=> Jewelry History - Decorative Techniques of Old Jewelry - Part II
=> Jewelry History - Clothing, Hair and Jewelry
=> Smashed With Memories...
=> You Need One Of These
=> Sites of Interest

Jewelry History - Decorative Techniques of Old Jewelry - Part II


I went over Repoussé in my last newsletter; here is an example of Repoussé craftsmanship on this watch dated 1768. In summary, it is pushing the metal into shape by punching the metal from the back using steel punches and hammer with a pitch as a cushion.
1768 Repousse Watch
When both sides are manipulated in this fashion, it's called Chasing.

Due to the cost and time consuming method of Repoussé there came about the production technique which involved stamping the metal into shape between a steel punch and a die. The result of this method often confuses people into thinking it is Repoussé. Indications of stamping is the very crisp detail, often on the back as well as the front, and the use of thin sheet of an even thickness. The quality of stamping likes in the artistic merit of the design and with the skill of the craftsman which had to make the dies. An example would be a steel punch can be engraved with a design and used to stamp a repeated pattern on to the metal. Stamping is not necessarily the mass produced technique that the name would suggest. Engraving is probably the most widely used method of applying a design or decoration to a metal surface. Though the method is ancient in origin, it is dependent on the engraving tools called gravers. They are like a short chisel fitted to a small rounded handle which nestles in the palm of the hand. It is held at a shallow angle to the surface of the metal, the graver is pushed forward so that it digs a tiny groove. Liken it to calligraphy - each cut of the graving tool is like a stroke of the pen.
Engraved Victorian Perfume Bottle


This is a delicate method of making jewelry and it demands patience and excellent soldering skills. Filigree is made using very fine wire which is doubled over, twisted together and then rolled flat and it is used on edge, scrolled and curved into delicate patterns which are inside an outer framework.

An example of Filigree Work


This is a decorative technique in which tiny beads are fused on to a surface without the use of solder. Granulation is something I tried in jewelry class as well. I made tiny beads from my old 14kt gold BROKEN jewelry that couldn't be repaired. You know, figaro chains and the like. So I filled a crucible with these pieces of gold mixed with charcoal powder. It was heated to the point that that the gold melted and due to surface tension formed into perfect little spheres or balls. These are then arranged in a design and affixed to the surface to be decorated. A perfect example of granulation at it's finest is Etruscan work from the 16th century BC. Below is a typical example of Victorian England's desire for Etruscan Jewelry.
Victorian Etruscan Brooch

Cut Steel

Jewelry and buckles made of faceted steel studs that were riveted into a baseplate forming various patterns. This jewelry was popular from about the 1760's until the late 19th century. The faceting took on the appearance of rose cut diamonds that were also popular at the time. Marcasites are similar in appearance to cut steel.
Cut Steel Butterfly Buckle

Jewelry History - Clothing, Hair and Jewelry

The largest part of jewelry of sentiment was devoted to mourning. A Victorian matron often had to spend several years in full or half mourning, and many times mourning had to be worn by the ladies of the Court. Of course the jet industry at Whitby flourished throughout the century producing brooches, necklaces, earrings and bracelets in vast numbers. Often times the mourning period would end after the prescribed period and so the memory of the departed was enshrined in either a brooch, ring or locket. This type of jewelry was made with space within them for a lock of hair. As it is now, it was then as well; fashion in jewelry was dictated by what was fashionable in hairdressing and clothing. Interest shifted from one part of the body to another and so what was popular to wear shifted as well.
Fashion and Jewelry and HAIR

Example: In the late 1830's attention was drawn to the head and neck so the chignon was built up in fancy shapes and pierced by arrows and daggers. The open necks of the dresses revealed small lockets or decorative necklets. The flat broad shoulders allowed plenty of space for long earrings. Clothing in the 1840's went in the opposite direction - nearly all of the body was covered during the day and there were no open necks for necklaces and the ears were covered either by hair or by close fitting bonnets - earrings went out of fashion. Rather large brooches were often worn with pendants as if to make up for the lack of other jewels. The hand was 'in' so therefore rings were fashionable and large bracelets with pendants. In the 1850's clothes were rich and elegant. It was a prosperous and optimistic decade and it brought back many forms of adornment that hadn't been worn in years. Adorning the hair with a diadem complimented the hair, which rose slightly from its center parting creating a perfect setting. Earrings were worn again but they were generally small ones. Large brooches were generally pinned at the throat area during the day and in the evening elaborate necklaces were worn.

