Archive for E
Have you ever seen antique or vintage jewellery with Egyptian motifs on it? If so there is a reasonable chance that the jewellery dates from one of the major Egyptian revivals.
Egyptian revivals were the times when all things Egyptian came into fashion. The first main Egyptian revival took place in circa 1870 following the opening of the Suez Canal. The second Egyptian revival occurred in the 1920s following the discoveries of King Tutankhamen’s tomb. Often any jewellery you find with Egyptian symbols will date from one of these eras however you will need to look for other dating clues to confirm this . The second Egyptian Revival is often associated with the art deco era and you can see the Deco influences in many pieces.
The Egyptian symbols you can find in jewellery include Spinx, Scarabs, Cleopatra, Pharaohs, Obelisks, Pyramids, Mummy, and of course dog, cat and bull headed gods.
Egyptian revival jewellery can vary in quality from cheap costume jewellery through to excellent fine gold and silver. Much of the Egyptian revival jewellery from the 1920s is enamel on silver. Some Egyptian revival jewellery is set with real Scarab Beetles, these can be distinguished by their iridescent blue/ green colour. These scarabs are quite delicate so please do take great care of any you find. A good alternative is to find jewellery set with ceramic scarabs which are more durable.
I have several pieces of 1920s Egyptian revival jewellery available on antiquesavenue at the moment including some lovely little silver and enamel charms in the shape of Sarcophagus with mummies inside and a Moses basket with baby Moses inside. There are also a couple of pieces set with ceramic scarabs.
Are you intrested in Egyptian Revival antique jewellery? If so there is a great book you could look at; Egyptian Revival Jewelry & Design published by Schiffer Publishing ISBN 0-7643-2540-X. I’ve a copy here and its full of colourful pictures of genuine Egyptianesque antique and vintage jewellery as well as a bit about similar design on other objects.
Enamel adds colour to jewellery. It is applied to the surface of a piece and gives a colorful glassy finish as it is made of a type of glass with added colouring. The enamel is melted onto the surface with heat. All sorts of materials can be given an enamel surface. In jewellery we see enamel applied to gold, silver, copper, glass and base metals in vintage costume jewellery.
The first true enamelling where the enamel is fused to the surface by heat is thought to have been used by the ancient Greeks in the 4th century BC although the ancient Egyptians did use coloured glass in their jewellery. There are several techniques of enamelling which I will talk about more when I get round to discussing Vintage jewellery techniques. The most colourful techniques include Cloisonne, Guilloche, Plique du jour and Bas taille. Note the names are all in French, much great enamel work has come from France.
Looking at antique jewellery we see today the Georgians and Victorians used enamel in Mourning Jewellery especially rings and brooches - Black enamel often topped with words such as “In Memorium”. More colourful enamels can be seen on antique lockets with initials picked out in colour.
Moving to the early 1900s enamel became extremely popular to add colour to art nouveau jewellery. Enamel was used by the great art nouveau jewellers including Lalique, Charles Horner, Murrle Bennett and Tiffany. Enamel was used on all types of jewellery and accessories, necklaces, earrings, pendants, belt Buckles, hat pins and buttons included.
Enamel remained a popular jewellery material throughout the 1900s, you can find the different types on pieces of all ages. There is some excellent costume jewllery from the 1930s to 1950s with applied enamel colours . Scandinavian silver form the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s is highly sought after especially when it has enamel decoration , look out for David Andersen pieces especially butterflies. The 1980s brought bright costume jewllery in the shapes of animals and birds with lots of diamante, these pieces are readily available to the jewellery collector today and perhaps some of the better pieces would be a great investment. Nowadays there is some wonderful artisan / craftsman pieces of enamel jewellery which any one would be proud to own and wear.
Care of Enamel Jewellery
Enamel is a type of glass and so it can be damaged by dropping, chipping or knocking in the same way as glass. It should not fade in sunlight and can be cleaned in the same way as the material it is attached to although I would never put any antique or vintage jewellery into harsh chemicals such as silver dip.
Emeralds are one of the loveliest gemstones, their green colour is reminiscent of spring and gardens. The emerald is a rare and valuable form of the Beryl family. They come in a range of shades of green from pale to dark velvet green with the darkest green being the most valuable.
Used in jewellery since ancient times the emerald is normally seen these days cut in a rectangular step cut shape ( Think Art Deco)/. You can also find emeralds as beads and cameos. The emerald has been made synthetically since the 1930s and it is also imitated by green glass.
Natural emeralds normally have flaws and fissures which give a cloudy appearance to the stone. To improve the look of the emerald these fissures are filled with oil . You must take care when cleaning emerald jewellery or this oil can leak out of the stone ruining its appearance. For this reason you should never clean emerald jewellery in an ultrasoinic jewellery cleaner.
The emerald is the Birthstone for May and has traditionally been associated with Loyalty, faithfulness and friendship.
Not all emerald jewellery has to be expensive. Small emeralds can provide a beautiful flash of green and look great set into yellow gold Or how about an emerald gemstone chip necklace. You still have real emeralds but at a bargain price.
These earrings are set with really nice Emeralds. Each emerald is faceted and measures about 6mm long. The emeralds are set into fully hallmarked nine carat gold. These emerald earrings are for pierced ears and are in excellent clean condition.