Victorian Era Chains

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Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837

By Danielle Olivia Tefft

Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne in 1837 marked the beginning of the Victorian era. Her death in 1901 marked its end. During the 64 years of her reign, there were three distinct periods in which fashions and jewelry changed considerably. These changes were due to monumental events in the Queen’s influential life and in the world at large. The types of chains worn by Victorian women changed during these periods, as well.

The early Victorian period from 1837 to 1860:

From top to bottom: Gold chain of alternate quatrefoils and daisies enameled blue and white; Gold chain, in two pieces, of alternate flowers and bows enameled and set with turquoises and table cut diamond; Chain, gold with alternate roses and vine leaves linked by loops and staples. The roses are decorated in white champleve enamel, their leaves at the back in pale green enamel, the vine leaves are decorated in dark green champleve enamel Part of a gold chain of flowers enameled white and set with alternate table-cut diamonds and trap-cut emeralds Curtsey Museum Of London

The early days of Queen Victoria’s reign, as the 200 years prior, were still heavily influenced by the Renaissance jewelry and chains of the 15th and 16th centuries. The popular jewelry of this early Victorian era included plenty of enamel and gemstones like that of the Renaissance. This included dainty handmade chains set with cabochon or table-cut gemstones and enameled floral plaques or cartouches between the chain links. No two chains were ever exactly alike. They were meticulously crafted by hand as was most jewelry until the age of industrialization which would not begin until the 1850s.

These dainty, feminine chains reminded the sentimental Victorians of all things romantic in Shakespeare’s tales. Images of chivalrous knights defending castles, damsels in distress, and prosperous, bustling kingdoms were all conjured up when these delicate chains were worn. Early Victorian women’s dresses were extremely cumbersome with volumes of fabric and balloon-like sleeves. But many of these dresses had deep necklines that dipped well below the shoulders. These necklines showed off the dainty chains well.

Victorian Era Floral Chains


The Victorians were especially fond of chains with floral attributes because of the symbolic meanings of flowers. These chains were typically made of 18K or 22K gold for the wealthy. But chains could also be crafted out of less expensive silver or pinchbeck for the less affluent. Pinchbeck was an alloy combining zinc and copper. It looked quite like real gold. Even the wealthy commissioned pinchbeck jewelry with paste stones to wear during their travels in case they were robbed.

Gold Electroplated Enamel Chain with amethyst and Heliodor Beads Curtsey Museum Of London

In the 1840s, the process of electroplating gold onto base metal was introduced. Electroplated chains were made of lower quality base metals than pinchbeck. Electroplate is not to be confused with gold filled pieces (also called rolled gold pieces) which were created by fusing thin gold sheets to base metal with high heat. Whether electroplated or gold filled, gold overlay was typically 10K, 12K, or 16K.

Black Metallic Gothic Necklace with Winged Heart

Berlin iron work chains, first introduced in Germany, were also popular during the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. These distinctive dark grey iron chains typically had elaborate neo-classical or Gothic features on large embellished cartouche links. Some Berlin iron work chains even featured mother of pearl plaques with iron pictorial scenes mounted upon them. Unlike most chains of the day, Berlin iron work chains were molded in factories, first in Germany but then in Austria, Bohemia and France.

Cartouche Style Chains

Cut steel chains were also in vogue. These intricate works of art took a lot of time to assemble. Each link and each embellishment was riveted in place by hand.  These chains typically featured cartouche style links encrusted with gemstones. Cut steel balls and Bohemian garnets were popular embellishments on cut steel chains.

Snake chains were introduced early on, as well. They actually looked like real snakes with a head and tail at either end. Snakes had long been symbols of eternal love and good fortune. After Prince Albert presented Queen Victoria with a snake-shaped engagement ring in 1839, snake motif jewelry including chains became mega-popular. These chains remained popular throughout the entire Victorian era. Victorian snake chains were more “knobby” than the snake chains of today. Often they were set with turquoise or seed pearls to more closely imitate a snake’s skin.

Machine Made Brass Chains

The Industrial Revolution changed the way chains and other jewelry was made. Chains and other jewelry began to be made by machine in the 1850s. Prior to that time, most chains were assembled by hand. Mechanization enabled chains to be made more cheaply. It also made mass-production possible. Chains and other jewelry became more widely available to the growing middle classes in both Europe and America.

In 1854, to compete with the world market, Britain legalized 9K and 15K gold. In America, gold chains could be as high as 18K and as low as 8K. In1855, aluminum chains were introduced. At the time, aluminum was considered to be a rare precious metal on par with gold.

The middle Victorian period from the 1860s to 1880:

1861 was a year no Victorian could remember without sadness. Queen Victorian lost her beloved husband Prince Albert to typhoid fever. The Civil War began in America. Death of loved ones and subsequent despair permeated every aspect of Victorian society from then on. The dresses of the day were still bulky but typically darker and more somber than those of previous years. They often had high collar necklines that no longer accommodated the dainty chains of previous years.

During this time period chains took on a heavier look. Heavy chains were popular because they could accommodate heavy mourning jewelry ; lockets, crosses and medallions worn in remembrance for lost loved ones. By this time, most metal chains were machine made. Thick chains of tortoise shell, jet (black fossilized wood), woven hair and other materials besides metal were also popular.

By the 1860s, the Victorian fascination with ancient civilizations was in full swing. Much of the jewelry, including chains, took on archeological themes from ancient Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman civilizations. Revival of Renaissance themes also came into vogue. New chain styles in the middle Victorian years included thick Etruscan revival mesh chains and chunky book chains which had an air of the Renaissance about them.

9K Gold Victorian Book Chain

Book chains consisted of large flat plaques for links, often with elaborate engraving on each link. They fastened in front, typically by a clasp hidden behind a cameo or other large medallion. Regardless of the style, most chains created in the middle Victorian years and beyond were machine made of gold, gold plate, gold fill, silver or brass.

