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

 

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.

 

 

Elder and Bloom reopens!

Elder and Bloom reopens!

Thank you for your patience everyone! The brand new Elder and Bloom Etsy Shop is now officially open and I am in business once again. (Many of you will remember my company’s previous incarnation – Pippa Tree Vintage. I hope you like the new branding and the new name!)

Here is a taste of what we have for sale so far. Only ten things thus far but they are beautiful things… and there will be hundreds more beautiful treasures being listed in the coming days and weeks.  This is only a small beginning. Click on the images below to be taken through to the shop.

Let the fun begin!

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May 28, 2017

Theodor Fahrner

Overview

Theodor Fahrner was a renowned German costume jewellery company who rose to prominence as a manufacturer of Jugendstil, Celtic Revival, Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts designs. They also produced Art Moderne and Contemporary styles. However, they are probably best known today for their Art Deco jewellery.

The company, in common with the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement, believed that design and workmanship was more important than the value of the materials used. As well as one off pieces, they mass produced affordable yet very stylish jewellery. They became well known for use of low karat gold,  gilt silver and cut steel pieces, the use of gems such as amethyst, chalcedony, quartz, citrine, turquoise, rock crystal and coral. Opals and pearls were also utilised. They also incorporated enamel work, filigree, granulation and a great deal of marcasite (iron pyrite).

Theodor Fahrner pieces are considered highly collectible and have broad appeal.

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Offered by Tadema Gallery. 

Important dates

1855

Theodor Fahrner founded in 1855 in Pforzheim, Germany, by Theodor Fahrner and Georg Seeger. The company’s focus was on producing rings.

1883

In 1883, the company was taken over by Fahrner’s son, also named Theodor.

1900

In 1900, the company was awarded a a silver medal at the Paris Exposition.

1900 to 1919.

The company became known for its simple steel pieces.

1901

TF trademark registered.

Began to export to Britain.

Collaborated with Murrie, Bennett & Co.

1919

Theodor Fahrner junior died in 1919 and the company was then bought by Gustav Braendle.  After this point, it used the trademark Fahrner Schmuck and was known as Gustav Braendle – Theodor Fahrner Nachfolger.

1922

They began to create Art Deco designs in 1922.

1932

In 1932 they began to produce their signature filigree and granulation collection.

1945

Factory destroyed by bomb and many designs were lost.

 1952

Gustav Braendle died and the firm was taken over by his son Herbert.

1960s

Produced modern silver pieces with stones and Roman and Egyptian Revival motifs.

1979

Herbert Braendle died and the company closed.

Designers

Darmstadt Artists Colony Artists 1899 – 

  • Joseph Maria Olbrich
  • Paul Burck
  • Ludwig Habich
  • Patritz Huber

Others

  • Franz Boeres (Collaborated with Theodor Fahrner 1905-1919)
  • Max Josef Gradl (Collaborated with Theodor Fahrner 1899-1910)
  • Hermann Häussler (Collaborated with Theodor Fahrner as enameler 1908-1911)
  • Julius Muller-Salem
  • H.C. van de Velde
  • Georg Kleeman

Trademarks

Mark:   Original Farhner 925      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon. 

Mark:   Original Farhner 925      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon. 

Mark:   "TF & Germany      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

Mark:   “TF & Germany      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

 Mark:   Fahrner made some jewelry for Murrle, Bennett and Co. which was signed with both their marks    Courtesy Cathy Gordon

 Mark:   Fahrner made some jewelry for Murrle, Bennett and Co. which was signed with both their marks    Courtesy Cathy Gordon

 Mark:   TF 935 Depose     Courtesy Cathy Gordon

 Mark:   TF 935 Depose     Courtesy Cathy Gordon

Mark:   TF & 935      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

Mark:   TF & 935      Photo courtesy Cathy Gordon.

