"Quelle heure est-il?"

Red gold strong design Retro bracelet with hidden watch signed Altenloh Brussels

(even the French way of asking for the time is elegant)

Belgium and its monarchy as we know it today only exists since 1831. So to speak of a typical Belgian style would be a bit exaggerated. It is more that the Belgian culture is strongly influenced by on one side Holland and on the other side France. It is not that long ago that speaking French was considered to be chic and elegant and Flemish (a Dutch dialect) to be coarse and common.

Being focused on the French culture, Belgian jewelers would let themselves be influenced by the big French jewelry houses. As is the case with this ladies bracelet watch from the Brussels' jeweler Altenloh, one of the very few jewelry suppliers to the court in Belgium. The jewel is a typical example of a high quality ladies watch in Retro style where the watch is hidden behind a bejewelled hinged shutter. We browsed through our library and were surprised not to find a picture of this beauty in any book.

Antiqualy yours,

The Adin team


Art Deco?

Magnificent Art Deco engagement ring with rubies and diamondsSolid platinum Retro ring with high quality brilliant cut diamonds

They can't be both Art Deco!

Many people mistakenly would designate the style of both rings as Art Deco. However while the ring on the left is Art Deco indeed the style of the ring on the right is called Retro (perhaps even early Fifties).

That both styles are mingled is no big wonder as one is strongly influenced by the other. The Retro style uses the same type and language of geometrical shapes as its predecessor: the Art Deco style; only with bolder heavier lines, shapes and stones.

The Art Deco style was introduced in the 1920s as protest against the dreamy (sometimes even hallucinant) Art Nouveau style and it ended in the 1930s. The style emphasized a very abstract design with geometric patterns. The baguette and emerald-cuts, which had been developed in the nineteenth century, were very popular in the 1920s because they blended so much with the geometrical lines of the Art Deco style.

The Retro style as successor of Art Deco florished between roughly 1940 and 1950. Typical for the Retro style is its imitation of three dimensional folds of fabric with the ribbon bow as its most popular motif, often highlighted in the center with a calibré cut ruby or sapphire knot. In the Retro ring on the right we distantly recognize this bow-shape.

(Click either picture to get to the descriptive page of these jewels.)

Antiqualy yours,
The Adin team



sigh... love, love, always love

French late Victorian early Art Nouveau necklace full of love symbolism

Love in flower symbolism

In the late 19th, early 20th century there was a revival of the use of symbolic meanings of plants and flowers. Nature seemed to be a forest of symbols, and flowers were saturated with deeper meanings.

As is the case with the late 19th century French elegant necklace we show here. We clearly recognize an ivy. But what is so romantic about the ivy you would say. The romantic facet of ivy is based upon its tendrils which attach to a wall in a way that can be explained as affectionately. In France one would give a piece of jewelry with ivy depicted on it while saying "Je m'attache ou je meurs" which (freely) translates to "I will cling to you or I will die"...

This hidden meaning is what we like about our antique jewelry, it gives the piece an extra depth. The added emotional value that is not necessary obvious to all but just between the donor and the receiver.

Antiqualy yours,
The Adin team