The late Victorian Period from the 1880s to 1901:

During the sunset of Queen Victoria’s reign, the world was advancing at lightning speed. Inventions like the bicycle, telephone and the automobile thrust society forward and made it more fast-paced than ever before. Naturalism and Darwin’s theories of evolution were hot topics of the day.  Times were prosperous and the middle class was growing exponentially. Industry was booming. Both men and women were in the work force. To accommodate their active lifestyles, women had to wear less cumbersome clothing than their earlier Victorian counterparts.

Victorian Era Style Gunmetal Jewelry

Chains were made from much the same metals that had been popular in previous years: gold, gold plate, gold filled, silver, and brass. But gunmetal also became a popular metal for chains in the late Victorian era. Gun metal (also called German silver) was an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc. It had a distinctive dark grey sheen.

Egyptian themed chain necklace

Etruscan revival and Egyptian themed chains remained popular. Aesthetic movement chains with lovely etched scenes of the natural world came into vogue. Long chains to hold watches, lorgnettes (eyeglasses and opera glasses), purses and chatelaines (sets of household items and keys) became a necessity. Almost all chains were manufactured by machine and mass-produced unless specially commissioned to be made by hand.

Watch cocks with link chains

Watch cock link chains quickly became the new trendy style in the late Victorian era. These attractive chains were made from the intricate round metal findings or cocks that held clock movements in place. They were so ornate they looked like works of art.

Victorian era chains with gemstones and crystal

In addition, there were other numerous manufactured chain styles available to suit every taste. Many of these chains are still popular today. They included trace chains, rope chains, curb chains, twist chains, woven chains, metal bead chains and chains with gemstone beads between the links. Some had fancy names like the Prince of Wales chain, and the Spanish knot chain. Many advertisements for chains from fine jewelers and department stores survive from this era today. They offer a delightful glimpse back into Victorian utility and vanity.


Sparkle & Shine: A Brief History of How Glimmering Gems and Beads Came to Be

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Sparkling Cut Gems

By Danielle Olivia Tefft

Over the long history of jewelry, be it bedecked with gems or beads, the most coveted pieces have had plenty of sparkle and shine. It seems human jewelry lovers have always been a bit like crows. We’ve always been attracted to shiny objects, the more shimmer and glimmer, the better. But it took trial and error and lots of time to create the dazzling objects of our age old obsession. Through the centuries, there have been four major technological advances that have made it possible for us to enjoy the super shiny gems and beads we so enjoy today.

1. Cut:

Prior to the invention of glittery linings and coatings for glass beads and gemstones (faux and real) cut was the only way to achieve sparkle and shine. However, it took centuries to discover the trick to faceting various gemstones to draw out their maximum fire. Techniques for cutting and faceting paste (glass stones) to achieve maximum shine were developed alongside that of real gems.

Italian Crystal Chandelier

The first major breakthrough in this area came from Italian cardinal and lapidary Vincenzo Peruzzi in the 17th century. He is credited with originating the 58 facet brilliant cut.  Throughout the following centuries, versions of the brilliant cut were used for glass stones, quartz crystals and gemstones. But the diamond was found to be far superior in displaying the sparkle and shine attributed to the many facets of the brilliant cut.

Sparkle & Shine: Brilliant Cut Diamond

By 1750, jeweler David Jefferies developed the English version of the brilliant cut. Jeffries’ version was closer to the modern brilliant cut we covet today. The old mine cut, so popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, was also a version of Peruzzi’s original brilliant cut. Finally at the onset of WWI, the modern brilliant cut was proposed by Polish lapidary Marcel Tolkowsky. His version was tweaked slightly after WWII.  But Tolkowsky’s cut is basically the one we know today as the standard to achieve maximum sparkle (fire) and shine (brilliance) in round diamonds. In addition, many specialty brand cuts have arisen like the Leo diamond by Kay Jewelers and Hearts on Fire. These jewelers seek to out-sparkle their competitors with patented cuts that promise unmatched fire and brilliance.

Parallel to the development of the brilliant cut for diamonds, the glassmakers in the Gablonz area of Bohemia were perfecting the art of creating faceted glass stones. These multifaceted stones had simplified versions of the brilliant cut. Maximum sparkle was achieved faceting leaded glass stones on tin cutting wheels. These gorgeous glass stones were called strass (artificial diamonds).  Strass from the Gablonz region were used by the booming American costume jewelry industry in the 1920s and 1930s and made many Bohemian glassmakers wealthy.

At first, strass was all made by hand. But then, Daniel Swarovski (1862-1956) invented a superior glass cutting machine in the 1890s. He became the world’s most famous producer of mass produced faceted glass stones. By that time, he was already renowned.  All other glass stones were judged against his high quality glass strass.  In spite of this, glass stones, even Swarovski’s, were only about ¼ as shiny as real diamonds. To compete with the real thing they had to be augmented with linings (see below).

Swarovski and other glassmakers also faceted natural rock crystal. It was colorless quartz. Rock crystal was harder than glass so it was easier to work with. As with glass, the sparkle achieved was nice, but still not as that of a properly cut diamond.

2. Composition:

Faux Beads

Early on, glassmakers learned to add ingredients to their glass formulas to add extra sparkle and shine to their beads and faux gems. An example was aventurine glass. It was a composition glass with sparkly ingredients like mica flecks. The Gablonz region glassmakers also perfected fake opal stones by adding flecks of colored foil to glass.

Natural rhinestones were highly prized by jewelers. They were pieces of quartz from the Alps carried down into the valleys by rivers like the Rhine, whose crystal properties created an iridescent rainbow effect when the light hit them. The Bohemian Gablonz glassmakers were able to imitate this rainbow effect in glass. The glass imitation was actually composed of transparent red, green and blue bands of glass inside a clear glass cane. Called “Iris Glass,” this sparkling glass was made to emulate the original rhinestones.

Dichroic glass has multiple layers of microscopic shiny metal oxides in its composition. The effect is metallic sparkle and shine and colorful high foil like effects. When you turn it from side to side, these layers appear to change colors. Modern dichroic glass burst upon the artisan jewelry scene by the 1990s and is here to stay as one of our coveted processes to achieve the shiny objects of our desires. It is most widely used in pendants. Interestingly, NASA was instrumental in developing modern dichroic glass for the U. S. space program in the 1950s and 1960s.