  Mark:   Fahrner, TF, 925     Courtesy Ron Maranto

  Mark:   Fahrner, TF, 925     Courtesy Ron Maranto

        Mark:   TF, 935, Depose, PH (PH for Patriz Huber who designed exclusively for Fahrner from 1901-1902)     Courtesy friend of RCJ
        Mark:   TF, 935, Depose, PH (PH for Patriz Huber who designed exclusively for Fahrner from 1901-1902)     Courtesy friend of RCJ

Artist Marks (often used alongside Trademark). 

Courtesy of Lang’s Jewellery University. 

Paul Burck   

Paul Burck

 

Max Josef Gradl

Max Josef Gradl

Ludwig Habich

Ludwig Habich

Patriz Huber

Patriz Huber

Josef Maria Olbrich

Josef Maria Olbrich

H.C. van de Velde

H.C. van de Velde

Useful information for evaluation

1) It cannot be older than 1855 but must be from before 1979.

2) If it is Art Deco in style, it must be at least from 1922.

3) If it has filigree and granulation, it was probably created after 1932.

4) Unsigned pieces were produced. These are worth considerably less than signed pieces but can still be beautiful.

Further reading / sources:

Theodor Fahrner Jewelry between Avantgarde and Tradition, by Ulrike von Hase-Schmundt, Christianne Weber and Ingeborg Becker.

http://www.designgallery.co.uk/blog/20thcenturyjewellery/biographies-20thcenturyjewellery/theodor-fahrner/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darmstadt_Artists’_Colony

 

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Fahrner

http://www.langantiques.com/university/Fahrner,_Theodor_Jewelry_Maker’s_Mark

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’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 & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fabrication

Fabrication

There are five main methods of production for creating  metal based vintage and antique jewelry. It is important to have a basic understand of these so you can more accurately understand how a piece was made. This also helps in aging the piece.

These techniques are:

HAND FABRICATION

Throughout history, most jewelry has been created by hand. Hand fabrication can be defined as when a piece is made by hand from start to finish, usually at a bench. The process of hand-fabrication encompasses a large variety of other techniques, including but not limited to, filigree,  appliquégranulation, cannetille, enamellingrepoussé and chasing.

CASTING

This is when the piece is made from a mold, often rubber. The mold can be created from the original piece of jewellery or from a wax replica.

DIE STRIKING / STAMPING

This is a manufacturing technique patented in 1769 by John Pickering.

Die struck or stamped pieces are created using a moveable force made of steel (the ‘male’) and an immoveable hardened steel die (the ‘female’). The metal that will become the jewellery is placed between the male and the female and assumes the form of the die.

ELECTROFORMING

This technique was first patented in 1840 and was popular until the end of the 1800s. It has experienced a revival in contemporary jewellery (which is why many Victorian electro-formed pieces can look uncannily modern).

Electro-formed jewellery is created by taking a mandrel in the form of the desired jewellery piece (the mandrel can be made from almost anything but most commonly is wax or metal). This mandrel is then coated with a metallic solution which is placed in a bath of electrolytic solution. This creates a negative charge that allows positively charged gold to be deposited on it in a very fine layer. The original mandrel is then melted away.

The result is lightweight, hollow gold coloured pieces of jewellery.

WHITE METAL SPIN-CASTING

 

This is a process for making costume jewellery which uses a white metal alloy of tin, lead, bisuth, antimony and cadmium. The higher the quantity of tin, the greater the quality of the piece.

The mold is placed on a spinning caster and the metal is poured into the spinning old. It is usually then electroplated.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’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 & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Resources / further reading:

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

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Igy5BAAAQBAJ&pg=PT1214&lpg=PT1214&dq=white+metal+spin+casting+jewelry+vintage+antique&source=bl&ots=kmunSzglUg&sig=LqCnvwwquC5IComGWcv4_AhMtXo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiIlubYhd7TAhXsAJoKHVk1DrUQ6AEIPTAH#v=onepage&q=white%20metal%20spin%20casting%20jewelry%20vintage%20antique&f=false

http://www.costumejewelrycollectors.com/2013/04/17/jewelry-manufacturing-concepts-part-iby-mary-ann-docktor-smith/

https://www.lexibutlerdesigns.com/blogs/news/85872708-costume-jewelry-verses-artisan-made-jewelry-part-1

Art Nouveau Manufacturers

Art Nouveau Manufacturers

Here is a list of some notable Art Nouveau Jewellery manufacturers. This is not a conclusive list but an additional overview. 

