Jewelry Materials

Danish Sterling Silver Flower Bracelet.

A History of Silver in Jewelry

Silver is a white metallic element, harder than gold, softer than copper and second only to gold in malleability and ductility. Represented on the Periodic Table ...
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Two or more elemental metals mixed to form a homogeneous mass are an alloy. Sometimes metals are alloyed with a ...
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Natural Graduated Apple Green Jadeite Beads.


A bead is small decorative ornament pierced for stringing. Beads come in all shapes and sizes: round, cylindrical, square, tubular, ...
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Belais Manufacturing Co. Maker's Mark


Belais Diamond Dinner Ring in 18k White Gold and Platinum.Belais Manufacturing Co., founded by David Belais (1863 - June 5, ...
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 Biscuit is unglazed porcelain ...
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Bone Brooch


Bones are the rigid skeletal parts that form the framework that supports the bodies of vertebrates. Bone has been used ...
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Victorian Shell Cameo Depicting Archangel Michael Slaying Satan.


A cameo is a glyptograph or bas-relief carving, (the opposite of the technique used in intaglios) usually depicting a scene or portrait, for ...
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Vintage Camphor Glass and Diamond Ring.

Camphor Glass

Camphor glass is clear glass that has been treated with hydrofluoric acid vapors to give it a frosted, whitish appearance ...
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Egyptian Revival Ring with Plastic Composite Carved Scarab, c.1900-1910.


Celluloid is an early plastic used in costume jewelry. It is a highly flammable compound made from camphor and guncotton ...
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Victorian Longchain with Swivel Hook.


Chains are interconnected links in a series used to create flexible necklaces, bracelets and fasteners in a variety of styles. They have been ...
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Edwardian/Art Deco Diamond and Black Enamel Locket Suspended from a Cord.


Cord is produced by twisting, plaiting or weaving threads together to form a thicker, sturdier "rope." Almost any material can ...
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Victorian Ruby and Pearl Locket with Photographs.


A late Victorian Fob/Locket with a Daguerreotype. A daguerreotype is an early type of photograph that was first discovered and ...
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Egyptian Blue Faience

Egyptian Blue

Egyptian Blue Faience.Egyptian blue was a synthetic pigment used in Egypt, starting around 3rd millennium BC, to imitate turquoise and lapis lazuli. Blue ...
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Émail Brun

Émail brun (from French: "brown enamel") was developed in the Rhineland area around the time that they adopted the champlevé technique. Contrary to ...
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Austrian Silver and Guilloché Enamel Box.


Victorian Cloisonné Enameled Pocket Watch.Enamel is a type of allochromatic glass that consists usually of quartz sand, iron oxide, potassium oxide ...
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Art Nouveau Enamel Pansy Pin.

Enamels on Jewelry

Enameling is a decoration technique in which a glass of certain composition is fused to the surrounding or under laying ...
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Egyptian Faience Statuette Pendant.


Faience Wedjat Eye Pendant.Courtesy of the British Museum.Faience, when used in combination with the prefix 'Egyptian' refers to a non-clay ...
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Victorian Gold Nugget Watch Chain.


A metal so rare and special, it takes neutron stars to die twice before it is created. Virtually indestructible, the ...
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Retro Rose and Yellow Gold Bracelet.

Gold Terminology

Gold Alloy Colors     Gold Alloy Names     Gold Plating & Bonding     Gold Smudge     Gold Imitations Gold Alloy Colors Two ...
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A Rolling Mill Featuring Combination Rolls to Make Gold Wire.

Gold Wire

One of the most basic and most versatile facets of goldsmithing, wire lays at the very foundation of jewelry as ...
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Antique Guilloche Enamel Locket and Chain.


Guilloché is a decoration of concentric design engraved on metal, through the use of a lathe, resulting in an elaborate ...
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Gutta Percha Cameo Pendant.


Gutta-percha is a dark rubbery, organic substance derived from tropical trees (Sapotaceae palaquium). From the mid 1800's it was used ...
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Ingot of Gold.


Ingots are cast metal bars. In jewelry fabrication these precious metal bars are rolled into sheet, drawn into wire and stamped into shapes and designs. A two-part iron mold with adjustable, ...
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Edwardian Wedgwood and Diamond Necklace.


Jasperware was matte finish pottery product (some refer to it as porcelain) developed by Josiah Wedgwood and used to imitate ...
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Victorian Faceted Jet Locket-Necklace Worn for Mourning.


A Jet Box with a Pietra Dura Inlay. Jet is a type of brown coal used since the Stone Age ...
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Typical Hallmarks from the USA. Maker's Mark of Riker Bros., Newark, N.J.