Hey, let's look at the 60's. What comes to mind? LEGS! We wore mini's... weren't anklets popular too? If you sit and reflect upon your own generation, I'm sure you'll see the impact that clothing, hair and jewelry have upon one another.

Smashed With Memories...

Does a piece of jewelry you own bring back memories of a special moment in your life?
Smashed with memories

I'm sure you can answer that with a smiling face and a "yes" and so can I. When I was about 4 years old, my grandmother lived with us. She was blind and had a seeing eye dog that went everywhere with us. I can remember that day vividly back in 1959 probably because I have the earring to associate with it. I used to sneak into my gram's room and go through her jewelry box and play dress up. Well, on this particular day, I did just that. I remember my gram calling for me to get ready to go downtown by bus. We walked to the bus stop with Elsie, her seeing eye dog and stood there waiting for it to arrive. The people around that were also waiting were laughing and telling my gram 'cute' I looked. Remember, she was blind and had no clue what was so cute! My gram was holding my hand as we stepped up to get on the bus when I wrenched away from her to grab the rhinestone earring that had fallen off my ear dropped to the pavement behind us. As I went to grab it I was swooped up by a stranger. A car ran over the earring as I cried hysterically. My poor old gram had no clue what had happened. I had on her favorite rhinestone earrings, her eye shadow, her lipstick, and powder which was conveyed to her by the person who snatched me off the pavement. Gram was aghast and we had to proceed to her doctors appointment with one earring in my hand all smashed and one still dangling from my ear and lipstick in every direction around my mouth but not on my lips. Gram didn't think I was so cute... I was scolded. I never forgot that day and still have my gram's run over earring but have since lost the good one. That little earring was smashed with memories of her and my childhood.

You Need One Of These...
No discomfort wearing a net over your head day or night.

By the looks of this I think I just might BECOME mosquito proof! This 1884 ad caught my attention. Imagine if they had the threat of West Nile Virus back then? It's almost akin to the gas mask sales that have risen recently. Sure, we all should have one, right? I thought it funny how they went out of their way to say No Discomfort. I wonder how long they stayed in business?

Sites of Interest

One of my favorite sites is Morning Glory Antique's Jewelry Chat

Jane Haley Clarke, is the owner and their physical shop is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They offer a Victorian, Vintage & Costume Jewelry & Accessories Reference that is full of very valuable information. If you are starting out and looking to learn about antique jewelry, her references are unprecedented! There are endless pictures with detailed information that will certainly give you the background of each time period that is important when you collecti antique and vintage jewelry. Jane also has photographs of hallmarks that are found on collectible costume jewelry.

Morning Glory also puts out a monthly newsletter each featuring a specific jewelry time period, or designer, etc.

Give Morning Glory a visit... I promise you will not be disappointed!

I had for sale an item that I had researched endlessly and came up with nothing. My description read: Old Carved Coin of a sailing ship... if you flip it vertical you see that there was a man's head on the other side of the coin; possibly a President. I've researched this for quite awhile and came up with nothing. I'd love to know what coin this was! I've no idea how old it is.
Well, of course a sweet gal came along and bought it AND told me what it was so I figured I'd share the knowledge with you. NU402 Carved Coin
K.R. Wrote: I did some research on this coin and found out it is a commemorative coin from the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893. The ship is the Santa Maria, and the face is of Christopher Columbus. Here is a link if you would like to read about the coin -

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