Marcasite Silver Art Deco Jewellery Jewelry
A bit about Marcasite and Marcasite Jewellery. I'll endeavor to give a few clues on how to differentiate between old and new Marcasite Jewellery.
Marcasite is iron disulphide (FeS2) which has 2 distinct ways of forming crystals in nature. Pyrite (Fool's Gold) and Marcasite. The irony is that true Marcasite forms brittle, crumbling and unstable crystals and the jewellery we all know as "MARCASITE" is made from Pyrites, which is hard and stable. Someone must have been confused in the old days.
It has been used in many cultures for decoration over the years. Incas, Ancient Greeks and more.
It started to gain use and popularity in England during the 18th century and was frequently seen in lockets, brooches, and cameos, and as a substitute for "cut steel" beads that were popular as a jewellery adornment in Georgian times.
It really gained popularity after the death of Queen Victoria's husband. "Dark and Sombre" was in. Silver and Marcasite jewellery became the fashion for the middle class and continued to the end of the Art Deco Period. Although there is no large revival now, it has always maintained some popularity since then.
There are some really amazing pieces of jewellery made from Sterling Silver and Marcasite. In times when craftsmanship was less valuable a lot of skill was put into some pieces.
Most Marcasite is faceted as a flat bottomed many sided pyramid, similar to a Dutch Rose Cut. It has a stable dark metallic lustre with many shiny mirror-like facets.
If you are looking for genuine old pieces, here are a few things to consider.
Missing stones. There are not many old pieces that haven't a missing stone or two. I don't let it worry me too much.
Firstly, it is usually difficult to see the missing ones amongst all those others. In fact, many a time I have checked a piece quite thoroughly, only later to find that I missed a missing Marcasite.
Secondly if you collect a bit of Marcasite jewellery, you will have some scrap pieces. They become a wonderful supply of replacement stones.
Old Silver Marcasite jewellery is a wonderful area for the collector. The are many high quality and very interesting pieces around and yet I don't think the price anywhere near reflects their beauty and workmanship. Keep an eye out!
LASTLY, I point out that I am not a jeweller and that the above guide is just that, a guide. I am a pawnbroker with 25 years experience. If you want professional advice go to a jeweller.
SEE MY OTHER GUIDES FOR OTHER INFORMATION ON JEWELLERY.
Vote as appropriate.
© 2010 Edward Vabolis