Recently a very chic Frenchwoman wandered into my shop and I couldn't help but comment on her fabulous, oversized clip-ons: they were unlike anything I'd seen before. Later on she returned with a jewellery pouch and showed me her holiday capsule earring collection: every pair was the work of Parisian jeweller Jean-Louis Blin. She put me in touch with the designer and, after streamlining a selection of pieces (this was really hard: I loved everything I saw) I'm now able to count myself among the lucky few who stock his wonderful work.
Although superior craftmanship and artistry can be seen in each pair of his earrings, Blin's jewellery is anything but uniform - every design looks markedly different from the last. While other designers often find a style that sells and stay with it, Blin takes risks with every piece of jewellery: so much so that costumiers at Moulin Rouge recognised his exceptional talent for innovation and commissioned him to create bejewelled accessories for their dancers.
Blin and wife Claudine run a shop in Paris dedicated exclusively to his designs. Besides this, they supply only a small number of external stockists, so these designs are well worth coveting when you find them!
All the jewellery is handmade by the Blins plus a three-person team of talented artisans. This commitment to hands-on craft is evident in the quality and intricacy of each piece.
Blin infuses his Art Nouveau-inspired designs with a bold, modern aesthetic and decorates them with splashes of colour. His palette is muted: bright colours are offset by cooler, gentler shades, making these oversized earrings tasteful and wearable. The comfortable clip-on fittings can be worn on pierced and unpierced ears: they're well made and don't pinch.
It's nearly Black Friday! The date got its peculiar name in early sixties, when U.S. shoppers, heading out in their droves to begin Christmas shopping post-Thanksgiving, brought traffic to a standstill in cities. The phenomenon caught on in Britain in recent years when shops began to offer enormous 24-hour discounts on the last Friday in November. As an independent retailer, I struggle to compete with chain store deals, but as a thank you to my shop customers I'll be offering a saving of 20% on purchases of £50 or more made on the day. We're expecting to be busy, so do make sure to pay us a visit and grab what you want before it's gone!
Those who subscribe to my e-newsletter can also enjoy a special Black Friday discount of 20% off the total of their online shop. This only applies if you're on my newsletter mailing list, so add your email here (the newsletters I send are occasional and revelant, no spam!)
We've been busy decorating the shop with lights and glitter and, with the drop in temperature outside, it now feels like Christmas has arrived at Margaret's Buildings. Have a peek at my Instagram page to see how festive the shop's looking! With Bath's famous Christmas market opening tomorrow for three weeks of madness, we're expecting an influx of customers. Come and join the frenzy! I put up plenty of jewellery here on the site, but there's lots more available in the shop, plus a selection of men's gifts, baubles, stocking fillers and crockery. If you've never been, pay us a visit - the Royal Crescent looks beautiful in winter weather and Bath has a lovely atmosphere during the festive season.
Year after year, our range of Marcasite silver proves to be one shop's most adored collections - it seems the glittering jewellery's instantly recognisable, turn-of-the-century look sparks nostalgia in people of all ages, whatever their personal style. We've just added another 30 pieces to our extensive online range, as we predict it'll be very popular come Christmas.
The stones in Marcasite jewellery are actually pieces of Pyrite, a gem that became known as 'Fool's Gold' in the 19th century after gold miners attempted to pass one material off as the other. It was its affordability, however, that ensured the stone's enduring appeal: young Victorian girls could afford to copy the Queen's style by accessorising with a marcasite brooch, while economising 1930s women saw it as a way to wear sparkling, encrusted jewellery without having to face the diamond price tag.
During the 1920s, the gem enjoyed another spell of popularity. It was so ubiquitous that it cropped up on all manner of occasion-wear: belts, headbands, dresses, shoe buckles.
A very Art Deco Luke Stockley design:
Have a look at some nostalgic images in my Inspiration Gallery.
Enjoy browsing the site!