Archive for C
Today’s blog is prompted by a question from one of my readers:
Hi there, Can you advise me on how to clean up an antique cut steel key belt?
Have you seen cut steel Jewellery. Its not made now but was very popular in Georgian times and Victorian times as it sparkles like diamonds in candle light. Today you might think that cut steel was a cheap for of costume jewellery but it was so highly thought of that Napoleon gave Marie Louise a cut steel parure and is one form of antique jewellery which is most collectable today. The cut steel jewellery was made by faceting tiny pieces of steel just like gemstones and then attaching the pieces to a back plate. Take a look at these two pictures. In the first you can see the front of the cut steel buckle where is is a grey silver colour. In the second picture you can see how all the pieces of cut steel have been joined individually to the backing plate.
Later pieces were not made from individually cut rivets but rather stamped from a sheet , when you see pieces which are stamped out you can assume a mid to later Victorian age rather than Georgian.
So back to the question of cleaning Cut Steel Jewellery, an interesting one. Clearly we need to avoid getting cut steel wet as it will rust with the slightest drop of moisture. I think two different approaches are necessary depending upon the condition of the item with or without rust.
To clean cut steel jewellery in good condition I would use a dry brush such as a tooth brush. You should be able to get old dust and grime out with a little gentle rubbing. If the cut steel is already rusty we are looking more at restoration than simple cleaning, you are unlikely to ever get the piece back to bright and shiny but I think a little light clean with dry 00 grade steel wool should help. 00 grade steel wool is very fine and is sold for furniture restoration purposes. This is not household steel wool which I would definitely not advise.
Vintage silver charms beginning with C, this concludes my look at charms beginning with C .
Comb charm not often seen on its own. Here is a vintage silver comb charm combined into a hairdressing set.
This vintage silver charm is in the shape of a church.The church opens at the base and inside is a wedding scene.The silver charm measures about 2 cms high and could be hung from a silver charm bracelet or as a pendant on a chain.
Coffee Pot Charm
This vintage silver charm is made of silver and set with a citrine coloured crystal. This vintage charm is in the shape of a coffee pot and will date from circa 1970s. It measures about 2 cms long and will add a splash of colour to any vintage silver charm bracelet.
Here is Andy Cap immortalized in a silver charm. Andy Cap, according to Wikipedia: Andy Capp is a British comic strip created by Reg Smythe, seen in The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Mirror newspapers since August 5, 1957.
This little silver charm most likely dates from the 9170s when Andy Cap was particularly popular. He measures about 2.2 cms high
Coral forms in tree like structures in warmer waters such as the mediterranean and around Japan and Australia. This is the external skeleton of a tiny water polyp which when polished up makes a wonderful Jewel.
Coral can range in colour from pale pink, red through to black. Generally we see the pinky / red colour colour set into jewellery. it can be polished as a bead, a cabochon or carved as a cameo or intaglio.
Coral has been worn as a gemstone since the ancient times, it is known that the Ancient Egyptians wore it as did the ancient Greeks.
Coral can be imitated by glass, shell and plastic. Normally you can tell it apart as it is harder than shell or plastic and colder than glass. You can also look into the stone with a loupe ( 10x lens) when a piece of coral can be closely banded.
Clean coral jewellery with a soft damp cloth and try not to scratch your coral jewellery. Also avoid strong sunlight as it can fade, put it away after wear and keep it separate from your other antique jewellery.
A wonderful Antique pendant in the form of a cross made of coral beads. This is a large and impressive piece of jewellery measuring about 7 cms long and 5 cms wide. Each coral bead is wired separately to the metal back.
This cross is in excellent condition especially considering that it is an original Victorian piece.
Coral is now a protected speciese in most places in the world with coral reefs dying out . To help protect the environment and preserve coral reefs for the future we should perhpas just consider buying vintage and antique coral rather than new.
Chrysoprase a lovely apple green semi precious gemstone. This gemstone is part of the Chalcedony family, a variety of Agate. The green colour in Chrysoprase comes from the nickle in the stone.
