Timeless ELEGANCE

Exquisite pieces at Birks Vintage Jewelry Event are a pretty page out of history

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55Whether it's the emerging indie fashion scene, the eccentric boutiques that dot the streets in eclectic neighbourhoods or the artistic designer galleries in the historic Exchange District -- which in and of itself is iconic of 'Peg-city style -- this city has no shortage of flair.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/05/2012 (3799 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

55Whether it’s the emerging indie fashion scene, the eccentric boutiques that dot the streets in eclectic neighbourhoods or the artistic designer galleries in the historic Exchange District — which in and of itself is iconic of ‘Peg-city style — this city has no shortage of flair.

One place that comes to mind that’s truly reflective of our status as a fashion hub is Birks. Housed in arguably one of the most beautifully restored buildings in the Exchange, the Winnipeg store is one of the oldest stand-alone stores in the Birks chain, dating back to the early 1930s.

According to Grace Reagh, director of vintage jewelry with Birks, Winnipeg has always been a city with an appreciation for fine jewelry.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

“There is a particular appreciation and interest level of connoisseurs in Winnipeg,” says Reagh.

Because of this, Birks created a special event for Winnipeggers — the Birks Vintage Jewelry Event. Open to the public until May 12, it features 200 exquisite pieces with a combined value that’s well into the seven-figure bracket.

Many of the items available for sale during the event date back over 80 years to the Great Depression.

“In the 1930s, people had a lot of fine jewelry and because of the economic strife during that time, they would walk into our store and make a discreet sale,” says Reagh adding that many of the pieces in the vintage collection are unique, very valuable and have historic significance.

One of the most interesting — and certainly opulent — items is a brooch designed in 1925. Set with nine custom colour-matched sapphires, this gorgeous piece is so delicately designed that when you hold it up to the light, it looks like it’s made of platinum lace.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Georgian revival-style necklace circa 1950, featuring citrines, pearls and diamonds, $8,000.

Another fabulous vintage item is a 90-year-old black and white cameo ring carved out of a single two-layered piece of agate.

The collection also contains an art deco diamond-studded bracelet that Reagh describes as a spectacular representation of red-carpet glamour, and a rare diamond cloche hat pin.

Birks is located at 191 Lombard Ave. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Got a suggestion for a future column or a fashion trend

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Victorian micro-mosaic Italian-made six-colour tessarae depicting classical image of the Doves of the Pliny in 18-karat yellow gold. Circa 1870, $5,800.

worth following? Email Connie Tamoto at

connietamotofashion@hotmail.com.

Photography by Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Edwardian-era, circa 1900, platinum and 18-karat yellow gold brooch, natural pearl over cobalt blue, $3,000.
JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Edwardian-era platinum ring featuring a restored and repolished one-carat diamond, $11,500.
JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Chalcedony cameo ring in platinum, circa 1915 with 12 natural pearls and diamonds, $7,600.
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