What exactly is marcasite?
Marcasite, as a mineral is called irons sulfide, however the majority of the called marcasite used in jewelry is actually iron pyrite, as real marcasite often crumbles into dust and it is thus too delicate and gentle to be used in jewelry.
Marcasite was especially fashionable in Victorian periods (one of my favourite period times). Jewelers usually describe marcasite like a bronze color, and you can usually see 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 combined with gold, as marcasite and precious metal do not blend well together.
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Apparently when used in jewelry, it tends to be mostly cut in triangle or even oval shape. One of the other rocks 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 create with marcasite? Well, you can make the most common types, like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, rings and even broches. The particular example in the picture is a beautiful oval shaped pendant used as 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 actually touch the jewelry as the rocks will fall out quite fast from their setting. So make sure that you never go swimming, or take a bath or move 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 lightly with a soft cloth, which can be dry or slightly damp. The sterling silver polishing pads that I give free of charge with my jewelry (sadly simply no marcasite jewelry in sight yet) must do the job.
Which brings me to one other tip for cleaning your jewelry that I forgot to mention in my previous post. Wear your sterling silver jewelry regularly. Yep, that will keep your tarnish away from your silver jewelry for a much longer time than if it’s simply put in a safe place.