This stunning antique Pinchbeck gold pendant is set with striking dark brown and white Scottish banded agates and it has a glass fronted locket compartment in the reverse to add a photo or hair weave.
Dating to the Georgian or early Victorian era this bright yellow gold marquise shaped pendant is crafted in the Etruscan revival style with applied wire-work and granulated beading. The photo compartment in the back flips out easily, it has a cardboard and fabric liner inside and it fits back in without a problem.
The pendant has its original jump ring bale and we have added a new 18ct gold filled cable chain, the high carat gold plating matches the colour of this Pinchbeck pendant perfectly.
"Pinchbeck" is an antique gold substitute invented in 1720 by London watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck. A bright yellow alloy of zinc, copper and tin that is resistant to tarnish it closely resembled the high carat gold of the Georgian era. During this period the only gold sold was 18 to 22-carat quality so the development of Pinchbeck allowed ordinary people to buy gold ‘effect’ jewellery on a budget, it was also worn by the well-to-do in places like stagecoaches where there was often a very real risk of being robbed.
Pinchbeck jewellery was oftentimes plated in high carat gold too making it even harder to distinguish it from the real thing. Although the inventor allegedly made Pinchbeck jewellery clearly labelled as such, later dishonest jewellers passed it off as real gold and its name became a metaphor for a "cheap and tawdry imitation". It fell out of general use in the second half of the 19th century when it was replaced by more affordable lower carat gold which had been legalised in 1854.
Today true Pinchbeck jewellery is highly prized and collectable in its own right. Often misidentified (if it isn't this bright buttery gold colour, then it isn't Pinchbeck) it is rarer than you might think. We do find it astonishing that this intriguing metal alloy still retains its original colour and ability to fool us even after all these years. We did consider this pendant might be a high carat gold piece until acid testing proved otherwise!
A fantastic piece, steeped in history and interest this stunning example of authentic Pinchbeck jewellery would make a beautiful and distinctive addition to your antique jewellery collection.
MATERIALS: Pinchbeck, gold gilding
GEMSTONES: Presidium tested, 8 agates measuring 6mm diameter (one of them has a slight chip to the edge), 1 central oval agate measuring 15x12mm
MEASUREMENTS: 2" (5cm) across, 1-1/4" (3.5cm) tall, chain 16" (40cm)
WEIGHT: 20.5 grams
DATE: Circa 1830 - Georgian/Victorian
CONDITION: in very antique good condition with gentle wear in keeping with age, there are tooling marks on the back and a little age related tarnish here and there, please see photos
At Mercy Madge we offer antique and vintage jewellery that is special and each piece is hand selected by us for you. We rarely come across two identical old treasures, once they are gone, they are truly gone!
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Materials: Pinchbeck, Gold Gilding, Scottish Banded Agates.