Limestone fireplace mantel   French fireplaces are different than what is typically known or seen in the United States.  A traditional fireplace in the U.S. is usually a raised hearth made of stone stone masonry fireplaceor brick.  outdoor masonry fireplace

Many American fireplaces also have wood mantle surrounds.wood fireplace mantelspicture credits for the above are from:

A French fireplace will be made, more than likely, of limestone with a  more stylish and ornate back that rests atop the mantle.  It may also just be a mantle that rests flush against the wall or it may have another type wooden (trumeau) accent sitting on top of the mantle.French Country Home

A limestone trumeau sits atop the mantle shown below.

Image result for images of french fireplaces

The history of the fireplace evolved in the 18th century when two important developments emerged.  The first was the development of the convection chamber creating more heat efficiency by pulling air from a basement and venting out of the top.  The second development came when in the 18th century fireplaces were designed with a more tall but shallow firebox creating a better situation for drawing smoke up and out. This “shallow” design also improved the amount of radiant heat projected into the room.

This all caused the fireplace to move from being solely functional to an opportunity to add visual appeal to a room.

What an awesome fireplace! Grabstejn Castle

The French for over two centuries have maintained a strong reputation as leaders in fireplace design and heating efficiency.  Two manufacturers, Codin and Cheminee Philippe remain in the forefront.

RF Antiques carries French fireplaces….and French fountains….imported to Fairhope, AL.To purchase and own one of these French fireplaces or fountains from us is a cost saving luxury.  Our imported French fireplaces & fountains have a reputation in outstanding design, innovation and technology necessary to provide a good heat source to an area in your home — inside or out. Below are just a few of our fireplace surrounds we have for sell!

Limestone fireplace mantel

Limestone fireplace mantel

Limestone fireplace mantel


French Limestone Fountain

And our selection of fountains are just as plentiful!  We offer small and large scale fountains — the same for our fireplace surrounds.

Limestone fountain

The first known fountains in France were built by Roman engineers in the first and second centuries A.D.  Fountains in France provided drinking water to the inhabitants of France, to French monasteries and to villages during the Middle Ages. Later, they were symbols of royal power and grandeur in the gardens of the kings of France.

Today, though they no longer provide drinking water, they decorate the squares and parks of French cities and towns.

Limestone fountain

French fireplace mantles certainly can add simplicity to a room to keep things uncomplicated or add opulence. The two pictures below are a juxtaposition of this concept – from plain and simple to quite ornate.

The picture below is borrowed from

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Ornate French Rococo mantel – below (

Rare, Monumental and Highly Ornate French Rococo Fireplace in Statuary Marble For Sale


One of the many fountains in Luxembourg Gardens – Paris, France

Our selection of French fireplaces and fountains are more simple and classic in style that blend well with American lifestyles.  Our fireplaces & fountains do not resemble the two ornate and grand ones pictured directly above!

View all of our selections for fireplaces and fountains on our website

Contact us directly at 251-928-8336 for specific information – A direct contact for information will be Rob Fargason who has  vast knowledge of all the fireplaces and fountains.  

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!


TRUNK SHOW – Antique Pillows


WHEN:    MARCH 21, 2018    10 to 5
NEED MORE INFO:  Call us at 251-928-4808
The ideas and inspiration behind E Alexander Designs
began long ago. When Emily Alexander received her degree in Textiles and Communications, she was following a long line of family members who appreciated and were involved in the artistry of textile design a great-grandmother in north Louisiana who was a milliner after the Civil War; an aunt and a cousin who made fine dolls and stitched clothes for them out of fur and velvet; and a mother whose beautiful and intricate quilts were bought and appreciated by many, including the First Lady of Louisiana, who displayed them in the Governors Mansion.
Emily grew up learning needlepoint, petit point and crewel. Later in life, her love of fine textiles and beautiful old things led her on a search for antique pillows for her own home. Trips to Europe ignited her interest in antique fabrics, and the idea was born that she would create her own pillows.
From her home base in Rancho Santa Fe, California, Emily now travels to France, England and Italy, scouring auctions, flea markets and antique shows in search of beautiful old (16th, 17th and 18th century) textile pieces Aubussons, tapestries, needlepoint and toile. With each piece, she personally creates a one-of-a-kind pillow, filled with the highest quality down, backed with premium silks, velvets and linens, detailed with antique trims.