MURRLE BENNETT AND CO, LONDON, 1896-1914

Founded by Ernst Murrle and J.B Bennett.

The company produced Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles. Known for their Celtic inspired interwoven design and stylised foliate motifs.

 

GEORGE W. SHIELBER & CO., NEW YORK, 1876–1907

Founded by George W. Shielder.

The company became known for it’s silverwork and ‘Homeric’ and ‘Etruscan’ styles, incorporating ancient coin designs.

 

GORHAM MANUFACTURING COMPANY, RHODE ISLAND USA, 1831 – 1967

Founded by Jabez Gorham and Henry L. Webster.

The company is known for a wide variety of silver and foundry products and as a producer for Tiffany’s.  They were also a major producer of Art Nouveau jewelry.

 

BIPPART GRISCAM & OSBORN (AKA BIPPART & COMPANY), NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, USA, 1885 – 1920S?

Founded by Achill Bippart in 1886 and joined by Benjamin F Grishamin in 1893 and Bennett Osborn in 1897.

Known for fine enamelled gold Art Nouveau Jewelry.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’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 & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sources / Further reading:

http://www.vandenbosch.co.uk/Jewellery/MB/MBPage.htm

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

http://www.treasuresmagazine.com/treasures/feature_articles/may_2012/gorham-manufacturing-company

http://medallicartcollector.com/gorham.shtml

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Here is an overview of the key jewellery looks of the first six decades of the 20th century.

1900-1909

These years saw the continued explosion in the Art Nouveau Movement in all its forms. The styles evoked femininity, mystery, nature and were an homage to an imagined pre-industrial Eden of the past.

SEMIPRECIOUS STONES

Semiprecious stones such as opals, moonstones, turquoise, baroque pearls etc took a central place as the beauty of the piece was not necessarily defined by the agreed value of the materials.

ENAMEL WORK

Enamel work became prominent as the focus on artistry and craftsmanship dominated.

BIJOUTERIE

Bijouterie can be described as a piece valued for the delicacy of its design as opposed to the value of its materials. These more intricate pieces became prevalent as design took dominance over ostentatious displays.

NATURE THEMES

Nature themes were popular as people sought to connect with the simplicity and beauty of the pre-industrial era.

CELTIC MOTIFS

Celtic motifs were also popular as people romanticised  heritage and history in a rejection of the rapidly exploding modernity of the Western world.

THE FEMALE FORM

The  female form and visage became one of the eras most iconic motifs as a craving for femininity emerged as a response to the increasing mechanisation of society.

THE WHIPLASH MOTIF

The whiplash motif was a signature motif of this decade.

1910-1919

These years saw an emergence of elegance and a focus on gentile refinement. There was an emphasis on evening wear along with an adulation of aristocracy and nostalgia for the hey days of the fine royal courts of Europe, in particular Versailles.

THE LAVALIER

The lavalier became a popular item as the beauty of the décolleté was emphasised.

BANDEAUS AND AIGRETTES

Inspired by the natives of the New World,  bandeaus and aigrettes started to become popular (this fashion exploded in the 1920s)

BOWS AND SWAGS

Hearkening back to Rococo and Baroque design, bows and swags became recurrent motifs.

TIARAS AND HEADPIECES

Inspired by the glamorous royal courts of Europe, tiaras and headpieces became popular evening wear.

GARLAND NECKLACE

The garland necklace was popular as the beauty of the décolleté, neck and shoulder was focused upon.

COLLIERS DE CHIEN

Princess Alexander popularised this iconic style.

CAMEOS

The migration of many Italian cameo artists saw the popular emergence of cameos across Europe and the USA.

WHITE ON WHITE

White metals with white stones were the height of fashion with the emphasis on evening refinement and the desire to wear jewels that looked amazing by candle light (also inspired by the new vogue for luxury cruises.)

