Green Gemstones

Green Gemstones
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Antique emerald and pearl gold ring. Elder and Bloom.

Below you will find a list of green coloured gemstones that may be encountered in antique and vintage jewellery.

Emerald

This is a yellowish green to bluish green beryl.

Green Tourmaline

There are several green colored varieties of tourmaline and they can be referred to as ‘verdelite’ or ‘chrome’ (a rich green to sightly yellow-green tourmaline) or ‘paraiba’ (a light to deep green to blue green shade of tourmaline).

Peridot

This is a yellow green to green gemstone.

Green Zircon.

This can be green to yellow-green to gray-green in colour.

Alexandrite

In daylight alexandrite can be bluish to blue green and in artificial or evening light violet-red. Discovered around 1834. (For more about alexandrite, one of my favourite gemstones, see here).

Chrysoberyl

A pale green to yellow green transparent gemstone.

Chrysoprase

A type of chalcedony.

Sapphire

This is a yellow green to blue-green to gray-green corundum

Demantoid Garnet

This is a variety of yellow-green to emerald- green garnet. Discovered in 1868. For more about garnets, see here.

Tsavorite Garnet

This is a yellowish green to bluish green variety of garnet. (As far as I know, tsavorite is not found in jewellery dating before 1971.)

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

Red and Pink Gemstones

Red and Pink Gemstones

Here are all the red and pink gemstones that one is likely to come across in antique and vintage jewellery.

RUBY

This is a bluish red to range-red corundum

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Jugendstil Pendant. Elder and Bloom

 

PINK SAPPHIRE

This is a pinkish red variety of corundum (basically a less colour saturated form of ruby).

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Annular brooch with pink sapphires. British Museum AF.2702

GARNET

There are several varieties of garnet. For more information see here. 

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Victorian Garnet Earrings. Elder and Bloom.

RED SPINEL

Red Spinel can be red to brownish red and pink

 

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Vintage red spinel earrings. Elder and Bloom.

 

PINK TOURMALINE

This is a pink variety of tourmaline and can be all shades of pink

 

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1860s Brooch with Pink Tourmaline. V & A Museum M.21-1979.

MORGANITE

This is a pink to orange pink beryl (discovered in 1910)

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PINK TOPAZ

This is a pink to violet-pink variety of topaz that is created by heated golden brown topaz.

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Pink Topaz and Diamond Ring 1800 -1 869. V & A Museum 1309-1869

 

RED ZIRCON

This is a brownish red to deep, dark red zircon

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Reddish-brown zircon ring. 1850. V & A Museum 1282-1869

RED “EMERALD” OR ‘BIXBITE’

This is a red to bluish red to orange-red beryl

Discovered in 1904

 

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Red Beryl or Bixbite Estate Brooch.

KUNZITE

This is a violet-pink to pink-violet spodumene

Discovered in 1902

 

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Kunzite and silver brooch.

RUBELLITE

This is a red to violet-red tourmaline

First discovered 1822

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Rubellite Estate Ring.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

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Antique Jewelry Care

Antique Jewelry Care
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Antique and vintage jewelry requires extra care in its storage, cleaning and wear. Below you will find some tips to preserve your pieces in the best condition possible.

1) Never use ultrasonic cleaners as these type of machines can cause damage to delicate pieces.

2) Store in a cotton lined box or soft pouch, away from direct sunlight.

3) Store in dry, humidity free areas without extremes of heat.

4) Keep pieces separated so they do not scratch each other.

5) Never store in air-tight, plastic bags.

6) Put perfume, lotions and other cosmetics on before you put your jewellery on.

7) Bleach and chlorine can cause damage so never wear when cleaning the house, showering or swimming.

8) Use a soft polishing cloth to prevent tarnishing of silver jewellery.

9) Be cautious when using chemical dip solutions as they can strip away patina and cause damage.

10) Make certain that any foil backed jewellery (i.e. Georgian or early Victorian pieces) stay dry. Always remove before washing your hands etc. Even a little bit of moisture can damage these kinds of pieces.

11) Lockets containing photos and hair should be kept away from all water.

12) If you notice any loose stones or if the prongs seem to catch on things take it to the jewellers for evaluation.

13) Always make certain that all jewellery is completely dry before being stored.

CLEANING

Most metal based antique jewellery can be cleaned with warm water, mild detergent and a very soft toothbrush. A soft silver polishing is an excellent choice, as well as a soft dry brush. A loupe or magnifying glass can help you see the dirt and grime in hidden places. If you do feel the need to use a chemical, a very small amount of Windex sprayed onto a cloth, never directly onto the piece, can be used with caution.

