Page 1

Ruby vintage begins here

January 2014

Published by

Table of Contents 6 10



14 28 34

5 6

Letter from the Editor Marcia Sherrill Must Haves


Style File


The Curated Object


Designer Spotlight


Collecting Costume


History Lesson


The Classic Link


The Calendar



For the Love of Leopard

Picks from O Magazine

Mario Buatta

A Century of Napier Jewelry

Silver Savvy

Vintage Cuff Links from Ruby Lane

Upcoming Events

Staffordshire Pieces

Ruby Lane is the premier online community of over 2,400 individually-owned shops from around the world offering antiques & art, vintage collectibles and jewelry. Š Ruby Lane 2013 | Š Ruby Read 2013

The look owes its success to the legendary 20th century designer John Fowler and hit its zenith in the mid 80s to the early 90s, as English Country Style was all the rage. While the trends have favored mid-century, contemporary and more relaxed traditional furnishings in the past decade, there is still a place for the designs today on a pared down scale. (Personally I don’t follow trends anymore and thankful I hung on to my majolica plates and English boxes). One of the key proponents of the style was international interior designer Mario Buatta (and a legend in his own right) whose work has appeared in countless magazines and homes for the past fifty years. So synonymous was Buatta with all things English, he was coined by the New York Times as “The Prince of Chintz” and became as famous as his impressive list of clients that range from Barbara Walters and Mariah Carey to Malcolm Forbes and Billy Joel. The charismatic and talented designer just celebrated his milestone with the recent publication of his aptly titled book Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration (Rizzoli, 2013). We are thrilled Mr. Buatta took the time from his busy schedule to sit down with Ruby Read this month and as a result, we have dedicated our issue to English Style. We also shine a spotlight on collecting English silver, and how to add a touch of leopard (one of my favorites) to both your closet and home. And speaking of milestones, the venerable costume jewelry manufacturer (and hot collectible) Napier and Co. recently celebrated its 121st birthday (also with a book). We’ve chosen a few Napier gems from the Ruby Lane shops, so be sure to check it out. O Magazine (that would be O for Oprah) Accessories Editor Paula Lee also picks out a few of her favorite things from Ruby Lane.

Letter from the Editor

Photo credit: Russ Harrington

I have a belief that those of us who love antiques are often Anglophiles at heart. The elegant yet comfortable British way of living with its simplicity and style has long captured our interest. We find the cluttered rooms of a grand country house alluring and love the history and patina behind its cherished English objects. For many, the quintessential English interior translates to floral chintz, blue and white porcelain, Staffordshire, Chippendale, and of course, the occasional dog painting or two. In design circles, the look was commonly known as English Country Style.

All the best for 2014! Happy Collecting Cathy Whitlock Editor-in-Chief 5

Marcia’s Must Haves



Ruby Read Brand Advisor and Creative Director, Marcia Sherrill, is both a fashion and interior designer. A member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, she sells her accessories and home furnishings lines worldwide. Marcia shares with us her absolute Must Haves from the shops of Ruby Lane.

1 FRENCH ART DECO Red Velvet and Silk Sewing Box I am my mother’s daughter and believe it or not, inherited her sewing gene. What better place in my small Manhattan apartment than this sewing box that is lovely enough to be a decorative object all on its own.


Red Velvet Pin Cushion in form of Violin with Cherub Here’s a handy pincushion to match my sewing box and with my daughter off to college next year, I can get back to sewing and maybe even wear this as a cuff bracelet..

Fabulous Black on Red Celluloid Dresser Box Victorian Children Riding Turtle



If ever a dresser cried out for a beautiful box then mine does. Why buy something new and commonplace for my bracelets and keys when I can surrender them to this gem.

Vintage Chinese Hand Painted Wooden Box with Lock


This little treasure box has traveled all the way from China. Made of wood with a porcelain knob, its diminutive size packs a big design wallop.


Early Cranberry Red and Clear Glass Bead Star and Cross Tapestry

5 Vintage Round Floral Red Stratton Compact

I love this tapestry and swoon over the delicate bead work. The initials look enough like my own that I could fudge it. It would be great under glass or I could be crazy and have it made into a showstopping pillow.


I am ready to go back to loose powder in this compact. So what if the powder will finds its sneaky way into my crows feet. I won’t be shining that’s for sure.


