In Memory of Collecting

One of the things I love most, next to educating the world about the virtues of mourning jewellery, is informing people to go to your nearest antique fair and spend as much money as you possibly can! Being a lad who is situated in Melbourne, Australia, I have an obvious slant towards advertising the fairs nearest to me (if you have any nearby, let me know and I’ll post them on the blog).

This weekend is ‘The Way We Wear Fair’, which is one of the best, or dare I say, bespoke fairs that I go to. It caters to jewellery, clothes and antique/vintage fashion. Yes, I can almost guarantee that you’ll find some mourning/sentimental magic there.

So, if you live within a good drive of Williamstown, why not come along? I’ll be there, Tweeting from the floor, no doubt, and enjoying the moment. We can catch up and antique together if you like. See you tomorrow!

Admission Costs
Adults $12.00, Concession/Child $10.00 (10+), Family $30.00
Fair Hours
Saturday 19 November 10am-5pm , Sunday 20 November 10am-4pm
The Williamstown Town Hall, 104 Ferguson Street, Williamstown, Victoria
> Link to Website

Kyneton Antique Fair, 2011

September 1, 2011

I’ve been to this fair for the last two years and it’s never let me down. Not only is it in one of my favourite areas (perhaps I’ll be living there soon!), but the town has many wonderful events surrounding this and the Daffodil & Arts Festival at the same time. So, if you appreciate good food and wine, you won’t be disappointed. When you combine that with amazing antiques, I think that pretty much sums up my reason for being on the planet. So, come along if you’re in Australia, spend a few days and enjoy!

Kyneton Antique Fair, 2011
Friday, 2nd September 5pm-8pm
Saturday, 3rd September 5pm-8pm
Sunday, 4th September 5pm-8pm

Kyneton Town Hall,
Mollison Street, Kyneton 3444
Admission: Adults $7 / Children Free

Enquiries: (Aus) 0411 208 448 /


I’ve got a lot of love for this fair and unfortunantly I’ll be in Europe and not available to go, so if you’re around the area, please go along and make my jealous by writing about your experiences in the comments!

35th Annual Geelong Antique Fair 2010
Event Date:
Fri, 14/05/2010 – 10:00am – Sun, 16/05/2010 – 7:00pm

Pakington Street, Geelong West, $8 entry, $6 concession

Friday May 14th 10.00am – 7.00pm
Saturday May 15th 10.00am – 7.00pm
Sunday May 16th 10.00am – 5.00pm

In the interests of my fellow Melbournian collectors who visit the blog, I like to keep everyone updated on the local events (if you want me to highlight a fair in your local area, please let me know, it could be anywhere in the world!).

1912 Titanic Mourning BearToday is an obscure one but as I’ve highlighted before, things like the Titanic Mourning Bear do pop up in some capacity, so it’s relevant and a hell of a lot of fun.

This one is:

The Annual 28th Doll Fair

Malvern Town Hall (Mel Ref: 59 D7)

April 16th (Saturday): 10am-4pm
April 17th 10am-3:30pm

In Memory of Collecting

The Ballarat Antique Fair is an institution unto itself. This is a fair that has not only endured, but grown with time, one that has become the strongest antique fair in Victoria, due to its size and strength in diversity. Where Park Lane’s (a now closed antique institution in Melbourne) long running Caulfield Racecourse Antique Fair had the best of Australia, the Ballarat Antique Fair feels like its natural successor, having a great mix from around the country in vintage to antique collectables, no matter what shape or size.

Once upon a time, the Ballarat Antique Fair was held in two venues in the main city, with a bus to ferry you in between. This was obviously not the most ideal situation, as for the past several years, the fair has been held in the Badminton Centre just outside of town.

As usual with the fair, the signage was rather poor entering the city. There are four exits into Ballarat and you have to wait until the last one to enter, otherwise you have to navigate the town to get there, so those who don’t know only have small signs to indicate the way, stuck underneath regard road signs. I felt that upon making the right turn in, one sign was rather poorly placed, as the arrows (at a left-right junction) were hidden (you had to turn left), so those new to the fair wouldn’t know where to turn. Nothing horrid, but not the best advertisement for the fair.

As usual, the venue wasn’t well off for air conditioning. The centre is a good size for vendors, but when the weather heats up, the experience can be oppressive. This year, I dressed appropriately in sandals (and rolled up velvet pants) to keep cool, as the temperature was gaining on 30 degrees Celsius. It was a correct move, but a cool change came in later to alleviate the oppressive heat.

Those who read my blog last year heard of it being crowded and rather violent (yours truly found himself being assaulted by senior ladies, including a solid punch to the kidneys and a head-butt that had to be seen to be believed), however this year it was rather a lean crowd, but one to accommodate the venue well. One could walk around, not be pushed aside and generally enjoy the atmosphere. I’ll also recommend the home made jam, preserves and fudge – the definition of heaven.

But this is a jewellery blog and you want to know how it went. I’ll try my best to reflect on that…

I entered and after submitting my door prize, found myself going to the far right hand corner of the fair, where my good friends at Grange Antiques often set up their display and offer me things that I really want to buy. This year, there were two hair bracelets that certainly got my blood racing, but they were a touch on the far side of comfortable in terms of price. More astoundingly were the taxidermy heads (bison, giraffe) that they bought in. I wish I had 12ft ceilings to accommodate such brilliance, but I’ll wait until I can afford a Victorian hunting room first.