Extra care should be taken with the following materials:

1) Pearls are very sensitive to oils, chemicals and moisture. Never get your pearls wet. Store them as flat as possible.

2) Turquoise, Lapis, Malachite are porous and should be kept away from all oils and chemicals. They are also easily scratched.

3) Butterfly Wings are easily damaged and should be kept dry and away from moisture and all chemicals. Any contact with water or chemicals can ruin a butterfly wing if it gets inside the casing.  To clean the casing, use a dry polishing cloth.

4) Cut Steel is easily damaged by moisture of any kind and will rust.  Use a soft brush to clean.

5) Micromosaic or Pietra Dura should be kept dry and stored separately.  Clean with a soft, dry brush and watch out for loose stones.

6) Cameos should be gently cleaned with a soft, dry cloth.

7) Portrait Miniatures can be gently wiped with a soft cloth.

8) Ivory, Coral, Tortoiseshell and Amber are all particularly sensitive to direct sunlight, oils and chemicals.

9) Enamel can be chipped so always store with great care. Use a silver polishing cloth to clean.

10) Hair Work is prone to breakage. Always store with great care and never attempt to clean hair work jewellery.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

Victorian Turquoise Bird Bangle

Victorian Turquoise Bird Bangle

Isn’t this Victorian silver, turquoise, seed pearl and ruby (or paste glass) bracelet truly stunning and utterly pretty?

If you love the design of this bangle, you may enjoy reading about the Victorian Aesthetic Period (1885-1901). 

Please click on the image below to see the bracelet in the shop.

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Earring styles

Earring styles

Below, you will seven styles of earrings commonly found in antique and vintage jewellery. (In a previous article, I discussed how to age earrings by the  findings. )

Stud earrings

Stud earrings became popular in the late 1800s but fell out of use when ears stopped being pierced in the early 1900s. They became popular again in the early 1960s and continue in popularity to this day.

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Gold, diamond and silver stud earrings. England, late 18th century. V&A Museum

Note: Some stud earrings have threaded posts which can be indicative of a finer piece.

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3.50 Carat European Cut Diamond Stud Earrings, c. 1900. Photo courtesy of LangAntiques.com (Note the ‘threaded posts’)

Button Earrings

This type of round or domed earring with no dangling element first became popular in the 1930s. Earlier examples tend to have screw backs whereas those from the 1950s and 1960s tend to be clip-ons. From the mid-1960s onwards some button earrings were also produced for pierced ears.

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Vintage Angel Skin Coral clip on button earrings. Elder and Bloom

Top and Drop Earrings

This is a style of earrings which has two sections, usually round or oval.  The two sections normally match and the bottom section is normally the largest.  The top section usually hangs just below the lobe except when there is a pierced post and then it might sit on the lobe itself. The style has been around for centuries but is associated with the Georgian era as it was so popular in that era.

When the bottom section is detachable, these are known as day to night earrings as they can be converted for daytime or evening attire.

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Antique gold and coral ‘Top and Drop’ earrings. Elder and Bloom.

 

Pendeloque Earrings

This is a style which began in the 1800s. It is similar to the Top and Drop earring  style, but the two sections are connected by a third central section, designed as a bow.

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Pendeloque gold filigree and pearl earrings. Salamanca 1800-1870. V&A Museum.

Girandole Earrings

This is a style which has three dangling elements with the central element usually being the largest or hanging lower than the other two elements.  The style first appeared around 1700 in France but is often associated with the decade of 1870 as it experienced enormous popularity during the Rococo Revival of that period.

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Antique gold and coral Spanish Girandole earrings.

Drop Earrings

This is a very popular style which consists of a single element attached to the finding.

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Victorian drop earrings with À jour settings. Elder and Bloom.

Chandelier Earrings 

This is a style of earring which has tiers of dangling elements, resembling a chandelier. They are often associated with the Mid-Victorian era.

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Queen Letizia of Spain wearing chandelier style earrings.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

 

 

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Art Nouveau Enamel Pendant

Art Nouveau Enamel Pendant

I thought you may enjoy seeing this absolutely gorgeous gilded 800 silver cloisonné enamelled filigree pendant just in the Elder and Bloom Store.

If you are interested in learning more about enamel techniques in antique jewellery, you may enjoy these articles here.

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À jour

À jour

À jour is a term used in jewellery manufacturing which describes an open backed setting that allows the light to shine through the gemstone, enhancing the scintillation, brightness and colour. À jour settings are not found prior to 1800 when nearly all gems were mounted with closed backs.

The term à jour is from the French word for ‘day’.

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Victorian earrings with À jour settings. Elder and Bloom.