Original Oil Painting ‘Red Barn’ by Carylon Killebrew

This painting needs to be hanging over my mantel. I love how it is simple yet earnest. And it’s contemporary but with a figurative flourish.


Herman Miller Red Modular Sofa “The Chadwick”


Out with the Pottery Barn sofas and in with this groovy Mid-Century modular sofa from Herman Miller. My dog may be confused and run around on it in circles but what’s a dizzy dog amidst all this glamour?

Red Wool Cloth Cape c1910


I love this cape and only wish it was large enough to fit me and that I could be off to Grandmother’s house. I wish I could buy my Grandmother’s house!


Style File




Whether it’s a leopard shoe or a tortoise shell box on a table, the addition of this beloved animal print makes any outfit or interior complete. Leopard is timeless and forever in vogue. Here are a few of our favorite decorative items and long live leopard!

Photo Credit: @KT Auleta


Vintage Leiber “Spotted Leopard� Purse

Vintage Enamel and Rhinestone Leopard Figural Pin Brooch

1970/80s Wild Pair Faux Leopard Fur Heels


Vintage Cheetah Leopard Faux Fur Trench Coat Safari Fairmoor La France Swing


Stunning Huge Vintage Big Cat Rhinestone Designer Dangle Earrings- Nina Ricci

Vintage Cream Leopard Print Raincheetahs Cape Circa/1960’s

Vintage Hat Faux Leopard Soft Pillbox by Reggi of Wilshire


The Curated Object 14


FAVORITE PICKS Accessories Editor Paula Lee of O, Oprah Magazine purveys the shops of Ruby Lane for a few of her favorite things.

Swallow Brooch

Kinetic Diamond Ruby Sapphire Ring

A cluster of beautiful brooches will dress up everything from a smoking jacket to a little black dress. How sweet is this swallow bird?!

I am obsessed with this ruby, sapphire and diamond ring! Each rim flips to reveal another stone, allowing for multiple color variations. Chicness!Â

Victorian Diamond Drop Earrings I have a weakness for old mine-cut diamonds. There is something so intriguing about them, unparalleled by contemporary cuts. This pair of paste earrings replicates the look for less.

Champagne Bucket I have always wanted a vintage champagne bucket. What a chic addition to your home, especially for the holiday season.

Vintage Confetti Cigarette Case One of my friends uses a cigarette case as a business card holder - so very glamorous and a genius idea! This confetti version is so festive.

Hotel Ashtray I love giving hotel ashtrays as hostess gifts. They make wonderful catchalls for jewelry.


Designer Spotlight




After 50 years in the business, interior designer Mario Buatta has earned his stripes—and his florals. Famously crowned the “Prince of Chintz” in 1984 for his English country interiors abloom in those shiny, flower-festooned fabrics, Buatta continues to proudly wear the mantle today, and with more aplomb than ever.

“I certainly hope I’m still the prince! I wouldn’t want to be known as the queen,” quips the prankish designer whose wit is as singular (and loved) as his style. With Rizzoli’s recent release of his first book—Mario Buatta: 50 Years of American Decoration—his reign as design royalty, short of being etched in stone, is preserved for posterity on paper. Finally. That comes as especially good news to those with a penchant for buying vintage. Buatta has been known to affectionately call the book his first-born and only child (his other pet name for it is Buattapedia).


“I certainly hope I’m still the prince! I wouldn’t want to be known as the queen” Its 400-plus pages sport lavish images of his elegant, often opulent, and ever-joyful English country interiors designed for clients over the last halfcentury. Each visual is packed with vintage collections of the highest caliber, making the book a go-to for any seasoned collector wanting to up their game with masterful ideas for tabletop displays or wall arrangements. It’s equally inspirational for newbies just learning to flex their collecting muscle, as it exposes the vastness of the world of vintage. In fact, in the right hands the book may even recruit a new generation of collectors drawn to the warm beauty of Buatta’s timeless spaces and the vintage pieces that are its source.

