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

Saturday July 10th is the Ballarat Collectables Fair (not that it’s not the Antique fair, if it was, I would suggest you wear body armour to avoid being punched by old women). There shall be china, silver, swap cards, linen, glass, toys, stamps, coins, medals, antique prints and Lord H.

So get ready! It’s at the Ballarat Show Grounds, Creswick ROad (Midland Highway), Wendouree from 9am to 3pm.

Finding decent mourning jewellery in Australia is becoming quite difficult and when one does find a nice piece, it’s usually got a few more zero’s on the end than a knowledgeable collector would like to reconcile with.

That was one of the unfortunate truths to the Ballarat Antique Fair, while there were some lovely things, I don’t mind taking the leap for something that I would be in love with, but logic and common sense remind me that I can find the same thing on eBay for a fraction of the price (sorry, dealers).

However, this bracelet stood out as one of the finer pieces of the show. I was on the lookout for brooches and rings (as usual), but what I found was what I had mostly seen last year, but with some generous mark-ups. Hailing from a Tasmanian antique dealer (quite a nice chap), I did a lap of the fair (see the other Ballarat post for that adventure) and purchased this before leaving.

This bracelet is a single weave, table-worked, four level hair bracelet. The clasp is gold and the interior is palatte-worked hair on milk-glass with wheat sheaf motifs in gold surrounding the interior hair.

As for its age, 1850-60 would be in the ballpark for this sort of piece, though similar examples exist in catalogues through to 1870. It’s in reasonably good condition for its age, the hair is still rather supple, though the milk-glass has some movement to it. No, I won’t be wearing it, I’ll simply treat it with all the love of my others. It’s unsigned, as well, with no dedication to a loved one.

All in all, I don’t recall another piece at the fair to set me on fire quite like this one, so in the end, it was a successful day!

Ballarat Antique FairThe Ballarat Antique fair is now over and those lucky enough to attend were presented with some wonderful wares of sellers from across Australia. What are my memories of this event?

Well, let’s just say I have the bruises to last a lifetime. Read on for a breakdown of the event….

Read the rest of this entry »

Ballarat Antique Fair

March 6, 2010

Ballarat Antique FairAre you at the Ballarat Antique Fair yet? I am and you’re missing out on a marvellous lecture by yours truly to anyone who cares to listen! What will become of it? Look forward to a future post!

On the 6th, 7th and 8th of March of 2010 is the last big antique fair in Ballarat, Australia. No, it’s not the last one that will occur, but it is the largest one left.

Oh Melbourne, what happened? Park Lane Antique Centre used to hold one of the largest antique fairs at the Caulfield Racecourse and the turn-out was always large, the vendors were plentiful, friendly and came from all over Australia. Much of my money took flight at that fair.

There was the Camberwell Antique Fair, which is on again / off again and that was always when the year was winding down from fair season. Not the biggest or the best, but it was the nice refresher to a good season of antique hunting.

Multiple fairs dotted the state with lots of passion from everyone attending. But all of a sudden, it stopped.

Many of the big fairs have migrated north and still maintain a healthy flow of patronage, but here, the last few moved from the city to regional centres. After talking with many of the dealers, it seems that many are winding down and don’t want to participate like  they used to. Others say that Melbourne has a good many visitors who treat it like a museum. The common calls of ‘I used to own something like this’ or ‘they want $100 for a glass? I can get that at Ikea for $2’ do break the heart of the dealer and the serious collector, but I do miss the old days.

By 2000, Park Lane and other antique centres on High Street Malvern started to either cease or change their positioning from antique centres to homewares stores. Malvern Antique Centre, Camberwell Antique Market and the Tyabb are are still going strong, but the life of the big antique centre is swiftly becoming an antique itself. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as you’ll find in another post!

Everyone, go to Ballarat this weekend and have fun!

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