luster3Lusterware was not the work of just one maker, like Wedgwood ware, nor of any one place, like old blue Staffordshire. The time and circumstances of its reinvention or introduction into England are a matter of doubt. Copper luster was made as early as 1770 at Brislington, near Bristol, and prior to 1800 at Staffordshire, Longton, Sunderland (famous for its pink luster), Leeds, Prestonpans, Dillwyn, Swansea, and at other potteries in different parts of England. It was also made in small quantities at Wedgwood’s Etruria works.

The earlier, cruder pieces are hard to place; more is known as to the makers of the later ware, though very few pieces are marked. It is possible, too, that some of it was imported from Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium, but most of that found in this country is undoubtedly of English make.

It was an English product that our forefathers used, and though inferior to the earlier ware in many ways, it is interesting, and practically the only kind collected to-day. After passing through a crude stage in its development in England, lusterware came into fashion a hundred years ago as “best china,” following and rivaling Lowestoft in that capacity.

The Art Of Investing In Art

artArt has long been considered an investment of passion, one that not only offers aesthetic pleasure but the potential for economic benefit. Only recently has art investing been viewed through the lens of modern portfolio theory and considered as a potential alternative investment in a portfolio of assets.

Market paradigms have shifted dramatically over the last several decades, as newly created wealth in emerging markets such as China, Russia and the Middle East has increased the number of participants in the art trade, giving the market greater resiliency. Undeterred by a rough economic environment in recent years, collectors globally are paying record sums for top works.

The Style of Furniture

stylefurnitureSome people collect antiques as a hobby and some appreciate the craftsmanship of past artisans. For some, having antique furniture is a source of pride. Many people enjoy and use the furniture and hardly give a thought to how the furniture came into existence and what woods were used.

Collecting antiques is a most delightful and rewarding hobby and one which can be enjoyed at any age. It provides a cultural interest long after other entertainments have begun to pall. A true collector is never bored. When he is not actively searching he can be reading and studying, and he will never cease to learn.

The experience is not just unique but also gives a classy and attractive look to those houses decorated with these vintage furniture and interior items due to its extravagant look.

It takes years of experience, observation, study, and training to differentiate between an antique piece of furniture and a faithful reproduction. Some characteristics, however, cannot be reproduced. Perhaps the most unmistakable one is patina. This is a mellowing of the surface acquired by wood through age, use, dusting, and polishing.

Chinese antique jewellery

chineseantique1Chinese antiquities and works of art have been sought after by western collectors since the summer palace of the Chinese emperor was sacked in 1850. For over 150 years collectors have bought porcelain, enamels, bronzes, art and large jade carvings. Silver was overlooked and undervalued until the later 20th century.

The Chinese have been making silver ornaments since 2000 BC, a craft handed down from father to son. Silversmiths and master stone carvers assumed that their sons would follow their craft. Young boys would learn the rudiments of their father’s trade at the tender age of three, by ten or twelve, they would be apprenticed in the shop that employed their father.




With so many antique dealers picking up great works of art from their buying trips and as part of estate sales, the NAADA Faire has become known for the many unique art pieces it has featured over the years – from Pierneefs to Irma Sterns; from Kentridge’s to Eduardo Villa sculptures. Some very significant clocks have been showcased at NAADA courtesy of Ricus Dullaert of Kunsthandel H.W.C Dullaert from Amsterdam including a rare Amsterdam long case clock made between 1775 and 1780 by Douwe de Vries in Amsterdam. It featured the heroic scene of Wolter Wotemade as he rescued 14 sailors from the wrecked ship ‘De Jonge Thomas’ in Table Bay in June 1773.


ElizabethThe Legend of Elizabeth Taylor

Diamonds were her best friends

As we mourned the death of screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor on March 23 2011, we remember not only the extraordinary life of this talented actress and humanitarian, we are also fascinated by her unmatched jewellery collection. Married eight times, to Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton, Richard Burton (again), John Warner and Larry Fortensky, Taylor collected jewellery as prolifically as she collected husbands. In 2003 she published a book titled “My Love Affair with Jewellery” in which she described her passion for jewellery.

“I mean, how many young women get a set of rubies just for doing something wholesome like swimming laps? Or win a diamond ring at Ping-Pong with their husband…? Well, I did, and for all of these memories and the people in my life I feel blessed.”

Collecting Card Cases

cardcase2In the day of genteel manners and formal introductions, the exchange of calling cards was a social custom that was essential in developing friendships. The custom of carrying calling or visiting cards began in France in the early 1800’s. It quickly spread throughout Europe, and then became vastly popular in the United States, especially the New England area from 1840-1900.

