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24 - 10 - 2018 Wartski brings antique jewellery and rare Fabergé to St James's in a state-of-the-art showroom worth making time for
Wartski St James's
Antique jewellery specialist Wartski has relocated to a new showroom in St James's, with interiors by Waldo Works Credit: Irina Boersma/ © Wartski and Waldo Works

My favourite thing about a store like Wartski, filled with exquisite antique jewellery and objects, is what you can learn from the people who work there. Because behind the counters and holding keys to the vitrines aren’t bored shop assistants but the company’s directors – Katherine Purcell, Kieran McCarthy, and Thomas Holman – whose knowledge of their wares and the history behind them is something to be tapped and lapped up by anyone interested in the subjects in which they specialise.

Whether it’s original Fabergé jewels and objects, 19th century French jewellery, Roman glass or incredible examples of Lalique, the information these experts dispense is the stuff of – very nerdy, admittedly – dreams.

Take the beautiful carved agate and jade animals by Carl Fabergé – rabbits, bears, and owls. Purcell told me that Carl Faberge had an extraordinary collection of Netsuke, the traditional Japanese counterweight for decorative Inro boxes, and circa 1900 there was even a shop in St Petersburg, Russia, called ‘Japan’, such was the craze for Japanese culture.

Vintage Faberge sapphire and diamond necklace and earrings
A sapphire and diamond necklace by Carl Fabergé, St Petersburg, c.1900, with earrings en suite

The thought of well-heeled turn-of-the-century Russians stocking up on Japanese goods is such a new one to me I’ve been sent down an internet rabbit hole of the history of Japonisme, yet barely touched the sides of this fascinating subject.

 

Another vitrine held an exquisite plique-a-jour enamel choker plate, in the form of a pansy set in the finest gold frame, interspersed with veins of diamonds.

Apparently this would have been worn on a cream silk ribbon around the neck, with only the wearer knowing about the incredibly complicated technique used which essentially consisted of enamel applied cell by cell with no backing, suspended between an almost invisible frame, allowing any light behind it to shine through.

Wartski's new premises in St James's
Wartski's new premises in St James's Credit: Irina Boersma

Wartski’s new digs at 60 St James’s Street, astutely designed by the architects and interior designers at Waldo Works, may be brand spanking new, but this company with over 150 years of history is still devoted to the past.

There’s a state-of-the-art private showroom, designed to feel like the interior of a jewellery box, with secret screens that lift to reveal the extraordinary treasures within, while the staircase walls are hung with portraits of the company’s founder and the family members who succeeded him.

The new showroom was designed by Waldo Works
The new showroom was designed by Waldo Works Credit: Irina Boersma/ © Wartski and Waldo Works

This is a showroom to make time for – not somewhere to rush into, dash around and zip out. Even just reading the notes that accompany some of the pieces is an education. If they’ll have me, I’ll be back time and again to pester them for stories. 

 

60 St. James's Street, London SW1A 1LE, wartski.com

 

Source: Telegraph 23-10-2018

 
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