Marcasite Jewellery dates back to the ancient Greeks, although it was the Victorians who really popularised it. Especially beloved by Queen Victoria herself, it has recently 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, similar to bygone days and faded glamour. Marcasite jewellery isn’t actually made from the mineral marcasite itself, as this really is too fragile and will crumble when worked. Instead, it is made of small pieces of pyrite (fool’s gold) gemstones set into sterling silver.
Cheaper marcasite jewellery could have poor pyrite shards just glued onto the silver (some jewellers could even use stainless rather than silver), but which means the pyrite stones may be easily dislodged. Higher quality items could have cut stones expertly set into the metal with tiny pins. Depending on what it is cut and the caliber of the stone, pyrite has a colour somewhere within bronze and gunmetal marcasite brooches for sale having an iridescent shine. This type of jewellery is commonly changed to 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 found at antique markets around the UK. Pyrite is quite a good material, so pieces of jewellery made from marcasite have an incredibly solid and expensive feel. It looks great included in an overall vintage look, or as a striking contrast to more contemporary styles of dress.
Marcasite jewellery can be very fragile and you are recommended not to utilize ultrasonic cleaners or chemical dips to clean it. A lot of the time it may just be cleaned with a wet cloth – since it is not meant to become a highly reflective, shiny piece of jewellery it generally does not matter too much if the sterling silver tarnishes only a little bit. When the tarnish gets too much, you are able to just gently polish it with a silver polishing cloth to restore its look.