3. Linings:

Metallic Foil Glass Beads

Paste (glass) stones by themselves just didn’t possess the sparkle and shine of diamonds. They had to be enhanced with metallic foil backs, at first in closed settings. These foil backs were most often thin layers of copper or silver. Similarly, glass beads were enhanced with metallic linings. Initially, glass beads were lined with mercury and lead to make them sparkle. Then, in the early 1800s, Dr. Paul Weiskopf of Gablonz introduced a method of lining beads with silver which was much safer for the glassmakers to work with. Silver became the preferred lining for paste stones and beads in the 1800s.

Japanese Gold Color Glass Pearl

By 1900, Weiskopf’s son invented a method to line beads with actual gold. The demand for gold and silver lined beads was huge from the 1880s into the early 20th century. Briefly before World War I, the Japanese cornered the market for silver lined beads. But the Gablonz region glassmakers maintained total control of gold lined bead market throughout this time period. When World War I hit, they gained control of the silver lined bead market again.

4. Coatings:

Another method to achieve sparkle and shine on beads and glass gems was to coat them with shiny materials. Ballotini Beads were popular from1800 through the early 1900s. They were made by coating wooden beads with crushed crystals to produce a “sugary” effect. The beads were covered with glue and then rolled in the crushed crystals. This produced a sparkly effect when the beads were rolled around under bright light.

Metallic Finish Coral Color Glass Beads Necklace

Metallic sparkle and shine has long been a favorite among bead connoisseurs. The bead makers of Gablonz first painted metallic finishes on glass beads, including iridescent coatings. Next, they came up with iridized and electroplated glass beads. Iridized glass was glass sprayed with an almost hair-thin vapor deposit of metal oxides. The craze for iridized glass and beads reached its height during the late 1800s and again in the 1950s and 1960s after the introduction of aurora borealis coating. Aurora Borealis Coating (often referred to as AB) was a superior iridized coating. It was created through collaboration between the famous crystal manufacturing company, Swarovski and Christian Dior in the early 1950s. By this time, the firm’s prestigious founder, Daniel Swarovski, was in his nineties. His grandson Manfred oversaw the collaboration with Dior.

In 1953, the two companies developed a technique for coating glass stones with a unique, iridescent metallic finish. This coating gave the stones a dazzling glimmer that had never been achieved before in the history of jewelry.  It was named after the glimmering Northern Lights in the arctic sky. Aurora borealis costume jewelry made its public debut in 1955. This mesmerizing coating still dazzles us today. It can be found on expensive pieces of high end couture jewelry, vintage flea market finds and everything in between.


How To Make Copper Wire Teardrop Pendant

This item was filled under [ How To Make Jewelry ]

This inexpensive beautiful glass tear drop pendant can be made with simple technique using only two tools and basic material. You can use any color and size glass bead which suites to your taste. Also we do have a slide show to watch click here.

Tools: round-nose pliers  And wire cutters

35 cm (14 inches) of 20 gauge wire, 10 cm (4 inches) of 28 gauge wire,  1 glass drop – 10mm x 14mm ,1 copper bead – size 5 mm , 4 copper beads – size 3 mm , 2 copper beads – size 2,5 mm.



The Ural Mountains: Russia’s Gemstone Treasure Trove

This item was filled under [ Gemstones ]

Ural Mountains Stretching 1,550 Miles From Arctic Sea To Kazakhstan

By Danielle Olivia Tefft

Did you know that many of the world’s most coveted gemstones can be found in Russia’s Ural Mountains?  Incredibly, over 1000 different gemstones and metal ores have been discovered during a roughly 300 year period in this abundant region. The Ural Mountains span approximately 1,550 miles from the Arctic Sea in the north into the country of Kazakhstan in the south. They have long been considered the natural border between Asia and Europe. From Moscow by car along the aptly named Ural highway, the foothills are about 900 miles east.

View From The Slope Of Third Bugor Mount, Northern Ural

You would think such a mountain chain would present a formidable barrier of dizzying peaks and expansive terrain. But the Ural Mountains are at most only 93 miles wide. They are also an ancient mountain chain whose peaks have been eroded through millions of years. Therefore, they are more like rolling hills than mountains in most areas. Yet surprisingly, along with abundant flora and fauna, this unassuming mountain chain holds an incredible variety of mineral and metal wealth.

Jasper Specimens From Ural Mountains

The story of the Ural Mountains’ gemstone and metal ore abundance begins with the establishment of Yekaterinburg. Yekaterinburg is actually located in the central Ural Mountain foothills of the eastern slope which borders the vast Siberian plains. Parts of the city actually lie in both Europe and Asia. Yekaterinburg was the epicenter of Ural Mountain gemstone processing for over 100 mines within a 10 mile radius around it.  The gemstones mined within this zone included emeralds, alexandrite, amethyst, aquamarine, demantoid garnets, diamonds, jadeite, yellow beryl, malachite and jasper.

Peter the Great Emperor of Russia 1682 to 1725

Yekaterinburg was founded in 1723 by Tsar Peter the Great. He named the city in honor of his wife, Catherine I.  Peter the Great was the first tsar to exploit the abundant gemstone and metal ore wealth discovered in the Ural Mountain region during the previous century. Metal works (iron, copper and later gold) and a royal lapidary (a studio where gems are cut and polished) were established in Yekaterinburg. For the next 200 years, the city flourished as the foremost location where raw gemstones and minerals were fashioned into ostentatious jewels and furnishings for Russian royalty. Amethyst of the deepest purple and glittering green demantoid garnets with feathery inclusions called horsetails were among their favorites. Also, many thousands of pounds of exceptional green banded malachite from the Yekaterinburg region were used to decorate their opulent palaces.

Carl Faberge, Imperial Jeweler to the tsars, supposedly had his own lapidary works in the Ural Mountains. But he is known to have frequently purchased gemstones in Yekaterinburg for his other discriminating customers. He also commissioned much of his work from the royal lapidary in the city.