“Collecting is completely personal, and it can’t follow trends,” says Buatta. Whether the vintage quest is for oil portraits or tortoiseshell boxes, for Staffordshire or majolica, “it’s getting harder and harder to find pretty pieces,” he warns. “It demands a constant search.” His words carry weight. Even those who don’t give a dustmote about home decorating or who dismiss the design world as rarified and self-impressed are likely to know Buatta’s name. More impressive, they’re also apt to know his work. And that has much to do with his princely title. At a recent dinner party with friends, Buatta’s name came up. “The Prince of Chintz!” cheered the least likely companion, a straight male with subzero design sensibilities on a 1-to-10 scale. So to know Buatta’s sobriquet is to know— at least marginally—the essence of his work. Painting of Mario’s 1984 Kips Bay show-house room. © 1984 Jeremiah Goodman


But who can say how Buatta became a household name? Maybe it has to do with his famous clients. People like Jackie Onassis, Henry Kissinger, Barbara Walters, Malcomb Forbes, Henry Ford II, Billy Joel, and Mariah Carey all turned to him for help. Or maybe it’s the publication of his designs. Design magazines love exposing the private digs of especially rich and famous members of that eponymous club, and readers love voyeurism that won’t result in jail time. And when the rich and famous demand anonymity, well, the designer must stand alone in the spotlight. Buatta’s had his share of solos. In addition to all the private homes that built his reputation, it would be unfair to give short shrift to D.C.’s Blair House, which prompted all kinds of hoopla when Buatta decorated it. And let’s not even get started with his decades of participating in—and sometimes putting on the map— designer show houses. So what’s the master’s secret to displaying the antique collections that are such an essential part of his work? “I like organized clutter,” he says humbly. (This man is humble. He answered his own phone when interviewed back in the ‘80s. And he still does so today.) “Design is just like geometry. You play with the shapes. Scale and placement are the biggest mistakes people make.” He’s also a firm believer in the odd number. “One, three, five, seven. I like using an odd number of pieces, whether on a table or a wall. Mark Hampton, on the other hand, always did everything in pairs,” he adds, validating that approach, too. 18

Photo Credit: Ted Harden

Buatta places great stock in intuition and a good eye. “I watched Mrs. Parish for years. [He counts Sister Parish, Albert Hadley and Nancy Lancaster among his most important design influences]. She would just start putting things on tables, moving them around. She could walk into a room and know exactly when things looked good.” Buatta shares that talent “Yes, I mentally rearrange what’s on people’s tabletops when I’m in their homes,” he laughs. He credits studying art for honing his eye. “I learned a great deal from studying the painters like Matisse and Bonnard,” he says. He laments his alma mater, Parson’s School of Design, dropping its coursework in 18th and 19th century art history back in 1971. “As a result we’re turning out these young people who are really just stylists. I call them desecrators, not decorators. We’re living in a time with no sense or appreciation of history. Beautiful old paintings and antique collections add instant heritage to a room. I’m a prime example of someone who decorates with family pieces they just happen not to belong to my family or my client’s.” But wink-wink, nod-nod, he acquires and presents them as though they do. “It’s the idea of continuity, of history, of what each family left behind for the next, that characterizes these English country houses I love.” Now 78, Buatta plans to change direction when he turns 80. “Then I hope to retire in rooms I decorate for me. I’ve always been looking out of other people’s windows. I hope to look through my own.” 19

Neoclassical House, Houston, TX—living room. © Gordon Beall / Architectural Digest © Conde Nast Publications


English Walnut and Rosewood Treenware Box

Lovely Vintage Green Majolica Plate, Leaf Design Black Forest Inkwell Hand Carved about 1900

Colonna Pattern T Goodfellow Tunstall Staffordshire England 1851-1852 Antique Chest Drawers English Georgian Mahogany Fine Quality Mid Sized c1760


Collecting Costume 22


Necklace by Designer Mark Ruggiero, 1989

Napier remains one of the most prestigious names in costume jewelry, influencing the look of generations of women. Setting trends in both fashion and jewelry design throughout its 121-year history, Napier (Scottish for “without equal” and how apropos) was exceptional in its unique use of metals and gemstones. From the company’s Art Deco and Egyptian-themed pieces of the 20s and Repoussé style items of the 50s to 60s Zodiac chokers and circular link drops and necklaces of the 21st century, it is easy to see why the line is so enduring.

