I have a lot of antique jewellery left over from when my mother tried her hand at being an antique dealer, and ran a little stall in the vintage market Antiquarius in the Kings Road in Chelsea.
That was a very exciting and beautiful place and I loved going there to help. There was also very good coffee and cheesecake on hand, which I was encouRaged to indulge in as I was pregnant with my second child. I know. I know.
Anyway, my mother had been set up with her first display caseful of glorious bits and pieces by her friend Krysia Fleischacker Bilska Gruca( I’m putting on all her names because I’d like to find her again ) who was Polish from Vienna and lately in Paris. I’m talking about 38 years ago but who knows.
So, Krysia set my mother up, and she began to sell her goods in a very small way. She also managed to sell some of her own stuff and then she began to buy from the various dealers that came round. Mama was never one for scouring the early morning markets hunting for bargains. She preferred to buy what she liked whenever she saw something. She didn’t haggle either, which made her easy prey.
But she enjoyed it. When business was slow -most of the time- she would chat and talk to other stall owners and one in particular comes to mind. Bernard?? Kaukas or something like that. He sold engravings which had to be hand coloured. Mama spent a lot of time ( she had a lot of time) helping him out. It was a relaxing task, but somewhat kept her from her own sales!
As you can imagine she did not make a great success of this enterprise and when the lease was up she gathered what was left over , wrapped everything in tissue paper and went home. For the next 20 odd years of her life she had a selection of gifts for every occasion.
When she died I acquired all the leftovers.
Sorting through my mother in law’s things this week I found the little box with the sticker you can see in the photo. My heart leapt, because this is the first and only tangible proof I have that my mother was a bona fide antique dealer! My mother had obviously given the exquisite little marcasite brooch to my mother in law who had dutifully put it away, never to see the light of day till now!