Personally I find it quite difficult to tell Chrysoprase from some other similar gemstones - Aventurine, New Zealand Green-stone and when chrysoprase has faded in bright light it can look quite like Jade. Normally Aventurine is a little more translucent and has metallic flecks in it. Jade is harder and can be differentiated from Chrysoprase with a Gem Testing machine.
Chrysoprase was popular in Greek and Roman times and the art deco era when the shade of green went well with the fashions of the time. There is also a darker shade which is known as prase. The stone is cut as beads, Cabochons and even carved into cameos.
In Gem lore Chrysoprase is said to clarify. to bring self acceptance and help to heal wound. You could also use Chrysoprase as an alternative birthstone for May if Emeralds are out of reach .
Cameo Jewellery is back in fashion, for many years now it has been considered dated and Cameo Jewellery was something which jut sat in Grandmas Jewellery box. Now these pieces of antique and vintage jewellery are being brought out of the dark and show off again. The range of antique and vintage cameo jewellery available is huge, brooches of course, pendants, rings, earrings, bracelets and charms .
The ancients in Greece and Rome loved cameo jewellery and apparently was also popular through the middle ages and into the Renaissance. Today the Cameos we see are at the very earliest Georgian but most likely to be Victorian and later.
What is a cameo?
Originally cameo was carved from stone or shell which had multicoloured layers so that the design and background were of different colours. This type of Cameo was popular in ancient Greece and Rome and the subjects carved at that time remain popular in more modern cameo jewellery.
A design which is carved from behind the material so that the main surface is called an Intaglio and is not normally included in Cameo Jewellery.
The term Cameo now embraces a raised picture design which can be either the same or different colour to the background and may be hand carved or in many cases the design in now molded into the jewellery. The brooch above is a carved shell cameo which is the type of cameo jewellery which most of use know.
Types of Cameo Jewellery.
Brooches are by far the most common piece of cameo jewellery, the large flat surface of a brooch is excellent for cameos although smaller ones can be joined together in a piece of jewelry where a curved shape is required such as this lava cameo
Most commonly we see cameos which have been hand carved from shell, the standard beige and cream/ white colours or the pretty Queen Conch shell cameo which gives a pink and white colour. Lava Cameo are carved from volcanic material which can range from a white colour through to almost black. Cameos can also be seen carved in bone and Ivory and a whole range of gemstones and hard stones. Other cameos are found in Jet, Vulcanite, Ceramics ( Wedgwood Jasper) and glass. Be warned nowadays cameos are being copies in plastic and sold as vintage, I do not know of any plastic cameos which have a collectable value and whilst some can be pretty they are are mainly worthless and plastic cameos are probably best avoided by the true cameo collector.
The ancient Greeks and Romans carved cameos including those classical of Gods and Goddesses and of course the Emperors and famous folks of the day. This classical tradition was continued by the Georgians and Victorians and so many of the Victorian Cameos we see today can be traced back to a Greek or Roman myth. Some popular subjects are Leda and the Swan, Hebe and the Eagle, Pliny’s Doves and Aurora Goddess of the Dawn. Cameos were are popular souvenir from The Grand Tour of Europe which was a very popular adventure during the 18th and 19th centuries and the rich could commission portrait cameos of themselves . During the 20th century cameos often portray pretty girls and glamorous ladies.
Cameo Habille The Cameo Habille is a special and sought after cameo. The term is French and means “dresses cameo”. A cameo habille is a cameo where the subject is wearing jewellery such as this wonderful Cameo Ring where the lady in the portrait is wearing a real diamond necklace
Buy Cameo Jewellery
AntiquesAvenue often has genuine Antique and Vintage Cameos to buy, here is an example you might like:
Antique cameo brooch child drawing Victorian jewellery
A really lovely piece of antique Victorian cameo jewellery. This cameo brooch is hand carved from shell and set into a gold plated frame. The carving would have been done in Italy and is of very fine quality although there is a short crack right at the very edge close up by the frame hence the reasonable price for such a wonderful piece of jewellery.
This brooch measures about 5.5 cms long and 5.3 cms wide.
We handle coins every day and rarely take a second glance at them except to see if we have change for the car park or can afford a small chocolate treat. Polished up coins make excellent jewellery and Coin Jewellery has been popular across the world for centuries.
