Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lovely ring, terrible story

I found this great Art Deco ring yesterday - a shell (or maybe glass) cameo set in sterling silver. I'm not crazy about cameos, but the setting of the ring won me over. The shank of the ring near the cameo is sweetly engraved with garlands and there is a trompe l'oeil effect with the design that makes it look like the silver was buckled or thatched down. Perfect for the shop . . . . or so I thought.

While listing, I noticed two letters in front of "STERLING" on the inside of the band - "OB." It turns out that is the jewelers mark for pieces by Østby & Barton, a firm based in Rhode Island from about 1880 to the mid century. Østby & Barton was formed by Engelhart Østby - a master engraver and jeweler trained in Oslo - and a partner Nathan Barton. The firm was one of the leading manufacturers of fine jewelry at the turn of the century. Other than its fine, fine worksmanship, the jewelry is collectible (a bit morbidly) because Mr. Østby was one of the many, many passengers who died when the Titanic sank on April 15th, 1912. He was returning 1st Class from one of his buying trips in Europe with his daughter, Helene. Helene survived.

And so . . . the ring fits + longtime obsession with the Titanic + love of Art Deco = this ring is mine.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kensington, MD

I went antiquing with my friend Mariana yesterday in Kensington, MD. There is a whole row of antique shops there, mostly stocking books, furniture and fancy breakables. But I did find a few accessories at a little lace and linen store at the end of the street, including a ridiculous pair of blue kid gloves with little leather butterflies, an adorable 1930s drawstring beaded coin-purse, and a perfect red embroidered hankie.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Erie Indulgence

My friend Mo told me about this shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn called Erie Basin. I had never heard of it before, but as soon as the first photograph of the website loaded on my screen I was a goner. The owner, Russell Whitmore, seems to be a very talented fellow indeed. He has impeccable taste in all things collectible - mirrors, furniture, stuffed animals, statues, artifacts, you name it. He also curates an amazing and constantly refreshed selection of period jewelry. He keeps a small shop of items up online but the real treasure is his brick-and-mortar shop. It seems to be equal parts luxury, sadness and creepiness - a perfect trio for an antique shop, I think. And I love the displays.

I just found out that I get to go to New York City for work in late June, and you can bet I will be stopping by this place to snap some photos and soak up the erie-ness. I hope to leave with at least one ring, too.

*All photos are from the Erie Basin blog archives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday desires

Silk 80s top from New to You Vintage.

Boots from Bluegrass Booty.

Feather necklace from Dejarnette.

Birch (my favorite!) ring by Elizabeth Scott Designs.

Oh, what a Tuesday it would be with these things on! I have some boots just like these already and I truly do wear them lots. And I don't think I'll be able to resist that Plume necklace much longer. I mean look at it!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Some essentials, some for funs

A few of my favorite things in the shop, some for everyday and some for special days.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Two years ago at this time, I went to Italy as part of a Buyer's Tour with the company Attavola. I was super fortunate to be invited and I'll never forget it. We spent about two weeks visiting producers in Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily. I met incredibly kind and talented people and consumed an amazing amount and variety of food. I also spent a lot of time in a van. A lot. I just rediscovered my photos from my trip and I thought I'd share a few with you.