Hidden Treasures of Hastings: Pearl & Queenie

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Filled with quirky and eclectic treasures displayed in the most creative of ways, Pearl & Queenie jewellery boutique was beyond doubt my favourite place in Hastings Old Town. I was rather broken hearted when they closed up a few years ago – wondering around George Street on my own in the sunshine would never be the same without a quick visit. Yes ok, they carried on selling their designs online, ‘BUT I MISS THE SHOP’ I would say to anyone who would listen.

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You can imagine my delight when last month an event popped up in my Facebook news feed:

Pearl & Queenie Shop Launch Party – 03 March.
OMG. I was SO there.

And actually quite a few other people were SO there too – news had spread and we were all talking about it at Sewing Class so my fellow blogger and good friend Lexi agreed to go to the party with me and report back.

Instead of going back to the Old Town, Pearl & Queenie is now much more of a hidden secret, smuggled away in a beautiful St. Leonards town-house off Norman Road. On the day of the party, Lexi and I ventured down a very unassuming pathway and we would have walked straight past the house if it weren’t for the sign on the door. The shop has a sense of exclusivity about it now – you need to be in the know, you can’t just stumble across it any more.

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After climbing the bare flight of stairs, we walked into a beautifully decorated open room. We were immediately greeted by the warming scent of candles and the super cool Kathy Dyton, the brainchild behind the Pearl & Queenie brand, who offered us a glass of bubbly.

Wearing all black, with her hands and wrists adorned with her own designs, she was bright and welcoming and pointed us in the direction of the French Fancies laid out for her guests
‘Have the cake!’ she cried.
Lexi and I looked at each other and nodded – this woman was great.

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A DFL (Hastings Dictionary Definition: A ‘Down From London-er’), Kathy moved to Hastings with her now husband of 8 years after visiting friends in the town and falling in love with it’s bohemian, arty vibe. (Who doesn’t! #HastingsPride) Previously enjoying a career as a Television Producer and Director, she’d had a lifelong passion for jewellery.

‘I always know I would open a jewellery shop with a difference. Something inviting, exciting and fresh’ she said.

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The lady behind the brand – I persuaded (bullied) Kathy into having her picture taken for me – doesn’t she look grand:

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Like many others, Kathy felt like starting a new buisiness would be so much easier in Hastings than in London.

‘Rents are still so reasonable in Hastings, and London is becoming so inaccessible in many ways. I wanted to start a business where I lived, and I wanted to live in Hastings so it ticked all the boxes for me’.

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After a year of plotting and planning, Kathy came up with the name Pearl & Queenie for her shop: ‘Initially Pearl and Queenie were two made-up characters. I envisaged them as two wealthy Victorian Ladies from London who frequented the seaside to buy fine china, clothes and jewels. Historic DFL’s, lol!’

Here they are, the two ladies sitting on the top of the mantelpiece. These two amazing boudoir dolls sitting next to the display of delicious Etta French candles were made for Kathy by Amanda Fatherazi, who’s also designed dolls for Charlotte Olympia and milliner Benoit Missolin.

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Let’s move on to the jewellery, shall we? Pearl & Queenie has its own collections which are usually associated with traditional themes or symbols, but will have a contemporary or playful edge. My favourite is Modern Gypsy – inspired by Romany Gypsy heriate, faith and fortune, this magical line is right up my street with birds, babooskas, fortune teller hands and coin charms. This charm bracelet is on my wish list, to go with my Magic Necklace:

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Pearl & Queenie also showcases some pretty unique pieces from other designers, which is what keeps the brand so fresh and exciting, like this beautiful gold leopard necklace modelled by the lovely Vicky (I had hair envy just a bit, look at those curls!):

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Naturally I had to try on some of the bling… Kathy helped pick out this lovely silver peacock necklace with precious stones for me.She established pretty early on when I used to come into the shop that I was definitely a silver girl rather than a gold girl. I’ve stuck by that over the years.

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‘We want to give a totally new approach to shopping and jewellery, especially being housed in a secret hideaway townhouse,’ said Kathy. ‘We are completely different from anyone else locally – we have personality, the jewellery has personality and I give a very personal service to each of my customers.’

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Now that Pearl & Queenie has come back home, you’d think that Kathy would look to relax a bit after all that hard work – but she’s already thinking about her next adventure! ‘We have huge plans! Withouth giving too much away, we are about to launch a sister company in the next couple of months which I’m dead excited about!’

On the way out, tired but happy and full of French Fancies, Lexi prodded me and pointed over to the row of Etta French candles that had just been lit on the window sill. It looked lovely.
I had to take a picture, obvs. xxx

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