My Favorite Antique Treat From London

Phyllis Lifestyle 17 Comments

I don’t know if you have ever been to Portobello Road Market outside of London, but if you ever have a chance to go, you will not be disappointed. When I turned 40, my dream of seeing London came true. I have always been enchanted with England.


I have shared with you my love of sewing and needlework, but coupled with that is a great appreciation for the wonderful sewing tools that have been made through the centuries. While my mom and I were strolling through the antique tables and stalls, I spotted a little violin-shaped leather case. When I opened it, inside was a beautiful pair of antique scissors and a thimble. The case was made for these sterling implements and had been worn with use. My mom asked if I wanted this for my birthday, and I was just delighted. I could just imagine a beautiful English lady with this set tucked inside her sewing basket, and now it would be mine!


Scissors were a prized household possession for centuries. A woman’s tools used for sewing and maintaining clothing were works of art unto themselves. Today our sewing scissors are plain metal, usually stainless steel sharpened to razor blade edges, but centuries ago sterling silver was the order of the day.

I wanted to share photos of the sterling silver scissors that I have. Notice the intricate designs of the silver handles. These fascinate me, and I would love to know the story of the prior owners. Actually I could see Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey having these hang from her chatelaine at her waist!

Share with me your treasures. We all love seeing beautiful things from centuries past!


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Comments 17

  1. Two things purchased by my parents pour moi were first…one Christmas morning in my mid-teens I awoke to find a new cedar chest at the foot of my bed and my parents were so excited to see my reaction. Cedar chests were an important part of our generation and it meant putting things into them for a time when one was married. I still have that cedar chest and it makes me happy just looking at it and the love that gave it to me.
    The second item was a lovely set of grey luggage for my graduation present from high school for my parents. It came with me when I was married and I had it for many, many years…alas it is no longer in my possession.
    With a grateful heart.

  2. What a wonderful memory and beautiful gift from your mother. The scissors are lovely, and I adore the case. One of my favorite pieces in our home is a silver service from my husband’s great grandparents – nothing quite like the beauty and patina of antique silver.

  3. Love the scissors and the story.
    Years ago I started collecting sewing notions,especially scissors. I started with well worn embroidery scissors.
    When I was growing up in central Arkansas on a farm we
    We’re told not to use my mother’s one pair of sewing shears
    On anything but fabric… I know my mother struggled with
    dull scissors because of our catalogue paperdolls.
    My first pair of antique scissors was a birthday gift also…what a treasure, what a friend.
    Deanna S.

  4. London – one of our favorite cities! My husband and I have been there often and shopped at the stalls on Portobello Road Market. A favorite purchase was an antique lorgnette folding opera glasses with chain. So fun to wear when I go out to enjoy afternoon tea!

  5. Ninfa A,

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing with us the story of your trip to London and the picture of your beautiful scissors. You have brightened up my day. I love little scissors and I love London.

    You are a very thoughtful lady as your dear mother is.

  6. Love your story about the beautiful scissors, but my old scissors have a different story. My dad was a barber and always kept the finest scissors and I have his old scissors which is a treasure!

  7. I have a special pair of scissors that I bought to cut and trim the lace when I made my daughter’s wedding gown. The top of the dress was entirely made with the lace and the satin skirt was bordered with the lace at the hem and train. It took many hours to trim the lace, especially for the hemline and train and then applique it by hand. It was a labor of love and the scissors, although new, remind me of the joy of seeing my daughter in her very special wedding gown made by hand. I’ve also used the scissors to make batiste baby dresses for my twin granddaughters.

  8. Do you have a creative suggestion for displaying my grandmother”s sterling silver spoons
    other than on a wooden country spoon rack?

    I love your blog.

    1. Why not display them in a window box frame on a bed of white lace, or antique handkerchief? I think that would look lovely. Framing shops can do wonders with 3-dimensional items. I wish I could show you the christening gown my mother made for my boys. The gown and bonnet is ecru and is stitched lightly to a bed of dark green velvet and is 50″ in length. We have it displayed in our front foyer and everyone comments on it. I had it framed in such a way so that it could be opened and the gown used again, hopefully for future generations.

  9. They are just lovely! isn’t it nice having something really old and wondering who they used to belong to, what did they look like?, where did they live? and now you share their story!

  10. Phyllis, thanks for sharing, I love the scissors & thimble – how beautiful & intricate they both are.
    I am fortunate to have my great grandparents “bride’s bowl” they were given for their 25th wedding anniversary in 1895. The holder for the bowl is sterling silver, very intricate and beautiful. Unfortunately the bowl was broken many years ago but my great aunt replaced it with one almost identical. She was a retired school teacher and in her retirement years (late 50’s or early 60’s) volunteered two at a home for unwed mothers in Ashville, NC. One day she was walking past a jewelry store and saw it in the window.
    I am even more fortunate to have the invitation card to their celebration, written in the scroll handwriting of that day.

  11. What a beautiful set! Such a nice set to remind you of a special birthday and a special trip. One of my favorite treasures is a little (about 1-3/4″) entire Bible found at a yard sale for a song. It is leather bound and complete with a wee magnifying glass in the back to read it with. It has a signed date in it of 1928 and is very precious to me. I did a blog post with a picture of it during the 400th anniversary year of the King James Bible in 2011.
    Thanks for sharing…and letting me share too! ; )

  12. Wow! Your scissors are just Beautiful! I’m sure you will enjoy them for many years to come.
    What a wonderful treasure! So Sweet of your Mom!

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