Year after year, our range of Marcasite silver proves to be one shop's most adored collections - it seems the glittering jewellery's instantly recognisable, turn-of-the-century look sparks nostalgia in people of all ages, whatever their personal style. We've just added another 30 pieces to our extensive online range, as we predict it'll be very popular come Christmas.
The stones in Marcasite jewellery are actually pieces of Pyrite, a gem that became known as 'Fool's Gold' in the 19th century after gold miners attempted to pass one material off as the other. It was its affordability, however, that ensured the stone's enduring appeal: young Victorian girls could afford to copy the Queen's style by accessorising with a marcasite brooch, while economising 1930s women saw it as a way to wear sparkling, encrusted jewellery without having to face the diamond price tag.
During the 1920s, the gem enjoyed another spell of popularity. It was so ubiquitous that it cropped up on all manner of occasion-wear: belts, headbands, dresses, shoe buckles.
A very Art Deco Luke Stockley design:
Have a look at some nostalgic images in my Inspiration Gallery.
Enjoy browsing the site!
Bakelite - named after its chemist creator, Leo Baekeland - was an early plastic used as a cheaper alternative to crystal and metal in depression-era jewellery.
Here's my beloved Miriam Haskell giant black and orange flower brooch that I spotted in Hirst Antiques.
Due to the limited range of dyes available at the time, Bakelite's colours tend to be deeper and richer than those of modern plastics - vintage pieces usually come in shades of green, brown, black, mustard and red. The material is very resilient and polishes to a high shine. Also when worn together there is the special distinctive 'clunk' that only Bakelite has...
Since Bakelite was easy to manipulate and set hard, jewellers let their imaginations run wild and created wearable works of art. Pictured below are a pair of cheerful 'thumbs up' brooches.
Today these innovative wonders are highly sought-after by collectors and jewellery fans. You can view some of the most beautiful examples of modern and vintage Bakelite on my Pinterest board.
Here are also some of my own pieces from my latest addiction....Bakelite!!
The variety in Philippe Ferrandis's work is amazing: his new 'Polynesia' range is completely different in style and and feel to all his other collections. There's no hint of sparkle in this line, and no faceted glass: instead, the jewellery is entirely made up of smooth, entirely opaque beads with a gently polished finish. The 20th century influences are immediately recognisable: the rounded, simple daisy shapes are very reminiscent of the 1960s flower-child movement, while the strings of uniform, outsized beads are pure '50s. The corals and salmon shades featured, meanwhile, are very 1940s - It's impossible to associate this brilliantly designed jewellery with just one era.
The smooth glass beads in this piece's central flower pendant are fixed into a metal setting, meaning the necklace sits flat and keeps its shape. These pieces are clearly inspired by the pop-it beads of the 1950s (below).