Leading London Antique Jewelry Specialist Sandra Cronan Has Stories To Tell

Sandra Cronan grew up with jewellery in her DNA. Her father was a jeweler and labored in each facet of the craft, introducing Cronan as a younger woman to fossils, gems and shells, as she grew older, she realized extra about completed items, growing her personal style and sense of favor. “That was virtually 50 years in the past,” explains the girl who turned certainly one of London’s well-known and sought-after sources of bijou from the enduring to the esoteric and from the 18th by way of the mid-twentieth century. Sandra was one of many first feminine jewelers to be accepted into the British Vintage Sellers Affiliation (BADA)., She partnered with Catherine Taylor, an Australian transplant who additionally grew up round distinctive jewels 20 years in the past and so they have constructed a repute for interval kinds chosen for his or her nice design, distinctive character, high quality and wearability. Cronan and Taylor are of the “put on your jewellery, don’t purchase it to maintain it in a secure or as a secure funding mentality.”

Though they concentrate on uncommon vintage and classic jewellery, they’re accessible for working with shoppers on restoration and creating new jewellery from unsalvageable items during which the stones are very a lot intact, customizing and redesigning items with the perfect goldsmiths, enamellers and lapidaries that London has to supply.

Right here I discuss to Cronan about her virtually 50 years in enterprise—how she first launched the enterprise, the individuals she met alongside the way in which and the way it has advanced over time.

You grew up round jewellery however what made you’re taking the leap into interval items?

“I had obtained a level in artwork and I began to change into within the historic facet of the items and the intricate particulars and unimaginable craftsmanship in miniature. I considered promoting vintage jewellery and my father got here to me and mentioned, ”Should you fancy changing into a seller go all the way down to Portobello Highway and present me which you can purchase and promote.” He gave me £1,000 and wished me good luck. I purchased an alexandrite ring for £600 and offered it to a different seller for over £3,000. He was impressed. So was I. I made a decision then and there to get into the enterprise of promoting interval jewels, nevertheless, since then my enterprise has gone by way of many transformations.”

The place was your first store?

“Within the well-known Burlington Arcade for about 20 years. I used to be studying as I went. Within the early years, I created a few of my very own designs and bought the rarest jewellery I might discover from earlier durations—predominantly Georgian and Victorian and a few items courting again even additional however in fact, they have been tougher to search out in glorious situation.”

Didn’t celebrities store there?

“Oh sure. It was a tremendous time. I met, amongst others, Paul McCartney, and Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer who very sweetly gave my daughter a pink package of drums. As soon as once I was displaying an American consumer a chunk of bijou, a bullet got here by way of the window. I mentioned, “There’s a theft – get down on the ground” and we transacted the remainder of the enterprise beneath a desk. I additionally met Ralph Lauren and was displaying him a stable gold fountain pen that I had simply designed and made, with diamond-set polo gamers encircling the pen. He requested his private assistant what he might do with it, and the assistant replied, ‘You may signal the lease on the constructing which you’re about to purchase up the street.’

‘Good concept,’ Ralph Lauren replied and acquired it. As well as, he additionally purchased a number of different items which he requested me to ship personally to his places of work in New York. I delivered them to his workplace, together with a totally worked-out plan for him to sponsor a Ralph Lauren polo crew during which I’d play. He smiled and mentioned he would give it some thought. Clearly, that wasn’t a well-thought-out a part of the plan to achieve extra enterprise.”

Didn’t you even have an encounter with Andy Warhol?

“A buddy in New York, who knew Andy, prompt I’m going all the way down to the Studio and curiosity him in vintage jewellery, which he collected. I confirmed a collection of my favourite items. He was drawn to a diamond double clip and requested the worth. Which was $14,000 USD. He then requested if I’d take into account swapping it for one of many footage on the wall. I shook my head pondering I used to be savvy. I’m sorry, I mentioned, Money solely. He declined to purchase. One which I handed up was a display print of Marilyn Monroe which offered for $195 million at Christie’s. That was maybe the largest mistake of my life and profession.”

You have been within the thick of the disco period within the early Eighties in New York. Who else did you meet?

“Studio 54 was at its zenith, Isaac Tigrett was opening the New York Exhausting Rock Café, and I used to be despatched out to scout applicable items. Sooner or later I got here again with a 1950’s oil portray of a girl ingesting Coca-Cola, and Isaac was delighted. It hung within the Café till the Exhausting Rock was offered and moved to Occasions Sq.. I additionally met Diana Ross, who turned a consumer.”

How did you ever high these days?

“We moved from Burlington Arcade to our gallery on Albemarle Avenue and gained wonderful shoppers that we nonetheless have in the present day—some well-known and others are individuals who consider in our potential to search out beautiful and uncommon items from completely different time durations. We have now change into a trusted, well-known supply. Catherine and I’ll go to nice lengths to search out what a buyer is in search of if we don’t have it in our stock. I’ve additionally traveled across the globe and located stunning, authentic and genuine items, some signed, others simply extraordinary and enchanting of their workmanship. I’ve met nice sellers and am one of many first a few of them will come to after they discover a museum-quality piece. These are relationships that you simply construct an extended the way in which with different sellers and your shoppers. Belief goes a really great distance on this enterprise as does having enticingly stunning items.”

Are there favorites in your private assortment and within the choice within the store?

“I’ve owned lots of items in my life and let some get away. My favourite items are not flashy, however effectively made and of their authentic situation. I really like pure pearls and I’ve stored a multi-colored three-row necklace and a pair of 18th-century emerald and diamond earrings, amongst different very uncommon and early items akin to a really distinctive Giardinetti ring.”

“I additionally love Edwardian jewellery which was so effectively made and understated. However I additionally just like the Russian diamond coat buttons which have so efficiently been transformed into rings and earrings. It’s wonderful to assume that Russian aristocrats within the 18th century had thirty such buttons on their coats.”

You run the gamut of durations along with these you simply talked about. I observed you even have some excellent Victorian and Artwork Deco items in your stock. Are you able to speak about these?

“Sure, I do assume a few of these are our most salable items. They’re two time durations individuals appear to grasp and respect most –the Victorian interval for its sentimental jewellery and Artwork Deco for its earlier geometric diamond-intensive kinds, new cuts of gem stones and use of platinum which modified the way in which jewellery was made. After which, in fact, the latter a part of Artwork Deco which was influenced by Jap and Center Jap colours, patterns, royal jewels and gem stones.”

“Is there one piece of bijou that you’d name a signature piece that you simply at all times put on?”

A gypsy set ring. My favourite is the one I put on on my pinky with a cushion-cut ruby middle and two mine-cut diamonds on both aspect however I additionally commerce off and put on three collectively –one with a coloured stone—both a ruby or sapphire as the middle ring with diamonds on both sides and the 2 outer rings are all diamond variations. Gypsy rings are really easy to put on. They’re sturdy so long as you test the settings, you possibly can wash your arms with them and put on them a lot of the time. I attempt to at all times purchase the Victorian into Edwardian variations once I see them as I wish to preserve an excellent inventory of them.”

What have you ever modified because the pandemic started?

“I’ve tailored to the brand new manner of working and have an internet site ( and an Instagram account (@sandraCronan). I additionally work from home and love to fulfill previous, and new, shoppers. Typically the latter are kids, or grandchildren, of the previous. I additionally go to gala’s; certainly one of them, Masterpiece which will probably be held on June 30 by way of July 6, 2022. It has been a difficult time emotionally and figuring out the best way to finest serve my shoppers with out the store however this has panned out so effectively. We’re half of a complete new expertise, which I’m at all times up for because the first time I offered the ring on Portobello Highway.”

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