I tend to glaze over with most furniture and porcelain unless it really grabs my attention, however, never look over Online Antiques who are one of the best sellers of Art Deco in Australia. The good Lady K is a big fan of Art Deco and I grew up in a family that loves (I’m an anachronistic throwback), so I did have a good look through and the ladies there did not disappoint.

Rather than get caught in details, I will say that Pendulum Antiques, Lanzay Antiques, Le Sande Antiques, Marsteen Antiques and Mudgee Antiques had some real quality in their pieces. Marsteen has a particularly lovely set of brooches with nuggets of gold mined from Ballarat mixed in with the hairwork in brooches and one day I will own them…

So, I passed by two hairwork bracelets, some nice early 19th century brooches (paste/hair/rectangular), a hariwork serpent with emerald eyes (but the hairwork was ruined) that I had to let go. There was a Georgian heart with hair that was cheap and very interesting, but made me think twice, so as with our judicial system, if there’s room for doubt, you must acquit.

Where I ended up conceding defeat was in one stall. The vendors I had met previously (the two gents are from Tasmania), though when I wanted to buy from them at the Avoca Antique Fair, a charming lady occupied their time for over twenty minutes and prevented contact of my credit card to their hand. Thankfully, the same pieces were there and I leapt upon a late 18th century navette brooch. There was another paste/hair/rectangular early 19th century brooch, but I have dozens of them, so I let it go. I did see a blue enamel pinchbeck brooch, but as is the case with much mid 19th century brooches, they can be dinged about and doctored, so this wasn’t as perfect as I’d like.

Next was my love or horology, so I sprung upon some upside-down watches in the back of a cabinet. The size looked right (I have dainty wrists) for a lady and I wanted something in gold. I asked them about it and they bought out one with the most charming face, which reminded me of a watch I used to wear in the last century. It was said to keep brilliant time (and it does), so I didn’t hesitate. Next was the other watch, an early Rolex, once again, with a brilliant face and the most elegant hands. Of course I had to have it. They took out a hairwork fob chain with pearls and garnets in pristine condition and a locket on the end. What’s a Hayden to do except buy these things?

Charming company, great prices and the lack of any pretension = sales in my book, they could almost have put just about anything in front of me then and I would have bought it. So, if you’re in Ulverstone, Tasmania, rattle the cages of the lads at the Leven Antiques Centre at 23 King Edward Street and you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve got to say, it’s days like that which make entities like eBay seem shameful and depressing. Yes, you can get what you like in terms of instant gratification, but interacting with people, discovering treasure within dark cabinets and actually feeling that passion for collecting is in our DNA and thick within the blood that pumps through our veins.

Thank you to everyone who followed my adventures on Twitter (visit the Art of Mourning account here) and I will be heading overseas next month for some time, so if you want to follow me around the world (US first, Europe second), I’ll be giving you updates on all my adventures.

Image Link > View images from the floor of the fair here

Image Link > View images of my odds and ends here

Here comes the big one! I’ve been saving money for this little adventure, so I hope to be Tweeting from the floor about my experiences, follow me and enjoy the ride. If you’re in the area, come along and let’s discover some treasure together!

12th-14th – Ballarat Antique Fair, Wendouree Badminton Centre, Wendouree, VIC

If you’re close to Melbourne City, this one is quite good to find some wonderful items. Be quick, or I’ll get them first!

“Antiques in Autumn at the Box Hill Town Hall will take place on Saturday 5th March and Sunday 6th March 2011, from 9am to 5pm on both days.

We aim to bring to you a range of quality antiques and collectables, from furniture, to china, glass, silver, books and many more categories with over 50 individual exhibitors from all over Australia.

Our craftsmen will be demonstrating various forms of restoration work at intervals through out both days, this is a must see for anybody wishing to rescue a dilapidated piece of furniture and maybe even turning it into a family heirloom.

Our cafe will be open from 9am to 5pm on both days for morning teas, light lunches and afternoon teas.Entrance fees are $10 adult accompanied children under 15 free and seniors $8.

Exhibitors enquiries most welcome.”

Antiques in Autumn | Box Hill Town Hall

Whitehorse Road  Box Hill Victoria  Australia.  View Map Map opens in new browser window
Telephone: 0439 655026

It’s going to be a busy weekend for those in Melbourne, so I hope you have a car and a lot of dosh.

Coming up is the Maryborough Antiques & Collectors Fair, at  Neill St, Maryborough, VIC, 5th – 6th of March! If you travel up there, go to Station Antiques and have a fabulous lunch, their regional nosh is delicious.

It’s been a wonderful year for us all and I hope that the new year brings you all that you require and desire!

One thing that collecting antique memorial and sentimental jewellery can teach us is to treasure those around us, savour every moment you have with your loved ones and relish those to come. We’re all lucky to have what we do and now is a good time to reflect upon that and learn from what has come before, so we can use the knowledge of the past to apply in the future. I have a feeling that there are some wonderful moments to come this year, so savour the moment and have a great 2011!

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