silver lion bow brooch

There is a little antiques fair in Durham that I love. It’s only small, but you can spend hours just taking everything in. It’s my kind of place.  After managing to resist piles of pristinely embroidered vintage linens, dozens of beautiful cabinet tea cups, tea pots, crystal-studded brooches and lavish pearl chokers, rhinestone encrusted hair slides and the most intricately detailed antique charm bracelet, I came across a little glass-covered tray filled with (what the lovely old lady behind the stall referred to as) “things that don’t quite fit anywhere else!”

silver lion brooch

The first thing that caught my eye was a tiny silver lion, resting in a velvet lined pince-nez case. It wasn’t until I looked closer that I realised it was attached to the little silver bow pin lying next to it — and I had that “OMGINEEDTHAT” feeling.The L.O.L. (lovely old lady) said she had an inkling that it was from the Great British Empire exhibition in Wembley, 1928. The symbol of the exhibition was a lion, so it makes sense — although my initial thought was that the lion and the bow weren’t meant for each other. The lion looks more worn (as though it’s been handled and polished more often), and the two jump rings connecting it to the pin are completely different widths. I could be wrong, maybe one of the jump rings is a new addition even. I love it either way :) The lion is just 2cm across and the bow is 2.6cm.

silver lion brooch

Then, a few inches to the left there was a collection of antique ivory brooches (I’m not used to antiques, so I would have gone with “vintage bone” but L.O.L. assured me they were antique ivory), a couple were floral themed and dyed, there was one which read “Edinburgh” and then there was this one…

antique ivory deer brooch

At first I thought it was definitely a deer, but the more I look, he turns into a gazelle or a goat… but I’m choosing to believe it’s a deer, because it reminds me of the deer me and the boyfriend saw in the woods a couple of weeks ago (it was a rainy day, two females and one young male came galloping into view, we stared at them, I took blurry pictures, they stared at us, then a screaming child came running down the path and they were gone).  L.O.L. delighted in telling me about how they were carefully carved with a band saw, and the level of detail really is impressive when you consider this brooch is just 2.8cm at its widest point (so that little creature’s head is 3mm across). And all those tiny, intricate details have survived in tact for a very long time!

antique ivory deer brooch

I’m soooo pleased with them both. I would have regretted it forever if I’d left without them. Now I’m on the hunt for a nice picture frame to display my collection in (I’ve been after one for a while now). I’ve noticed that my favourite brooches are mostly animal themed (like my green bakelite bird brooch that flew away last year ): ) and are often the oldest in my collection. I wonder what that says about me? (:

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