Beautiful New Treasures

Happy January everyone. It’s snowing here today ūüôā Here is a look at some of the latest treasures – I hope you love them as much as I do.

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Art Deco Red Spinel 14 k Gold Earrings

Here are some wonderful vintage 14 karat yellow gold (hallmarked) and what are probably red spinel earrings. They are front fastening and have an à jour setting which means the light shines through them. They have a simple, bold and utterly attractive bezel set design. Click here for more details

 

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Art Nouveau 14 k Gold Garnet Earrings

A pair of wonderful antique 14 karat yellow gold (tested, not hallmarked) and garnet earrings. They are back fastening, have an à jour setting which means the light shines through them and a delightful leaf motif with lovely detailing. Click here for more details

 

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Victorian Diamond Earrings

Here are some truly stunning Victorian or early Edwardian 14 karat gold and 800 silver diamond earrings. (Not hallmarked but electronically and chemically tested). Click here for more details

 

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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. Click here for more details

Victorian Symbology

Victorian Symbology

The Victorians wore jewellery which conveyed nuanced meaning, expressed sentiment and brought fortune. They celebrated life events, friendship, love, and courtship with these designs. Below is a list of motifs and an outline of what they symbolised  for the Victorians. Many of these meanings remain today although others have been lost along the way.

BIRDS

Birds had a wide variety of meaning for the Victorians. For example, swallows symbolized love and mating for life.

Read more about the LANGUAGE OF BIRDS

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Victorian turquoise and silver bird bangle. Elder & Bloom.

 

 

CRESCENT MOON AND STARS

The crescent moon represented a new relationship and the hope it would ‚Äúwax‚ÄĚ into matrimony.¬†Read more about ASTROLOGICAL MOTIFS

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The simple crescent moon was a popular motif in the late Victorian era
England, c. 1890
Gold set with diamonds
V&A Museum

 

CROSSED OARS

Crossed Oars symbolised ‚Äėcontentment‚Äô.

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Photo source: Spielman Antiques

 

 

DOGS

A dog symbolised loyalty and friendship.

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Victorian Dog Motif Brooch. Lang’s Antiques.

FIGURE EIGHTS

Figure eights symbolised eternity or ‚Äėinfinity‚Äô.

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Victorian ‘Figure Eight’ Brooch. Photo Source: Lang Antiques.

 

FLOWERS

Flowers and plants had diverse hidden meanings for the Victorians. An entire ‘language of flowers’ was developed, known as ‘Floriography‘. ¬†Read more about the LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS

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Forget-me-not, rose and acorn motif. The acorn symbolized strength and longevity.
Paris, c. 1820-1840
Brooch with gold, diamonds and turquoises.
V&A Museum

 

GARTER MOTIF

The garter symbolised chastity and virtue. The ‘order of the garter’ was an order of chivalry founded by the British monarchy.

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Garter Motif brooch. Source, Lang Antiques.

 

GREEK KEYS

The Greek Key motif symbolised infinity or the ‚Äėeternal flow of things‚Äô.¬†Read more about the GREEK KEY MOTIF

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GRIFFINS

The mythical griffin represented courage.

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Victorian Griffin Pendant. Elder and Bloom.

 

HANDS

Hands had a variety of different meanings, depending on the form, including affection, strength, family and love.

See THE HAND MOTIF  See also  FEDE, CLADDAGH, GIMMEL and PUZZLE RINGS

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Victorian Hand Motif Necklace / Watch Chain. Elder and Bloom.

 

HEARTS

These symbolised love, friendship, affection and devotion. Combined hearts and flowers signified fidelity and remembrance.

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Victorian Heart Earrings. Elder and Bloom.

 

HORSESHOE

Horseshoes symbolised good luck and fortune.

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Victorian Horseshoe Motif Brooch. Source: Ebay.

 

KEYS

Keys symbolised knowledge and success and were also given as a ‘coming of age’ gift on the 21st birthday. They also meant ‘you have the key to my heart’.

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Victorian Key Pendant. Source: Butter Lane Antiques.

LIZARDS

A lizard¬† symbolised ‚Äėwedded bliss‚Äô and was given as wedding or anniversary gifts.

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A Victorian opal, diamond and ruby salamander brooch, late 19th century.
Bonhams.

LOVER’S KNOT

Lovers‚Äô knots symbolized ‚Äėeternal love,‚Äô ‚Äėfidelity‚Äô and ‚Äėcommitment‚Äô.¬†See also ¬†FEDE, CLADDAGH, GIMMEL and PUZZLE RINGS

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Victorian Lover’s Knot Ring. Lang’s Antiques.

SCARAB

Scarabs symbolised ‚Äėendurance of the soul.‚Äô They rose to prominence with the ‘Egyptian Revival’ Movements.

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Victorian Scarab Necklace. Lang’s Antiques.

 

SHAMROCKS AND FOUR-LEAVED CLOVERS

Shamrocks and four-leaved clovers symbolised good health, good luck, and happiness. They were very much associated with Ireland and many were produced there. They could often be made with real shamrocks or four-leaved clovers set under clear enamel, rock crystal or glass.

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Victorian Four-Leaved Clover Brooch. Source: Ebay

 

SNAKES  

Snakes symbolised eternal life, sexuality and mystery. Read more about SNAKE MOTIFS

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Victorian gold serpent ring. Elder and Bloom. 

 

STONES

Acrostic jewelry was a way to convey a sentimental message by way with the first letter of each stone, the first letter of which spelled out a word. Read more about the LANGUAGE OF STONES

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England, c. 1830
Pendant, gold with lapis lazuli, glass in imitation of opal, garnet, emerald and gold.
Here, the pendant has the stones of Lapis Lazuli, glass in imitation of Opal, Vermeil ( the old name for garnet ) and Emerald which spell LOVE.
V&A Museum

Further reading: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2013/02/21/charm-bracelets/

© 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.

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 √† 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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