Author, historian and vintage jewelry aficionado Melinda L. Lewis put together an incredible thousand page plus tome celebrating the inception, development and history of this beloved collectible. The Napier Co.: Defining 20th Century Costume Jewelry (Life By Design, 2013) is the definitive book on the subject, and historians, collectors, fashionistas and dealers alike will find something of interest. A visual treasure trove of items from the 1900s to present day, I marveled at the fact that so many of the necklaces, bracelets and earrings from the 40s to the 60s are still in vogue. 23

Vermeil Fur Clip from the Forties

Hinged Bangle Bracelets from the Thirties

Multi Colored Beaded Bracelet


Drawing of 1913 Hair Comb


Op Art Earrings from the Sixties

Jeweled Elephant dated 1960-1970


The Napier Co. went through its ups and downs over the years and thankfully is manufactured today by the Jones Apparel Group. The vintage pieces are highly prized collectibles and many can be found here on Ruby Lane.

Vintage Napier Gold Tone Mesh Chain Tassel Dangle Earrings

Vintage Napier Bracelet Gold Tone NAPIER Fortune Cookie Goldtone Foldover Link Necklace

Napier’s Turtle Lapel Brooch Ruby Rhinestone Eyes


History Lesson

Antique English Silver Plated Egg Cruet For Four c.1900




Setting a perfect table in the late 19th century meant knowing your silver…REALLY knowing it. “You

didn’t do anything right unless you had the right piece in your hand,” says antiques dealer Janice Woods, owner of Denver, Colorado-based Black Tulip Antiques.


While the Victorian-era craze for a specific piece of silver for every use has passed and our entertaining is generally more casual, a new generation of collectors is rediscovering a wealth of lovely silver tabletop accessories and items and finding fresh new uses for them. Maybe it’s the Downton Abbey effect, she muses.

“I believe in not making silver so precious. Use it every day,” says Woods, pointing out another benefit: “if you use your silver all the time it requires a lot less polishing.” Whether you choose sterling, which generally includes more silver, or you find an incredible silver-plated object, there are beautiful and unusual items to be found.

perfect letter holders and are always impressive on the breakfast table.” He adds that antique card cases should be large enough to use for modern-day sized business cards. Sterling jewelry or trinket boxes are always in demand for special pieces of jewelry. “Look out for examples by William Comyns,” he adds.

As a professional dealer, what does Puckering keep in mind as he surveys the marketplace? Things that are traditionally useful, such as “We are always looking for top quality and boxes, are good items for highly decorative pieces of collectors and make excellent silver plate from makers gifts. “You can always use a such as Elkington, Mappin letter opener,” says veteran & Webb, Atkin Brothers, silver dealer Michael Berry Hukin and Heath and of California-based Berry & Walker & Hall,” he says. Co. “They’re probably never “Sterling collectibles we going to go out of style.” are always on the look out for are quality card cases, Napkin rings are another inkwells, photograph frames, favorite form. Why buy a hip flasks and jewelry boxes. reproduction from a catalog Novelty sterling pieces when so many lovely old by Sampson Mordan of examples are available? London are always desirable, “Most of these items didn’t collectible and highly Spoon Warmer Vintage Nautilus Seashell Rare come home to be placed prized.” in a curio cabinet,” says Berry. He points out that many rings were numbered, so To evaluate condition, think about how that the residents of boarding houses could something was used in the past. “What I want re-use their large cloth napkins. Beautiful is a surface with a nice, even wear to it,” says monograms adorn others. “It’s really fun when Berry, noting that pieces that were used over you can give a gift that’s meaningful,” he adds. time will show wear, and that’s fine as long as the surface is not damaged. “New collectors could perhaps buy a very usable piece of silver plate, to enjoy in the Keep in mind that sterling silver has both an home but also put to use,” says Britishaesthetic value depending on the form it takes based antiques dealer Andrew Puckering and the intrinsic value of the metal, so the of Puckering’s. “Toast racks make the most purer the better in terms of holding value. 29