Many of the coinsin Antique Jewellery we see today is from the Victorian era and the early 1900s. The coins can be incorporated into Jewelry in many different ways for example they can be pierced with a hole or set into a coin mount. The coins can be simply polished bright or enameled or the background cut away leaving just the design. You can find some coins where the design has been intricately enameled, these pieces are thought to have been made by apprentice enamelers practicing their skills.
During the Victorian era coins were regularly used as Love Tokens. The coins were polished smooth and then engraved with a name or initial. The coin would then be mounted as a brooch or charm .
The coins in coin jewellery can be antique, vintage or new. They can be gold or silver and from any country in the world.
Vintage Coin Jewellery can be seen as brooches, Rings, Pendants and charms or worn from a watch chain as a fob.
Here is my Vintage Jewellery coin gallery – Enjoy.
Antique Coins on charm bracelet:
Coin Jewellery using a coin mount
Coin used as a Fob
Have you seen vintage jewellery set with citrines? You often find it teamed up with silver either in a pendant, earrings or a ring. The citrine is a beautiful gemstone and quite sought after.
The colour of the citrine varies from a pale lemon yellow to a reddish brown. Many Citrines are not natural but have been created be heat treating amethyst, this tends to create a yellow brownish citrine with the pale lemon ones being natural. Both citrines and amethysts are coloured forms of quartz and so are almost the same in chemical structure.
Sometimes the Citrine is confused with the more valuable topaz as they are similar in colour. If you have a stone which is described as Spanish Topaz, Brazilian Topaz, or false Topaz then you quite probably have a citrine.
In natural healing the Citrine is given the powers of the sun, motivating to action and bringing cheerfulness. The Citrine is one of the birthstones for November.
Here are a few nice pieces of vintage jewellery set with citrines:Antique necklace gold citrine pendant Early 1900s
The chain measures about 41 cms long with the pendant being an additional 4 cms
This lovely antique pendant necklace comes in an antique jewellery box
A special daisy pendant dating from the 1960s and made of gold set with Citrines. This is made of fully hallmarked 9 carat gold . This stylish piece of vintage jewellery would really suit a retro outfit or today’s boho fashions
Approx Size: 4.3 cms long including bail, 2.3 cms wide at the base
What is costume Jewellery made of? When we are looking at vintage jewellery materials we see all sorts of lovely pieces, Necklaces, rings, earrings, bangles, brooches which are made of costume jewellery . The term is used to cover all Jewellery which is not made of Precious stones and metals.
Semi Precious Costume Jewellery stones
Semi Precious stones are all naturally occurring gemstones which are not Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds. For example amethysts, Citrines, aquamarines and opals are all considered to be semi precious and can be found as costume jewellery or fine jewellery depending upon the other materials they are made of. If the semi precious stones are set with gold or platinum or silver then the Jewellery is generally considered to be fine Jewellery rather than costume Jewellery. A string of amethyst chip beads would be costume jewellery as would a pair of opal earrings in a gold plated setting.
Costume Jewellery Metals
All metals except for gold, platinum and silver are costume Jewellery as is base metal plated with gold, silver or platinum. The metal in costume jewellery could be a metal we can name such as copper or brass . More likely this metal will be a mixture of metals . Pot Metal is is the term given to some base metal used in costume jewellery . Other metals I have found in costume jewellery include stainless steel, aluminium and Iron ( remember Iron nail necklaces in the 1970s?)
Natural costume Jewellery materials
Many many different materials have been used in costume jewellery throughout history. Early materials would have included animal bones , feathers, river washed pebbles, leather and shell. These are still used today in many ethnic style costume jewellery. Cultured pearls are a natural costume jewellery material which has only been available for a little over 100 years. The Victorians made wide use of costume jewellery materials , polishing agates into slabs. A few more naturally occurring costume jewellery materials include Jet, Wood, fossils and amber.
Man Made Costume Jewellery materials.
Ceramic Jewellery, Lucite, Bakelite and all other plastic Jewellery, imitation gemstones ( CZ, Paste, Glass crystal). The beauty of costume jewellery is that these materials can be mixed and matched to create something beautiful to wear at a reasonable cost compared to fine jewellery.