What exactly is marcasite?
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Marcasite, as a mineral is called irons sulfide, however most of the called marcasite used in jewelry is actually iron pyrite, as real marcasite often crumbles into dust and is thus too delicate and gentle to be used in jewelry.
Marcasite had been especially fashionable in Victorian times (one of my favourite period times). Jewelers usually describe marcasite being a bronze color, and you can usually find marcasite jewelry shining with a classic estate look.
In jewellery, marcasite combines very well with sterling silver along with other white metals, however it’s not used with gold, as marcasite and gold do not blend well together.
It appears that when used in jewelry, it is often mostly cut in triangle or even oval shape. One of the other stones that combines well with marcasite is the black onyx. Also mother of pearl, pearl and opal are stones that go well with marcasite.
As to what type of jewelry one can make with marcasite? Well, you can make the most typical types, like earrings, necklaces, anklet bracelets, pendants, rings and even broches. The particular example in the picture is a gorgeous oval shaped pendant used being a locket, with a man-made amethyst in the centre.
Marcasite is one type of mineral which is glued mostly with jeweler’s concrete (I have hypocement at home, that should work well), rather than being prong set. Because of this, water should not really touch the jewelry as the rocks will fall out quite fast off their setting. So make sure that you never go swimming, or take a bath or proceed sauna with your marcasite pendant. Or even wash dishes (yes, some of us still wash the dishes by hand) together with your marcasite ring on.
To remove the particular tarnish, all you need to do with your marcasite jewelry is wipe it softly with a soft cloth, which can be dried out or slightly damp. The sterling silver polishing pads that I give for free with my jewelry (sadly simply no marcasite jewelry in sight yet) must do the job.
Which brings me to 1 other tip for cleaning your jewelry that I forgot to mention in my previous post. Wear your sterling silver jewelry regularly. Yep, that will maintain the tarnish away from your silver jewelry for a much longer time than whether it’s simply put in a safe place.