 E Alexander Designs are also found at fine antique stores such as Crown and Colony Antiques.  We will hold our first Trunk Show with Emily on March 21, 2018.  We are very excited to have this lovely and talented person in our midst and to showcase her exquisite pillows.

Please join us for a day of visual inspiration and the opportunity to own one of Emily’s creations.

Shown are just a few of her pillows from various collections she has created.  Pillows similar to all of these  will be available to purchase at our Trunk Show on March 21, 2018.  Please come visit and enjoy a day with Emily Alexander!  We are very excited to share these  beautiful accessories with our customers.


French Antiques – Our Specialty!

Welcome to Crown and Colony Antiques, Aubergine Antiques and RF Antiques – We are three unique shops under single ownership. 

We specialize in French antiques and accessories.

All of our shops are located in downtown Fairhope, Alabama and are within walking distance to each other.  We deliver locally at no charge, we deliver for a fair price to certain parts of Louisiana and Florida (where we can drive and return within a work day) OR we have wonderful, professional outside shippers who we work with daily that will provide expert delivery.


  If you see something that really sparks your interest we invite you to EMAIL us directly at

We will respond the day you inquire!


Pair of 19th Century Italian Sunburst Altar Fragments with Mirrors
$1,335 EACH

ITEM: 217-8085  Dimensions:  3 ft. 9 in.Hx3 ft. 0 in.Wx2.75 in.D

These items can be found at RF Antiques 251-928-8336

Pair of 19th Century Italian Sunburst Altar Fragments with Mirrors 1


Italian 19th Century Bench
ITEM:  216-5838   Dimensions:  22 in.Hx82 in.Wx22.5 in.D
This item can be found at Crown and Colony Antiques 251-928-4808


Italian 19th Century Bench 1

French Terracotta Vinaigrier Pot
$390 and up
We maintain several items like this along with Confit Jars
This item can be found at Aubergine Antiques 251-928-0902

French Terracotta Vinaigrier Pot 1

19th Century Italian Monastery Walnut and Iron Trestle Table
Read our Blog post on Trestle Tables – Search Trestle Table
ITEM:  217-3097   Dimensions:  31.5 in.Hx142.5 in.Wx37.5 in.D
This item can be found at Aubergine Antiques 251-928-0902

19th Century Italian Monastery Walnut and Iron Trestle Table 1

Pair of 19th Century Italian Sconces
$990 for the PAIR
ITEM:  217-0115   Dimensions:  15.5 in.Hx13.25 in.Wx5 in.D
These Sconce and others can be found at RF Antiques 251-928-8336

Pair of 19th Century Italian Sconces 1

Set of Six French Painted Kitchen Dining Chairs with Rush Seats
ITEM:  217-4476   Dimensions:  38 in.Hx19 in.Wx17 in.D
These chairs can be found at Aubergine Antiques 251-928-0902


Set of Six French Painted Kitchen Dining Chairs with Rush Seats 1


19th Century Crystal Empire Chandelier
ITEM:  217-4551   Dimensions:  37 in.Hx32 in.Wx32 in.D
This item can be found at Aubergine Antiques 251-928-0902

19th Century Crystal Empire Chandelier 1

19th Century French Louis XVI Painted Commode with Faux Marble Top
ITEM:  217-3014   Dimensions:  37 in.Hx50 in.Wx23.75 in.D
This item can be found at RF Antiques 251-928-8336

