Antique Agate Jewellery
Back in 2010 I made a video for YouTube on antique agate jewellery . Looking at it again today I have just realised how popular agate jewellery is. Wow, The video has over 7000 hits! There are loads of you who like antique agate jewellery.
Agate jewellery is a hard stone also known as pebble jewellery. Simple pebbles and beads will have been worn for hundreds if not thousands of years. The Victorians turned it into more elaborate pieces based on traditional Celtic designs. Queen Victoria loved all things Scottish often wore jewellery of this kind. The most common and often the most intricate pieces are brooches. Agate bracelets are wonderful and you can find earrings and necklaces too. I presume that the Queens jewellery would have been made of gold but most of this type of jewellery we see today is made of silver and agates. Agates are also sometimes referred to as chalcedony.
The agates come from the Scottish mountains and they have the colours of the highlands in mauves, blues, browns and greens with a touch of orangey reds thrown in as well. Agates are not exclusively found in Scotland.
Some types of agates are:
- Moss agate – this looks like moss strands have been frozen in time inside the stone. It’s not real moss, just the way the stone set many millennia ago.
- Banded agate – a dark brown or black agate with white or creamy stripes in it. The favourite pieces of this are known as eye agate where the stone is cut so that the banding looks like an eye.
- There is the white or translucent agate which is almost see through. Chrysoprase which looks a bit like bright green jade and was a very popular stone during the art deco era. Carnelians are in orange red colours and are often found in spinner fobs alternating with the dark green variety with red specks in it known as bloodstone. Lace agate which is grey and white and looks almost lacy.
Much of the chunky agate set jewellery we see today is genuinely from the Victorian era but there is also some from throughout the 20th century. You need to look at the style and way the piece is manufactured to be sure of its date of origin. Prices of antique pieces are from about £30 for a tiny brooch upwards. I always have a few pieces in the webshop if you would like to see more.