The Vintage Jewellery & Accessories auction is the only one of its kind in the Midlands, and has gone from strength to strength, almost doubling its total hammer price, since its inception in 2011.
The sale, originally called Costume, Silver Jewellery & Novelties, has grown from a small selection of vintage pieces featured at the end of the Silverware auction in 2010 to becoming an auction in its own right, featuring upwards of one thousand lots. This growing sale needed an extra pair of hands - meet the team...
Louise graduated from Loughborough University with a BA (Hons) in Jewellery & Silversmithing. She gained experience of the industry by working in a high end jewellery shop in Manchester, followed by an art gallery in Scunthorpe before moving to Birmingham to take up the role of Jewellery Department Administrator in the summer of 2008. Louise has a diamond grading qualification DGA, and has recently completed a 2 year part time gemmology diploma course.
Q&A with Louise
How did you come to specialise in Vintage?
The Vintage auction was always my favourite auction at Fellows and when I was asked if I would like to take charge of the sale, I jumped at the chance! I like the variety, the affordability and the unique items we get to see each week. I’ve always liked going to car boot sales, charity shops and vintage fairs and still do, it’s just now I know a bit more about what I’m looking at and every day you learn something new.
What is the best part of working with Vintage items?
The history of pieces. Often when people bring items in there’s a story behind it, such as, where they bought the item or who they got it from. And again, just the variety of items we get to handle and the things you learn from pulling the sale together.
What items are you excited about in our next auction?
I really like the silver Victorian lockets, but unfortunately so does everybody else so I haven’t managed to buy a piece yet (lot 158 in August's Vintage sale is a nice example). Also the early 20th century enamel pieces of jewellery are always very pretty, by maker’s such as Charles Horner, Bernard Instone, Murrle Bennett and James Fenton, they have great history and age but are also bright and cheerful with the colourful enamel. I particularly like Lot 232, a James Fenton Edwardian silver and enamel brooch.
Finally the vintage clothes and accessories are always of interest to me, they are visually exciting and very accessible to all budgets.
We have increased the profile of this part of the auction recently and I think it rounds off the sale nicely – we’ve pretty much got the vintage market covered now!
Sophie studied at Birmingham’s School of Jewellery for five years, initially for a National Diploma in Design & Craft, Precious Metals & Gemstones, followed by a degree in Jewellery Design & Silversmithing. After gaining varied experience within the Jewellery Quarter, Sophie joined Fellows as a part-time receptionist.
It wasn’t long before Sophie’s enthusiasm about jewellery was recognised and she then moved into the Pawnbroker Jewellery department.
Q&A with Sophie
How did you move into the Vintage Department?
I heard that the Vintage Department was expanding and would be taking on an assistant to support Louise in the ever-growing sale and applied for the job immediately!
What is the best thing about working with Vintage pieces?
I find working with one-off pieces of Vintage really exciting and of great interest. Generally the jewellery more so than the clothing, however I’m finding out lots more about clothing and everything is much more appealing now that I work so closely with it! I particularly enjoy researching and learning about the history of items and I'm amazed at how many bargains can be had in our sales.
Which items you are excited about in the next sale?
There are just too many to choose from, it’s hard to specify….
I think the larger bags and joined jewellery lots are great as it doesn’t take long to find pieces that I would like to buy. The more unique, quirky items appeal to me the most and tend to be the items you may rarely see again, if ever! I have always been particularly drawn to brooch pins but there are so many amazing pieces that I can't choose just one!
The next auction of Vintage Jewellery & Accessories takes place on Monday 5th August. View the full catalogue here.