Neo-Gothic style Building Yekaterinburg

In 1891, Tiffany & Co’s legendary gemologist George Kunz visited Yekaterinburg and the surrounding gemstone mines. He could hardly believe the vast diversity of high quality raw jewel material he saw in this remote outpost. Amethyst, sapphire, topaz, zircon, smoky quartz and citrine were among the many gemstones he mentioned in his report. He also noted that approximately 1000 people were employed in the lapidary trade in Yekaterinburg at the time. They processed an amazing bounty of over a million pounds of gemstones that year alone. George Kunz purchased as much as he could for Tiffany & Co. He included a large quantity of demantoid garnets in the purchase as the gemstone was a hot commodity in Europe and America at the time.


Small village Near Remote Ural Mountain Foothills During Winter

The actual gemstone miners in these remote Ural Mountain foothills did not have life easy. Often the mining season was only two or three months long before bitter cold Siberian winters made it impossible to continue until the following year. The miners toiled away in swampy, bug infested areas, as most gemstone veins were along river beds.  To pass the time, they told each other stories of wondrous creatures and guardians of the gemstones they mined. These characters included a magical deer that could produce gemstones out of thin air by stomping the ground with his hoof. There was also a tale about the powerful female guardian of Copper Mountain who protected the Ural gemstones and metal ores from the undeserving. These regional fairytales were collected by Pavel Bazhov in his book, Malachite Casket, first published in 1939.

Jasper Mined Near Ural Mountains

By the 1800s, the metal armament production begun by Peter the Great steadily competed with the lapidary reputation Yekaterinburg was known for. The city gradually transformed into an industrial hub for military arms and equipment production. By the 1900s, Ural Mountain gemstone processing took a back seat to that of the metal ores and fuel minerals needed to grow the Soviet military machine into a formidable world entity.

Eurasian Continental Divide Boarder in Ural Mountains

Yekaterinburg and the Ural Mountains became recognized as strategic for national defense. Military factories were built that refined plutonium, platinum and coal, oil and natural gas for both World Wars. Beryllium, found in emerald deposits, was used for military applications. The emeralds were destroyed to extract it. This militarization continued into the Cold War Era of the 1950s and 1960s. It left strategic Ural regions like Yekaterinburg depleted of many resources. In addition, failure to keep up with modern metallurgy practices eventually eroded the mighty industrial city and left it outdated in 21st century Post-Soviet Union Russia. There was another toll, as well. The price for building the Soviet military machine throughout the 20th century was the subsequent environmental devastation and contamination of many Ural Mountain regions, including Yekaterinburg.

Tourists Visiting An Abandoned Gem Mine Near Yekaterinburg

In the 21st century, Yekaterinburg has begun her transformation. It is a sprawling city with a million and a half people. Seemingly, the direction to take would be to look back to her 17th century lapidary roots. Yekaterinburg has always attracted gemstone admirers from around the world. They still come to see and purchase gemstones in homage to the great history of the region. This specialty tourism has become a recognized economic resource for the city. Sadly, most of the gemstones now being sold in Yekaterinburg are imported from other parts of the world. This is because many of the original gemstone mines have been depleted or forgotten. A handful of modern entrepreneurs have taken it upon themselves to revisit gemstone mining in the region. This includes the proprietors of a rediscovered mine that has yielded demantoid garnets of spectacular quality in recent times. One thing is for sure: No matter what direction Russia chooses to take when it comes to the future stewardship of Yekaterinburg and the Ural Mountains, the area will always be known as Russia’s gemstone treasure trove.


How to Make Chic Cluster Bracelet

This item was filled under [ How To Make Jewelry ]

This is simple than you thought to make a chic Cluster Bracelet. Here the list of products you need. You can find slide show by clicking this

Materials Needed: 18 gold flat head pins, 24 gold square beads , 4 small gold beads, 2 medium gold beads, 7 teal pearl beads, 2 small pearl beads, 2 medium pearl beads, 1 large pearl bead, 11 gold doubled coil jump rings
Stretch Elastic.

Tools: Flat nose pliers, wire cutters, round pointed pliers


From Pave Beads to Brooches: A Passion for Pave

This item was filled under [ Beads ]


Tube Pave Beads

Ryn Gargulinski

The first thing you need to know about pave is how to pronounce it. From the French word meaning “paved,” the proper pronunciation is “pah-vay,” and the spelling is technically correct with an accent over the final e. Modern keyboards are not always kind to accent marks, but the modern fashion scene is more than kind to the pave style.

People absolutely love it, as evidenced by its extreme popularity on everything from skull brooches to belt buckles, drop earrings to drop-dead gorgeous bracelets. The pave setting is an especially favored one for engagement rings that wish to give off an antique vibe. And yes, the fashion scene is rife with elaborate, intricate and eye-catching pave beads.

Pave Explained

Pave beads are those that boast the pave-style setting, which is easily identifiable by its generous array of small stones set very close together. So named for its resemblance to cobblestones that pave the street, pave settings feature stones that cover the entire background of the piece, concealing any hint of underlying metal. Small burrs of metal hold the stones in place at the stone’s girdle, or their widest point.

Any type of small stone or bead may be used in the pave style, although shimmery options definitely take center stage. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend for pave on high-end rings, but the style can shine with any type of glimmering stone. Rubies, emeralds, amethyst, topaz or any other genuine or precious gemstone are standard fare for pave. Rhinestones are another pave favorite, as are crystals in a variety of colors, layouts and designs.

Round Pave Beads Sign

Origins of Pave

While it’s easy to spot the pave style on the modern fashion scene, it’s tougher to pinpoint exactly when the pave setting originated. A handful of jewelry websites, forums and organizations will gladly offer detailed descriptions of pave, yet none of the readily available details include a solid timeframe for its first appearance. Inquiries to university art and jewelry design programs, jewelry enthusiasts and even prominent jewelers likewise came up empty.

Even if an exact date of the pave setting’s origin remains hazy, history is peppered with hints of its emergence:

Ancient times: Etruscan jewelry featured ornamental beading, an influencer of pave and other intricate designs.