 

Please note: Plique à jour is a type of enamelling that incorporates an open background which is filled with transparent enamel.

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

 

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli has been loved since antiquity for its intense, vibrant cobalt blue colour. It can be flecked with either white or gold (calcite or pyrite).

A metamorphic rock, mainly composed of the mineral Lazurite, it usually originates from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia or Chile. It is also mined, to a lesser extent, in Italy, Mongolia, the United States and Canada.

 

Below you will find some of the many applications for Lapis Lazuli in antique and vintage jewellery:

Pietre Dure

Lapis Lazuli is also one of the principal stones used on Italian Pietre Dure (micro-mosaics). 

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Necklace, 1808, Pietra dure, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, gold. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Acrostic

The Georgians and the Victorians, with their passion for acrostic jewellery (‘The Language of Stones’) used Lapis Lazuli to represent the letter ‘L’ for ‘Love’.

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Acrostic Pendant. 1830. V&A Museum.

Cameo and Intaglio

Many beautiful examples can be found of Lapis Lazuli used in cameo and intaglio. 

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Lapis Lazuli Cameo. 1580-1600. Italy. V&A Museum.

Arts & Crafts

The Arts & Crafts movement designers favoured Lapis Lazuli as the stone fitted in with their ‘beauty before perceived value’ philosophy.

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Arts and Crafts Pendant 1903. May Morris. Set with variety of stones, including lapis lazuli. V&A Museum.

Art Deco

Art Deco Jewellery designers prized Lapis Lazuli as it suited their vibrant, bold styles.

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Art Deco Lapis Lazuli Diamond Gold Earrings. Elder and Bloom.

Cartier stands out as a design company who loved to use Lapis Lazuli during the Art Deco era.

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Lapis Lazuli Brooch. Cartier 1920-1930. V&A Museum.

 

Imitations

There are four other stones that can be mistaken for Lapis Lazuli. These are:

  1. Dyed Jasper or Howlite. It will have the cobalt blue colour but will not show the white or golden patches. (Known as ‘Swiss Lapis’).
  2. Sodalite, which is one of the components of Lapis Lazuli, looks similar but the color is much paler.
  3. There is a synthetic spinel which also imitates Lapis Lazuli. (Known as ‘Gilson Lapis’). This looks very similar but does not have the same random patterns shown in natural Lapis Lazuli.
  4. Azurite is not as hard and has a darker tint.

Tip: To see if a stone has been dyed, try removing the colour with acetone.

Final note:

Lapis Lazuli has, of course, been used as a paint pigment since the late Middle Ages and has been a favourite of many of the great artists. This beautiful painting by Vermeer showcases not only Lapis Lazuli as a paint pigment but also a style of pearl earring from the era.

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‘The Girl With a Pearl Earring’. Vermeer.

 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

Sources / Further Reading:

http://www.langantiques.com/university/Lapis_Lazuli

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapis_lazuli

https://hyperallergic.com/315564/lapis-lazuli-a-blue-more-precious-than-gold/

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The Greek Key Motif

The Greek Key Motif

The ‘Greek Key’ motif in jewellery can also be known as the ‘Running Dog’, the ‘Greek Fret’, the ‘Maze Pattern’, the ‘Labyrinth Pattern’ or the ‘Meander Motif’. The name is derived from the River Meander, the historical name for the Büyük Menderes River in contemporary Turkey. The River Meander had many twists and was mentioned by Homer in the Iliad.  There is also said to be a connection between the motif and the Cretan labyrinth.

The earliest examples of the motif have been found in the farming communities in Anatolia, 6000 BC and it was a common pottery design throughout Neolithic Europe. It was the most important symbol in ancient Greece, decorating many temples and objects. Interestingly, the Ancient Chinese developed a similar design known as ‘Chinese Fretwork’. Variations of the motif are also found in African, South American and Native American design. It is also reminiscent of many Celtic design elements. 

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To the Ancient Greeks, the design symbolised infinity or the ‘eternal flow of things’. It is also said to symbolise friendship, love and devotion and is given as a marriage gift to this day. It is also thought to represent the four cardinal points or the four seasons. 

Most of us will recognise this ubiquitous motif even if we are not aware of the name or the origin.  There are many variations – sometimes the pattern is rectangular and sometimes it is rounded, sometimes there is a simple geometric design and other times is is more elaborate and complex. It may boarder an object or cover a larger area. (If the decoration forms interlaced patterns, it is known as Guilloche.) However, two elements remain consistent – the design is maze-like and repetitive.

