Archive for B
The Belcher chain is a type of chain where the links are equally broad and long. These chains can be fine or quite chunky, worn with a pendant attached or they are decorative enough to be worn alone.
The links on a Belcher chain are D shape in section and these can be solid or hollow. Hollow link chains will be lighter to wear and cheaper to buy but they will not last as long as the solid link chain. The links alternate vertically and horizontally so that the finished chain lies flat against your skin when you are wearing it.
The Belcher chain is a versatlie piece of vintage jewellery which can be worn as a necklace, a bracelet or as a watch chain. These chains are worn by both men and women alike. The Belcher chain is an excellent all purpose chain – I like to see chunky belcher chains with lots of charms attached and worn as a charm necklace.
Care of your Belcher chain – as with all chains over time one of the links will wear and it will break – a solid chain will have a longer life than a hollow link chain. Examine your chain regularly for signs of wear using a 10x loop and you will be able to spot any weak points before the chain breaks . Your local jewellery can repair your chain quite easily.
AntiquesAvenue offers you a selection of chains in gold , silver and sometimes costume jewellery.
I came across a very unusual piece of 1970s jewellery today, it is special because it is made of Britannia Silver. Britannia silver is something not common these days as it is only used for the best pieces of Jewellery.
Britannia Silver was first used in England during the 1690s for coins and became a legal standard for Jewellery silver in the 172os. This special silver is marked with the Britannia symbol of a Lady seated on her throne. Britannia Silver is 95.84 % pure silver which is higher than the commonly seen Sterling Silver which is 92.5% pure.
I wanted to show you this Britannia Silver Ingot Pendant as it has very large hallmarks making it possible for me to photograph the Britannia symbol large enough for you to see it clearly. The gold colour is simply due to a gold plating rather than the main metal content of this piece of vintage jewellery. These vintage pendants are relatively common made from sterling silver.
There is only one other legal grade of silver currently in the UK which is 80% pure or 800 grade silver. Something to be aware of when looking at metals, do not confuse Britannia Silver with Britannia Metal. Britannia metal is a term you will regularly see on tea services ( teapots, coffee pots, milk jugs and sugar bowls) dating from circa 1920s to 1940s. Britannia Metal looks like pewter but has less lead content and no silver content at all.
Keep a look out for the Britannia Hallmark, I see very little Britannia Vintage silver jewellery and if you do manage to find any it should be quite high quality.
Rounding off Antique jewellery and Vintage jewellery materials beginning with the letter B.
As we all know vintage jewellery can be made of so many more materials than the precious metals and gemstones. Today as part of my A-z of vintage jewellery materials I am rounding off the letter B with Berly, Bone, Bronze and Butterfly. Previously with the letter B I have looked at Bakelite, Bloodstone and Baroque pearls.
Beryl, Beryl is the family name for some lovely gemstones including the green Emerald and pale blue Aquamarine ( ooops, just realised that I missed out the beautiful Aquamarine under the letter A, will talk about this later today). Beryls not only come in Green and pale blue other varieties can be pink ( morganite) or yellow ( Heliodor). Beryls can also be clear ( Goshenite). All Beryls have a some common characteristics including their hardness ( 7.5 on the Mohs scale) and they are “double refractive ” which refers to the way they split light
Brass and Bronze, here are two metals which are occasionally used in Jewellery but are not popular due to their weight and the fact that they can oxidise leaving green traces on the skin. Brass and bronze are also quite heavy and so they would only be used in small objects such as charms . Take care if you do buy brass or bronze jewellery that you know which metal you have. Brass can be polished shiny but bronze is meant to retain its green patina and this is easily removed by cleaning.
Here are two Antique Jewellery materials which are a little controversial as they are made from animal parts. I personally do not care for either and choose not to stock them in my shop of them . I include them for completeness sake. Neither of these materials is used in great quantity in modern jewellery.
Bone, Bone was popular as a jewellery material from ancient times. It was plentiful, easy to carve and much cheaper than Ivory. Its creamy colour made it look like ivory but due to its structure it could not be carved with as great detail as Ivory could. The bone jewellery we see today is usually Victorian or early 20th century . You can also find more recent pieces which have been brought back as tourist pieces from places like Africa. Bone jewellery is not popular today so there are bargains to be had if you like this particular material.
Butterfly Wing, Especially popular during the Art Deco era when butterfly wing was used to provide shimmering blue colour to jewellery. The butterfly wings were normally set into silver jewellery which shows off its colour well. Butterfly wing jewellery can have a scene pained over the butterfly wing. Popular scenes include tropical beaches and art deco crinoline ladies. Look out for Butterfly wing jewellery which has the letters TLM as part of the makers mark on the reverse. TLM stands for T L Mott and their butterfly wing jewellery is of very good quality and quite sought after. The butterfly wings in jewellery are easily damaged by damp and over exposure to sunlight. Examine any potential purchases with great care to ensure the wing has not faded or gone brown. Also only use a dry cloth to clean this jewellery as any liquid will ruin the piece.
About Bog Oak Jewellery
Bog oak is a jewellery material widely used during the Victorian era in mourning jewellery. Today you will normally find that jewellery made of bog oak is antique jewellery over 100 years old. Bog oak is fossilized wood and is also sometimes known as bog wood. Most bog wood is made of oak trees which have been preserved in the peat bogs of Ireland for thousands of years. As it is from Ireland it is most commonly found with Irish motifs such as Shamrocks and harps.