Antique English Silver Plated Egg Cruet For Six c.1890


Antique English 12� Salver or Tray Dated 1897 In Silver Plate


English Early Sheffield Inkstand with Cut Crystal Ink Pots c 1800

“It’s so much more valuable because it has the monetary value and the aesthetic value,” says Woods, who like many dealers acknowledges the metal’s commodity status but focuses on the design and history of silver objects. “Everything in the decorative arts reflects what’s going on,” she says, “and that is what I find interesting about silver.” Consider sleek Art Deco-era cocktail shakers, for instance, which provide a vivid snapshot of their time. Woods tends to be on the lookout for interesting shank holders – silver objects with a screw that held a joint of meat firmly while it was being carved. And indeed, they make amazing and functional gifts for gourmands who seem to have everything… except a shank holder. Some final words of wisdom and advice from the professionals? “Buy the best you can afford, quality always wins over quantity,” says Puckering. “Make sure the hallmarks are crisp. Quality and condition are paramount,” he adds. “Look for unusual pieces.” 32

Sterling Silver Kirk Repousse Bookmark 1940

Open Salt Pepper Shaker Sterling Silver English

Caring for Silver

Some points to remember, courtesy of silver dealer Michael Berry with California-based Berry & Co.: Look for a top-quality spray polish that is non-abrasive, leaves no residue, and has an anti-tarnish ingredient. Berry likes Hagerty’s spray polish, which he carries in his shop. Don’t wash silver after you polish it. “You’re going to wash it anyway before you use it,” says Berry. Never let plastic wrap, rubber bands, or any rubber items touch silver. Think twice before having any piece of silver machine-polished, since it removes the natural finish. Machine-polishing can be acceptable, such as with flatware and bowls, but be aware that you are shortening the life of a piece.

Victorian Sterling Lid & Beaded Edge Glass Dresser Jar

Don’t be afraid to use silver dip sparingly, such as with a bottle brush on the interior of a coffee pot, or on a heavily tarnished piece before handpolishing. 33

The Classic Link


VINTAGE CUFFLINKS These timeless and classic vintage cufflinks are the perfect finishing touches to any wardrobe.

1. Tiffany & Co 18K Gold, Enamel, Diamond & Emerald Lion Cufflinks, c. 1989 2. Tiffany & Co 18 Karat Gold & Onyx Cufflinks 3. RJ AM. D Agate Cufflinks 4. Vintage Cufflinks Double Sided Art Deco Enamel Pastel Floral Guilloche 5. Vintage Chrysoprase and Gold Plate Cufflinks 6. Jasperware Sterling Silver Cufflinks 7. Silver Hematite and Gold Intaglio Cufflinks Vintage Italian Circa 1960’s 8. Vintage 835 Silver DELFT Windmill Cufflinks 9. Bright Green Guilloche Enamel B & W Kum-a-Part Snap Cufflinks 10. Victorian 15k Gold Cufflinks



Calendar of Events


Pearls Through Jan 19, 2014 Victoria and Albert Museum London, England


ONGOING Mayfair Antiques Show London, England Impressionist France Through Feb 9, 2014 Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City, MO




Cartier: Style and History Through Feb 16, 2014 Grand Palais Paris, France


Venetian Glass Through March 2, 2014 Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, NY 36


London Art Fair London, England



LA Art Show Los Angeles, CA



Palm Beach Winter Antiques Show Palm Beach, FL



New York Ceramics Fair New York, NY



Metro Show New York, NY



Winter Antiques Show Jan 24 - Feb 2, 2014 New York, NY



Brussels Antiques and Fine Art Fair (BRAFA) Jan 25 - Feb 2, 2014 Brussels, Belgium



Art Los Angeles Contemporary Fair Jan 30 - Feb 2, 2014 Los Angeles, CA 37



Nothing says English style like the wonderful addition of a Staffordshire piece. Here is a selection of some of the best on Ruby Lane.

1. Clews Staffordshire Lidded Tureen & “The Valentine” Underplate c. 1820 2. Vintage Royal Staffordshire Cow Creamer 3. Large Victorian Flatback Staffordshire Group Figure, Clock 4. Large Group Figure Grape Arbor Staffordshire Piece 5. Staffordshire Figure Of Royal Children On Horse, 1860 6. English Polychrome (ALPHABET) Transferware Plate “Robinson Crusoe With Pets” Staffordshire England c. 1880 7. Rare Childs Caricature Plate ~ Velocipede Bicycle Flute 8. Staffordshire ABC Alphabet Plate ~ TWO RABBITS 1880



Ruby Read January, 2014  
Ruby Read January, 2014  

Ruby Lane's online magazine - Ruby Read - features the latest trends in antiques, vintage, interior design, and fashion.