COFFEE AND TEA – Chapter Four – Antiques and Collectibles
“Antiques have always been symbols of prosperity and sophistication – in all cultures. We are going to the Village Suisse – located at the very heart of Paris. It’s one of a kind open-air art gallery owned by 150 antique dealers. Since 1900 it welcomes the friends of modern and classic art, like you Isabel. There we can shop for vintage objects, while we are discussing the next of your interests – antiques and collectibles.”
“Paris is full of treasures from the past – they have special value because they are artistic, beautiful and original, as well as polished. In Le Village Suisse we can appreciate the full armor of French Knights, and their swords, as well as china tea sets, and small statues of Greek and Roman deities, and other items that have with time become priceless. Have you visited such expositions, Isabel?”
“I have visited the museum Mimara in Zagreb, Croatia that was full of beautiful old vases, souvenirs, utensils and figurines made of glass and porcelain. I saw a lot of vessels used for drinking and small deities worshipped in the past – walking around the three floors of the Museum I saw more China sets than I had seen in my entire lifetime…”
“Oh, the porcelain craze, Isabel! Europe started importing the exotic and elegant porcelain from China in the 17-th century, and it was so desirable that it became familiar as the “white gold.” Europeans became so obsessed with Chinese porcelain, that it was called “china.”
“I love to have my coffee in a small, white, bone china cup.”
“What else do you love, Isabel?”
“I love everything French.” – she giggled.
“Have you heard of the most expensive antiques in the world? One of them is Napoleon’s sword – and Napoleon owned a great collection of weapons and artillery. The sword-jewel was embellished in gold and was gifted by Napoleon to his brother Jerome on his wedding.
A magnificent Tiara adorned with 11 rare emerald gems was owned by Princess Katharina Henkel. Rumors have it that the tiara had been worn by the wife of Napoleon III – Eugenie, who was a popular fashion icon of her time.
Not so antique, but probably the most luxurious and sensual of jewels had been demonstrated on the catwalk in 2006 by the top model Molly Sims – an amazing swimsuit made by purest diamonds and platinum. I would so love to see you dolled up in this, Isabel!”
“Will you greet me with Napoleon’s sword?”
He looked her in the eyes, then he removed a tender lock of hair from her cheek and smiled.
“Do you know what would be a worthy present for you? Have you heard of the Faberge Eggs? During his lifetime, Peter Carl Faberge – the court jeweler of Imperial Russia created 50 elaborately designed eggs for the Easter holidays of the Tzar and Tzarina. Faberge’s eggs attract the princely taste like magnets with their royal glamor, splendor and grace. One such egg is enough to make you wow, Isabel!”
“Thank you, Ashton! I feel flattered.”
“So vintage interests you, Isabel, you are truly a refined damsel. What kind of antique items would you display in your home? Do you like to display your wealth and social status? Or do you simply love retro kitchen stuff like old cookbooks?”
“I must admit I love shabby chic kitchens and dressers. I have always wanted to have a boudoir in my house – that is so auld school and wanton!”
“What else do you love, wanton Goddess?”
“I love door knobs! Some of them look as if they open a gate to a spiritual kingdom, a magical place, they are so elegant and aesthetic.”
“What else do you love?”
“I love Egyptian perfume bottles, retro typewriters, retro phones and pendulum clocks – who doesn’t love them?”
“Of course, they are lovable! Every hour, a door on the clock opens with a “cuckoo” sound. The most common material used in this type of clock is lime or linden tree. To this day each wood ornament in an authentic cuckoo clock is cut and engraved by hand. On E-bay for as much as $50 you can become the proud owner of a clock with dancing figurines. It’s one of the greatest online market for antiques. I would love to buy an antique pendant for you Isabel.”
“It seems you are also into antiques, Ashton!”
“Antiques are treasures, Isabel, they not only grab the eye, they conquer the soul and they help us recycle the past. Let us go hunting for treasures on the Saint Quen flea market, which is like a gold mine. In home décor, we, Parisians love to mix auld and new, always looking for fancy vintage items: dusty antique books, art, furniture, linens, mirrors, enamelware, chandeliers – anything you can think of!”
“I can think of much, except you” – Isabel thought amused, but she was too delicate to give vent to her thoughts.
“Let’s go Isabel! Let’s make some great bargains.”