Guest Blog – Paris Parfait Writes “The Art of the Deal”

As The Antiques Diva continues taking a “break from her blog” whilst settling into her new home in Berlin post-move, the Guest Blog Marathon continues with a highly esteemed visitor taking the helm in today’s muse.

Today’s Guest Blogger is Tara Bradford, American author of the “tres populaire” blog Paris Parfait, which seems to have a dash of everything from art, antiques, culture and poetry to photography and a liberal dose of political ponderings. In today’s special Antiques Diva post, you’ll see why The Diva fell in love with Paris Parfait’s writing style as Tara writes about a recent visit to a flea market as if she were recounting a romance tale.


Paris Parfait Guest Blog – The Art of the Deal

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 317px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>She spotted it right away, but pretended not to notice. In French, she asked him to show her Russian religious icons, one after the other. But she wasn’t interested in Russian icons; not today.

Before that afternoon at the brocante at Parc des Princes, she’d never been interested in daggers. But at first glance at the antique dealer’s table, she could see one was very special. Four ancient ceremonial daggers were lined up in a row, their scabbards gleaming; the handles studded with semi-precious stones. Casually, she asked to see the one she liked least. He detected an accent and began talking in English about his days at university in Scotland. He went on and on, caught up in happy memories, no longer paying any attention to trying to sell his antiques.

“I’m not English,” she said. He looked crestfallen. “But your accent?…”

“I’m American,” she responded. “Perhaps you think my accent sounds a bit English, because my husband is British.”

“Ah, that’s it,” he nodded, knowingly. And he kept talking about Scotland, about his English girlfriends at university; about the fierce winters that made him long for the desert.

She asked him to show her another dagger. It was beautiful, but not unusual. Finally, she asked to see the one that had made her inwardly catch her breath.

As he drew the dagger from its silver and bronze scabbard, she tried not to react at the rare sight of the hand-carved keyhole and hand-etched design. She brushed aside his talk of the ivory handle, inlaid with coral stones. She shrugged and said, “Yes, it’s nice. How much”?

“550 Euros,” he replied gravely. She laughed. “You might as well stab me in the heart with it then.”

“350 Euros,” he offered. “No, I don’t have that kind of cash with me, but thanks,” she said, shaking her head and turning to go.

Then she looked back at him and asked, in Arabic, “Do you speak Arabic?”

“Do I speak Arabic??!!” he exclaimed. And the words came tumbling out, one after the other, so fast she could barely keep up, as he told her his story. She listened, nodding and trying to make appropriate remarks in the flowery language she hadn’t attempted for ages. After a few minutes, she asked, in Arabic, his best price for the dagger.

“For you, 100 Euros!” he shouted, beaming. “Thank you,” she responded, smiling as she handed over the cash. And he, too was happy, even though he’d dramatically undersold a 200-year-old piece.

Photo of Tara, courtesy of Di Mackey Photographer, Woman Wandering


Paris Parfait Photography:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 France License.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 317px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Caption: Antique Syrian dagger, which has not been cleaned in many, many years on top of a Lehnert & Landrock photograph.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 227px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Caption: Close-up view of the silver and bronze dagger’s keyhole design.
to 10px; WIDTH: 277px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Caption: A 19th-century Moroccan silver coin necklace purchased Sunday from another dealer at the brocante – no bargaining required. The coins rubbing together sound like little tinkling bells, as you walk. The mosque image is part of Tara’s collection of Lehnert & Landrock photographs

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Author: Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America's largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

  • Greetings Readers,
    Tara rocks, doesn’t she?!? I told you that you’d love her writing! I’m off this morning for the next 3 days returning to Holland for a speaking engagement in so won’t be answering comments until the weekend, but keep those comments coming! I love the interaction with my readers!

    What a wonderful offer – and I’m completely flattered by your words. Would love to do some reciprocal postings… will email you directly with more details. In the meantime, I’m adding you to my favorites list!

    Victorian Cobweb,
    I’m certain you have this same bargaining skill as Paris Parfait – I for one, would love to see YOU in action! Can’t wait til we finally get to go antiquing together!

    Fanciful Twist,
    You are another wonderful new discovery! Your blog name is great and I love that you write with the same fanciful twist as your blog title!

    Your blog post earlier this week about your sons’ fear of a certain brand of cereal had me cracking up!!!

    I think it might have been through your blog that I first discovered Paris Parfait!! You introduced me to her!!! Thanks – Tara is indeed great!

    I’m off to go poke around your blog!!! Nice to meet you!

    Sarah Sophia,
    What an insightful comment – it’s true isn’t it, about finding just another pocket in the world of familiarity!

    Best Regards to All, and Until Next Time Gros Bisous,
    The Antiques Diva

  • Yes, It’s most certainly true, when people feel you understand them, and not only because you speak the language, but if you give them the feeling that you truely understand them, then they open up and will do almost anything for you! Naturally she did well on the deal, but if she didn’t only do it to get the price down, then she has also made a very good friend and found one more place in the world where she will be welcome. A very beautiful and inspiring story!
    ML, Sarah sofia

  • ps: Forgot to say – this has happened to me, not over a dagger but over Mexican Sterling silver ornate earrings… The second I spoke my language I was raised with (simultaneously with English) Spanish, the price changed, and the personality was calmer of the vendor…

    (Sorry for my backwards typos, I meant adore. But you know that already ) xo

  • Oh my goooodness, Miss Tara! The power of familiarity!!

    And of course I am sure your beauty and charm and style coupled with the beautiful arab words tumbling out of your mouth ever so lovely – enchanted the man!!
    What a tale!!

    Sigh – I aodre you… Positively adore…

    Now I must go sneak around this lovely blog you are a guest at… 😉 xoxoxo

  • Ms. Bradford you definitely have the “art” of bargaining down pat! I wish some of my ladies at the estate sales had your finesse! Your writing and photography are wonderful! Makes me want to collect Syrian or Moroccan anything!