Sparkling Antique Paste Set
For as long as humans have been using gem materials - thousands of years - they have also been concocting imitations for those same gem materials. Paste, or glass, has been used to imitate gemstones since at least ancient Greece, but it was the development of a particular kind of leaded glass in the 1600s that made the material a more convincing simulant for diamonds. Adding lead to the glass (which is formed by solidifying molten silicon dioxide in an amorphous structure) raised the refractive index - that is to say, it made the material far more sparkly. Following a favourite practice of the Georgian period, these old mine cut stones were set in foil-backed mounts to minimize the appearance of light leakage and further enhance their dazzling appeal! Throughout the Georgian and Victorian era, it was not uncommon for any jewelry lover to have a mix of paste jewelry along with natural gemstones in their collection. This Victorian set charms with warm rosy gold and sterling silver (a favourite for setting colourless gemstones before the introduction of platinum and white gold in the 20th century).
Good antique condition with in line with age and use, including some discolouration to foil behind stones. Please keep in mind that closed back and foiled stones should not be exposed to moisture.
• 9k rosy yellow gold and sterling silver, partially stamped and tested
• Old mine cut paste (leaded glass)
• Brooch and earrings
• Brooch: 5.6g; earrings: 2.5g