19th Century French Louis XVI Carved Painted Commode with Faux Marble Top 1

Late 19th Century Regency Bullseye Convex Mirror
Read our Blog post on French Mirrors – search French Style Mirror
ITEM:  217-5159   Dimensions:  2 ft. 8 in.Hx18 in.Wx2.25 in.D
This item can be found at Crown and Colony Antiques 251-928-4808

Late 19th Century Regency Bullseye Convex Mirror 1

Two 19th Century, French Louis XIV Walnut Needlepoint Armchair
$900 EACH
ITEM:  217-3090   Dimensions:  45.5 in.Hx26.25 in.Wx24 in.D
These chairs can be found at Crown & Colony Antiques 251-928-4808

Two 19th Century, French Louis XIV Walnut Needlepoint Armchair 1

Large 19th Century French Butcher Block Table with Marble
ITEM:  217-4514   Dimensions:  35 in.Hx80 in.Wx31.5 in.D
This item can be found at Aubergine Antiques 251-928-0902

Large 19th Century French Butcher Block Table with Marble 1

Louis XVI Ebonized French Buffet with Marble Top
Read our Blog post on Buffets  – Search Buffet or Enfilade
Item:  217-1127   Dimensions:  40.5 in.Hx81 in.Wx19 in.D
This item can be found at Crown and Colony Antiques 251-928-4808

Louis XVI Ebonized French Buffet with Marble Top 1

18th Century Vellum Books
$320 per item & vary depending on size
Dimensions will vary from book to book – we have in stock more than what is shown here:  1.5 in.Hx10 in.Wx15.5 in.D
These books can be found at Crown and Colony Antiques 251-928-4808



18th Century Vellum Books 1

19th Century French Inlaid Louis XVI Commode with Marble Top from Paris
Read our Blog post on Italian vs. French Chests – search Italian Chests
Item:  217-4560   Dimensions:  35.25 in.Hx48.25 in.Wx23.75 in.D
This item can be found at Crown and Colony Antiques 251-928-4808

19th Century French Inlaid Louis XVI Commode with Marble Top 1

19th Century Louis XV Serpentine Front Commode
ITEM:  216-5646   Dimensions:  35 in.Hx50.5 in.Wx29.75 in.D
This item can be found at Crown and Colony Antiques 251-928-4808

19th Century Louis XV Serpentine Front Commode 1

Early 19th Century Biot Olive Jar
Prices Vary and we have many to choose from
Read our Blog post on the Olive Jars from Biot France – just search Olive Jar
 All Olive Jars can be found at RF Antiques  251-928-8336


Early 19th Century Biot Olive Jar 1

We hope you have enjoyed a preview of just some of the hundreds and hundreds of items we carry – All beautiful, authentic and special!  Please call us, visit us in person or view our websites for more details and information.

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

Oushak Rugs from Turkey

ANTIQUE OUSHAK RUGS from TURKEY – Aubergine Antiques

Investment pieces for your home can run the gamut and you may think a rug isn’t one of them because it gets walked on….but,  an antique rug can be a great investment, if you know what to look for.

There probably is not one single factor that determines a rugs value – I’m no rug expert, but I have heard that the “knots” per square inch seem to add value….Appraisers of antique rugs seem to say it has to do with a few other things as well as knots per square inch.


The knot type and size does determine the quality of a rug’s construction while AGE and CONDITION of the rug add value.  The older the rug is and the better condition it is in for sure dictates its value. Ok so RULE #1 – look for an older rug in good condition.

You are going to want a rug that does not have frayed edges – they can unravel quickly AND this is the most costly area to repair.  Avoid the hassle.

The country of origin is important

For example, a vintage Oushak rug made in India is going to have less value than an Oushak make in Turkey, its original place of origin.  Your cost difference will be considerable as well. The country of origin impacts the value of antique rugs as does a particular region– a certain village or tribe may be renowned for their craftsmanship or beauty during the time that the carpet was made. The Turkish village of Usak is in Central Anatolia

and they have been weaving Usak carpets there for hundreds of years. Acquiring a rug from that particular village increases the value of your rug dramatically.   Rule #2 – The fact that an Usak rug is authentic (actually made in the Usak village) adds to its potential long term value.

