Joseph Bonnar: Antique Jewelry in Edinburgh, Scotland

As I sit to write this article, I find myself desperately missing Scotland and a wee bit jet lagged as well. I have just returned from a month in the UK — three weeks in Scotland and a week in London. It was a most amazing solo adventure, and I’ve discovered lots of goodies to share with you. First up, I have to tell you about Joseph Bonnar, a truly amazing antique and period jewelry store in the New Town section of Edinburgh. I had the pleasure of visiting the store twice during my week’s stay, as I just didn’t take in enough the first time.

joseph bonnar in edinburgh, scotland
Entering this establishment feels like being in a well-curated jewelry museum where you can actually try on and BUY the artifacts! Just incredible. Many of the pieces come from local families, so Joseph can actually trace the heritage of many items. Here’s just one of the cases of antique Scottish jewelry. This store has the best selection of Scottish pieces that I came across on my entire trip.

antique scottish jewelry from joseph bonnar in edinburgh
Merchandise is very clearly labeled with information and price, which makes shopping very user friendly.  I was drooling on the cases in the “gold” section. Both the variety of snake rings and this huge oval pendant (it must have been over 2 inches!) were screaming to go home with me. Alas…

antique gold snake rings from joseph bonnar in edinburgh
antique gold locket from joseph bonnar in edinburgh
As I chatted with Joseph about various pieces, he would suddenly pull something extra-special from the back for me to take a look at. We were discussing the resurgence in popularity of riviere necklaces, when he handed me this leather box from 1860. Take a gander at what’s inside! *gasp*

On my second visit, I was fortunate to see this paste crown and pin from the 19th century. It’s Central European and ended up in Edinburgh as the owner married a Scot. I wonder who she was…

19th century paste crown and pin from joseph bonnar in edinburgh
A particularly lovely ring I saw is this Georgian silver and gold cushion cut diamond ring with enamel details. Isn’t it just exquisite?

georgian silver and gold diamond and enamel ring from joseph bonnar in edinburgh
The ring that stole my heart, and just happened to fit perfectly on my pinky finger, is this sweet Georgian citrine ring. I needed a pinky ring, right? I thought so.

georgian citrine ring from joseph bonnar in edinburgh
I could have spent the whole day in this store, and I thank Joseph and his lovely staff for all their time and expertise. They do show quite a few products on their website if you’d like to get a more in-depth look at their collection. But personally, I say it’s worth an in person visit!

amy roseveare and joseph bonnar
If you find yourself in Edinburgh, I’m sure your antique jewelry shopping will work up an appetite. I wanted to share a few recommendations with you, as I tried out many restaurants during my time there. For lunch, the restaurant at Harvey Nichols (Harvey Nick’s, for locals) was both delicious and had a stellar view! It’s only about a 5-10 minute walk from Joseph Bonnar.

View from the restaurant at Harvey Nick's in Edinburgh
View from the restaurant at Harvey Nick’s in Edinburgh

For dinner, I found two excellent choices. Both of these are in the Old Town, not far from Edinburgh Castle. The first is Howies on Victoria, the brightly-colored street that leads down to the Grassmarket area. While they had me at the elderflower gin fizz, the warm bread and salmon with tempura fried anchovies truly won me over.


Victoria Street in Edinburgh
Victoria Street in Edinburgh

The other dinner I really loved was at The Outsider, which came with a view of the castle. It’s not often that I enjoy pan fried stone bass while gazing at a frickin’ castle!!

the outsider, edinburgh

Not a bad nighttime view! The sun didn't set until around 10pm.
Not a bad nighttime view! The sun didn’t set until around 10pm.

Edinburgh… I will be back. That, I can promise you.