Beyond the Pale

Summer Jewels: highlights from the latest V&A Museum collection

I’m not sure if you were previously aware, but the Victoria & Albert Museum shop have one of the most interesting & lustily desirable ranges of jewellery and accessories a gal could dream of drooling over. With every new collection, I find a whole host of things added to my MUST HAVE list.

Here are my top picks from the latest collections. Every purchase helps the V&A… um, so that’s like giving the money to charity, rather than just treating yourself to trinkets, right?



[If you don’t get the film reference, I’m guessing you’re under 30 ;P]

Raven Ring: £60

Yes, yes, black raven rings may not exactly scream ‘summer’ to you, but these are my top picks and you’ll have to go with me. It appeals to what remains of my inner goth. This piece is by an artist who uses reproductions from her collection of vintage images, and is inspired by the bakelite jewellery of the 1940’s/’50’s.

Bow Brooch by Cilea: £90

Some of these pieces are more than I would normally pay for costume jewellery, but they are hardly run of the mill designs to be found on every other high street and are usually made in limited numbers. Also, um, it’s for charity remember? 😉

Monique Védie was the creator of costume jewellery for the house of Védie, known for their remarkable designs in richly coloured acetate and cellulose. Before retiring in 1992, she worked with many prestigious Parisian fashion houses, from Paulette to Jean Barther in addition to collaborations with couturiers such as Lanvin, Dior and Ungaro. The signature style established by Védie is continued by present Cilea designer Stéphanie Ravel.

I love this quirky brooch by French jewellery design house, Cilea. The red one would be great at Christmas (hush my mouth) but this blue is delightfully jaunty, and I like the idea of adorning oneself as a present.

Pearl Bow Earrings: £10

These cute earrings are inspired by Hollywood glamour in the 1950’s. Just darling, and very affordable. Wear with a cashmere twinset for a bit of retro chic.

Princess Necklace: £25

This necklace is also “inspired by 1950’s Hollywood glamour”, though I have to say it reminds me more of Elizabethan designs. Love it!

Pearl & Emerald Ottoman Earrings: £145

Ooh these are rather sumptuous, and somehow look as though they could have been plucked straight from the ears of a fine lady in an antique portrait. Pieces from this range have actually been reproduced from Ottoman originals dating from the period 1500-1700. They look like something Indiana Jones would give you as a birthday present, and all the better for that.

Hearts and Arrows Necklace: £85

Heart and arrows range – dating from 1610 – 1620, the original necklace which inspired these designs has a heart and crossed arrows at the centre, and was probably made in Prague. This necklace has a round heart pendant, and is gold plated with crystals. A fabulously decorative piece for dedicated romantics.

Another gold coloured piece – very unusual for me to choose yellow gold – am usually a white gold or silver gal all the way – but I think with historically inspired items it works particularly well.

Embroidered Orange Blossom Earrings: £25

Great gift for a craft-loving lady, or the discerning bride who isn’t enamored with the traditional pearls, perhaps? I think these would look lovely on someone with a Pre-Raphaelite hairstyle, all curling tendrils and wild ringlets. The kind of hair I dream of having. Bah.

Embroidered Berry Necklace: £45

This necklace, in the same range as the earrings above, is inspired by medieval samplers and early tapestries in the V&A’s textile collection. I think this piece is more ‘me’ than the earrings, to be honest. Mostly because I don’t do earrings unless they jangle. I like a bit of a jangle.

Bone Hoop Necklace by Raris: £200

There’s something quite ‘modern-day Cleopatra’ about this bone necklace by the Italian jewellers, Raris, don’t you think? Another more pricey piece, but I just don’t think this would date. Such a stunning necklace would completely make an outfit, too, making it part of your wardrobe, rather than a mere accessory. Such are the ways I justify things to myself. Happy to share. 😉

Over the last 20 years, the Raris design team have worked with high profile clients such as Bulgari, Asprey, Gucci, Lladro, Swarovski, and Waterford Crystal. Working with a variety of materials, colours, and techniques, Raris jewellery is smart, classic and wearable.

Cherry Necklace: £300

Oh *swoon*! Slightly over the top and Baroque, yes. But SWOON. Not to everyone’s taste, I’m sure, but definitely to mine. 🙂

The inspiration behind this exquisite necklace is the decoration in the Green Dining Room at the V&A, designed by William Morris. Made from hand patinated bronze with little glass beads that have been individually formed by hand, the ‘cherries’ are designed to move gently as you wear it. With an adjustable chain clasp the necklace measures 47cms at its maximum length though it also looks lovely worn shorter. Matching drop clip earrings are also available in the style, as is a brooch and simpler pendant style necklace.

Well, there are many other items I really liked, but these have to be my top picks for ME. 🙂 Go and browse and choose yours, there’s such a huge variety of styles, I really think most people could find something to treasure in the V&A shop!

Until next time, duckies…

Miss Nightingale



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