identify marcasite jewellery
Marcasite is a mystical and beautiful semi-precious gemstone. It is also thought to have powerful metaphysical properties that could help you go into a meditative state, introspect and alleviate mental fatigue. The enigmatic, mysterious and peculiar nature of marcasite makes it a much sought after vintage gem. It is often seen in jewellery pieces along with other gemstones. It is also believed to have a strong connection with art. There are even stories of how renowned artists used this stone to inspire their works of art.
Originally a sulfur ore that was mined for its metal content, marcasite is an opaque iron sulfide mineral. It can be found in a variety of hues and has an unusual sheen that can look like tarnished gold or silver. This makes it a popular choice for jewellery because it is affordable and has a metallic lustre that is not too gaudy.
Most of the time marcasite is paired with other stones in jewellery pieces such as earrings, necklaces and brooches. The small size of these marcasite stones allows jewelers to create intricate designs using them in pave-like patterns. The gem is also very versatile as it can be carved into cabochons for use in rings and pendants or even incorporated into a design with other metalwork such as flowers, leaves and animals.
How do you identify marcasite jewellery?
The history of marcasite dates back to early civilizations where it was used as an alternative to precious gems. It was particularly popular in the 1700s when the sumptuary laws came into place and people wanted to differentiate themselves from those of lower classes who were banned from wearing diamonds. Marcasite was a suitable replacement as it looked similar but was cheaper than its cousins.
Pyrite has a similar composition to marcasite but is more robust and resistant to tarnishing. Until the 19th century when miners started to distinguish these two by their colour and appearance, it was common for both marcasite and pyrite to be mislabeled.
If you are looking to purchase marcasite jewellery, there are some tips that will help you identify genuine marcasite pieces. Authentic marcasite is magnetic and has a yellowish sheen. It is also often glued together and you should be able to see this if you flip the piece of jewellery over. You should also be able to view the workmanship on the pieces and look for rivets that are sticking out of the base metal.
Another way to confirm the authenticity of your marcasite jewellery is to test it under black light. You should be able to see if anything fluoresces under the light as this is an indicator that it is not genuine marcasite.
Once you have identified a genuine marcasite piece of jewellery, take care to store it properly as this is a soft and reactive gemstone that can tarnish easily. It is best kept in low humidity and paired with anti-tarnish strips. It is also best to wear marcasite jewellery sparingly and keep it away from water and chemical solutions.