March 25 2010
I tend to shy away from websites with self-consciously quirky names; I like my internet favourites to do what they say on the (virtual) tin – sites such as bbc.co.uk and of course howtospendit.com. I neither Twitter nor Facebook, although I accept that by becoming verbs these social networking sites have entered the contemporary colloquium.
I do, however, shop online. In the early days of eBay I was ripped off by an enterprising fraudster; nevertheless I put it down to experience and I continue to use the site. Without knowing it, though, I was looking for something else, a little less flea market and a little more luxurious and recondite. Then I stumbled across 1stdibs.com.
I don’t particularly care for the name, but I love browsing what is in effect a huge online gallery, a marketplace of covetable furniture, jewellery and 20th-century trinkets. I can only liken it to visiting those interesting vintage stores you come across when travelling. Indeed, the chances are that you will find one or other of your favourite classic watch retailers or furniture dealers here.
I was directed to the site by LA vintage guru Cameron Silver after I had asked him if he had any of the “nail” bracelets that Cartier Love Bangle designer Aldo Cipullo created around 40 years ago. Ever since seeing one on the wrist of Cartier UK’s MD Arnaud Bamberger, I have fancied one. The problem was that Cipullo worked in New York and the nail bracelet is nothing like as ubiquitous as the Love Bangle.
However a search on 1stdibs found Camilla Dietz Bergeron in New York, who had just sold a “nail” ring and a Cipullo Backgammon pendant (rats – I could have worn that in Marbella this summer); they did, however, have a bracelet (pictured). I checked them out via some contacts in New York and sent off the money. The piece was brought back to me by a friend complete with a nice note and a pretty box – the sort of thing that makes the vintage experience a luxury vintage experience.