Isobel Procter’s jewelry icon is the woman who single-handedly reinvented the nameplate necklace: Carrie Bradshaw. “It may seem like an obvious choice,” she says. “But she always had a good mix of expensive pieces and cool, vintage pieces. She didn’t follow trends, she wore jewelry that was personal to her, like her horseshoe pendant or the “Carrie” necklace. Of course, finding the kind of antique jewelry that would pass with Patricia Field isn’t easy. This is where the Procter website, PI London, Between.
“My mission is to make vintage jewelry more accessible,” says Isobel, who grew up in Yorkshire visiting “random and quirky shops” with her antique mum. “I think people are now a lot more used to buying vintage clothes and even furniture. But when it comes to antiques, people are still mostly in the dark. They don’t know where to look for them, and often places like Hatton Garden [London’s historic diamond district] can seem pretty intimidating – it’s all a bit overwhelming. “
There is nothing fancy about walking in PI London. Procter’s careful selection is divided into necklaces, earrings and rings; but also categorized by theme and era, so you can specifically search for Victorian rings or mid-century medallions. Trying to browse the vast displays of antique jewelry is the opposite, and the starting prices are a pleasant surprise as well. “My mom always told me that the quality for the price was much better in an antique store than it would be to buy something new,” Isobel says. “She would take me to their house to buy 21st birthday gifts for my friends.”
PI’s offering includes original versions of many vintage-inspired pieces produced by mid-range jewelry brands today. After a few golden hoops? How about a big pair from the 70s? Or how about a vintage initial or a zodiac necklace to layer with your chains, instead of a new one? Of course, there are also plenty that you won’t find on Main Street, like a pair of Victorian earrings made from clusters of pearls or a pretty Art Deco locket.
A stay in Paris – where she struggled to indulge the passion for the collection she inherited from her mother – is what inspired Procter to start her business. “I didn’t know where to look anymore,” she says. “I didn’t have a place for my mom to go and I didn’t really trust auction sites. And there wasn’t a cool, easy-to-use website. “