Bog oak was cheap and plentiful during the Victorian era, it was easily carved and due to its dark black colour was popular in mourning jewellery. The bog oak can also be found set with tiny pearls or gold detail as in this brooch:
Today bog oak jewellery is collected alongside other Victorian black mourning Jewellery and would normally be cheaper than an equivalent Jet brooch.
Identifying Bog Oak jewellery:
You can tell Bog Oak from other Victorian mourning Jewellery materials by looking at the structure of the material. Bog oak is Matt not shiny and on careful examination you can see the wood grain.
Care of Bog oak Jewellery:
The surface of bog oak jewellery can get dusty so I suggest that you remove the dust with a soft brush, a large clean make up blusher brush is ideal for this. Do not try and polish bog oak jewellery as it is meant to be matt.
Buy antique jewellery made from Bog Oak:
AntiquesAvenue.co.uk will normally have one or two pieces of Antique Victorian bog oak jewellery available in the antique jewellery department.
Vintage Jewellery A-Z continues with Bakelite. Bakelite is one of the most highly collected forms of Vintage Costume Jewellery.
Bakelite is a form of plastic, in fact it was the first synthetic plastic and was first made in the early days of the last century. Bakelite was most popular for use in Jewellery between the 1920s and about 1950. It was popular because it was one of the first materials that could be moulded, coloured and shaped, was light weight and relatively low cost.
Bakelite was made into all sorts of jewellery brooches and bangles, earrings and necklaces. The colours and shapes used were those that were popular in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s ( The art Deco era). Bakelite was made in Ivory colour, Green, Red, Yellow and black as well as marbled colours and translucent pieces. You can also fine Bakelite set with Rhinestones / diamante and mixed with other costume jewellery materials.
Identification of Bakelite
The collector of Bakelite needs to be able to distinguish the real thing from other types of early plastics and this is not easy and something I do struggle with myself. The most commonly recommended way to tell the difference is by heating the piece gently and then smelling it. If your piece of jewellery can be safely immersed in water you can dip it for a second into boiling water. Apparently the hot Bakelite gives off the smell of carbolic acid, the problem with this is that you need a good sense of smell and you need to know what carbolic acid smells like.
A few characteristics which may also help identify Bakelite are that it is heavier than other plastics and makes a clunking sound when two pieces are knocked together.
I have heard that there is a polish known as “Simichrome” which when you polish the Bakelite with it leaves a yellow smear on the cloth.
Also check how the metal findings ( clasps , catches and hinges) are attaches. If they are screwed into the plastic rather than glued on then this would indicate Bakelite.
Care of Bakelite:
Store pieces separately to prevent scratching, avoid bright sunlight and harsh chemicals including those in perfume and hairspray.
A couple of books which might help:- Bakelite Style by Tessa Clark pub Chartwell books
- Collecting Art Plastic Jewellery by Leigh Leshner pub KP Book
This amazing vintage art deco Bakelite necklace is so long that i have had problems showing it to good advantage in the photos. There are two shapes of Ivory and black coloured Bakelite panels joined by silver toned metal chain. There is a hook which joins the two ends as a necklace as can be see in the third photo.
The hollow panel measure about 6 x 1.5 cms with the total length of this art deco necklace being about 125 cms. The Bakelite is in excellent condition although there is a little fading to the silver tone metal.
Pearls, popular in jewellery for centuries, come in many different types and kinds. You hear about natural pearls, faux pearls , cultured pearls, Akoya pearls, SouthSea pearls and Baroque pearls.
Do you know the difference between any other type of pearl and a baroque pearl? A Baroque pearl is a pearl which is not round, it has an irregular shape. Pearls are formed around a grain of sand or similar entering the shell of an oyster. If that grain is not round then the pearl formed will also be of irregular shape.
is a term referring to the irregular or asymmetrical shape of an item. There was a Baroque period during throughout the 1600s when pearls were very popular.
Once upon a time irregular shaped pearls were highly prized and were used as the base for fantastical jewellery such as the body of a unicorn, merman or cockerel. Nowadays they are not often set into jewellery but ones that are not too far off round are made into necklaces which have all the lustre and sheen of a standard pearl necklace but at a much lower cost. Strangely although necklaces with baroque peals are normally cheaper , when set into jewellery such as pendants or brooches baroque pearl jewellery usually costs more as the work all needs to be done by hand due to the differing shapes and sizes.
Baroque pearls are so popular that you can even find costume jewellery set with man made baroque pearls.
Interested in buying some antique or vintage baroque pearl jewellery? AntiqueAvenue normally ahs a few nice pieces available.
vintage pendant pearl amethyst silver baroque
What an amazing vintage pendant and is in the antique baroque style although it actually dates from the early 1900s. This pendant is made of silver and set with a central real amethyst and baroque and round pearls (I am presuming the round pearls are cultured although I cannot test these without damaging them). The smaller “amethysts” are coloured glass. I have added a newer silver chain so that this pendant is ready to wear.
Material:Silver, amethyst and costume jewellerySize: Pendant is 4 cms long and 3.6 cms wide. The silver chain is 60 cms longAge:Early 1900s Condition: Excellent
Have you ever seen old jewellery set with a dark green stone with red flecks in it? This is known as bloodstone or sometimes as heliotrope. This is a hardstone which was popular during the Victorian era for setting into fobs and seals however it can also be carved as a cameo or used in bead form.
The name bloodstone was given to this semi precious stone as in the Middle ages it was thought that the red spots were the blood of Christ and it was used as an amulet or charm against blood loss
Here are a few examples of antique jewellery set with bloodstone so that next time you see this stone you will recognise it.
Are you looking for more Victorian Antique fobs and seals? There are always a few in antiquesavenue shop and usually some set with bloodstone.