AROUND THE WORLD IN THE HEART OF BALHAM
These beautiful horse heads sit on the wall of my favourite shop in London.
It seems like a secret spot or a members-only type place from the outside. A black awning hangs out front, the handle to the shop is a buffalo horn. The windows are adorned with a mix of jewellery which is made in the downstairs workshop, curated pieces collected from across the world, and British designer Tom Dixon. It seamlessly blurs the lines between store and gallery space.
As you enter what was once a grocery store, salvaged original tiling is still intact, the ceiling draws your eyes up, cabinets full of inspiration, each piece of jewellery is a work of art.
The shop is Sam Ubhi. Pronounced oooobiii. The store is based just off Balham high street. Sam tells me she has been making jewellery for 32 years and by the looks of her, I thought what? how? Were you ten? She looks ageless! Her wealth of knowledge from her travels and years of experience are open yet her modesty can often mean that unless you spend enough time with her, you could quite easily mistake her for a shop assistant.
Sitting on one wall is her personal collection of horse heads from Rajasthan seen below;
They are one of my favourite things to look at, touch, and imagine where I would place them in my future home. Now is not the time....one can dream.
Sourced from Rajasthan, these decorative horse heads started life either end of a heavy internal beam or outside a doorway in a haveli, or merchant's mansion, circa 1850.
In their previous incarnation, horseheads were also fixed to exterior doorposts to ward off spirits and offer protection and strength for the occupants.
I highly recommend treating yourself to a visit and getting lost in all the beautiful items. I won't give too much more away on this, just go! A shop experience like no other in London.
Sam Ubhi, pink suited, Dec 2019.
Brass earcuff on stand
Selfie in store, 2020