1675: The “en tremblant” technique, which the Antique Jewelry University says first appeared in 1675, may have embraced the pave setting to add impact to the piece. The French term means “to tremble,” and the term was initially used to describe jewelry of the 18th and 19th centuries that featured certain parts of the piece set on a trembler that allowed movement. The jewelry would move when worn and was particularly shimmery when reflecting candlelight.

1775: Micro mosaics, which feature tiny tiles embedded in cement to create patterns, came into vogue on the art scene. The technique actually dates back to ancient Greece and shares a concept similar to pave.

1800s: The mid-1800s saw a revived popularity in the millegrian setting, which features tiny beadwork. This setting received even more prominence at the turn of the 20th century. Belle Epoque and Edwardian jewelry near the end of the 19th and turn of the 20th century were big on millegrain, especially with garland style jewelry that made a prime platform for a setting such as pave. White jewelry was all the rage, as were delicate details and elaborate yet lightweight pieces that included tiaras, bracelets and dog collars. All were good candidates for pave.

1870: An example of en tremblant in action is a flowered brooch circa 1870 pictured on the Antique Jewelry University site. The brooch appears to feature a pave setting throughout the piece.

1920s: The Art Deco era was a heyday for millegrain and other intricate settings, inclusive of pave.

Modern times: While the labor-intensive and painstaking settings such as pave were once only attainable to the very wealthy, modern technology decreased the manual labor and increased the efficiency and speed with which pave could be created. This made it affordable enough for a larger population as well as versatile enough to cover everything from those skull brooches to belt buckles.

Rondelle Pave Beads

Pave Variations

The pave setting is popular, eye-catching and bold, and it also comes in a hearty lineup of variations. For any of the variations, the basic method remains the same. The setting technique uses carved-out metal beads underlying the visible stones to hold them in place. The metal beads cover the entire surface of the piece, and each has its center gutted out so the bead can hold a stone.

In some cases, the underlying metal beads are completely hidden. In others, they are visible around the edges of each stone. In still other cases, small beads are visible around the stones or edges of the piece using the aforementioned technique known as millegrain.

An older method of pave, known as old-fashioned royal pave, places more than one stone in a single, larger underlying metal bead. The larger bead usually holds two or three stones, and the technique works best for larger stones.

The jewelry designer website of Leon Mege notes that more than 50 variations of pave exist, with the bulk of them falling into one of two categories: traditional or modern.

Traditional pave features edges or borders between each row as well as along the outline of the entire piece.

Modern pave puts stones on top of metal beads, with the metal showing on all sides of the stone. The metal can be made less visible by rounding it down, as is done with millegrain, or hiding it with additional stones.

Micro Pave

Another variation of pave is micro pave, which uses stones and underlying beads so small a microscope is needed to properly align them in their miniscule setting. While regular pave can feature stones of different sizes to best fill the space, micro pave uses stones of uniform size. The stones also create a pattern that resembles a honeycomb, due to the stones being offset from row to row.

Pave Confusion

Even though pave comes in a wide range of variations, it is still often confused with other methods or techniques. Some have made pave synonymous with millegrain, which it is not.

Millegrain, which translates to “one thousand grains,” refers to the extremely tiny beaded detail found around the edges or between the stones on certain jewelry pieces. Millegrain is a popular pick to combine with pave, as it involves the rounding down of the metal edges around each stone so light reflected on the metal doesn’t compete with the brilliance of the stones. Platinum is typically the metal of choice for millegraining, and the detailing gives the piece a fine beaded texture.

Others have confused pave with the channel setting, which use a distinctly different technique. A channel setting uses two strips of metal to form a channel in which stones are placed. The metal strips hold the stones securely in place, eliminating the need for any prongs and creating smooth edges that are less likely to snag on clothing or other items.

The invisible setting, which we mentioned earlier, may be somewhat similar in appearance to pave but it, too, uses a different setting technique. Rather than stones being placed in the carved-out center of underlying metal beads, the stones are cut to fit as closely together as possible and then held in place by an underlying thin metal framework.

Colorful Pave Beads

To Pave or Not to Pave

The final piece of the pave puzzle comes from deciding if the style is right for you. Whether you are choosing the style for beads, belt buckles, brooches or your diamond ring, there are a few advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind.

One disadvantage is the delicacy of the setting. Pave stones can easily fall out if handled harshly. They can also be difficult to clean if dirt gets trapped between or beneath the stones.

A major advantage, in the same vein, is the delicacy of the setting. Such a large array of small stones can make a huge impact on any jewelry it graces. This especially holds true with pave beads, which can be combined in any number of pieces or designs to create a truly stunning work of wearable art.

Pave’s striking appearance serves as a top benefit as well as the reason the style is likely to stick around for a very long time. Pave settings easily hide flaws in any stones while concealing the unsightly underlying metal. Modern technology has made it affordable, imagination has made it versatile, and unbridled creativity can make it incredible.


How To Loom Beads

This item was filled under [ How To Make Jewelry ]

Megan who is an expert on bead looming explains how to loom an end free beaded applique. Please flow these step by step how to tutorial to loom your beads in easy way.

By : Megan Peterson

How To Loom Beads


Birthstones: Gods and Magic . . . and Maybe a Little Bit of Marketing

This item was filled under [ jewelry Articles ]


Modern Birthstone Chart

By Ellen Steiber

For those of us who love gemstones and jewelry, the notion of birthstones is almost irresistible.  The basic idea is that each one of us has a gemstone that—by virtue of our birth date—will bring good things into our lives and possibly even protect us from harm.  At the very least, birthstones are considered lucky.   Though these were originally ancient talismanic ideas, even now in the 21st Century, the wearing  of birthstones is common throughout the world.   If you ask, “What’s your birthstone?”  most people know the answer. But depending on where you were born and which culture you’re part of, the answers can be very different.  Part of this is just geography.  For example, the birthstones derived from the Old Testament were limited to gemstones that might have been available in the ancient Middle East, and these were quite different than the stones available in India.  Nowadays, you can actually choose among at least a dozen different systems of natal gemstones, though not all hinge on the month of your birth.  There are also birthstones connected with your zodiac signor the day of the week on which you were born. There are even natal stones connected with the hour of birth.

