Ancient Jewellery · Gold

Up To Scratch: A Very Short History of Gold Assay

Have you ever wondered where the saying 'up to scratch' originates? A quick Google suggests that it relates to a line drawn on the ground at the start of a boxing match. But what if that explanation is wrong? What if the saying 'up to scratch' originates from a practice that like fighting for fun,… Continue reading Up To Scratch: A Very Short History of Gold Assay

Antique Jewellery · Garnet

The Death of Edward Gamman, Kansas, 1887

I follow antique jewellery everywhere - online auctions, local auctions, antiques fairs, antique shops, Etsy and even eBay. While the aesthetic, the precious metal, the gemstones are all important when looking at antiques, what I personally find far more fascinating is considering who wore the jewellery and why, and giving the piece some social context.… Continue reading The Death of Edward Gamman, Kansas, 1887

Amethyst · Antique Jewellery · Pearls · Peridot

Identifying Suffragette Jewellery

Browsing in antique shops, you will quickly come across a piece of jewellery labelled 'suffragette'. Antique jewellery pieces incorporating the gem colours purple, white and green (typically amethyst, pearl and peridot) are nowadays almost exclusively associated with the suffragette movement by jewellery sellers who are understandably keen to attach some romance and meaning to the… Continue reading Identifying Suffragette Jewellery

Antique Jewellery

Teeth and Hair in Jewellery – The Curiousness of Victorian Sentimentality

I was inspired to write this post after a recent tweet by Lindsey Fitzharris - if you don't follow her, you really should. Lindsey - a medical historian - was discussing glass eyes in the 19th century, and tweeted an example of a glass eye that had been set into a mourning ring on the… Continue reading Teeth and Hair in Jewellery – The Curiousness of Victorian Sentimentality