The History of Marcasite Jewellery
Marcasite jewellery is set with marcasite gemstones made of pyrite (fool's gold), and not as the name suggests, from actual marcasite. Pyrite is a naturally occurring mineral which can be commonly found in a variety of geological formations. Due to its brassy yellow colour it is often mistaken for gold, hence the name 'Fools Gold'. Pyrite is similar to marcasite, but more stable and less brittle. It’s quite different from gold too as it is much lighter and stronger, and because of this it is more resistant to scratches and marking, so it produces long lasting marcasite jewellery which make wonderful keepsakes. Actual Marcasite is a naturally occurring mineral very similar to Pyrite in colour and properties but the difference is that Marcasite is more difficult to mould. It is softer and often crumbles into dust so it’s unstable crystal structure, make it unsuitable for use in jewellery. Marcasite is mostly set in sterling silver jewellery due to the wonderful contrast between the gemstone and the silver metal.
Art Deco style marcasite jewellery designs are as popular today as they were in the 1920's
The name Marcasite in jewellery terms comes from the Arabic word for Pyrite, which is ‘Markaschatsa’. Marcasite jewellery has been made since the time of the Incas and the Ancient Greeks. Cleopatra was reported to wear Marcasite in order to preserve her beauty. The Incas are the first known civilization to have used marcasite in jewellery, with marcasite jewellery found in many Incan burial chambers. The stone can be found in high quantities throughout South America and has been called the gemstone of the Incas. The Inca people used it to make jewellery and also to produce round plate-like objects which may have been used as mirrors. These items were believed to be used in their sun-worship rituals as a means of seeing into the future.
It became popular during the 18th and 19th century, particularly during the Victorian era as Queen Victoria wore Marcasite jewellery as a substitute for diamonds, which were so much more expensive. Most people could not afford real gemstones like diamonds so marcasite was a beautiful alternative and became affordable to the masses.
Marcasite was very popular with the romantic Art Nouveau jewellery designers of the early 19th century and later by the Art Deco designers producing pieces inspired by nature, such as leaves, flowers, butterflies and bees. Today, these designs are still amongst some of the most popularly purchased marcasite pieces. Marcasite is no longer a ‘poor relation’ of the diamond and has become highly regarded in the world of jewellery design. This Vintage style jewellery is elegant and sophisticated and popular with both the younger and older generations. It’s timeless design make it a wonderful keepsake and many marcasite pieces become family heirlooms passed down through the generations. We have specialised in Marcasite jewellery since our business began and have a great love and passion for its stunning vintage style design. We launched our Uneak Boutique website in 2010 with a large range of beautiful quality Marcasite Jewellery which has grown and continued to evolve ever since.
Our Marcasite Jewellery collection includes silver marcasite jewellery, alongside gemstone marcasite jewellery in a variety of colours, styles and designs. This stunning marcasite range features our popular Marcasite earrings, stylish Marcasite rings and a beautiful selection of Marcasite pendants and Marcasite necklaces. There is also a small selection of unusual vintage style Marcasite brooches which are simply gorgeous. It’s a collection of quality sterling silver Marcasite pieces which are timeless designs and perfect for posh parties, a formal function or romantic and elegant bridal wear.
Care of Marcasite Jewellery