SPONSORED Aesthetically pleasing in every way possible, Audrey & Wolf Antiques is a feast for the eyes, both on Instagram and online with their website. In a time where it seems as though competition amongst antique jewelry sellers is at an all time high, Audrey & Wolf stands out above the crowd. They’ve been in business for 15 years, with the majority of that time selling to the trade only from their Portobello location in London. This past January they’ve decided to widen their circle by launching a website and opening up their business to the public. What keen timing, as a few months later COVID happened and all anyone could do was dream of shopping Portobello Road from the confinement of their couch. Lucky for Audrey & Wolf they had their website up and running, having the ability to offer their hundreds of beautiful fine antique pieces for the world to shop.
I wanted to learn more about this shop, so I asked Louise all the important questions, which she kindly answered. Hope you enjoy!
What got you started in the antique business?
I started in the jewellery trade 15 years ago when a family friend gave me a job travelling extensively in the UK and Europe selling to jewellers and antique shops. It was an incredible opportunity and I was able to experience a very valuable side of the business.
After a few years I realised my passion lay in the history, provenance and the incredible quality of fine antique pieces. At this point I decided to go out on my own as an independent dealer. The search was on to build a collection of beautiful, characterful and rare one-off pieces.
Shortly after that I seized a chance to take a stand at Portobello Road. The market carries a ludicrous pace of a Saturday morning, but the comradery and astonishing characters make this a special place to trade.
Tell us a brief history of Audrey & Wolf?
Having a presence at Portobello Road opened my eyes to the wide variety of people who love antique jewellery. I wanted to bring my finds to a wider audience, so in 2019 we moved online, and when COVID struck we realised we needed to accelerate our brand’s online presence. It’s been a terrific experience so far. We are a small family business with a simple aim; to search out beautiful, intriguing, top quality, rare, vintage antique and estate jewellery. It’s such a passion of ours to find new homes for these important pieces.
We don’t consider ourselves limited to an era or genre of jewellery. We are enthusiasts for wonderful pieces of art. We are always learning and take enormous pleasure in sharing our finds directly with our customers and really try to deliver a personal service. We often take commissions to find specific pieces. One fantastic outcome of pivoting our business model is getting to experience the pure joy customers express once they receive their future heirloom.
In any given year, where do you travel to find antique jewelry to sell?
Most of our jewellery is classic antique English, so we travel extensively around the British Isles. We also spend time travelling around Europe to find treasures and make frequent trips to the USA.
We’re constantly scouring. You can find amazing things in the most unlikely places sometimes – so we cast the net wide. That feeling of unearthing something phenomenal is what drives us on.
Do you have any stories about how you acquired a certain piece of jewelry?
A few years ago, I came across a particularly special piece in auction. There was a job lot of mainly costume jewellery. One of the pieces was a filthy double-crossed arrow brooch with a heart-shaped centre. I thought it may clean-up well as they are saleable enough so I bought the lot. When I got it home and began to clean the brooch, I quickly realised it was a special piece of jewellery. On the brooch pin itself, I discovered some numbers and a maker’s mark. The grotty brooch turned out to be an extremely rare Art Deco Cartier ruby and diamond arrow brooch. It had been previously featured in the Cartier archive and in the end I actually sold it back to Cartier for their collection.
Any jaw-dropping or memorable pieces you’ve sold throughout the years?
The hardest thing about working with stunning jewellery is not being able to buy it all, especially when you’re starting from nothing! The best piece I have bought (to date) was an outrageous Carlo Giuliano brooch. He is one of my absolute favourite makers and was one of the world’s most celebrated goldsmiths. The Giuliano brooch/pendant I bought was a ridiculously elaborate example. A double-sided vibrant scene featuring horse heads, enamelled jesters with typical design and enamelling. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. I knew I couldn’t afford it, but I had to own it. I hate regretting the things I don’t buy! I would have loved to keep it, but alas, I had to sell it on to a collector. It’s something I’ll never forget.
Your favorite piece of jewelry?
My favourite piece of jewellery is actually not strictly mine – it’s a ring I bought for my daughter. It’s a Victorian Burma ruby dress ring. She absolutely loves it but isn’t allowed to wear it until she’s a lot older! It’s a beautiful thing to invest in for her future. Lucky girl!
I think coloured stones are wonderful, it’s an area we are strong on and are constantly trying to find fresh pieces. Good large antique coloured dress rings are incredibly popular at the moment and a great investment.