Marcasite used in jewelry  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Marcasite sterling silver pendantI've been talking with somebody about marcasite jewelry, and I had to admit that I didn't know what that is. It seems I've never heard of marcasite before. So I looked it up on Google (I have to say, Google search is one of my best friends, it doesn't hide anything from me and it gives me everything I want!) and here are some interesting tidbits on marcasite.

So what is marcasite?
Marcasite, as a mineral is called irons sulfide, however most of the called marcasite used in jewelry is actually iron pyrite, as real marcasite often crumbles into dust and is thus too delicate and soft to be used in jewelry.
Marcasite was especially fashionable in Victorian times (one of my favourite period times). Jewelers usually describe marcasite as a bronze color, and you can usually see marcasite jewelry shining with a vintage estate look.
In jewellery, marcasite combines very well with sterling silver and other white metals, however it's not used with gold, as marcasite and gold do not blend well together.

It seems that when used in jewelry, it tends to be mostly cut in triangle or oval shape. One of the other stones that combines well with marcasite is the black onyx. Also mother of pearl, pearl and opal are stones that go well with marcasite.

As to what type of jewelry one can make with marcasite? Well, you can make the most common types, like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, rings and even broches. The example in the picture is a gorgeous oval shaped pendant used as a locket, with a man-made amethyst in the middle.

Marcasite is one type of mineral that is glued mostly with jeweler's cement (I have hypocement at home, that should work well), rather than being prong set. Because of this, water should not really touch the jewelry as the stones will fall out quite fast from their setting. So make sure that you never go swimming, or take a bath or go sauna with your marcasite pendant. Or wash dishes (yes, some of us still wash the dishes by hand) with your marcasite ring on.

Now although I've mentioned sonic cleaner for cleaning sterling silver jewelry, for marcasite this is a no-no. To remove the tarnish, all you need to do with your marcasite jewelry is wipe it gently with a soft cloth, which can be dry or slightly damp. The silver polishing pads that I give for free with my jewelry (sadly no marcasite jewelry in sight yet) should do the job.

Which brings me to one other tip for cleaning your jewelry that I forgot to mention in my previous post. Wear your silver jewelry regularly. Yep, that will keep the tarnish away from your silver jewelry for a much longer time than if it's simply put in a safe place.

As a final note, for those interested in the healing properties of marcasite, here they are:
Marcasite is believed to fend of negative energies, improve one’s communications abilities, and protect those working in dangerous occupations.

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