Zodiac Sign Birthstone Chart

The Origin of Birthstones , India’s Nine Gems, and  zodiac  Stones

It’s impossible to determine exactly where the idea of birthstones originated, but one of the oldest systems—estimates say it’s at least 6,000 years old—comes from India where  ancient Hindu writings drew connections between gems and the planets.  And the planets were not merely huge rocks in the sky but celestial deities.  (This is similar to other ancient civilizations. Think of the Roman gods: Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Mercury, etc.)   However, the idea of connecting gems with celestial deities didn’t originate in India.  Rather, it’s believed that it came to India from Mesopotamia, where it existed as early as the third millennium, B.C.

At the heart of any system of astrology is the belief that here on Earth, we are subject to the influence of the stars and planets. This is a particularly potent idea if you believe that the planets themselves are gods. And if the planets are gods, then it’s quite natural to believe that gems, too, are directly influenced by them.  The ancient Hindu texts contain a number of myths about the origin of precious natural gemstones, but according to the Kurma Purana, gemstones were actually created by the colored rays of light that emanate from the planets.  Not only did the gems absorb these planetary energies, but they could transmit them to the people who wore them.  For example, emeralds were connected with Mercury, so to wear emeralds was to align yourself with—or attract the energy of– Mercury, which was considered a planet of intellect, communication, and a certain restlessness.

Ancient Hindu Astrology Symbols On The Wall, Jaisalmer, India

Hindu astrology is tremendously complex –and I am greatly oversimplifying—but one of its tenets  is that certain planets are beneficent, others maleficent. Based on a person’s horoscope—specifically, the placement of planets in their chart—they’re advised to wear certain gems to balance the planetary influences. Depending on your chart, some stones are considered lucky; others unlucky. In India this belief in lucky stones correspond to a person’s Moon sign.  In the West, the gems considered lucky are those connected with the Sun sign, which is often the month of birth.  The other thing to know about Hindu astrology is that it’s based on an ancient view of the solar system with nine planets that do not quite correspond with our contemporary telescope-enhanced view of the skies. (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were all discovered well after the Hindu cosmology was established.)  In this older understanding  of the cosmos, there were seven major planets and deities (including the Sun and Moon), each ruling a day of the week.  The two additional planets, Rahu and Ketu, were Shadow Planets; Rahu was connected with solar and lunar eclipses, Ketu with comets;  they did not have specific days associated with them.  So in the Hindu or Vedic system, the planet-gemstone-day correspondences go like this :

Hindu Vedic Birthstone Chart

When all nine of these gems were combined in an amulet called nava-ratna  (nine gemstones), it was considered not only a major protection but a means to manifest great power and success in the world.  Since each gem was believed to contain and radiate the cosmic rays of its planet/deity, wearing the   nava-ratna was a way of harnessing  the combined energies of the celestial forces.

Based on the nava-ratna is the system of gems connected to the Asian zodiac.  This is the system used for birthstones throughout most of Asia:

Thai Birthstone Chart

In Thailand each day of the week was also believed to have its own gem.

The Twelve Gems of the High Priest’s Breastplate

Greek Zodiac Signs

The Western belief in birthstones  traces  to  both the Hellenic/Greek zodiac and to the Bible, which specifies twelve sacred stones.  Exodus 28:51 gives instructions for the High Priest Aaron’s breastplate to be set with four rows of gems, enclosed in gold filigree, each stone engraved with one of the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.  However, in the first century A.D., the Roman historian Josephus Flavius  alludes to the twelve gems also representing the twelve signs of the zodiac.   According to the gemologist George Frederick Kunz,  Aaron’s original breastplate was lost during the destruction of the first temple of Jerusalem.  But a second one—the Breastplate of the Second Temple—which dates back to the 6th century B.C.—was fashioned, and this was the breastplate that Josephus actually saw.

So which stones were in the breastplate?  Well, they change according to whichever translation of the Bible you happen to be reading.  This is because each version tried to translate the ancient Hebrew or Aramaic names of the stones into contemporary ones, and the ancient names of the stones were often not the names we now use.   For example, most editions of the Bible list topaz as one of those gems, but we now know that in the times of Ancient Egypt, which is when the exodus was supposed to have occurred, topaz was the term used for peridot. So the topaz in the breastplate was most likely a peridot.   Similarly, sapphire was the term the ancients used for lapis lazuli, and lapis was common in Ancient Egypt and sapphire was not.  So it’s a good guess that the sapphire in the breast plate was actually lapis lazuli.   All the translations seem to agree that amethyst and banded agate were among the twelve gems, but it’s now believed that ruby, sapphire, topaz, diamond, and emerald only became part of the breastplate in later versions of the Bible.   And just to make things even more confusing, it’s believed that the gems in the original Mosaic Breastplate were different from those in the Breastplate of the Second Temple.   For example, the first one had a red jasper, which became carnelian in the second; and the first had Almandine garnet , which became ruby in the second.

High Priest Breastplate

Quite honestly, there is no way of knowing exactly which stones were in these breastplates.  But maybe all we need to know are two things:  1) The breastplate, with its twelve stones, was not merely symbolic or decorative but, like the nava-ratna, considered a sacred object of immense power; the breastplate was believed to be able to determine the guilt or innocence of an offender and to have oracular powers.  And 2)  by the time Josephus was writing about them, it was believed that each stone was connected to one of the signs of the zodiac  and when that sign was ascendant, the beneficial powers of the stone were strengthened.  (If you’re interested in the specific stones mentioned in each translation of the Bible, I highly recommend Bruce G. Knuth’s Gems in Myth, Legend, and Lore, which has a number of wonderful charts listing the gems mentioned in each version of the Bible as well as the birthstones that are specific to different cultures.)

According to Knuth, there’s evidence suggesting a tradition in which people would collect all twelve stones mentioned in the breastplate and wear each one during the time when its zodiac sign was ascendant, in order to get the maximum benefits from it.  This gradually changed to a custom in which people wore the one stone that was connected with their own sign or birth month, which is more or less, the beginning of wearing birthstones , as we know them.

