Marcasite stone jewellery has seen a boom in popularity over the past couple of years with the current popularity of anything 'vintage' helping to boost interest.
So, what is the story behind marcasite stone jewellery?
What is Marcasite Stone?
The word Marcasite (pronounced Marc - A - Seet) actually refers to two separate things; Marcasite the mineral and marcasite stone, used in jewellery.
The mineral Marcasite, sometimes referred to as white iron pyrite, is an iron sulfide with an orthorhombic crystal structure. This mineral is too brittle to be used in jewellery making.
Marcasite jewellery is made from pyrite (also known as Fool’s Gold). This material is very similar to the mineral of the same name, but is less brittle and therefore a better choice for jewellery.
History of Marcasite Jewellery
Marcasite has been used to make jewellery throughout history.
The Incas were the first known users of Marcasite for jewellery – pieces have been found in ancient burial chambers.
It was also used by the Native American Indian Shamans – who believed it to have healing and soothing properties, using it in their sacred rituals.
More recently it has been used as a substitute for diamonds.
Historically, only the rich were able to afford diamonds, and so Marcasite, with its beautiful sparkle, became an affordable substitute.
Marcasite Stone - A Royal Fashion Statement
Marcasite stone jewellery was particularly popular in Victorian era.
When Queen Victoria lost her husband Albert she entered a mourning period and chose to wear black clothing and jewellery symbolic of a widow, and her loyal subjects followed suit.
Diamonds were seen to be too opulent for the mourning period and so the members of the court chose to wear Marcasite instead.
Soon it became the jewellery of choice for the middle and upper classes.
However, it is no longer the poor relation to diamonds, having become highly regarded in the world of jewellery design in its own right.
As a vintage style, marcasite is elegant and sophisticated and many pieces go on to become family heirlooms.
Our Marcasite Stone Jewellery
Our Marcasite jewellery is made using the original Victorian moulds, giving it that truly vintage look that is so popular at the moment.
Marcasite stones and silver are such a stunning combination that Marcasite gemstones are often set in sterling silver or another white metal, (typically not gold – it just doesn’t look as good), to create magnificent pieces of jewellery.
Marcasite designs are often inspired by nature, with leaves, flowers, butterflies and bees amongst the most common designs.
Most Marcasite, particularly Marcasite rings, is faceted as a flat bottomed, many-sided pyramid and set into holes in the metal using jewellery cement.
Our collection comprises of an exquisitely made range of designs, some with added gemstones such as garnet, amethyst, blue topaz, and pearl to name but a few.
Gemstones and Marcasite can be set into earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and brooches and make a unique gift or a special purchase for any ball, party or bride on her wedding day.
Marcasite remains one of our best-selling lines. The antique appearance makes it so very appealing and the extra sparkle it lends to jewellery continues to make it a popular choice.
How to clean Marcasite Jewellery
Marcasite jewellery requires particular care to ensure the stones stay in place within the settings.
The gemstone is fragile and must never be cleaned with harsh chemicals or silver dip, steamers or ultrasonic cleaners.
The most common method of inlaying gems into Marcasite rings is to glue them into small setting holes, which is why it should never come into contact with water as this can loosen the settings.
Take a look at our how to clean marcasite guide for the full walk-through.