Wholesale Marcasite Jewelry

Marcasite is a gemstone that has been used in jewelry for hundreds of years. Marcasite jewelry refers to both the gemstone and the style of jewelry in which small bits of pyrite are placed into silver patterns. Marcasite jewelry has a unique appearance and is commonly seen in antique jewelry.

History of Marcasite Gemstone and Jewelry

Marcasite Jewelry

The Incas

The Incas are credited with the first known usage of marcasite jewelry. Marcasite and pyrite were used for decoration and jewelry. Marcasite jewelry items have been discovered in great quantities in their burial chambers, while decoration stones have been discovered in large quantities throughout South America.Marcasite Jewelry
Marcasite was known as “the Inca’s gemstone,” and it was used to make circular plates, mirrors, and jewelry. Mirrors like this are thought to have been used for ritual sun worship and as a way to glimpse into the future.

Europe and the Middle East

The ancient Greeks weren’t the only ones who made marcasite jewelry in the Old World. The Thracians to their north developed some of Europe’s earliest marcasite jewelry, while the Middle East’s numerous ancient empires and kingdoms had a long history with marcasite jewelry. Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, is supposed to have used marcasite jewelry to enhance and maintain her beauty. Marcasite Jewelry

Victorian England

Marcasite jewelry, on the other hand, reached its “Golden Age” in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. Queen Victoria made marcasite jewelry popular during the Victorian era by using it as a cheaper alternative to diamond jewelry. Marcasite Jewelry
Because most people couldn’t afford diamond jewelry, marcasite became popular among the public fast.

Marcasite Jewelry

What Is Marcasite Jewelry?

Marcasite jewelry is any item of jewelry fashioned from pyrite, a brittle, brassy colored metallic stone also known as Fool’s Gold (more on this confusion between marcasite and pyrite below). Marcasite is a granular stone with a pronounced cleavage and a relatively low hardness (6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale). Because of this, as well as its brittleness, it is unsuitable for most jewelry applications.
Pyrite is a gemstone that has a gold-like appearance but may also be darker and metallic in color, comparable to marcasite. The iconic marcasite jewelry style is created when tiny bits of marcasite are placed into silver jewelry. Marcasite Jewelry

So, since this is composed of pyrite, why is it called marcasite jewelry?

Pyrite vs. Marcasite Jewelry – A Common Confusion

Pyrite, sometimes known as “fool’s gold,” has an appearance and physical characteristics that are extremely similar to marcasite. Because both of these minerals have the same chemistry, it can be either a dimorph or a polymorph of marcasite.

However, the crystal habits of pyrite and marcasite differ, making pyrite far more stable for jewelry usage. Marcasite Jewelry
Rather than marcasite, pyrite is the major component in most marcasite jewelry, both in the past and now. Marcasite can still be found in the mix, but the more pyrite there is, the more durable and high-quality the item will be. Marcasite Jewelry

So, since marcasite isn’t a desirable mineral, why is marcasite jewelry named that? Why isn’t it referred to as pyrite jewelry?
The basic reason is that for a long time, pyrite was known as marcasite. Both materials were thought to be the same until the nineteenth century. The word “marcasite” is derived from the Arabic word “marqasht”

which means “pyrite.”

Marcasite Jewelry

Art Deco Marcasite Jewelry

The romantic Art Nouveau designers of the early nineteenth century promoted marcasite jewelry, but they were quickly followed by Art Deco designers who began making pieces inspired by natural elements such as butterflies, leaves, flowers, and others throughout the Victorian Era. Marcasite Jewelry

The Art Deco design soon gained popularity because of its beauty and functionality, and it is still one of the most well-known jewelry types today.

The second most popular style for this jewelry type is marcasite jewelry from the 1920s. Newer marcasite jewelry designs began to explore geometries, geometric patterns, and designs in the 1920s, going well beyond nature-themed themes. Marcasite Jewelry

Large gemstones were utilized as the focal point of elegant, angular designs, with marcasite accents.
Jewelers are constantly experimenting with fresh, contemporary marcasite jewelry designs over a hundred years later. Marcasite Jewelry

 

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