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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Three Treasures for February

Three Treasures for February

Art Deco Amethyst 8 k Gold Drop Earrings

amethyst earrings

Here are some hallmarked 8 karat yellow gold and amethyst drop earrings. They are very feminine, magical, utterly stylish and catch the light beautifully.  Late Art Deco, probably 1925-1940.

Click here for more details

Amethyst is February’s birthstone so these would make a great gift for yourself or someone else who has a birthday this month!


Art Deco 14k Amber Gold Earrings

amber gold

Here are some gorgeous Art Deco 14 karat gold and amber earrings. They are simply beautiful and full of character in a very ‘Art Deco’ drop shape. The amber is remarkably clear and lacking in inclusions which is generally thought to be the most sought after type.

Click here for more details


 

Victorian Coral 14 k Seed Pearl Earrings

new coral seed

Here are some classic, petite, 14 k rose gold (not hallmarked) and natural salmon coral and seed pearl button drop front fastening earrings. Personally, I am addicted to this gorgeous style of earring and these are a fine and lovely example.

Please note: These are tiny earrings and would suit someone who loves petite earrings. They would also look lovely on a child or teenager.

Era: Probably mid to late 1800s.

Click here for more details

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

$_35

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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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.

coralhanging

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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Birthstones

Birthstones

These gems have life in them:  their colors speak, say what words fail of.  ~George Eliot

A birthstone is a gemstone that is said to represent a specific birth month. Gemstones have long been thought to contain meaning and power and these properties are said to be accentuated when worn by someone born in the corresponding month.

The idea of birthstones is thought to have been inspired by the story of Aaron in Exodus who wore twelve gemstones in his breastplate representing the twelve tribes of Israel. These twelve gemstones came later to represent the twelve months of the year in popular culture.

The allocations of birthstones have fluctuated throughout history and vary according to region, country and source. There is also debate concerning the names of gemstones throughout history and how these relate to the gems we know today (obviously, there are no lab records so we cannot always verify which precise gemstone was being referred to).

According to the American Gemological Association, the following are the agreed upon birthstones. These allocations have been consistent since 1912, with Tanzanite being recently added for December. In brackets beneath some of these, I have put some other even more traditional correlating stones.

JANUARY

Garnet

FEBRUARY

Amethyst

(Pearl)

MARCH

Aquamarine

(Bloodstone or Red, Yellow, Orange or Brown Zircon possibly referred to as Jacinth or Hyacinth in ancient times).

APRIL

Diamond

MAY

Emerald

JUNE

Pearl  

Alexandrite

(Agate or Cat’s Eye)

JULY

Ruby

(Coral)

AUGUST

Peridot
Sardonyx
Spinel

(Moonstone)

SEPTEMBER

Sapphire

(Chrysolite)

OCTOBER

Tourmaline
Opal

NOVEMBER

Topaz
Citrine

DECEMBER

Turquoise
Tanzanite
Zircon

Please also see my previous post ‘The Language of Stones’ where I discuss the tradition of ‘acrostic’ 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.