Amassed over the last 60 years by a ‘lady from Sydney’s North Shore’, who wishes to stay anonymous, it includes 300-plus examples, the earliest piece dating from the 17th century. They are on offer at the Shapiro saleroom in Sydney on December 6.
As well as Portobello, she sourced buckles from Australian antique stalls, fairs, auctions and from travels internationally.
The collection is predominantly European, English, Australian and Japanese. Pieces epitomise Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Georgian styles, important Australian makers from key periods and specific purposes such as Australian nurses’ buckles, English gentleman’s and breeches buckles, carriage driver’s and mourning buckles, and ladies’ buckles of the 18th century French court.
Buckles were a form of practical jewellery also used very much to signify status.
The breadth of the collection extends from a silver cloque toggle button from the late 17th century and a cut steel diadem commonly worn by nobility of the late 17th century (found in Portobello c.1975) to the star: a 14ct gold Fabergé seed pearl and guilloché enamel belt buckle, c.1903, in its original box by the Russian court jeweller Henrik Wigström.
The collector heard it was coming up for auction in Melbourne at Christie’s and the piece was brought up to Sydney for her to view.