March 09 2010
When I wrote my book on the history of costume jewellery, back in the mid-1980s, the craze for collecting vintage costume jewellery by names such as Miriam Haskell, Trifari and Pennino was just gathering momentum. Now it’s almost an obsession among aficionados.
I can see why: there’s something delicious about its make-believe treasure, its fantasy and fashion. When I get the urge, I go to Cristobal in Church Street, in London’s Maida Vale. A few years ago I bought a beautifully flexible 1950s crystal collar, and now I’ve just found a pair of luscious crystal button earrings to go with it (watch out, buttons are back), also from the 1950s, by the New York firm Kramer. They were thrillingly affordable at £50.
Cristobal’s passionate and knowledgeable owners, Steven and Yai, keep a mesmerising stock of signed and unsigned pieces, including a turquoise and diamanté necklace and earrings set (pictured; around £350) by Stanley Hagler, who used to work for Miriam Haskell. Although the joy is that there’s always something glamorous for under £100. I’m hooked.