Archive for G
Goldstone is a vintage jewellery material seen mainly in brooches of the later Victorian and Edwardian eras but seems to fade from popularity by 1920 – it surprises me that Goldstone was not used for longer as it really does sparkle wonderfully. It is actually a type of glass made with thousands of tiny copper inclusions.
Here’s an unusual piece of goldstone jewellery its a pendant and the goldstone shows on both sides. This can be worn as a pendant on a chain or a charm on a bracelet.
AntiquesAvenue tries to fins piece of vintage goldstone jewellery for you. They are quite rare these days but do turn up now and then.
You can search AntiquesAvenue for goldstone jewellery to buy by pressing the search button below:
The Garnet was once a very popular gemstone with the deep ref variety being one of the main gemstones used during the Victorian era. Its blood red colour could be worn when a lady was first coming out of a period of deep mourning when black only was worn. The Victorians were not the first people to wear Garnets, it is believes that the Egyptians has Garnet beads.
Whilst we normally think of the Garnet as being red, the term actually refers to a whole family of Gemstones which vary in color from Black, through green, purple, yellow, orange to differing shades of red.
The Garnet is the birthstone for January and has also been used to signify Friendship improving personal relationships when worn.
Due to the popularity of the Garnet during the Victorian era imitation Garnets were introduced and many pieces of antique jewellery which appear to be set with red Garnets are actually set with red glass or other man made stones. You will need to take care when buying antique garnet jewellery that you know if you are buying real garnet gemstones or costume jewellery. Ask the Jewellery you are buying from, the can either test the stones for you. A clue for you, are the stones set into real gold? if so they may well be real. Stones set in base metal are more likely to be costume jewellery.
Care of Garnet Jewellery
Garnets are quite resilient and can be cleaned in an ultrasonic machine or in a gentle liquid jewellery cleaner . A word of caution you will need to ensure which other materials the garnets are set with. If its gold then go ahead and clean you garnet jewellery as mentioned here. If other materials are used then you will need to ensure that your cleaning technique is appropriate to those materials too.
Glass is one of my favourite materials for vintage costume jewellery, it has a huge variety of shape and colour. Glass jewellery can be moulded, or hand made. Glass can be made into beads, moulded as a cameo or faceted as a gemstone. I have seen glass jewellery of every type: brooches, necklaces, charms, earrings, bracelets and for gents set into cuff links and stick pins.
Glass jewellery is quite durable as long as it is not dropped or knocked onto a hard surface. This durability is one of the great appeals of antique and vintage glass jewellery as , unlike some other vintage costume jewellery materials, its colour does not fade and it does not tarnish naturally. You can also clean glass jewellery so that it is like new depending upon the other materials used in the piece ( see further down this article).
Types of glass in Jewellery
During the Georgiana and Victorian era there was a type of glass known as Paste which was used instead of real gemstones. Paste jewellery can be clear or coloured and is normally set with a closed back which has foil behind the glass to make it sparkle. Paste is often used in brooches and earrings.
By the 1920s paste was largely replaced by Diamante which are a faceted glass ( moulded or polished) which have a foiled back and are often set with a more open back. Many diamante ( known as Rhinestones in the USA) come from Austria and they have a high lead content in the glass which adds to the sparkle.
Glass beads can be moulded or hand made . To my mind the very best glass beads come from Murano in Italy. Look for wedding cake beads. These special beads have been hand made and have lamp work decoration which looks like icing hence the name “wedding cake ” beads. Many murano beads are set with a metabolic foil and the come in a huge variety of colour.
Vintage glass necklaces
What an amazing range of vintage glass necklaces there is available today. You can find glass necklaces from the Victorian era in the form of French Jet or a sparkling black glass. There was a huge popularity for glass necklaces during the 1920s and 1930s and so there is a great selection available today. With many of these they have been re-strung and so as wearable today as they were 90 years ago.
From the 1950s we find what are now called prom necklaces which are made from diamante set into silver tone metal. These prom necklaces are ideal for a sparkling occasion today , they made great party or wedding jewellery . I believe that these prom necklaces are a real bargain at the moment, with prices from about £20 they could well be a great investment for the future.
Value of Antique and Vintage glass jewellery
You can buy a nice piece of vintage glass jewellery in good condition from about £20 upwards. At the other end of the cost scale, Rennie Lalique made some wonderful pieces of glass jewellery in the art nouveau era and a piece of this jewellery could set you back Thousands of pounds. In fact even a new piece of lalique glass and silver Jewellery can cost upwards of a Thousand pounds.
For most vintage glass jewellery you are looking between £20 and about £150 depending upon the style, condition, detail and maker if known.
Care of Vintage Glass Jewellery
When looking after vintage glass jewellery one of the main things is to look at the other materials the piece is made of. The glass its self can usually be washed but you would never put closed back paste or diamante jewellery into water. Also check the finish applied to the glass, a pearl finish can flake easily so you shouldn’t get it wet Glass set into costume jewellery metals should also not be immersed in water.
