I’ve been an antique lover since before I was born. My mother has a passion for collecting precious, historic heirlooms and furniture that she imparted to me, and as soon as I was old enough to walk I was accompanying her on foraging trips. She would make an intriguing game for me out of finding compelling treasures and I was enchanted by the prospect of wondering what we were going to uncover and the inevitable priceless finds that always sprang up during our searches. It was our very own “Antique Roadshow” all the way!
I looked forward to these special times with my mother. She taught me how to bargain and negotiate, and at 6 years old I could talk dealers down big bucks for that 100 year old German porcelain doll I just had to add to my collection. This trait came in handy years later when hunting for jewels in New Delhi's burning-sage- filled bazaars and trading with Egyptian gem dealers in Cairo.
Beads were my first fascination. There was this mystical store in Mill Valley, California where I mostly grew up called Sundancer. You had to walk up this steep flight of old wooden stairs to enter the shop and step through a long beaded curtain to get inside. Smoke filled the air with a combination of Nag Champa incense and most likely marijuana. There were always a few of the coolest Haight Ashbury free spirit types in colorful clothes with flowers in their hair there to assist us. My mom called them Beatniks. Sundancer sold hundreds of types of beads in every color imaginable; African trade, Murano glass, Moroccan bone and Nepalese prayer beads just to name a few. When I walked in for the first time at age five with a nickel and dime that my mother so generously gave me to spend, I was spellbound.
I still get that same feeling when wandering into an antique market off the cobbled streets of Chelsea in London or when exploring the tiny shops along the ancient hidden alleys of Florence or when combing through rows and rows of vintage niceties beneath the rafters of a rustic barn in North Hatley, Quebec. .
I recently returned from a fabulous trip with my adorable and ever-so energetic mother to the very French quarter of Old Quebec City and historic Montreal. I was determined to purchase an emerald glass jar I'd been admiring from a shop window for days and went back five times until they finally decided to open the store for business. I am enraptured by the intricacy of hand-painted colored glass objects, sterling and brass hallmarked carved boxes, and inlaid sparkly gem- encrusted jars.
I was inspired to share my discoveries with you so that they may bring as much joy to you as they do to me. My Treasures collection showcases my most cherished finds throughout my adventurous travels, featuring pieces found thousands of miles overseas in Europe as well as in some of the most historic towns in North America.
Many of my treasures bear a signature Alana Leigh insignia—a “love” heart or a bejeweled hand casted medallion—to add a finishing flourish to the timeless works of art. My treasures bestow luck and love upon your Alana Leigh jewelry and provide a chic and sacred protective place for your most precious pieces. Each collectable is either one-of-a-kind or a limited edition and all carry a unique story of how and where they were lovingly discovered.
Take a peek and see what surprises you uncover!
Images from left to right: Alana through the looking glass; Alana and her mother in Montreal at D'Emma's; The coveted emerald glass jar; Alana in Florence; Alana in Rome; An old rustic barn in Quebec.