1920-1929

This decade saw the emergence of a new boyish and chic look.  Jewellery became streamlined, youthful, forward looking, minimalist, light and lean.

BANGLES AND CUFF BRACELETS

With the craze for dancing it was important to wear items with movement.

EGYPTIAN AND ETHNIC MOTIFS

The architectural discoveries of these years saw an emergence of revivalist motifs, as well as an idealisation for the styles of foreign lands as the European empires expanded.

FAN, CHEVRON, GEOMETRIC AND THE MACHINE AESTHETIC

With mechanisation and modernity there came an emphasis on machine-inspired designs.

VENETIAN GLASS AND CRYSTAL BEADS

As long sautoir necklaces became popular (perfectly for twirling while dancing), the artistry of venetian glass and the beauty of crystal was revered.

MACHINE CUT GEMSTONES

Gemstones were now cut by machine for the most part, rather than cut by hand.

TASSELS

There was a craze for tassel earrings and tassel necklaces and the movement they brought with them while dancing the latest dance crazes.

1930S

This decade brought the glamour and dram of the silent screen and black and white movies into the forefront of popular culture.

DIAMONDS

Diamonds became the most sought after gem, popularised by the silent screen actresses who wore them for their ability to sparkle on the screen.

STEPPED, CHEVRON AND CIRCLE MOTIFS

The continued fashion for modernism saw an emphasis on geometric, architectural and non-organic motifs.

FILIGREE SETTINGS

Filigree settings, particularly using white metals, became popular in this decade.

FLORAL MOTIFS

The simplicity and girlishness of floral motifs became prevalent.

DRESS CLIPS

Dress clips became the height of fashion

WHITE ON WHITE

The fashion for all white jewellery continued.

DIME STORE DECO

Dime stores sold inexpensive costume jewellery which made style available to everyone. These pieces became known as ‘dime store deco.’

COSTUME

The silver screen saw an emphasis on increasingly flashy costume pieces.

1940S

The austerity of the war years brought about a creative explosion in costume jewellery which made personal decor more accessible. It was not worn to display wealth but more as an expression of fun and levity, in contrast to the serious times.

RHINESTONES

Rhinestones became a popular and accessible stand-in for diamonds.

METAL AND WOOD

The scarcity of precious metals saw an explosion in creativity using readily available materials such as base metal and wood.

SURREALISM

The new surrealist art movements of Europe overlapped into the world of jewellery design.

PATRIOTIC PINS

It became de rigueur for every woman to wear a display of patriotism.

JELLY BELLY

These were pins with a rounded, polished lucite middle. Pioneered by Trifari in the 1930s but made popular by the head designer, Alfred Philippe, in the 1940s.

FLORAL MOTIFS

Floral motifs continued in popularity.

VERMEIL

Vermeil became popular as a replacement for solid gold.

STERLING SILVER

Sterling silver saw a surge in popularity as gold was less available.

BAKELITE AND OTHER PLASTICS

This decade saw a greater use of bakelite and other early plastics.

1950S

After the end of the Second World War, there was a return to the display of wealth. The love of sparkle and luxury returned with force but there was a retention of the fun and creative sensibilities of the previous decade.

FLORAL AND NATURAL THEMES

These motifs remained popular.

CHANDELIER EARRINGS

This glamorous style of earring became all the rage.

SCANDINAVIAN MODERN

The streamlined modernity of ‘Scandinavian Modern’ became sought after.

TEXTURED GOLD

Textured gold became fashionable.

BEADS AND PEARLS

GIs returning from Japan brought home strings of cultured pearls to their sweethearts and a string of pearls or other beads around the neck (usually in princess length) became standard.

FIGURATIVE BROOCHES

Artistry and fun was expressed through the fashion for figurative brooches.

COPPER JEWELLERY

Copper became a new innovative material to work with as a replacement for gold.

CHARM BRACELETS

Charm bracelets became an item every woman had to have.

PARURES

Perhaps as a symptom of nostalgia for the now long-gone Victoria era, parures (complete sets of matching jewellery) grew in popularity.

