• Basic Tools Needed for Testing Vintage & Antique Jewellery

    Basic Tools Needed for Testing Vintage & Antique Jewellery

    Here are some basic tools that are helpful for collecting and / or buying and selling vintage and antique jewellery. All of these things can be found on Amazon. I find these, along with information readily available on the Internet and in books, is usually sufficient for most situations. I haven’t found it necessary to purchase specialist hallmark books because I’ve found all the information available online; however, you may decide to invest in some appropriate to the country you buy your jewellery from.

    jewelers loup1. Gem dealer’s loupe. I would recommend x20 or x30 amplification. They are good for hallmarks, inspecting for damage, looking for inclusions in gemstones and for examining materials.

     

    41+0SNODCjL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_2. Diamond tester. A precious stone analyzer is a must-have tool if you want to collect and / or buy and sell precious stones. They can be expensive but are worth the investment.

    61yKiaAs91L._SX679_3. UV torch light. This can be used for identifying glass and some gemstones which glow under UV light.

    4. Unglazed white tile. This is a good base to rest jewels on and can also be used for testing certain materials (i.e. jet).

    5. Digital Scales. It’s essential to have some digital scales. I would suggest ones that can weigh from 0.01 grams to 500 grams.

    6. Jewellery Caliper. These are generally made from brass and measure up to 80 mm. They are very helpful to measure jewellery and get ring sizes etc (I don’t find a ring measure is necessary if you have this and a ring size conversation chart, available online).

    7. Electronic gold tester. Very useful if you’re dealing in non-hallmarked gold. Tri-Electronics make a variety of good gold testers. I know a lot of people like the acid tests but I prefer not to deal with chemicals when I can help it. Note: If you have gold tested something yourself please be certain to let anyone buying the piece from you know this. Fire assay is the only 100% accurate gold test.

    8. A small magnet. One of these is useful to have if you visit markets / small shops and you want to quickly eliminate non-gold

    9. Chemical silver testing kit. This is helpful if you want to identify the carat of unmarked silver.

    10. Simichrome polish. This is useful if you want to identify Bakelite.

    11. Silver dip. This is useful if you’re handling larger silver pieces i.e. myrtle crowns.

    Please also see: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2017/08/31/antique-jewelry-care/

     

     

     

     

     

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  • June’s Birthstones are Alexandrite and Pearls

    June’s Birthstones are Alexandrite and Pearls

    alexandritering

    A naturally mined Alexandrite and 9 ct English ring from my personal collection. Judging by the Art Deco setting, I would place this ring from 1920 to 1940. It was hard to capture the colors with my camera, but the stones change subtly from dark green to dark purple in daylight.

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    Brooch, openwork gold, enameled in black set with diamonds and pearls, with pearls and diamond pendants. {Paris, c. 1860-70) V&A Museum

    Click here to read my article on Alexandrite

    Click here to read my article on Pearl Basics

  • 4 Treasures for the Merry Month of May

    4 Treasures for the Merry Month of May

    Art Deco 14k Onyx Gold Earrings

    Art Deco 14k Onyx Gold Earrings

    Gorgeous Art Deco or Art Moderne 14 karat gold onyx earrings. They are simply beautiful and elegant in a very ‘Art Deco’ faceted elongated drop shape.  You won’t need a Maypole with this stunning pair.

    CLICK HERE for more details.


     

    Vintage 8 k Gold Bohemian Garnet Ring

    Vintage 8k Gold Bohemian Garnet Ring

    A wonderful vintage or antique 8 karat (hallmarked) yellow gold and (Bohemian) garnet cluster ring. It has an à jour setting which means the light shines through it beautifully. There are 9 deep, dark red rose cut garnets in total, one large central one surrounded by 8 smaller. 

    CLICK HERE for more details.


     

    Chinoiserie Dragon Head Bangle

    Chinoiserie Dragon Head Bangle

    Here is a magnificent, rare, antique, heavy and chunky, brass double headed dragon motif woven mesh bangle. Era: Probably 1890 – 1950 

    The first wave of Chinoiserie (Western and Chinese fusion design) came in the 18th century. Towards the end of the 19th century there was a renewed interest in all things Chinese. This style continued through the Art Deco period and onwards. I haven’t quite been able to make my mind up about the age of this amazing bracelet which is why I’ve given it a wide range. 

    CLICK HERE for more details.


     

    Victorian Gilded Green Bead Earrings

    Victorian Gilded Green Bead Earrings 

    Here are some stunning antique gilded 900 silver green bead earrings. They are back fastening. Era: Possibly 1840 – 1848

    CLICK HERE for more details

    Have a wonderful month of May!

