Rags and Riches at Montpelier Bean Feast

Yesterday saw a resurrected Bristolian event that hasn’t been seen since the 1700’s. The Montpelier Bean Feast took over St Andrews Road and Montpelier Park for a day of good old-fashioned fun: think arts & crafts, homemade cakes and bric-a-brac stalls.

It was therefore, the perfect place to spend Saturday afternoon, having a wonder and a rummage, to see what the folks of Montpelier had donated in they way of clothes, accessories and, er, doll’s heads.

Despite being tempted by an over-priced turquoise ring, my rummaging partner in crime settled for a cute pair of earrings for £1.50, while I found this gorgeous coin bracelet, above. As the antique price tag shows, it was also a bargain at £1, just about within my budget. I have always loved coin jewellery, regardless of how 1990s or faux ethnic it looks. This bracelet is similar to a bracelet I own made of 1940’s dime coins welded together so I might pair them up.

A cynic could say that this pull towards cash is a cover-up for my desire for money, but perhaps it is just the childish pursuit of treasure that gets me going. This bracelet has coins from Poland, Denmark, Turkey and the US, dating from 1875 to 1951: who knows how these coins came to be on one bracelet, who made it, were these coins found or were they just from one well-traveled jeweller? Mystery is exciting and stylish.

Chanel have often used coins to inspire their jewellery collections, such as this bracelet from their Spring/Summer 2009 collection. A bangle with coins inset, this is more modern, less gypsy but is a typical example of money-influenced designs.

Not only was the bracelet a steal but the lovely old lady who sold it to me even put it in this tiny red envelope, above, which I believe is a symbol of good luck and prosperity in China. Maybe I’ve just purchased a good luck charm!?


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