To ensure that a machine hasn’t made the carpet, always look at the back of it. “When you flip the rug, it must look almost identical to the front.

Oushak rugs can also command higher prices because the larger ones are so much harder to find in good condition.  Turkish labor is quite expensive as well – from start to finish the hand weaving process is laborious and commands time, talent and ultimately a high dollar price for the finished product.  The weaving and finishing processes begin with the shearing of wool, spinning the wool and then dying the wool in small batches – in comparison to other types of new rugs.

So Rule #3 – when you are looking at Oushak rugs and your mouth drops open at the price tag, just remember what you are paying for:  the labor intensive efforts put forth in making the rug!

Note to self:  All of our Oushak rugs come from various areas of Turkey.   Rugs shown here are from Aubergine Antiques – Fairhope AL 251-928-0902


The most common materials for Oriental rug construction are wool, cotton, silk, metal threads, goat hair and camel hair.

It is also important to understand that not all wool is the same. There valued differences in the grade of wool being used which comes from its feel and seeing the fineness of the wool.  This is important because it tells us how it was spun before it was woven. Yün eğiren anadolu kadını.

And of course, when the sheep are raised at higher elevations they tend to generate a more luxurious coat and ultimately better wool — resulting in a more luxurious rug pile. Hand spinning the wool versus machine spinning the wool makes a softer and more natural looking pile.  Again, adding to cost because of the time it takes to hand spin the wool.




When dyes are used in the construction of the rug using natural dye will add to the calmness and less saturated colors in the rug.  Vibrantly colored rugs are also beautiful; however, the less intense the colors, the more complicated the rug is to make.  This type of dying requires expert knowledge and the scarcity of these artisans are becoming more difficult to find which adds value to the rug.


Typically the art of rug making is a family tradition passed down from mother to daughter.  By geography one can trace where the rug was woven by the knot –  While knot size is a consideration, the more important consideration is the density of the wool and how the knots are tied.  A quick way to determine the longevity of a rug is to take it in your hand – if it has a bit of sturdiness to it, it will wear better than one that is flimsy with loosely tied knots.  A hand knotted rug can be identified by looking at the back of the rug.  Below is an example of an authentically hand knotted rug versus a machine made rug.  Note the difference in how the knots look.

So there you have it in a condensed version –  the knot alone does not determine the rugs quality, but the quality is based on the wool choice, the actual construction of the rug, the weaving accomplishment and finally the actual visual appeal presented by the weaver.  FINAL RULE – If the rug isn’t beautiful to the person buying it then it has all been for nothing!

Stop buy our Antique Store – Aubergine Antiques – and let us help you pick out a rug that will suit your needs.  We carry all sizes of Oushaks as well as Persian and Heriz rugs — all are beautiful.

Below the Owner of Crown and Colony Antiques, Aubergine Antiques and RF Antiques is Peter Fargason (right) and the Manager of Aubergine Antiques, Jack McCown.  Both extremely knowledgeable about the rugs we sell.

Unloading rugs is a common sight at Aubergines!

Aubergine Antiques  315 De La Mar Ave  Fairhope, AL  36532

  (251) 928-0902

If you own a valued rug it is also important to know that if you need to have it cleaned, please seek a professional rug cleaner equipped to do so.  In the mean time if you need to spot clean an area, a solution of one part white vinegar to six parts water and a gentle blotting technique to clean a small area will work nicely.

 Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

Mardi Gras – A French Celebration

Mardi Gras BEGAN IN FRANCE…Related image

The celebration of Mardi Gras came to North America from France where it had been celebrated since the Middle Ages.  The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons.