The Gems of the Church

Over the centuries, cultures and religions have taken what’s come before them and reworked those earlier beliefs to conform to their own worldview.  Christianity, one of the newer religions, built on Judaism but incorporating some Pagan beliefs, was particularly adept at this kind of transformation.  European Christians had adopted the practice of wearing stones connected with their birth month, which was derived from Aaron’s Breastplate and the Hellenic zodiac.  These associations and the stones themselves were changed in Revelations 21:14 when Saint John described his vision of New Jerusalem, a heaven on earth that would follow the Rapture.  In this new celestial city, where God would dwell with His people, there would be twelve foundation stones, each inscribed with the name of one of the twelve Apostles (instead of the Twelve Tribes of Israel).

Christian Birthstone Chart

In the 10th century, Andreas, bishop of Caesaria, codified each stone’s connection with an Apostle.  But later Church Fathers felt this was wrong.  Believing that Christ alone was the foundation of Christianity, they considered each stone a facet of His divine virtues. So each of twelve stones was then  associated with specific Christian virtues, and each was  assigned a month. Within the Church, there are, of course, quite a few variations, with lists of different stones assigned different virtues, but one Christian system went like above chart.

Angel Birthstone chart

For centuries both Jewish scholars and Church Fathers attempted to classify angels, and they came up with an extremely complex hierarchy.  There are seraphim, cherubim, dominions, archangels, guardian angels, and on and on, with these many celestial beings given very specific tasks.  Among those, at least twelve angels were said to rule over months or signs of the zodiac.  According to Kunz, there was also a system of birthstones in which each month corresponds not just to a gem but to one of the governing angels.  And the angels, who have always been at least a little like humans, have talismanic stones of their own.

While the Church dismissed many of the more magical powers attributed to gemstones, they embraced these new interpretations, and wearing birthstones became accepted and popular in the Christian world.

Birthstones Today

From what I can tell, there is no “last word” on birthstones.  Even after the Holy Roman Church made their decrees, other systems persisted.  The Medieval Kabbalists, for example, were never content with Josephus’s lists, and so they drew their own connections between the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the signs of the zodiac.   And despite the powerful hold of the major religions, people continued to wear birthstones as they pleased.  According to Kunz, in the sixteenth century, Katherine de Medici was said to wear a girdle set with twelve stones, “upon which talismanic signs had been engraved,” though no one seems to be quite sure whether or not these were the signs of the zodiac. Kunz also cites an 1862 document by Poujet fils, stating that the fashion for birthstones started in Germany two centuries earlier and that women liked to wear the stones of their birth month, with their zodiac sign inscribed.   Other systems of birthstones included the Old Spanish, the more recent Spanish, the Italian, the Russian, the Arabian, and the Polish.  In the 1800s, birthstones were identified mostly by color.  January had a red stone which could be anything from ruby to red spinel to a red tourmaline to garnet.  (This was mostly because at that time they didn’t have the scientific instruments—microscopes, spectroscopes, etc.—that we have now to properly identify the stones. Ruby and red spinel, in particular, were often mixed up.)  In 1955, the controversial English Occultist Aleister Crowley came up with his own list, which incorporated gems that were not known in ancient times, such as Alexandrite. The lists of zodiac gems currently found in many metaphysical books are mostly based on the Hindu system, but have been updated to include more recently identified  gems like Labradorite.

But the system that has most recently reigned in the West was designed in 1937 by the National Association of Goldsmiths of Great Britain, mainly to clear up all the confusion.   Since the Goldsmiths’ purpose seemed to be encouraging people to buy jewelry—rather than identifying lucky talismans or reminding people of moral virtues—they offered a simple list that included less expensive alternatives for those who couldn’t afford precious gems.  The list is:

Affordable Birthstone Chart

These are the stones I grew up with, unaware of the older traditions and all the magic contained in their history.  Truthfully, I was never all that excited about my birthstone, the diamond.  For one thing, most of the diamonds I like are well out of my budget, so it never seemed like a stone that had much resonance for me.  But then my Gem Group and I were talking about birthstones, and we decided to do a meditation with our natal stones.  I should explain that often when we do these meditations, I get nothing from the stone—no messages or visions or even impressions;  I am not particularly psychic.  But I used three diamonds, some borrowed, and I must tell you, it was one of the most amazing gem meditations I’ve ever experienced.  I got all sorts of information and imagery and actually felt a cool white energy moving through me.  And so now, I can only think that maybe there is something to the idea of stones that resonate with you because of the time you were born.   Yes, all these beliefs might be chalked up to superstition, lack of science, or pure imagination.  But, being a writer who writes fantasy novels about gemstones, I like to entertain possibilities, and here’s the possibility that’s been with me lately:  What if there are stones you were always meant to wear–because when you do, there really is a divine energy that comes through them and touches you?  That’s the promise of birthstones.



Wire Wrapped Nightsky Ring How To

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The Eternal Allure of the Charm Bracelet

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Mom's Brass Charm Bracelet

Ryn Gargulinski

With their tinkling, jangling and eye-catching sparkle, charm bracelets have a long history of being charming indeed. While they got their start eons ago, these fanciful bracelets have been enjoying a fashionable resurgence over the past several years. Notable designers such as Louis Vuitton and Pandora have been swiftly hopping on the charm bracelet bandwagon as the bracelet once again takes a starring role in the fashion scene.

You can certainly get ultra-fancy and elaborate with your charm bracelet, but you can also keep it simple by handcrafting your own unique creation. All you need are a few little ingredients and a big dose of imagination.

Charm Bracelet History

Charm bracelets today are best known for their generous lineup of beads or hefty collection of charms, yet their origin is much less complicated. The whole idea of the bracelet can actually be traced back to small rocks and chunks of wood.

Sticks and Stones

Wood And Stone Ornament

Unusual stones or pieces of wood were often picked up by men in the Neolithic Era, who would then carry the unusual item around to ward off enemies. Ancient civilizations were also known for wearing simple talisman or amulets around their necks to bring good luck, deter bad luck, or perhaps do a little of both.