Calling cards were carried primarily by the “well-to-do” ladies who made a point to go calling on friends and family on a specified day of the week or month, depending on their location and proximity to neighbors.

Simply Ava

ava1Ava Gardner was born on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1922, in Grabtown, North Carolina on a Tabacco farm. She was her parents’ seventh child. When Gardner was 2 years old, she and her family were forced to leave their tobacco farm. 1924, the Gardners, along with two-year-old Ava moved to the “teacherage”---a boarding house for young lady teachers at the local Brogden school. Jonas Gardner labored as the caretaker and Mollie Gardner served as the cook for the residents of the house. The effects of “The Great Depression” eventually forced the closing of the teacherage, in 1935. "As a toddler, she climbed out onto the porch roof and had to be coaxed back into the house with the promise of a bowl of peaches."

The family always struggled financially, a situation that worsened when Gardner’s father died when she was 16. Ava’s mother insisted that Ava continue her education, rather than working to help support the family, so after her graduation from Rock Ridge High School (near Wilson, North Carolina) in 1939 she attended Atlantic Christian College, concentrating on shorthand and typing. Ava’s brother Jack paid her tuition expenses, and she caught a ride each day with a girlfriend who lived nearby.

Peter Crisp Glass

petercrisp1Crisp has created a niche market for fine art glass tableware that is hand-painted with gold and kiln-fi red in a process based on ancient Egyptian techniques. When he undertook his diploma and postgraduate diploma of visual arts at Sydney College of the Arts from 1978 to 1981, glass art in Australia was “very, very new”.

Glass studies was an experimental subject, so Crisp did his thesis on ancient glassmaking techniques that pre-date the invention of glassblowing. He knew kilns must have been used and, coming from a sheep farming family, decided he could use fencing wire to make his early moulds. Crisp set up a small studio on the family farm in 1982, and years of experimentation followed.


carvedfurn1I was standing in front of the most beautiful cabinet and asked myself the question, ‘What is the meaning of all this carved work? What is the message that the cabinetmaker wanted to convey? This began a search for sources of information which one could find simple meanings to aid in the understanding of the symbols and allegories that was once so widely used.

Traditional symbols form a universal language which is becoming more mysterious as we move further away from the thought patterns of those who produced it. Originally, these symbols – typically, familiar objects standing for something abstract, such as an idea, quality, emotion, value, aspiration, belief, hope or fear – were anything but mysterious. Their intention was to provide an instantly recognizable representation, or mental picture, of a concept.



• Born in Rome on 10th September 1890. Elsa led a refined life with a certain amount of luxury provided by her parents’ wealth and high social status. She believed, however, that this luxury was stifling to her art and creativity and so she removed herself from the “lap of luxury” as quickly as possible.
• En route to London, Schiaparelli was invited to a ball in Paris. Having no ballgown, she bought some dark blue fabric, wrapped it around herself and pinned it in place.
• She couldn’t sew and she didn’t sketch, yet Elsa Schiaparelli stormed Paris fashion in the 1920s and 1930s.

Art Deco Jewellery

artdeco1The Art Deco period is one of the most popular and enduring design periods in jewellery’s history. The style reflected the flamboyant and playful attitudes of the era and gave birth to forms and motifs that continue to live on today.

Some consumers seek out authentic vintage and antique pieces from 1920 to 1935 for collections, and others purchase contemporary fashion jewellery featuring Art Deco styles simply because they like the patterns and looks.

Art Deco had strong roots in France, and while the name is thought to have been taken from L’Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne in Paris in 1925, the phrase was not commonly ascribed to the aesthetic until 1968, when English art historian Bevis Hillier wrote his definitive “Art Deco of the 20s and 30s.”


toymania3Toy collecting as with any collection boils down to your taste. People collect vintage & antique toys for a variety of different reasons. Some people like the reminder of their childhood days. Others admire the quality that was once a hallmark of toy manufacturing. Then there are those who appreciate the way history was depicted in children’s playthings.

Vintage transportation toys - those airplanes, trains, automobiles, ships, spacecraft - are the stuff of nostalgia. Cast iron, plastic, pressed-steel, die-cast, tin, wood - molded and shaped into those objects defining movement and transport - are the materials that can evoke memories of younger times when you pretended to captain the Tootsietoy ocean liner, race the Bluebird across the salt flats, campaign the toy soldier, engineer the Lionel through mountain tunnels, or pilot that Steelcraft Lockheed across the Atlantic. Remember your favorite Matchbox vehicle, or Tri-Ang battleship, or Hubley ladder truck, or Marx Jalopy? Everyone had their favorite toys.