If you cant wash your glass jewellery how can you clean it? I recommend a soft tooth brush dipped into a clear liquid jewellery cleaner. Remove most of the liquid from the brush by dabbing it with a cloth. Then care full clean the jewllery with the brush. You can then dip the brush into clean water, dry the brush again and clean over your jewellery to remove any trace of the jewellery cleaner. Give your jewellery a gentle rub with a soft cloth ( take care with prong set diamante) . Leave your jewellery in a warm room for a few hours to ensure that all moisture is removed.
As with all jewellery pieces should not be thrown into a jewellery box but stored carefully with space between one piece and the next. you can wrap pieces individually in acid free tissue paper.
Where to buy Vintage Glass Jewellery
There is always an excellent selection of glass jewllery over at antiquesavenue.co.uk with a special section devoted to glass necklaces. Also take a look at the costume jewellery brooches and wedding jewellery where most of the pieces are made of glass.
I’ve reached the point in my exploration of vintage jewellery materials when its time to look at Gold, one of the best loved jewellery materials of all. Here are a tips which may be useful if you are looking at buying vintage gold jewellery.
What makes gold Jewellery Special?
Gold is one of the major materials used in Jewellery. It has special properties which make it more suitable than other metals for use in Jewellery. Its quite easy to shape into a piece of jewellery and then holds its shape and ( given the occasional light clean) gold jewllery will stay bright and shiny for ever. Gold Jewellery wont rust or tarnish or turn your neck green. Gold is also a quite heavy material which gives a nice weight to a piece of solid gold jewellery. As well as all this gold is beautiful it is bright and this brightness doesn’t fade.
Gold Colours and Purities
You can find gold jewellery in several different colours and gold purities. Both the colour and the purity is adjusted by other materials mixed in with the pure gold. Pure gold is bright yellow, look at a pure gold coin and you can see how yellow it is in its pure state. Pure gold is can be mixed with silver, copper, palladium to bring down the purity and change the colour.
Add in copper and you get the lovely rose gold which is so sought after in antique jewellery. Silver and palladium make it whiter, white gold is coated in palladium. Purple gold has added aluminium and blue gold includes iron. The purities of gold used in the UK are:
.375 parts per thousand ( 9 cart gold)
.585 (14 carat)
.750 (18 carat gold)
916 (22 carat)
You can also come across 15 carat gold (.625) which was legal between 1854 and 1931.
Very little British gold jewellery will be found over 22 carat as the gold is too soft to wear well. With modern British gold jewellery you can determine the carat of the gold by reading the hallmarks . The gold hallmark varies depending upon the carat and the age of the piece . Until you become familiar with gold hallmarks you can refer to a reference book such as Bradburys Book of Hallmarks.
Gold Plate, Gold Plated, Gold Filled and more
As they say ” all that glitters is not gold” and this certainly applies to jewellery. Much of the gold coloured jewellery we see today is not gold at all. Here are a few of the terms you might come across;
Gold filled – a shell of gold filled with another material. In the USA the gold layer must be at least 1/20th of the thickness of the piece to be called gold filled. This law does not apply to the UK
Gold back and front – I often see this on gold coloured lockets. There is an outer skin of gold and inside the locket is a base material
Gold Plate – Used for solid gold objects.
Gold Plated - where there is a very thin coating of gold over a different metal.
Gold gilt or gold wash – a wash of gold used to protect the underlying metal or give it colour. The underlying material is often but not always silver.
Rolled gold – again not gold but yet another term for a thin layer of gold over an unknown metal.
Gold tone or Gold colour – gold in colour but probably has no real gold in it at all.
Yellow Metal – This is a term you see in auctioneers catalogues frequently. As the hallmarking act requires that all modern gold is hallmarked if you are going to sell it as gold auctioneers frequently refer to pieces without hallmarks as yellow metal. In many cases the jewellery will actually be made of real gold however it also may not, it is up to the bidder to make their own judgement. Similarly they may call something “White Metal” but white metal might be gold, might be silver or might be platinum. On the other hand ” White metal” may just be any other white coloured metal too.
Here is a good tip to bag a gold jewellery bargain. Once you are a little familiar with gold jewellery and think that you can tell costume jewellery from real gold by looking at it then you can selectively buy ” Yellow Metal” jewellery at auction. Choose pieces which date from before 1950. Why? Well the next paragraph I quote from the Website of the Birmingham assay office:
PRE 1950’S EXEMPTION
*Gold, 375 parts per thousand; silver, 800 parts per thousand
6th April 2007 also sees another amendment to hallmarking legislation in respect of items originally brought on to the market pre 1950.
Before 1975, many precious metal articles (e.g. rings, whatever their weight, other than wedding rings) were exempted from hallmarking. Platinum was not hallmarked at all. Any article covered by these exemptions, if (a) of minimum fineness* (b) proved to have been manufactured before 1975, may still be described and sold as precious metal.
However, even articles which should have been hallmarked when they were made, but bear no hallmark, are now treated as exempt if they were manufactured before a specific date. Since 1999, the date has been 1920, but the amended legislation alters this date to 1950. Therefore, any pre-1950 item may now be described and sold as precious metal, if the seller can prove that it is of minimum fineness and was manufactured before 1950.
