A couple of months ago, I had read about the London Silver Vaults in The Londonist and it seemed like a very interesting place to visit. However, there are so many interesting places that I read about everyday and want to do, that some places slide down the list and the Vaults happened to be one of them.
I had work at Chancery Lane the other day, and I was walking back to the station, when I saw the banner for the London Silver Vaults. I just HAD TO walk in.
I love Silver Jewelry and each State in India has some beautiful traditional patterns and there are also a lot of modern designs coming out. I thought I would take a look at what the patterns in the UK were like.
When I walked into the building, I saw a security guard at the desk and nothing else - no shops. He very politely checked my bag and then I had to descend 2 floors below to get to the shops. It was an underground shopping center with each individual door to a shop - at least 10" thick and reinforced. Never seen anything like it. Not even when gold shopping in India.
The second surprise was that there was hardly any jewelry in the vaults. It was more of cutlery and serving bowls, candle sticks and decorative pieces.
A lot of the silver was antique, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Pepper pots, condiment sets. Some practical, some decorative. The amazing thing was that all the people I met at the stores, could speak very knowledgably and authoritatively on the history and purpose behind each of the objects in their store.
There were a few pieces of jewelry, but nothing that induced me to open my wallet immediately. Because design wise I have seen much better and at much lower prices back home. But there were a few unusual items that I would have liked to pick up.
But there is a VAT rebate if you buy it before leaving the country, so I will just wait for this posting to come to a close, before I head here with my chequebook
Photography is not permitted inside the vaults.
Conversations are free.
London Silver Vaults is on the corner of Chancery Lane and Southampton Buildings, open Mon-Fri, 9am to 5.30pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm. Entrance is free, and you can just walk in.