Karat is the weight measurement equal to one twenty-fourth part of the metallic element gold in an alloy. The Byzantine coin, the solidus, ...
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Eggshell and Lacquer Cigarette Case, Gérard Sandoz. Photo Courtesy of Christie's.


Art Deco Lacquered Cigarette Box with Diamond-Set Findings.Lacquer is a spirit based varnish used to coat metal or wood and ...
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The Modern Centerpiece of this Late Victorian Ring is a Vibrant Purplish Blue Tanzanite - a Gemstone not Discovered Until Nearly Seventy Years After the Mounting was Made.

Married Jewelry

A married jewel or marriage is a jewel which was created in the style - and time - of a specific period and was ...
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Meershaum Cigarette Holder in a Fitted Case.


Meershaum is a smooth porous clay-like material that is light enough to float. Its whitish color makes it similar in ...
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Metals (Non-Noble)

Metals (Non-Noble)

All metals are chemical elements that conduct heat and electricity. Their densely packed crystal structure causes them to be heavy, ...
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Victorian Micromosaic Earrings.


Millefiori (from Italian: "1000 flowers") are multicolored glass tesserae or smalti used in micro-mosaics.Micromosaic with Colorful Floral Motif Composed of Tiny Tesserae ...
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Niello Locket.


Compose the niello in this manner; take pure silver and divide it into equal parts, adding to it a third ...
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French Handmade Gold Longchain.

Noble Metal

Noble metals are naturally occurring pure metals that resist oxidation and corrosion including gold, silver and the platinum group. French Handmade Gold Longchain.Platinum and Diamond ...
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Seaman Schepps Turbo Shell and Peridot Earrings.

Objets Trouvés

Cowrie Shell Necklace. © Trustees of the British Museum.Objets trouvés are literally found objects. The earliest "jewels" with which humans chose ...
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Schlumberger Paillonné Enamel Bangle Bracelet.

Paillonné Enamel

Paillonné enamelling is a 19th-century technique of applying layers of translucent colored enamel over very fine sheets of silver or gold resulting in dramatically bright and brilliant colors ...
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Victorian Painted Enamel Winged Putto Depicted Harvesting Wheat.

Painted Enamel

Limoges Enamel on Copper - The Dauphin, Later Frances II. When a flat surface is decorated by applying enamel with ...
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Victorian Natural Pearl and Diamond Necklace


Pearls are organic gems, produced in pearl oysters. Pearl oysters are not edible, and edible oysters do not produce gem ...
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Pertabghar is an Indian enamel technique where a thick layer of, hot, green paste was applied to a golden openworked surface and ...
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Bakelite Multi-Colored Bangle Bracelets and Earclips. Photo Courtesy of Bonhams.


Plastics are man-made substances used in jewelry to imitate natural gem materials. Early plastics were organically derived, like the combination ...
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History Early UseThe earliest references to the use of platinum are to be found in Egypt at the time of ...
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Retro Palladium Aquamarine Ring.

Platinum Family Metals

The platinum family, or platinum group, is comprised of six metallic elements; platinum, palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium. Along ...
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French Art Nouveau Plique-a-Jour Pill Box Displayed as an Objet d'Art.


Plique-à-Jour Dragonfly Brooch.Plique-à-jour, a French term that translates (as nearly as can be determined) to "letting in the daylight" and ...
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Japonesque Art Nouveau Polychrome Enamel Cufflinks.

Polychrome Enamel

Polychrome Enamel Aquamarine, Ruby, and Pearl Brooch, c. Mid-1800s.Polychrome is the combination of the Greek words "poly" and "chroma", meaning ...
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Portrait Miniature Hand Painted Enamel on Porcelain.


Porcelain is a ceramic material which has specific properties - such as hardness, heat resistance, translucency and toughness - that ...
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Brutalist 18K Gold Bracelet by Bjorn Weckstrom - Finnish

Precious Metal

Precious metals are those rare and expensive metals that make up the noble metals. These metals are usually valued in jewelry for their ...
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Faberge Antique Hand Carved Purpurin Frog.


Purpurin is a unique and beautiful rich red glass used in the Fabergé workshops during the time of Peter Carl ...
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Dunhill Shagreen Table Lighter/Clock Combination.


Shagreen is the skin of a ray or shark with characteristic calcified papillae, called placoid scales, resulting in a rough ...
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Shakudo Pendant, c. Late-1800s.


Shakudo is a Japanese alloy used in sheet metal inlay or wire inlay. The technique involves inlaying gold, silver, and copper into a darkened ...
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