The only question remains is how you prove it is gold and prove its age and that must be down to expertise.
Care of Gold
The lower the carat of gold the harder a metal it is likely to be and the better it will wear. Less than 18 carat gold may tarnish a little but an occasional clean will restore its former glory. The higher carats are a little softer and can wear if worn next to something harder. Normally Jewellers advise not to wear 9 and 18 carat gold rings next to each other or the softer one may wear quicker.
Gold can be cleaned with most jewellery cleaners ( not silver dip) and placed in an ultrasonic cleaner quite successfully. Take specialist advice if the gold is set with gemstones as these may have different cleaning requirements.
Value of Gold Jewellery
Gold has rocketed in price over recent years, if only I had put all my savings into gold 5 years ago and not bought a house I’d be a much richer woman! In the past gold jewellery has been an excellent investment however I have no knowledge if it will be so in the short term future or not.
Scrap Gold is valued by the gram and carat . This means, that all other things being equal, an 18 carat gold piece of jewellery should be worth exactly double the price of a 9 carat gold piece. Gold jewellery is usually worth considerably more than scrap to allow for the workmanship and antique / vintage rarity involved.
It takes a specialist jeweller to value your gold jewellery. Unless it is very damaged I suggest that you do not take your jewellery to one of these ” We buy gold for cash” companies which have recently appeared on the Internet as they are not giving good value for money.
Buying Vintage and Antique gold Jewellery
AntiquesAvenue offers a range of antique and vintage gold jewellery which is always changing and being added to regularly. Perhaps of special interest is the range of gold charms and gold brooches, gold pendants and gold rings I have. Please let me know if there is anything special you require and I will keep a look out for you.
Have you any tips to look for when buying vintage gold jewellery? If so please do leave a comment. And as usual if you do leave a comment you can only have one link in the website box and none in the text.
Taking a look at the Gemstones we find in Antique and Vintage Jewellery. Gemstones have always been popular in jewellery, the ancients collected and wore them – there is evidence of gemstone mining since the stone age. I’m going to take a look at the gemstones we find in today’s antique and vintage jewellery that is jewellery we find from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras and through the 20th century till the 1970s.
What is a Gemstone?
A Gemstone is something which can be set into jewellery, it needs to look good, to last well when it is worn and it helps if the item is rare enough for everyone else not to have one. Both natural minerals (eg. Diamonds, sapphires, amethyst) and organic materials ( Pearl, Amber, Shell) can be gemstones but it is also possible to create gemstones in a lab. Gemstones can come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They can be cut polished and artificially enhanced to improve their beauty.
Gemstones in Vintage Jewellery
Different stones have been popular at different times. This is due to several factors, Fashion, availability of the stone due to new mine discoveries, changes to technology enabling the stones to be cut and polished in new ways. Knowing about when and how the different stones were used can help us date the piece of antique or vintage jewellery.
If we are looking at most antique jewellery and vintage jewellery we see today the gemstones which are commonly found are: diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and pearls. Amethysts, Aquamarines, Citrines, Topaz, Garnet, Coral, Jade, Amber, Turquoise, Opal, Peridot, Quartzes and Agates. Learning about this set of stones will help us to date and value any pieces of antique and vintage jewellery .
Identifying gemstones in jewellery
Because we want to protect our special jewellery we need to use none destructive ways of identifying the gemstones. The tools I use include a 10x loupe magnifying glass and an electronic gem tester. These can help but no necessarily positively identify the stone, you also need a bit of background knowledge.
Use your eyes and the loup to look at and into the stone. One of the first things to do is to look at the colour, emeralds are green, rubies are red and turquoise is turquoise. If the stone you have is red you may just have a ruby or you might have red glass or a garnet. Take a look deep into the stone. Are their any tiny round air bubbles? If so you probably have a glass stone. Are the facets highly polished and hand cut? Then is is likely but not always a gemstone. Glass is usually warmer to the touch than gemstones but you need to learn the difference and know how warm a piece of glass is and how cold a gemstone is.
An electronic gemstone tester tests the heat restance of a stone and give strong pointers to which stone it is. Certainly you can tell the difference between a sapphire and blue glass, identify a diamond. Tell the difference between a citrine and topaz and make several other distinctions using this machine. To me the gem tester is invaluable but it is quite an expensive piece of equipment so unless you have lots of stones to identify it is probably not worth purchasing. If you just have a few items I would take the gemstone jewellery to my local jeweller to identify the stones.
I will discuss individual gemstones in more detail by giving each one a blog entry of its own.
Care of antique and vintage gemstone jewellery.
Most mineral based gemstones are stable enough to stand a wash in mild soap and water but some such as emeralds need to be treated with greater care. Organic gemstones such as pearls, amber and coral deteriorate more easily and you need to take much greater care of them , keep them separated from other jewellery and do not immerse in water.
As always the antique jewellery you see in the pictures here is currently available at www.antiquesavenue.co.uk