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Victorian agate bracelet

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glitterata

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Scottish agate (or "pebble") jewelry became very popular after Queen Victoria & Prince Albert bought Balmoral Castle in Scotland in the 1850s. I''ve wanted a Victorian pebble bracelet for a long time and finally found this one (mislisted on ebay, which was how I was able to afford it). It''s made of gilt brass, set with various agates and jaspers.

I know very little about the stones themselves. Can anyone educate me on Scottish agate?

navetteagateswrist1.jpg
 

glitterata

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Another section. These are a little brighter than real life because of the flash.

navetteagates4.jpg
 

glitterata

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Most of the stones are opaque, but this one is a translucent cream color with little red opaque dots. On my wrist it looks pink.

navetteagates10.jpg
 

innerkitten

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Another beautiful old piece! I like how it's kind of like an agate sampler.

I don't know much about agate and jasper. But one of the mothers at my daughters pre school collects Jasper ( her son is named Jasper), and she has tons of jasper jewelry.
 

glitterata

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Thank you!

I've seen these bracelets called "specimen bracelets." I wish I knew more about the particular specimens in mine.

I love the idea of your friend collecting jewelry with her son's name. Did she start collecting jasper because of Jasper, or did she name him Jasper after the stone?
 

monarch64

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Gorgeous find!!! I have next to no knowledge about agate, jasper, etc., but I think that your bracelet is fabulous.
 

Catmom

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I can''t help you with any knowledge about agate but I just wanted to say that is a lovely and oh so cool bracelet. You always find the best pieces!
 

glitterata

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Thank you!, Cynthia, Michelle, & Cutnut.

I took some sunlight photos. They say you''re supposed to wear Scottish agate with tweeds; gotta get some tweeds!

navetteagates12.jpg
 

innerkitten

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I get the feeling she started collecting Jasper after he was born. She has some nice stuff. She''s a fellow jewelry lover.
 

jewelerman

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Date: 3/12/2009 11:20:16 AM
Author: glitterata
One more.
Glitter,
one word...stunning.Ive said it before...you have the best instinct and taste in jewelry!This is one of the most intersting bracelets ive seen in a long time.I personally believe that the the bracelet is made at a later date for a few reasons
1-Most early scottish agate jewelry was originally made of silver with the agate being inlaid into the piece.The most popular pieces almost always included blue,red,black and green agates.
2-agate(especially muted tones like brown,white,yellow) jewelry made in yellow gold was hugely popular in the late 19th early 20th century(1880s-1910ish)
3-The marquise shape was very popular shape for rings with agate in the above period(espcially1890s-1910)
4- the jump rings look perfectly round and may be fabricated by machine rather then hand putting it at a later date.
Always enjoy your posts!JM
 

movie zombie

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nice!

mz
 

glitterata

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Thank you for the kind words, jewelry friends!

Jewelerman, I bet you''re right about the period. The shape of the agates has an 1880s feeling to me.

I found this very similar bracelet, which the seller thinks is from 1880. Also this very similar one, which the seller thinks is from 1860. But I don''t know what made those seller settle on those dates, so that doesn''t really tell us very much.

The jump rings on mine are very round, as you point out. The rest of the setting is hand fabricated. I wonder a little about the metal. It''s gilt brass, I believe, with a very, very thin layer of high carat gold, rather than rolled gold, as you might expect for that period. The little balls on the ends of the navettes, where the gilding has worn off, have a very pink coppery tone--could it even be gilt copper? (Or--less likely--very low karat gold?) The insides of the back have some greenish tarnish.

Here''s a picture of the back of the clasp, in case that helps with dating (or other info):

navetteagateclasp1.jpg
 

chrono

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You always amaze me with your antique jewellery and this agate bracelet is no exception.
 

T L

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Date: 3/12/2009 7:24:35 PM
Author: Chrono
You always amaze me with your antique jewellery and this agate bracelet is no exception.
Ditto!!
 

glitterata

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Awww, thank you!

I also bought another probably Victorian agate bracelet from the same seller--he says it''s on its way. I''ll post pictures when it arrives. I don''t think it will be as great as this one, but you never know. It''s round beads and longer than usual, which suggests to me that it might have been cut down from a necklace.

My husband can''t stand my new agates. He says they look like hippie jewelry from his California childhood. He says the same thing about another bracelet I have, of silver half-dimes and 3-cent pieces from the 1850s, which was a popular form of jewelry in the 19th century, often with engravings on the coins (though not in this case). I know what he means, but I love my Victorian pseudo-hippie jewelry anyway. And it amuses me to wear jewelry that everyone assumes is just dated junk, but I secretly know it''s a century or two older than they think it is.
 

Kismet

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I love it. It makes me want to go get an agate bracelet and I never wear bracelets. :)
 

Catmom

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Ooooooo glitterata, that bracelet would be stunning with a nice tweed jacket!
 

glitterata

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Well, my second antique agate bracelet from that seller finally arrived. I''ll try to take photos soon. It''s a bracelet of mystery; I''m not convinced it didn''t start life as part of a necklace, and I can''t quite understand which parts are original.

Meanwhile, I spent some time window shopping this afternoon on 47th St. (NYC''s diamond district) to reward myself for having survived a dentist appointment in the neighborhood. I stopped by Gray & Davis, Ltd, antique jewelry dealers with a booth in one of the exchanges (32 West 47th, if anyone wants to pay them a visit). Their prices are on the astronomical side, but oh! they have some amazingly lovely things!

One of the things I saw there was a bracelet very much like my navette one in this thread. Theirs had glass navette-shaped panels instead of (and imitating) the agates, but the setting was very, very similar to mine. I would be extremely surprised if they weren''t from the same period. The woman who showed me the bracelet said it was from around 1810. When I asked why she thought so, she explained that it was made of pinchbeck, which is an alloy of copper and zinc that looks a lot like gold. Pinchbeck stopped being used early on--I can''t seem to find a reliable source about when exactly, but after the laws in Britain changed allowing use of low karat gold and the invention of rolled gold and (perhaps) new methods of gilding. The recipe was lost. The woman at the booth was convinced that her bracelet was made of pinchbeck, so she believed it had to be very early.

I''ve never to my knowledge seen genuine pinchbeck close up. People often use the word incorrectly to describe rolled gold or gold-plated brass, and I''ve seen plenty of those, but not actual pinchbeck. I was puzzled by the coppery color of my bracelet''s metal fittings; it doesn''t look like the usual brass. Could my bracelet be real pinchbeck, and therefore from much earlier than I thought?

I would love to believe it, but it seems too good to be true.
 

glitterata

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Here''s the other agate bracelet from the same seller. It''s made of round agate beads with unmarked silver fittings. The clasp is slightly larger than the other beads and is striped instead of mottled. One other bead is striped, but the rest are mottled. They''re slightly different sizes, which makes me think the bracelet might have been made from leftover parts of a broken necklace that was graduated. But I can''t say for sure.

agatebeadbracelet1.jpg
 

FrekeChild

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What a beautiful bracelet!!!I don't know anything about agate though.
 
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