Further reading:

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/5/getting-clear-on-antique-and-vintage-eras-and-terms

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/6/art-deco-motifs

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’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 & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Natural Materials

Natural Materials

The wide variety and beauty of the natural materials used in vintage and antique jewellery is staggering. It seems jewellery designers never cease in their inventiveness. Here is a list which I believe is comprehensive or almost comprehensive (there is bound to be something I have left out).

I have excluded metal as that seems to deserve it’s own separate list.

 

Amber

Animal parts (ie Rabbit Foot)

Bog Oak

Bone

Butterflies and insects

Cinnabar

Coral

Flower and Plants

Gems & Gemstones

Hair

Horn

Ivory

Jade

Jet

Marcasite

Pearl

Sea Shell

Stone (Mosaics)

Tortoise Shell

Tooth

Tusk

Wood

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’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 & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Hand Motif

Hands, singular or clasped, have been a recurring motif throughout Western jewelry history, especially in Georgian and Victorian times but continuing throughout the 20th century and to this day. The hand motif has long symbolized a multitude of things, including affection, loyalty, solidarity, family, strength and love.

The positions of the fingers and hands have often been thought to be indicative of the message, particularly in Italian jewelry and Victorian era jewelry (the Victorians loved the use of symbols).  For example, first and little fingers pointing out would indicate protection from the evil eye.  First finger extended could indicate a warning.  A closed hand could convey a message of affection. Clasped hands are indicative of love and loyalty.

Fede, Gimmel and Claddagh Rings of course employed the hand motif; please see my previous article to learn more.

A selection of hand motif jewelry. Live Auctioneers.

A selection of hand motif jewelry. Live Auctioneers.

Rock Crystal, gold and emerald Hand Motif pendant, Spain, 17th century. Metropolitan Museum.

Rock Crystal, gold and emerald Hand Motif pendant, Spain, 17th century. Metropolitan Museum.

In Victorian times, the hands would often be holding flowers or fruit as in this brooch below.

Victorian Vulcanite Hand Motif Brooch (from 'Morning Glory Antiques')

Victorian Vulcanite Hand Motif Brooch (from ‘Morning Glory Antiques’)

Often the hand would appear as a motif in mourning jewelry, especially in Georgian and Victorian times.  For example, this piece below shows a hand holding a funeral wreath.

14 k Victorian Enamel Mourning Pin / Fiona Kenny Antiques.

14 k Victorian Enamel Mourning Pin / Fiona Kenny Antiques.

Sometimes, the entire arm as well as the hand would form part of the motif.

1820, coral gemset brooch. From '1stdibs'

1820, coral gemset brooch. From ‘1stdibs’

During the Art Deco era, the hand would often display painted red nails and sometimes be wearing its own miniature jewelry in turn.

1930 Celluloid Hand Motif Brooch

1930 Celluloid Hand Motif Brooch

Here is a gorgeous Victorian hand motif necklace currently for sale in the Pippa Tree store.  Note the clenched fingers, denoting affection and loyalty and it is holding a barbell, which symbolizes great strength.  Please click on the image below to learn more.

14 karat gold Victorian Hand Motif Necklace Watch Chain / Click on image to find out more.

14 karat gold Victorian Hand Motif Necklace Watch Chain / Click on image to find out more.

Sources / Further Reading:

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/hand-motifs-in-jewelry/

http://www.jewisharttoday.com/jewish-jewelry/the-hamsa-hand-motif-in-kabbalah-jewelry.php

Amethyst

* Amethyst is a semi-precious stone that has long been popular in jewelry and has often been associated with royalty and with the Catholic church.  A variety of quartz, it is identifiable by its distinctive violet or deep purple color. It is generally considered the most desirable type of quartz.

* The ideal grade of amethyst is referred to as ‘Deep Siberian’ or ‘Deep Russian’ and has a purple hue of around 75% to 80 % and blue and red secondary hues of around 15.-20 %. Although amethyst is a relatively common stone, an example of true ‘Deep Siberian’ is actually extremely rare. An example of ‘Deep Siberian’ can be seen in this amazing ring from the Victorian and Albert Museum below.

