A pen for my aunt

Smart shoppers buy their Christmas presents at the Olympia Antiques Fair. By Charlotte Packer

If you are one of those organised people who not only manages to have your Christmas presents wrapped by the first of December, but tracks down unusual ones to boot, the chances are The Fine Art and Antiques Fair, at Olympia from Wednesday, needs no introduction. But if, like most of us, you leave it to the last minute, a trip to Olympia might make a pleasant change from tearing around the shops on Christmas Eve.

In the past couple of years, the November fair has taken on a distinctly festive feel. Dealers are waking up to the fact that while the fairs held in June and February attract specialist collectors, the winter event is drawing Christmas shoppers in ever increasing numbers. Consequently the items on offer, and their prices, reflect this.

Jewellery is a perennial favourite and prices range form the affordable to the unthinkable. Anthea A G Antiques (stand C11) has a selection of Scottish jewellery (Celtic crosses, buckles, brooches and dirks), which has become very collectable., though they are not exactly stocking fillers at pounds 200-pounds 700. Madeleine Popper (stand D30) is well known for her extraordinary cut steel jewellery. "If a chap comes in to buy an unusual present for his wife" she says, "I may suggest cut steel. I often find people come back to add to the collection." Expect to pay from pounds 40 to a few hundred.

Didier (stand D30) specialises in Art Nouveau jewellery. "If you have pounds 75 to spend," he says, "you can buy a silver pendant made for Liberty & Co with designs after Jessie M King, but if you have pounds 2,500 I have the most wonderful quirky cufflinks. And you'll get a lecture into the bargain."

If you're giving someone a fountain pen, it's worth knowing that for the price of the latest Mont Blanc, Malcolm Stevens (stand 34) will sell you something far more interesting, like a 1930s Eversharp pen and pencil set, complete with a Guaranteed Forever label. pounds 65 will get you a gold nibbed, 1950s Parker or Conway Stewart in full working order.

For difficult relatives, go to the antiquarian book dealers - they are bound to have at least one book, manuscript or pamphlet that will fit the bill. Simon Finch Rare Books (stand 29) is worth a visit just for a glimpse of the first editions of Emma and Middlemarch.

With prices starting under pounds 50, the print dealers are also worth investigating. At Elizabeth Harvey Lee (stand 83) pounds 50 will secure you a small, 20th- century wood engraving and pounds 100 will buy a 16th-century German woodcut.

For something a little more unusual take a look at the icons on Richardson & Kailas's stand. An 18th or 19th-century framed brass icon from Russia will cost about pounds 200. As with Didier you'll get more than bargained for, "I am very much addicted to the stories behind the icons," Mr Richardson admits.

Perhaps this is the best thing about buying from an antiques fair. On the whole you are buying from someone who is passionate about what they are selling, and whatever you choose you'll get a good anecdote to go with it.

The Fine Art and Antiques Fair, Olympia, London W14, 15-21 Nov. Wed 6pm-10pm, Thurs-Tues opens 11am, check information line for closing times: 0891 884544. Tickets: single pounds 10, double pounds 15.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Employment Solicitor

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

    Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

    £600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

    Commercial Litigation Associate

    Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

    Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

    £65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little