Hillsborough Antique Show: My Picks


This past Saturday I was supposed to shop with a client, but he unexpectedly had to reschedule. Knowing this would allow me the opportunity to visit the Hillsborough Antique Show in San Mateo, CA, more than made up for this schedule change. I decided to go through the show with my “virtual bottomless wallet” and pick out what I would buy if the sky was the limit. This made the excursion so much fun!

Just a few booths in on the first row I walked down, I found a couple swoon-worthy pieces. First up is this Victorian bracelet from France with angel skin coral and natural pearls. I learned the ornate work in the 18K gold is called “tracery work.” (I am constantly learning new things whenever I speak with such knowledgeable dealers like Lisa!) This bracelet is from A Pocket of Rocks.

victorian bracelet from a pocket of rocks
At the connecting booth I met Alison from Duvenay. She was showing an exquisite pair of Victorian cut steel earrings from the late 1800’s. I knew a bit about cut steel jewelry, but when I came home, first thing on the agenda was to research it a bit more. This article from Lang’s AJU has a fantastic description of this genre of jewlery. I think these earrings are the perfect way to get a special occasion look with glowing sparkle.

victorian cut steel earrings from duvenay
Another booth that drew me in by some sort of jewelry magnetic force was that of Laurel Stearns’ PassItOnLTD. Within just a few moments of chatting we discovered we have a mutual very dear friend, and we’ll both be at her wedding this summer. Is that a small world, or what?! But back to the jewelry…I couldn’t decide between these two rings, and since I didn’t have a limit for this exercise, I chose both! The one on the left is a Victorian navette from around 1890, set in silver wth a 14K shank. The ring on the right features a converted Georgian pin from the late 1700’s-early 1800’s. Which would you choose?

victorian and georgian diamond rings from passitonltd
I had to stop at Lenore Dailey’s booth, which always exceeds expectations. The pair of earrings that was calling to me this time around was these late Georgian hand earrings. Do you see the little ruby ring each hand is wearing? So precious and romantic.

late georgian earrings from lenore dailey
I’ve been following TheOneILoveNYC on Instagram for quite some time, but this is the first time I got to meet Mia in person. Boy were her cases brimming with sparkle — tons from the Georgian era! But typical me, who seems so drawn to Victorian jewelry, selected a Portuguese pendant on a long yellow gold chain. I THOUGHT the pendant was Georgian, due to how the diamonds were set, but I was wrong. (So much to learn!) Isn’t it pretty?

victorian necklace and pendant from theoneilovenyc
Her next-door neighbor was Jewels by Grace, a fantastic vendor whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet at a couple shows in the past year. At her booth, I tried on this diamond and turquoise “tiara” bracelet, which was a very popular motif during Victorian times. How can you not admire the 2.65 ctw of rose cut and old European cut diamonds?

victorian bracelet from jewelsbygrace
But then…I spied “The Olsen Twins” — a truly remarkable pair of elongated cushion cut diamond earrings totaling 9.46 carats!! I had seen photos of them on Instagram before (such as this one below) and in Grace’s ears, but this time I got to try them on myself. Ack! I truly felt like royalty wearing them. Can you see my virtual crown?!

jewels by grace diamond earrings
diamond earrings from jewelsbygrace
Near the end of the show, I stopped at Mary Ann-tiques, as I spied a particularly fetching pair of Art Deco earrings. Granted, this is not typically an era I’m drawn to, but this pair of carved rock crystal and onyx earrings had it going on with the mis-matched earring trend that’s so en vogue right now. To give you a sense of their size, I took the photo with my full-sized pen next to them. Pretty incredible, right?

art deco earrings from mary ann-tiques
Though I didn’t leave the show with all these stunning pieces, I still got a thrill seeing them and trying them on. Thanks to all the kind dealers who spent time chatting with me, and furthering my education on antique jewelry. If you’d like to learn a little more, you may enjoy articles I’ve written about Georgian and Victorian jewelry. And if you’re interested in attending this show, which is open to the public, it’ll be back in San Mateo July 21-23 and November 3-5.

This entry was posted in Antique & Vintage, Bracelets, Brooches/Pins, Earrings, Metals, Pearls, Rings, Stones and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Hillsborough Antique Show: My Picks

  1. Mom says:

    The Olsen twins are fantastic and perfection in their simplicity. Wow!! Which one would I choose from the rings, the Victorian navette on the left. What fun shopping with an unlimited budget!! But would it get old……….

    • Amy says:

      I do covet those Olsen twins, for sure! And I’m willing to try shopping with an unlimited budget to SEE if it gets old. 😉

  2. Elise Smith says:

    Thanks for going to the show!!!! Wow. I’d never heard of cut steel jewelry. I’d take the ring on the right, the converted Georgian. Those Art Deco earrings! Not my immediate go-to era either but . . . The Olsen Twins – they are perfect on you!!!! I adore angel skin coral and have the tiniest possible bit of it in a ring from Esqueleto (owned by Lauren Wolf, jewelry designer; I’m sure you know her!). Back to shoveling through 15 inches of snow!

    • Amy says:

      The cut steel jewelry is definitely more on the rare side, but I love it! Yes, I’m friends with Lauren Wolf. I have quite a few pieces (both new and antique) from Esqueleto — definitely one of my fave stores!

      • Elise Smith says:

        You never cease to amaze me with the people you know! I have 2 rings by Lauren (bought at Abacus Gallery) – a Stingray druzy in SS and a 14k y gold with a rutilated quartz. i have my eye on one of her 3 stone diamond rings . . . I think she’s amazing!

  3. Lisa Reuss says:

    I love the Georgian hand earrings! They are like figas for your ears! And that tiara bracelet is gorgeous. But The Olsen Twins…whoa! I’d never turn those down! Or anything here. I also love antique jewelry. I wonder if this show comes anywhere near me? It’s all so beautiful!

    • Amy says:

      They ARE like figas for your ears, Lisa — nice! The show does travel around. Check out the link to the show and scroll down to their calendar.

  4. Grace L says:

    Amy –

    What a pleasure to have you come by! The Olsens look fab on you (and I was not even jealous!).

    Till November!

  5. Andrea says:

    The pieces are beautiful, however the pendant and the Olsen twins are my absolute faves! They looked fabulous on you. 😉

  6. Angela Restrepo Steger says:

    The Olsen earrings look great on you! LOVED the Georgian earrings too.

  7. Bev Jacquemet says:

    As always, such a delight to read. Not everyone carries a FULL SIZED PEN — Montblanc to use as a measurement with jewelry! I bought two. One for my Dad and one for my husband. I have them both! HA! Steel cut is something I am not familiar with. Very interesting. Loved all of your fun pics and thanks for the education.

    • Amy says:

      I’ve carried that pen for almost 20 year — was a gift from my image consulting mentor. I’ve lost it twice, once for a few months, and it resurfaced. 😉

  8. Judi says:

    All of these pieces are amazing! The bracelet and Olsen twins make me swoon. The Olsen twins are stunners and remind me a bit of Hemmerle with the materials and proportions. They are incredible!

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