Treasures from the past

Its so much fun collecting things, particularly jewellery and coins that have a hidden past, maybe never to give up their secrets.

For many years I worked as an archaeologist which has given me the opportunity to handle some very beautiful and very old objects, all had a story to tell.

Now I enjoy buying and selling vintage and antique jewellery, and occasionally I make my own.

In the UK whilst finding these treasures, I also get a chance to collect curios, furniture and anything unusual, often seeking out the old antique shops that hide in the narrow lanes of seaside towns were I can make a family day of it. A paddle on the beach.

Please enjoy looking through the listings, and feel free to contact me at any time with comments, questions and ideas or just for a chat.

Just to clarify some of the words used throughout the descriptions.

Vintage refers to a particular period before the present such as the 1960’s or 1940’s. Antique refers to something that must be over 100 years old. Victorian is the period from 1837 to 1901, when Queen Victoria was the Queen of England. Edwardian is for Edward the seventh, from 1902 to 1910. The artistic movement of the Art Nouveau is also from about 1890 to 1910. The following historical period is referred to as the Art Deco, about the 1920’s to the 1930’s. After this time everything is described as vintage.

Gold Platinum and Silver
The earliest piece of golds I found as an archaeologist dated about 2,000 BC, thats 4,000 years old. It had been place under an upside down pit, which also continued flint toes and the skull of a Boar. The artefact was a hair piece or possibly an earring. It was some form of body adornment, and for the most part that is what we still use rare and precious metals for.

Gold in its purest form is 24K and is an orange yellow colour. 24k jewellery is very rare as the metal is too soft, so silver and copper are added, reducing the karat value and also changes the colour. Gold is almost always makes or stamped is some way to give gold values, in the UK this is called Hallmarks, and also gives a date, the assay office location, and the makers mark. The measurements are taken in 1000 parts, as with platinum and silver. 24k = 999, 22k = 916 or 917, 18k = 750, 14k = 583 or 585, 12k = 500, 10k = 416 or 417, 9k = 375, 8k = 333. 8-9k is found in Europe, 14K often used in the USA, 15K Britain and Commonwealth countries, 18K is generally the highest used for jewellery, 22K is only used for expensive and high end jewellery.

The earliest use of platinum was by the Spanish in the 16th century. It is a very dense, hard metal and of a silver colour. Platinum is high end price and generally used for high status jewellery. Stamps of hall marks usually have a P attached, and the 850, 900, 950,or 999. Platinum usage became dominant in jewellery during the Art Deco period.

Silver has a long tradition of use both in the UK and around Europe and the rest of the world. For the most part the stamp 295 or 1000 will be present, or SILVER will be stamped on the jewellery. In the UK sterling silver has full hallmarks just as gold does, the minimum content is 925 parts per thousand, the remaining 7.5% being copper.

Diamonds, sapphires,rubies and emeralds, are probably the most well known gemstones, however a Gemologist will tell you there are literally thousands of beautiful stone available to use in jewellery. Until perhaps only 70 years ago nearly all rough stones were collected by panning rivers or collection from the seashore. Mining now is the most likely method of collection. Advances in science have lt to the manufacture of synthetic stones and many stones are now treated to enhance colour. Here at most jewellery is vintage or antique which means the stones are more likely to be natural.

Polishing of stones.
The art of stone polishing has been around for thousands of years. In the Neolithic Britain 5000 BC flint tools were polished to give them greater status as well as beauty. Diamonds are often referred to as ‘old mine cut’, this is a method of polishing that was used up until about the 1920’s when various different styles emerged.

The symbolism of victorian jewellery
Gemstones were used in jewellery to communicate words such as REGARD by way of brooches, necklaces and rings in the victorian period Any combinations exited, and during the later period after the death of Albert the Queens husband, a day period in jewellery evolved, mourning rings with the hair of the departed woven into them, pearls signified tears etc.

Edwardian rings
This is the time when diamonds sapphires rubys and emeralds were arriving from the British Empire, predominantly from Asia.

Art Deco Rings
Platinum was greatly used in this period, giving the diamonds a much whiter and soapier look. Rings evolved quite a wide range of styles and settings, and the cutting and polishing of stones moved on to the variation you see today.

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