With this French influence we can compare our celebrations to those of modern day Paris and smaller villages across France.

Below Mardi Gras in Nice, France

For us in the United States, the actual founding of Mardi Gras was in 1702:

 In 1702 French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville established “Fort Louis de la Louisiane” (which is now Mobile). In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras. Though most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, LA–Mobile, AL began holding the festival in 1703, 15 years before it started in Louisiana.  It grew into a stronger and stronger tradition even into the 1800’s

MardiGras and Carnival represent a festive season in France which refers to eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lent, accompanied with sumptuous public celebrations or parades (les carnavals) which take place in many French towns and schools.

Buyenlarge 'King - Mardi Gras Parade Float Design' Painting Print Size: 30" H x 20" W

Even Claude Monet found inspiration in the Mardi Gras Carnival in Paris      Carnaval boulevard des Capucines, 1873

By Claude Monet – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, are traditions associated with Mardi Gras. 

 Traditions of Mardi Gras in France and here in the United States are very similar, such as…..

  the wearing of masks, throwing trinkets and beads from the floats in the parades and a reigning King and Queen….

The Wearing Of Masks     Image result for 5 X 7 pictures of mardi gras from the 1800s

Masks are an integral part of Mardi Gras culture. During early Mardi Gras celebrations hundreds of years ago, masks were a way for their wearers to escape social constraints and social demands. Mask wearers could mingle with people of all different classes and could be whomever they desired, at least for a few days.

   Decorate your walls with Giant Mardi Gras Masks . Wall decorations are a great way to celebrate the Mardi Gras holidays. Wall decorations that we carry include Big Mask, Jester Venetian Mask, Joker Big Mask, Comedy Big Mask, and Tragedy Big Mask.          

In New Orleans LA, float riders are required by law to have a mask on.

On Fat Tuesday, masking is legal for all Mardi Gras attendees – 

The term “Fat Tuesday“, refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.  Fat Tuesday in French refers to Mardi Gras!

  Villages and smaller towns still revel in age old Mardi Gras traditions like donning costumes, feasting and singing.  One of the few remaining big city carnivals, the Nice Carnival, is one of the most exciting events of the year in Nice. The parade is colorful and jolly, and flowers are either used to bombard the passing floats, or people use them to stage mock flower fights  Image result for images of flowers tossing in nice france during mardi gras  OR flowers are thrown into the crowd  by individuals on the floats!Related image

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Image result for images of flowers tossing in nice france during mardi gras

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The Throwing of Beads and Trinkets

The tradition of bead throwing & the color of the beads was determined by the king of the first daytime Carnival in 1872.  He wanted the colors to be royal colors – purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith. The idea was to toss the color to the person who exhibited the color’s meaning.

The beads were originally made of glass, which, as you can imagine, weren’t the best for tossing.  It wasn’t until the beads were made of plastic that throwing them really became a staple of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

A King and Queen of Mardi Gras

Each year, a king and queen are selected to reign over the parade. The royal colors of purple, green, and gold are to this day the colors of Mardi Gras.1907 king and queen of mardi gras in mobile, al-- the birthplace of mardi grasFirst King and Queen of Mardi Gras in Mobile, AL

And while Mardi Gras reigns strong in Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana there are many parades in other cities as well, such as our beautiful city of  Fairhope AL.   February 2018 !

–Elaborate Floats christen the parade route–

Image result for images of mardi gras parade 2018 in fairhope al

            Today’s floats are highly detailed and vibrant in color!

    And of course, part of the glutenous food intake during this celebration is the traditional King Cake,Image result for pictures of king cakes which are eaten in abundance during the Mardi Gras Season!  French settlers brought Mardi Gras to New Orleans and the Louisiana territory.  The “Galette des Rois,” or king cake, came too, becoming a symbol of New Orleans’ and a brand of Mardi Gras.

Image result for beautiful pictures of mardi gras


Au Revoir!!  A La Prochaine!!