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

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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

lover1

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

lover4

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

lover5

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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Feedspot Blog Award

Feedspot Blog Award

I’m happy to report this blog was just voted one of the best 20 vintage jewellery blogs on the Internet and has received an award from Feedspot.

Thank you to everyone who is following and have helped this blog grow, I do appreciate you very much.

To see the full list, click here. 

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Diamond Engagement Rings

The custom of giving a diamond ring as a promise of marriage is said to have started in 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring. This sparked a craze for diamond engagement rings amongst the wealthy and, in particular, royalty, which continues to this day.

Mary-Of-Burgundy-Engagement-Ring

This engagement ring was commissioned in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. It is believed that he sent her a letter proposing marriage along with the ring.

 

The smallest diamond engagement ring on record was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, when she was two years old and betrothed to the infant Dauphin of France, son of King Francis I, in 1518.

mary

A pointed oval diamond cluster ring known as a ‘navette ring’ became a popular engagement ring during the time of Louis XVI (1754-1793) and continued in popularity for decades afterwards.

antique-diamond-navette-ring_1_10-1-4588

Antique Diamond Navette Ring. Langs Antiques.

In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte presented Joséphine with a diamond and sapphire engagement ring as a symbol of their love. The simple gold band is set with two pear-shaped stones, a diamond and a blue sapphire of one carat each, that sit side by side in opposite directions.

Napoleon-and-Joséphines-engagement-ring

Napoleon and Josephine’s engagement ring.

The diamond promise ring was only embraced by the general public after 1870 with the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa.

The Tiffany, or solitaire, setting was introduced in the late nineteenth century.

s-l1600-4

The ‘princess ring,’ a type of English engagement ring designed with three to five diamonds in a row became popular in the United States in the early twentieth century.

 

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A THREE-STONE DIAMOND RING AND WEDDING BAND

Comprising: a diamond ring set with three cushion-shaped diamonds of graduated size, size J, stamped ’18’, British hallmarks and date inscription to inner band, estimated total diamond weight approximately 0.90ct; and a wedding band of engraved design, size K, stamped ’18’, British hallmarks and maker’s mark (2)   Undated. SOURCE: Bonhams

 

 

In the early part of the twentieth century, platinum was used for diamond engagement rings because of its strength and durability. However, it was declared a strategic metal during World War II, and its usage was restricted to military purposes. This led to the rise of both yellow and white gold diamond engagement rings.

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A DIAMOND AND PLATINUM WEDDING SET
circa 1924
center old European cut diamond approximately: 0.80ct; size: 6 3/4
Undated.    Source: Bonhams

 

 

The Great Depression and World War II caused the demand for diamonds to plummet. In 1948, the De Beers diamond mogul Sir Ernest Oppenheimer connected his son, Harry, to the New York advertising agency N.W Ayer.  The result was a campaign —  famous for its slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ — which helped turn the United States into the biggest market for the world’s supply of gem standard diamonds. The campaign established many of today’s standards for diamond engagement rings, including the ‘two months’ salary’ guideline which says that a prospective groom should plan to spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring for his bride-to-be. The De Beer’s campaign has to this day solidified the diamond’s status as the engagement ring stone of choice in America and, subsequently, much of the rest of the world.

 

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1948 De Beers Campaign.


 

© 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.