  • Lover’s Eye Miniatures

    “When full dressed she wore around her neck the barrenest of lockets, representing a fishy old eye, with no approach to speculation in it” – Charles Dickens, 1848

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    A miniature watercolor on ivory from c. 1840. METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART/ PUBLIC DOMAIN

     

    lover2

    Miniature on ivory, c. 1830’s. Hand-painted miniature of a left hazel eye on ivory in heart-shaped pendant. Eye miniatures or Lovers’ eyes were Georgian miniatures, normally watercolour on ivory, depicting the eye or eyes of a spouse, loved one or child.   PUBLIC DOMAIN

     

    Lovers’ Eyes Miniatures were fashionable in the Georgian era, beginning from the 1790s until the 1820s. They were commissioned pieces and were normally watercolour on ivory and depicted the eye or eyes of a loved one. They could be found on  bracelets, brooches, pendants, rings and other trinkets such as the lids of toothpick containers and small boxes. They sometimes contained locks of hair, incorporated into the portrait itself or placed behind glass or crystal.

    The first Lover’s Eye piece is thought to have been sent by the Prince of Wales (later George IV) to the widow Maria Fitzherbert. A miniaturist was commissioned to paint only his eye in order to preserve the secrecy of their relationship. George IV wore Maria Fitzherbert’s eye miniature hidden under his lapel.

    This highly romantic, sentimental and original idea appealed greatly to people of the Georgian era. Today, Lover’s Eyes Miniatures are considered highly collectible and fetch very high prices. (NOTE: There is a thriving market in fakes, so please exercise caution if you have the opportunity to purchase one of these lovely items).

     

    lover3

    Maria Fitzherbert, (1756–1837), circa 1788.   PUBLIC DOMAIN

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    A “memory box” made of embossed and painted paper containing eye miniature, ca. 1830. (Credit: Skier Collection)

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    Miniature(Source: Sentimental Jewelry Blog

     

     

     

    lover6
    Source:  Pinterest/ Amanda Hsiao 

    Miniature on ivory, c. 1830’s. Hand-painted miniature of a left hazel eye on ivory in heart-shaped pendant.


    Further reading: Hair Work Jewelry

    The Major Jewelry Motifs of the Georgian Era

     


    © Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

  • Antique Jewellery in Art

    Antique Jewellery in Art

    We can learn a great deal about antique and vintage jewellery by studying old masterpieces. I hope you enjoy the stunning works below and feel as inspired by them as I do. I choose a few at seeming random but looking at them now as a whole I am struck by the shared sense of calm and grace emanating from the fine lines and sensual colours.  I also note a predominance of pearls and ferronières.

    Herzogin Ludovika in Bayern, geborene Prinzessin von Bayern. Mother of Empress Elizabeth of Austria

    Herzogin Ludovika in Bayern, geborene Prinzessin von Bayern. Mother of Empress Elizabeth of Austria

     

    antique-royals- Joseph Karl Stieler

    Antique-royals- painting by Joseph Karl Stieler

    Maria Feodorovna diamond and pearl necklace with bow motif

    Maria Feodorovna diamond and pearl necklace with bow motif

    Pierre Mignard - The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons

    Full title: The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons Artist: Pierre Mignard Date made: 1691 Source: http://www.nationalgalleryimages.co.uk/ Contact: picture.library@nationalgallery.co.uk Copyright © The National Gallery, London

    Marie Antoinette's Playhouse

    Marie Antoinette’s Playhouse

    Portrait of a Lady by Friedrich Wilhelm Herdt

    Portrait of a Lady by Friedrich Wilhelm Herdt

    If you love these paintings above, you may also enjoy my Antique and Vintage Jewellery in Art and Photography Pinterest board here.

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  • Striking Snakes

    Striking Snakes

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    Antique 14k Gold Green Gem Snake Ring

    Here is wonderful 14 karat (hallmarked) rose gold snake motif ring with a green gem stone (probably an emerald although has not been tested). It has an à jour setting which means the light shines through it beautifully.

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    Art Deco Enamel Snake Necklace.jpg

    Art Deco Enamel Snake Necklace

    Here is a rare. wonderful and striking Art Deco lariat necklace with a double snake head motif created in cloisonné enamel. It is created from two serpentine strands – one fixed in place by an enamel band and the other loose

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    Art Deco Gilded Snake Bracelet.jpg

    Art Deco Gilded Snake Bracelet

    Here is an unusual and magnificent vintage Art Deco gilded (golden coloured) silver snake (‘ouroboros’) bangle with turquoise and coral embellishments.

    CLICK HERE for more details


     

    For more information, see my article: Victorian Serpent Motif