The Babylonians get credit for wearing the first charm bracelets, with jewelry booming into popularity during the Bronze Era. Other ancient civilization likewise bedecked themselves in charms, including the elaborate Egyptians. Pharaohs and other high-status folks wore charms and amulets made of precious metals and stones which protected them in their current life and helped gain entry into the next.

Antique Silver circle of crosses Charms Bracelet

Charms were popular with both Christians and Jews in the time of the Roman Empire. Christians were known for wearing charms shaped like fish, or ichthys, beneath their clothes so they could easily identify themselves to fellow Christians. Jewish scholars wore amulets containing small slips of parchment that contained passages from Jewish law.

Even the manly knights and kings of the Middle Ages were not above wearing charms and amulets. Theirs were often used in rituals to provide protection and destroy the enemy.

Charms did double duty as an adornment on belts to showcase a person’s profession, political status and family history.

Charms lost some of their power and status during the Renaissance, when the wealthy had access to books and education that reduced their reliance on superstition. Those who were not-so-wealthy or educated, however, still clung tight to their charms through the early 1900s.

Queens and Trinkets

Gold Charm Bracelet Bangle

Queen Victoria gets credit for bringing charm bracelets into vogue during the 20th century. Instead of wearing charms for protection, luck or love, they became chic fashion accessories. The Queen was fond of little lockets sporting photos of family members, while other popular charms included glass beads and family crests worn around the wrist or neck.

Modern charm bracelets erupted on the American scene after World War II. They snaked their way into the culture via soldiers who would return home to their honeys bearing small trinkets purchased overseas.

The trinkets were usually small pieces of metal shaped into miniature replicas of landmarks in the areas of Europe and the Pacific isles where the items were purchased. American jewelers recognized a sizzling trend in the making and soon began crafting all types of charms to fit any mood, style or occasion.

The 1950s marked the charm bracelet’s heyday in the U.S., fashionably keeping time with poodle skirts and bobby socks. Charms were gifted and purchased to commemorate weddings, significant birthdays, new babies and other special occasions. Many also doubled as wearable souvenirs purchased during travels to nearby or locales or far-off lands.

Dead Relatives and Collectibles

Silver Charms And Stone Beads Bracelet

Enter the women’s movement of the 1970s and exit the charm bracelet. The sweet, jangling bracelet again lost favor, although it quickly came back in the 1980s. Younger generations inheriting jewelry from deceased relatives helped push charm bracelets back into the mainstream when they began selling off charms, the bracelets and all other inherited items in which they had no interest.

By the 1990s, collectibles were hot commodities, and vintage charms were especially on fire. People began paying seven to eight times the original selling price for 1950s-era charms, with charms that contained mechanical or moving parts often going for much more. Designers and jewelry manufacturers got into the game in the early 2000s, bringing charm bracelets back into fashion.

Charm Bracelet Significance

While the charm bracelet may have its origin as a functional tool for protection and luck, it eventually evolved into much more. As with any type of jewelry, the style and quality of your charm bracelet can indicate your status and wealth. And charm bracelets get the added bonus of giving the world a sneak peek into who you really are.

As jewelry designer Tracy Zabar so neatly puts it: “The charm bracelet is an oh-so-feminine autobiography on a chain.”

Silver Symbol Charms Bracelet

Think about it. The charms you collect are indicative of your personality, your hopes, your dreams. They can tell the tale of places you visited, hobbies you enjoy, occasions you’ve celebrated. Certain charms additionally have underlying meanings, such as a dragon charm as a symbol of victory or a little gold ladybug for good luck.

Women often receive charm bracelets at two key points their lives, either when she’s a little girl or when she’s a woman getting married. The charms you collect from those points onward put your life on display for the world to view and admire.

Making Your Own Charm Bracelet

Creating your own charm bracelet can be an extra-special way to show the world who you are since you can personalize every single aspect of the bracelet.

You’ll need a few basic ingredients that include:


A clasp

Your desired beads, charms, pendants or baubles

Attachments for your desired charms and baubles

Pick a Chain

Select a length of chain from any type that suits your fancy. Go for the gold or stick with silver, metal plated or stainless steel. Make sure the links are large enough to accommodate jump rings or other attachments for your charms. And make sure you get a length large enough to fit around you wrist with some breathing and dangling room. Wrap a piece of string around your wrist where you want the bracelet to hang and then measure the string length.

Pick a Clasp

Choose a type of clasp that can handle the size and weight of the chain. Don’t forget you’ll be adding some weighty trinkets to the bracelet, so go for a heavy-duty clasp that can handle all the jingling and jangling. Toggle clasps are a good bet, although you can go for other styles if you wish. Pick your clasp and any necessary attachment method for the clasp, such as a jump ring to attach your toggle clasp.

If you’re planning on creating the bracelet in one sitting, you can add the clasp as the finale. If you’re going to be adding to your bracelet as you go along, attach the clasp to construct a plain chain bracelet that you can add to as needed.

Go for the Fun Stuff.

Now comes the fun stuff. Let your imagination go wild with ideas for adding anything you wish to your personalized charm bracelet. Ensure that each item you choose comes with a way to attach it to the bracelet chain, such as pins you can cut and bend to add beads or jump rings to add small pendants or charms.

If you do go for beads attached with pins, use a pair of round-nose pliers to bend the pin at a right angle where it exits the bead. Then cut the pin, leaving about a quarter-inch of pin sticking up through the bead. Create a small loop from that quarter-inch of pin, looping it through the chain and securing the loop closed with the pliers.

Charms Bracelet

A Woman's Hand With Charms Bracelet

Open and close jump rings by simply holding each end in opposite hands, then gently twisting them open. Twist them closed the same way. While in the open position, insert the loop of your charm or bauble then insert the chain link where you want the bauble or charm to hang.

Because you have an infinite combination of ingredients to use on your custom charm bracelet, you may not want to stop after making just one. Create a charm bracelet to go with every mood or outfit. Fashion others according to a theme, such as pets, places or favorite things. Make a good one for special occasions and a copper one for casual Fridays. The beauty of the charm bracelet is that each one can be wholly unique. And each can tell a very special story.


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