V&A Museum Amethyst Ring 1800-1869 Europe

V&A Museum Amethyst Ring 1800-1869 Europe

* Pale lilac amethyst with blue undertones is referred to as ‘Rose de France’.

Rose de France Amethyst

Rose de France Amethyst

* ‘Green amethyst’ is a misnomer. Although this is also quartz, it is not a type of amethyst and should be called instead ‘Prasiolite’, ‘Vermarine’ or ‘Lime Citrine’. Prasiolite is not found in antique jewelry.

* Amethyst is the birthstone for February.

* Synthetic amethyst is common and hard to distinguish from real amethyst.  Generally speaking, amethyst is not valuable enough to merit thorough testing, but if required it can be distinguished with gemological testing.  One indicator of synthetic amethyst for the lay person, however, is if the amethyst appears too perfect and even in color, as well as being in a contemporary setting, then it is likely to be synthetic. Amethyst was first synthesized for use in jewelry around 1970.

* Other materials and stones which can be confused with amethyst are: purple sapphire, alexandrite, foiled rock crystal, scapolite, paste and glass.

* Amethyst was considered very valuable up until the 18th century when vast deposits in Brazil were discovered and lowered the value.  Prior to around 1820, it was often set along side precious stones such as diamond, sapphire, emerald and ruby (the ‘cardinal’ stones).  It was also often foiled and set in gold. It can often be found in Georgian mourning rings, buckles and a variety of other jewelry types worn by the upper classes of the period.

Mourning Ring, England 1787. Enamelled gold set with rose-cut diamonds, rubies, emeralds and amethysts V&A Museum

Mourning Ring, England 1787.
Enamelled gold set with rose-cut diamonds, rubies, emeralds and amethysts
V&A Museum

* There are also some fine examples of amethyst being used in carved cameos throughout the jewelry eras.

Gold pendant set with an amethyst cameo and hung with pearls. Europe 1600-1650 V&A Museum

Gold pendant set with an amethyst cameo and hung with pearls. Europe 1600-1650 V&A Museum

* The Victorians loved amethyst and often used it in acrostic jewelry, to symbolize the letter ‘A’.

Victorian 'Regard' Ring, circa 1880.

Victorian ‘Regard’ Ring, circa 1880.

* The Victorians also wore amethyst in a variety of other ways, often set in gold.

Mid-Victorian Amethyst 18 karat gold necklace Lang's Antique & Estate Jewelry

Mid-Victorian Amethyst 18 karat gold necklace
Lang’s Antique & Estate Jewelry

* The jewelry designers of the English Arts & Craft design movement, artistically unrestrained by the perceived value of the materials they used, were fond of using amethyst.

1900 England Enamel plaque in gold and silver-gilt surround, with pendant amethysts and an opal Edith Brearey Dawson V&A Museum

1900 England
Enamel plaque in gold and silver-gilt surround, with pendant amethysts and an opal
Edith Brearey Dawson
V&A Museum

* In the Art Deco era, amethyst was very popular and was often set in white gold, platinum or silver and can even be found set with diamonds.  (Please also see my previous post about Art Deco carved gemstones).

Art Deco Cabochon Amethyst and Diamond Drop Necklace, Lang's Antiques

Art Deco Cabochon Amethyst and Diamond Drop Necklace, Lang’s Antiques

* Amethyst has remained consistently popular as a jewelry material throughout the jewelry eras and, although not considered highly valuable, it is a very eye-catching and beautiful material.

* Here is an example of a lovely, simple, hand-faceted vintage amethyst necklace currently for sale in the Pippa Tree shop.

Please click on the image to see more about this lovely amethyst necklace, currently for sale.

Please click on the image to see more about this lovely amethyst necklace, currently for sale.

Sources / Further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amethyst

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_de_france

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Amethyst

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prasiolite

http://epubl.ltu.se/1404-5494/2008/021/LTU-HIP-EX-08021-SE.pdf

http://www.thefrenchblue.com/rww_blog/2010/09/02/siberian-amethyst-another-myth-of-the-gem-trade/