Firstly, I want to thank you for taking the time to explore my website.
My name is Sarah-Jane. I'm a one woman business. I design, create and source all materials myself. I am a qualified Gold & Silversmith, with 20 years experience.
I've always had a passion for antiques and more recently, vintage treasures. That's why I began transforming pieces of the past into keepsakes for the future.
I started traveling the world 28 years ago. In 2010 my husband and I were motor homing through Europe, when an antique store just outside of Lyon, France, grabbed my attention. This, my friend, was the beginning of my love affair with French antique buttons!
Whilst exploring the shop, I found a rusty old tin with a bunch of buttons inside, all tied together with string. The feeling I got from holding these butons was so strange, not bad strange, just like a connected strange. I put them back and continued looking around the shop.
Just as we were about to leave, I went back to that rusty tin and looked at the buttons again. When the store owner saw me go back for a second time, he must have thought I needed an explaination.
It turns out that 6 of the buttons in the bunch were from his Great Grandfather's WWI military coat. Apparently the French Government issued every solider with one. His Mother saved the buttons from the coat as it had started to perish and so, these buttons were the only thing left.
He also gave me details on some others in that bunch, which left me fascinated and wanting more!
Being a fully qualified Goldsmith, I knew I could incorporate these forgotten, but oh so alluring little treasures of history, into jewellery to be loved by women like you.
Did I buy those buttons?? Of course I did! There was no way I was leaving that store without them.
In 2014 my husband and I, along with our 2 dogs, embarked on a huge life adventure by moving from Brisbane, Australia to the French Alps, France. We purchased a stone farmhouse, which has an outbuilding that was the original village bread baking oven. It was built in 1798, so you can imagine the renovation work that needs to be done in order to transform it into my studio workshop.
The major advantage of living in France is that I no longer have to wait for yearly holidays in order to find some truly amazing antique and vintage buttons.
You know, to this day that antique store in Lyon still supplies me with French antique buttons. The lovely man that owns the store is also an historian, so I have the added advantage of knowing the history of these buttons.
I have since been fortunate enough to meet a lovely lady from Paris who inherited her Mother's extensive Vintage Designer button collection. Her Mother worked as a head seamstress for some of the world's most famous fashion houses. She started her collection in the 1930's and continued collecting until she retired. She was merticulous about keeping cards with the button's information, age etc. Knowing this lady is a true gift.
When you decide to purchase a piece from me, I want you to feel assured that you are buying a quality piece to last you a lifetime. I only use traditional goldsmith methods during the creation of all of my pieces. I only use genuine metals, gemstones and antique or vintage buttons. You can also feel good knowing that you are helping the environment with your choice of jewellery. I do not mass produce or cast any of my creations. They are all hand made by me.
Due to worldwide concerns over ethically sourced and sustainability within the consumer industry, I now use silver I have smelted from my own scrap material. No, you don't need to worry that this is inferior. It is still Sterling Silver (925) but is just more sustainable. In most cases the gold accents I use are also from refined scrap gold, but if I need to purchase new gold, I make sure I source this from a reputable supplier who is also conscious of a metals origins.
I hope you've enjoyed getting to know me and my brand, Porsha Bella.