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Many souvenier gifts marking the Queen's Jubilee will have been bought this year, some seen as investments that will gain in value. Collectors and dealers have always been drawn towards items with Royal provenance, and Christopher Coles looks at some of the past treasures now appreciated.

Any item commissioned by or for Royalty, or produced in workshops that displayed Royal warrants, tended to be of superior quality. giftscharles.jpgAs time passes more and more of these items are either lost or bought for major public and private collections, pushing the prices ever higher. However, there are still pieces on the London market to suit most budgets, particularly in the field of Royal presentation jewellery.

The Armoury of St James is a small shop in the Piccadilly Arcade. Notable from the outside for its vast collection of model soldiers and related ephemera, the business has also always stocked a range of Royal presentation pieces.

Current examples include presentation brooches given by Princess Alexandra and George VI as well as enamelled cigarette cases giftslinks.jpgthat would have been presented in similar circumstances.

Although many presentation pieces are unsigned they tended to be made by firms such as Garrard, Asprey, Benzie of Cowes, Carrington’s or even Faberge and the examples illustrated here are of the highest quality.

As specialists in this field, the Armoury staff are able to advise all collectors from the most experienced to those making their first purchagiftspic.jpgses and the setting could not be any more delightful.

One dealer who will be well-known to many established Row customers is David Lavender of D.S Lavender Antiques. Previously based on Conduit Street, Grafton Street and South Moulton Street, he now deals from a penthouse showroom above S.J. Phillips on Bond Street.

Long known as the world’s foremost expert on portrait miniatures, his current stock offers many connected to royalty either by virtue of the identity of the sitter or the court giftspins.jpgconnections of the artist. In addition, Mr Lavender has a truly world-class collection of jewellery for sale, including George V presentation cufflinks by the aforementioned Benzie of Cowes (the Royal family’s first choice jeweller for yachting and maritime pieces).

Perhaps the most unusual piece he has in stock giftscase.jpgis a pair of presentation cufflinks, top,  in the shape of iron crosses commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm ll shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. Although perhaps not to everyone’s taste, they are a striking example of the jeweller’s art and a reminder of a turbulent period in world history.

From the top, miniature of Charles ll in a diamond and ruby frame from D.S. Lavender; links with iron cross, commissioned by the Kaiser before the first World War; portrait of George V’s equerry, Cnl Frank Dugdale, who was presented with this cigar box, right, from the King; and presentation brooches, above, from the Armoury.



SUMMER 2012 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::





contact Home - Contents in brief
contact Style 1 - Savile Row's Royal connections
contact Style 2 -Original styling from 60s style leader
contact Style 3 - World's oldest tailor makes robes for all ceremonies
contact Style 4 - Champagne party after open-house
contact Style 5 - Royal Mail includes bespoke images
contact Style 6 - Colour goes to the head and other parts
contact Textiles - Brighter future for menswear
contact Travel - Swiss pilgrimage by Sherlock Holmes followers
contact Gifts - Christopher Coles selects Royal treasures
contact Entertainment - Tea salons the latest meeting place
contact Boats - Rare Thames pleasure boat up for sale
contact Antiques - London's fairs add to Summer celebrations
contact Compendium - Links to the best brands and services
contact Contact - Details and registration
contact Tailors of Savile Row - listing of top tailors and interviews
contact Archive - Back Issues



If the Euro does fail, it will be following in a long line of defunct currencies. As far back as 1247, the first gold coin was launched in England by Henry lll but it failed to be accepted by the people. Other attempts followed but it was not until 1344 that the noble became the coin to win general acceptance in England and to establish an on-going coinage.

This and a raft of other fascinating facts are part of an exhibition underway at the Goldsmiths Hall in the City of London. ‘Gold – Power and Allure’ covers 4500 years of gold treasures, illustrating gold’s enduring power.

One of the coins on show posits a possible replacement for the euro: This is the guinea, introduced by Charles ll in 1663 and which went on to become the premier currency of Europe.

The Exhibitiion at the Goldsmiths Company Hall continues until July 28, admission free.