Georgian and early Victorian Neo-Classical and Architectural Revival

The Georgian era was distinguished by several great archeological discoveries greatly influencing Georgian jewelry motifs.  When the ruins of Pompeii were excavated from 1706 to 1814 a wave of Neo-classical design influenced almost every area of manufacturing, art and craft. In the 1760s in particular, Roman and Greek motifs, such as Greek Keys and laurel and grape leaves, abounded. The Greek Keys motif was particularly popular on the mountings of cameo. The Greek Keys motif continued in popularity through the Victorian era and remains popular to this day.

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Fine Antique Coral Cameo Brooch within a Frame Accented By Greek Key Motifs And Applied Ropetwist Borders, With Pendant Hook, Mounted in Gold c.1801-1908 Prices4Antiques

Art Deco

The Greek Keys Motif experienced another wave of popularity during the Art Deco era. However, many have said that the designers of the Art Deco era were in fact deriving their ‘Greek Key’ Motifs from the Egyptian designs that were being uncovered during the great archeological discoveries of the era. This makes a certain amount of sense as the Art Deco era is not known for it’s neo-classical styles, besides the Greek Key, but is of course renowned for it’s Egyptian Revival styles. Regardless of the inspiration, the motif is still referred to as ‘Greek Keys.

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Art Deco Greek Keys bangle. Elder and Bloom.

 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

Sources / further reading:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pv7OcE6ewGEC&pg=PA321&lpg=PA321&dq=greek+keys+motif+jewellery&source=bl&ots=At-2LO5KMs&sig=MEFpQjBQABNxQ8DvHYsBQmgc4dA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjaq6LLnoHVAhVEP5oKHTPCBBE4ChDoAQheMAU#v=onepage&q=greek%20keys%20motif%20jewellery&f=false

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=czYLBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=greek+keys+motif+jewellery&source=bl&ots=9Ezd9hv7tm&sig=nowHJE6NHAV2-fv3G8r39QCGk_E&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjaq6LLnoHVAhVEP5oKHTPCBBE4ChDoAQhoMAc#v=onepage&q=greek%20keys%20motif%20jewellery&f=false

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=df3ekgXdupwC&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=greek+keys+motif+jewellery&source=bl&ots=J7eJloSyR7&sig=zvUpX_FOKxmSzJhoEwsNKFFcMNw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjaq6LLnoHVAhVEP5oKHTPCBBE4ChDoAQhtMAk#v=onepage&q=greek%20keys%20motif%20jewellery&f=false

http://orderofsplendor.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/tiara-thursday-romanian-greek-key-tiara.html

https://www.gemsociety.org/article/georgian-period-jewelry/

 

 

 

Onyx

Onyx

Onyx, with its sleek and glossy beauty, has long been sought after for use in jewellery. It  is often thought of as being pure black but in reality it is usually banded white and black or banded white and brown.  It can come in a variety of other colours, such as shades of white, green and red, but these colours are not generally found in jewellery usage.

Onyx is a variety of chalcedony. It can be differentiated from agate because the bands in onyx are parallel whereas in agate they are curved. Onyx is cool to the touch, quite heavy and has a highly polished and glossy finish.  For this reason, it can sometimes be confused with French Jet. 

The demand for pure black onyx has traditionally outstripped the supply so most all black onyx is dyed.  This is why most black onyx has such an even finish. A trained eye can tell the difference between dyed and natural onyx under a loupe by looking for uneven surface colour.

Victorian Era 

Black onyx was particularly revered by the Victorians, especially during the Grand Era 1861-1880. The Victorians of this era loved all black materials and the fashion of wearing mourning styles went far beyond that which was necessary.  They created a wide variety of jewellery items from all black onyx, including lockets, pendants, brooches and earrings. They also mixed it with coral, turquoise, seed pearls and rubies.

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Victorian onyx and rose gold earrings. Elder and Bloom.

Art Deco Era

Black onyx was also especially beloved in the Art Deco era as the stone lent itself to the bold and stark minimalism of the Machine Aesthetic. Jewellery designers used contrasting materials such as coral, jade or diamonds to further accentuate the beauty of the black.

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Art Deco Diamond, Jade, Platinum and Onyx earrings. 1stdibs

Theodor Fahrner was a well known Art Deco designer who used onyx in many designs.

Cameo

Onyx is also one of the most popular materials for cameo as the bands are ideal for creating contrasting relief images. Sardonyx is the name for the brown and white banded variety of onyx that is often used for cameo and intaglio.

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Sardonyx cameo portrait of the Emperor Augustus. British Museum.

 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2017. 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.

Sources / further reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onyx

http://www.langantiques.com/university/Onyx

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/fine-jewelry/onyx