Christofle Silver

christofle2Internationally renowned designers and artists work with Christofle. Some of these pieces are exhibited in the world’s most prestigious museums. In a way they have succeeded in expressing their creative talent through the unparalleled knowledge of Master Silversmiths.

Some of these artists include: Italian Architect Gio Ponti, Danish designer Christian Fjerdingstad, American artists Michele Oka Doner, Dutch designer Richard Hutten, and more recently, French designer Martin Szekely.

Christofle is a name associated with style, elegance and highly collectable silver. It’s also the name to a six generation, family-owned business. The French Silversmith has a rich cultural history and is probably the most well known in the world - creating high quality tableware as well as porcelain, crystal and linens.

The Chinese Charm

chinesecharm18th century porcelain


An unprecedented growth appeared in the Chinese industry during the period from the sixth to the ninth century, a phenomenon that can be traced to several factors including the development of high-fired stoneware, the discovery of porcelain, and the growing importance of drinking tea.

Plating up in style

plating1Holidays and celebrations will soon be the order of the day. Our grans & moms always had special serving dishes – reserved for holidays, important events or glorious Sunday lunches. If you are lucky enough some fabulous platters, dinner & flatware have been passed down to you from other generations. Using these pieces for those special occasions, make them even more special. Our family had a beautiful set of china my grandfather brought back from Japan while he was in the Marines. Often stories were told about these travels & times while we had a gastronomic feast. Some people collect different pieces of dinnerware or flatware and it makes it just as special as these pieces are taken out and it feels wonderful to see bits of the world all over the table. It is an unfortunate fact of modern life that many beautiful traditions of old have slowly been discarded in the name of convenience. There was a time when a well to do family would never eat off anything but the best plates.

Whatever your collection or occasion – learn to appreciate not only the food next time you sit down for a meal but the history & craftsmanship of the porcelain plate, the silver flatware and other cutlery on your table.

Meissen Porcelain

Meissen vaseSecrecy. Deceit. Imprisonment. The stuff of spy thrillers and international intrigue. True. But they are also words that can be used to describe the early discovery and development of porcelain in Europe.

These beautiful and delicate icons that adorn our homes were once the objects of ferocious competition and the precious prizes coveted by kings. Today, avid collectors share the passion for porcelain and are no less voracious in their appetite for rare and beautiful examples.

The name Meissen is synonymous with handcrafted porcelain of exceptional quality. This porcelain, known as “white gold” in Germany, has captivated people for centuries. Today Meissen Porcelain Manufactory is famous around the world for its luxury tableware, limited art works and craftsmanship of the highest quality. Besides its popular tableware, the company produces limited art editions, interior design concepts, ornaments, jewellery and products to create your own individual world for living. Traditional as well as modern, partly contemporary, aesthetics find new expression in Meissen Porcelain.

Christmas Collectables

christmas1Almost anyone who grew up celebrating Christmas has nostalgic memories of an ornament that decorated their childhood tree, whether a glass ball, a handmade ornament, or the family angel unveiled each year to crown the evergreen.

Collecting Christmas decorations is one of the most popular forms of collecting, with numerous sub-categories that include antique, new and handcrafted pieces.

These treasured items include: Santa figures from the 1800s, the most prized ones are from Germany, and are dressed in an unusual colour with robes of mohair or fur; blown glass German, Czechoslovakian and Polish ornaments can date as far back as the mid-1800’s and include musical instruments, flowers, animals, children, grapes, snowmen and stars - and United States manufacturers were making ornaments as early as the 1870s.

The most desirable and valuable pieces of Christmas memorabilia were made in Germany during the early 20th century. These were generally made from composition or papier mâché, and then painted by hand. Clothes and accessories are similarly handmade. Makers’ names do not generally appear: most pieces are simply marked ‘Germany’.


ElizabethVANGOGH“When people say, ‘She’s got everything’, I’ve got one answer - I haven’t had tomorrow.” Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away in 2011, may have been blessed with the most amazing violet eyes that bewitched her fans, but those amazing eyes also served her well in giving her a unique eye for quality and design when col- lecting priceless items. The auction, held in New York in December 2011, of some of her best pieces had the collecting world out in force and, as expected, record prices were realized. This legend of our lifetime not only left a legacy as an exceptional actress and activist for AIDS but a legacy of exceptional collectables that could match Cleopatra’s!



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