Marcasite Jewellery dates back to the ancient Greeks, though it was the Victorians who really popularised it. Especially beloved by Queen Victoria herself, it has been cut back into fashion by lovers of vintage style jewellery. With its antique look and soft, gentle gleam, marcasite jewellery has a beautiful dull, faded charm, reminiscent of bygone days and faded glamour. Marcasite jewellery is not actually produced from the mineral marcasite itself, as this really is too fragile and will crumble when worked. Instead, it is made of small items of pyrite (fool’s gold) gemstones set into sterling silver.
Cheaper marcasite jewellery could have inferior pyrite shards just glued onto the silver (some jewellers could even use stainless steel rather than silver), but this means that the pyrite stones could be easily dislodged. Top quality items could have cut stones expertly set into the metal with tiny pins. Depending how it’s cut and the caliber of the stone, pyrite includes a colour approximately bronze and gunmetal marcasite brooch value, having an iridescent shine. This sort of jewellery is commonly made into Art Deco style designs or to make jewellery that mimicks natural forms (dragonflies and flowers were particular favourites with the Victorians). Brooches, earrings and pendants manufactured in this style can often be bought at antique markets across the UK. Pyrite is fairly a solid material, so items of jewellery produced from marcasite have an incredibly solid and expensive feel. It seems great within a standard vintage look, or as a striking contrast to more contemporary types of dress.
Marcasite jewellery can be very fragile and you are recommended not to make use of ultrasonic cleaners or chemical dips to completely clean it. Most of the time it can you need to be cleaned with a damp cloth – since it’s not meant to be a highly reflective, shiny little bit of jewellery it doesn’t matter a lot of if the sterling silver tarnishes a little bit. Once the tarnish gets a lot of, you are able to just gently polish it with a gold polishing cloth to restore its look.