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Age of cross?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Jonathan, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I don't know jewellery but this strikes me as something old -- any insight? I have no history on it - can't even remember where or when I got it.

    20200413_165600.jpeg 20200413_165606.jpeg
     
  2. Linn

    Linn Super Moderator Staff Member

    I agree that it's old - not sure how old but I think it's 19C. or even older. I will try to look in some books to see if I can find something similar. Maybe someone else will know.
     
  3. Distantdetails

    Distantdetails Administrator Staff Member

    More questions than answers! I can't quite see how the stones are placed--with the open backs, they wouldn't be glued (usually). Can you see how they are placed? None of the stones are missing, so it must be a very good placement. And I do not see any prongs.

    Have you tested the metal for silver or gold?

    Older piece, yes. And very good-looking.
     
  4. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  5. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Here are some better pictures of the piece after cleaning (and it's 1 1/2 inches tall not including the gold loop.) It appears to be silver plate, which surprised me because that isn't visible to the naked eye, it's only when I photographed and blew it up that I saw the brass under the silver on the back. There are prongs, they are just VERY tiny...:
    20200414_115159.jpeg 20200414_115212.jpeg
     
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  6. Distantdetails

    Distantdetails Administrator Staff Member

    I see the little point prongs now. Nicely made. I wonder if that might be a gold-washed sterling (vermeil) that most of the gold has rubbed off.
    Does the gold loop have the split, for removing it from the cross, or is it a continuous loop? I don't see the split in the picture.

    Great puzzle on this one.
     
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  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Yes, there is a split, but its very tight. Gold wash over sterling makes more sense than silver plate over brass.
     
  8. Distantdetails

    Distantdetails Administrator Staff Member

    This is somewhat of a wild guess, but I'm guess this is from the '40s or the late '30s. I base that on the vermeil (and the amount of wear--especially on the back where it would rub against a garment), the quality, and the general look.

    Very pretty--must have lovely sparkle with the open-back stones.

    Very interested in what Linn or others have to say.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  9. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member

    I love that. The stones appear to me to possibly be rock crystals, which would place this earlier, maybe 19th century. Just a guess on my part.
     
  10. Linn

    Linn Super Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think it is as old as I did viewing the first photos. I thought it was set in brass and much larger. Vermeil makes sense to me, too. I think it's "bead set" and I think it might be from the '30s or '40s or '50s. Jonathan - could you take a photo of it with another object showing it's relative size. I think enlarging it to show details helps with dating but 1 1/2" overall is fairly small.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  11. It looks like vermeil and European. Possibly French? 1918--1920s?
     
  12. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Thanks - that is disappointing, I was hoping it was 19th century - maybe even 18th century... oh well!
     
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  13. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member

    If those are indeed rock crystals, and not glass or rhinestones, then I still think there is a good chance this is 19th century. While I am far from a jewelry expert, they look a lot like the type of hand cut rock crystal stones I find in Victorian hat jewelry and hat adornments. Anything made after the 1890s I never see them (in hat jewels) , but again, who knows? Also, a lot of 18th century crystals had tiny black dots (added by the maker to add depth) on the back, but not all.

    I am still leaning to it being older. And the shape reminds me of mid Victorian Scottish inspired jewelry, with that hatchet shape to the cross.
     
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  14. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  15. Jonathan, have you tried to test the stones to see what they are?
     
  16. Linn

    Linn Super Moderator Staff Member

    I did a bit of Googling and discovered that vermeil was popular in the Victorian era. This type of jewelry is not my area of expertise but I love investigating! I found the larger image below - it is for a rock crystal Victorian Gothic Cross that is available at this link:

    https://www.fetheray.com/collections/all-necklaces/products/paste-cross

    This is a larger image of the piece. It quite a bit like Jonathan's piece. There are no photos of the back and the stones appear to be set the same way:



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  17. thespectrum

    thespectrum VFG Member Staff Member

  18. Distantdetails

    Distantdetails Administrator Staff Member

    Wow! Cool detective work, Linn! And to Barbara for suspecting they were rock crystal.
    I learn something new to me, every day.
     
  19. One reason that I asked if the stones had been tested would be to determine if they are rock crystal or paste or something else. Sometimes in very old pieces white sapphires were used and I wondered if these could be genuine gems. The cross that is for sale is surely a twin for Jonathan's cross. The seller states an interesting description of the metal as "bronze base metal with a silvery patina". I would lean more to vermeil for Jonathan's cross. Hard to tell without actually seeing it, though. I don't see any signs of verdigris from the photos. And, if it's brass base metal, it may have a smell that could be detected if held in one's hand. If it is a not genuine silver, I would think it would most likely be brass with a silver overlay instead of bronze. I see lots of descriptions of items online, but they are not always accurate. I would love to see what Frances has to say about this cross. He is very knowledgeable about older pieces and Jonathan's appears to be an older piece. It does look European and the one Linn found for sale is in Britain which is not too far from France. It still looks like it could be a French piece to me. But again, this sort of jewelry is not my forte. I sure hope someone can solve the mystery. And, one more thing that could offer insight into the age of the piece.....how are the stones faceted? If the facets are very uniform, it would indicate that they are not done by hand. The stones on Jonathan's cross look to me from the photos to be an older style of faceting and a little less uniform. Another clue, perhaps?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  20. Distantdetails

    Distantdetails Administrator Staff Member

    A couple of questions:
    1. are the stones on Jonathan's piece less-faceted that the piece that Linn found? It looks that way to me, but it may be a function of the photography. I have thought that the more the facets, the older a piece is. Is that true, in your experience?
    2. On Jonathan's piece, it looks as if there is an empty or open space down the inner sides or edges of the upper body of the cross. Is that the case, Jonathan? I'm wondering why they would craft it that way, instead of it being solid.

    Yes, I would definitely take that as a clue. I hope Jonathan gets out his loupe!
     

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