Preliminary note: I need to set up here, so bear with me. If you can’t be stuffed reading my rambling story, just head to the video below.
I went with a jeweller friend to the Gray Reid Gallery on Collins Street the other week. I couldn’t really figure out if it was run by, or just in league with, The Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia; their website says that it “represents them”, whatever that means.
I love that we have a precious metal smithing guild. How delicious.
Anyway, the shop is a little bit tucked away — I don’t think they want any random members of the general public coming in. Their store is crammed with really high-end, jewellery-geek sort of stuff and their staff were mind-blowingly knowledgable about the pieces and the designers.
I really liked our visit. I’m not sure that they even expected us to buy anything, but they still told us all sorts of stuff about the jewellery and then it turned out that my friend knew a bunch of the designers personally (including the sister of one of the sales assistants) and then they let her try all sorts of stuff on and got out $40k opals for her to look at, to give her an idea of what you can get for that sort of money.
For me, however, the best part was this Victorian-style clockwork taxidermy box that they had on display. The thing was $20k and it looked like a mini wooden toy theatre (kind of like a Punch and Judy theatre, if you have any idea what I mean — maybe the size of a smallish CRT TV?), with a red velvet curtain across it.
You wound a handle to work the mechanism and the curtain opened, and it played the Swan Lake theme tinnily like an old music box, and then a jewelled stage was revealed, with three taxidermied mice in tutus and jewellered tiaras.
It was hella creepy and I loved the hell out of it. When I’m a millionaire, I’m buying it.
Here is a video I found of it, but it doesn’t do it justice:
I’ve sure if you went there yourself and asked politely if you would play with it, very gently, they would let you. Otherwise, there are some pictures of the project here and here is the rest of their video channel, with other boxes they made.
I am rambling on about this because I just love that you can wander around the CBD and just stumble into things like that. Things you didn’t expect. It’s good.