My friend Sunny S. Bond has recently just gotten back from a European trip and she made sure to do some jewelry hunting while there! She checked out Portobello Road for the first time and has returned with some treasures of her own, along with tips for those who’d like to visit London to do some treasure hunting yourself. You can also read my experience in London here.
“For those of you who love antique jewelry, or just love the hunt, Portobello Market should be on the top of your London To Do List! It’s all about exploring the arcades and getting lost in the stalls. The arcades (that’s where you want to be!) are only open on Saturdays, and like any great flea market, the early bird catches the worm. The street itself is filled with vendors selling all the flea market bric-a-brac you can imagine, everything from Union Jack t-shirts to vintage fur coats. It can be a little overwhelming to navigate through the crowd, so stay on the edges–there’s more movement, and that’s where the jewelry is anyway. Along the sidewalks, you’ll find small booths with display cases. Take a look through those. Then, the best thing to do is to start with a storefront. Once you walk in, and away from the main crowds, you see that these stores are actually arcades with individual booths and separate vendors. Each person has curated their own collection, so you get to see a variety with each step. I love talking to the dealers and finding out what they specialize in. Most are happy to help and guide you to the perfect piece.
There are lots of 9k and 12k pieces, which are typical for the area and era. Bring your loupe and a small flashlight, the lighting isn’t great in some of the stalls. Don’t forget to check out some of the side streets! There is spill over from some of the arcades with great jewelry. If you’re traveling in the summer months, bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. In the colder months, bundle up!
Summation: A must see, but don’t be surprised if you want to rip your hair out. Be prepared to be overwhelmed…by the amazing amount of pieces you’ll find, but also by the amount of people. And just like anything in life, patience is key!
As you enter the beautiful Notting Hill area, and you are funneled into the tide of people heading towards Portobello Road.
Normal crowd flow for a Portobello Road Market day
Entering Portobello Road, such an iconic sign
This booth had some fun costume pieces and fine jewelry cases!
Insanely good glimpse into this heaven-filled, ring-heavy case at Portobello Road
Another peek into a jewelry case
Vintage bracelets from the 1950s. The one on the left is with rubies, sapphires, and pearls. The gold textured one on the right was singing my name.
Portobello Find: Who doesn’t love a good finger-climbing snake ring?!
Early Victorian Turquoise St. Esprit Brooch–There is so much Georgian and Victorian jewelry to see in the UK, you forget it’s not like this everywhere.
And look at this amazing/perfect/to die for Art Deco Emerald Cabochon ring. This was most def my favorite piece of the day!
Victorian Pearl and Enamel Drop Earrings that I’m keeping for myself!
My Portobello Road rings photographed in Paris! These will be available soon for sale!”