Friday, 26 February 2016

Bachelor's Day

Leap days are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the Sun. It is still associated with age-old customs, folklore and superstition. One of the most well-known traditions is that women propose  to their boyfriends on this day (also known as “Bachelors’ Day”) instead of the other way around. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap day balances the calendar. 

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men. If refused, the man was obliged to buy her new gloves on Easter Day, the intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.

At Alfies our dealers have an exceptional collection of men’s jewellery guaranteed to make your loved one shout “YES!”, here's a small selection all offered by Pars Jewellery....

1980s 18ct diamond ring

Vintage signet ring, 18ct yellow gold

18ct gold diamond ring, 1938.
Victorian diamond ring

Jade and white gold diamond cufflinks, 1930s.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Wilhelm Wagenfeld for Jenaer Glas

Wilhelm Wagenfeld was one of the few Bauhaus designers to establish a continuing and successful involvement with industrial mass production. For Jenaer Glas he experimented with glass manufactured with silica and boron oxide. This highly heat-resistant material was developed in Germany at the Schott and Genossen Glassworks, a company founded in 1884 in Jena, Germany, by chemist Otto Schott. It was Schott's son, Erich, who enlisted the help of Bauhaus designers to create housewares with the "borosilicate" glass, testing the Bauhaus philosophy of harmony between function and design in industrial production.

Wagenfeld used the practical and translucent material to design a tea set perfectly aligned with Modernist principles of functionality and simplicity. He once said that an object's most important feature was its "unpretentiousness".

His classic tea set design would become a signature piece and is still being made at present with only slight design modifications.

Jenaer Glas Wagenfeld Tea Service

Original Wilhelm Wagenfeld glass teacup and saucer (set of 6 available) by Jenaer Glas. Designed and created by Wilhelm Wagenfeld in 1931 and inspired by the Bauhaus.  Available from Robinson Antiques.

Original Schott makers mark

Thursday, 11 February 2016

St Valentine's Day

St Valentine's Day - hated by some, loved by others - is approaching again. Now associated with mass produced greetings cards and overpriced roses, this celebration actually has simpler roots. Popular legend tells us that there was once a Saint Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, and also for ministering to Christians, at that time persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to the tale, during his imprisonment he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.

The day was not recognisable as it is to us now until the Middle Ages, when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote 'Parliament of Fowls' containing the first reference to “Saint Valentine’s Day” as an occasion for romance. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "Valentines").

These days the 14th of February is whatever you make it and here at Alfies we advocate love all year round! However, for those of you who still like the tradition of giving gifts, here is our pick of romantic offerings at Alfies Antique Market:

1980s white and black diamond baguette ring, 18ct white gold, available from Pars Jewellery.

Victorian gold acorn earrings, offered by Gareth Brooks

18ct white gold earrings by "Asprey", diamond & aquamarine, offered by Gareth Brooks

Taittinger poster backed on linen, 46cm x 62cm, available from Dodo Posters.

Collection of  Wedgwood candle holders from 1967, available from Robinson Antiques.

Gilded bronze, enamel frame, 1890-1900, available from Hayman & Hayman.

Christian Dior silk gown, 1950s, available from June Victor.

1960s 18ct gold swirl ring with 0.5 carat centre diamond, available from Pars Jewellery.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Chinese New Year: Year Of The Monkey

Celebrate Chinese New Year With Alfies- Year Of The Monkey

Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional luni-solar Chinese calendar. This year it lands on Monday 8th January, the year of the Monkey. It is also known as the Spring Festival, which is the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Celebrations traditionally start on the evening preceding the first day and continue to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month.

The New Year festival is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Regional customs and traditions vary widely, traditionally the evening after Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to clean the house, to make way for good luck throughout the year. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts with popular themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other traditional celebrations include firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat- Chinese Festival Of Lights Display

At Alfies we have a wide range of not only beautiful Asian antiques, but a wonderful array of animal themed collectables too, to suit your Chinese zodiac sign.

1860 'The Marmozettes' original print, available from Moe Heidarieh

A beautiful Chinese 1st Republic (1912-1920) double lidded pot for making soup, available from Horner Antiques

An unusual selection of 1920s silver marked monkey brooches, available from Zeeba Jewels
1860-1880 Buddha snuff scoop carved from cow bone, available from Horner Antiques

A wonderful carved wood African Monkey Dance mask, one of a pair, from Cameroun, available from The Moderns

Hand painted Imari vase made in Canton, c1825, available from Horner Antiques

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat, Chinese Festival Of Lights

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat, Chinese Festival Of Lights

Taken by Alfies staff at Longleat, Chinese Festival Of Lights

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