Is Marcasite Jewellery Valuable?

Marcasite Jewellery Valuable

Marcasite is a beautiful metallised stone that has been used to make jewellery since ancient times. Its popularity grew in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly during the Victorian period when Queen Victoria wore marcasite jewellery. In this time of opulence, marcasite became an alternative to the more expensive diamonds and was widely worn by upper class women. The stones are usually found set in sterling silver and are often paired with other gems, such as pearls. The Victoria and Albert Museum has two shoe buckles dated to the seventeen80s that use marcasite stones.

Although marcasite is commonly mistaken for pyrite, they are different minerals. Pyrite has a cubic crystal structure whilst marcasite has an orthorhombic one. The main difference is that pyrite has an unpleasant taste and smell, whereas marcasite does not. It is also much easier to cut and carve into cabochons than pyrite, making it an ideal choice for jewellers.

Despite its beauty and affordability, marcasite is not considered a precious gemstone. The gems are not as hard as other more precious stones, such as diamonds. Marcasite is soft and prone to scratching, so should be handled with care.

Is Marcasite Jewellery Valuable?

It is also susceptible to oxidation, which makes it turn black or yellow over time. For this reason, marcasite jewellery should not be exposed to steam, abrasive cleaners or other chemicals. Marcasite is also brittle and can crack, so should be stored away from other jewellery. The gems can release sulfuric acid when reacting with moisture, so it is important to avoid contact with water.

The most common way to wear marcasite is in a necklace or brooch. The small, silvery-grey marcasite stones look pretty on their own or paired with dark gemstones like ocean blues and emerald greens. Some people also believe that the stones are magical and have the power to drive negative energies away and connect you with the spiritual world.

Currently, marcasite is a popular gemstone again thanks to the increasing interest in antique jewellery. It is a versatile and affordable option for those wanting to add some glamour to their look. The stone looks especially good with brushed silver, which is a popular trend. Millennials and Gen-Xers who grew up watching FRIENDS and Sex in the City are the most prominent marcasite lovers, but it has also become a popular choice for those looking to channel their inner Victorian.

If you are buying marcasite jewellery, it is worth noting that fakes are common and can be sold at a higher price than the real thing. You should only buy a genuine marcasite piece if it has a hallmark stamp on the back and the stones are mounted (not glued) in place. Marcasite is very easy to scratch, so it’s best to choose a hard metal like sterling silver if you want to wear the jewellery regularly. The stones are very delicate and should not be exposed to extreme heat or cold.

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