October 11 2009
Gillian de Bono
I’ve always loved high-impact vintage costume jewellery – not just for its ability to transform an outfit but for its individuality. After all, a piece that is 40, 50 or 60 years old is to all intents and purposes a one-off. Favourite haunts in London are Camden Passage, Alfies Antique Market and Grays Antique Market, but one of my most consistently successful sources may come as a surprise to you. It’s good old John Lewis. For the past 20 years, most of its branches have been carrying a small but expertly curated selection of vintage jewellery which is updated weekly. You’ll find Givenchy, Dior, Chanel and Trifari as well as eye-catching unsigned pieces.
As you’d expect from these “Never Knowingly Undersold” stores, prices are keen. I usually spend less than £100 and for that I’ve bought a Trifari necklace that gets admiring glances at awards ceremonies and a gorgeous pair of emerald green chandelier earrings (pictured) that are a perfect match to a favourite Alberta Ferretti cocktail dress. Even more incredibly, when a piece has broken after a few outings (something that can happen with vintage pieces), John Lewis has repaired it for free.