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Setting marcasite

Judy , there is a first time for every thing , setting marcasites is
no big deal, it’s just that they are crunchy little things. If you
are going to try bead setting it might pay to have a couple of extras
on hand, just in case. Clean out the setting with a flat ended burr of
the appropriate size and ease the beads over ever so gently with a
beading tool. If you crunch it, what the heck, say whatever your #
word is and reach for one of the spares and try again. I first became
aware of Stg. and marcasite jewellery in the 1940s. It was beautifully
made and all the stones were bead set. It was also fairly pricey for
that time. Later in the 1960s it was hugely popular and pearls and
other gems were being set with the marcasites. We were also selling a
lot of Stg and marcasite watches, I think most of the pieces at this
time were still bead set but the glued pieces had started to appear.
The shear volume of the stuff and the competitive nature of the market
meant that some factories were looking for cheaper ways of
manufacture, instead of skilled setters I suppose they turned to
(glue). The castings were still the same, the beads were there, but
not used. Then came the horror stuff, instead of silver, low cost
alloys, and the worst of all, the marcasites were put in place and the
whole thing was sprayed with lacquer. That manufacture should have
been made to front up to the unhappy customers when they started
coming back missing marcasites in bulk some time later. Which brings us
back to your piece. If it is old and bead set and you find one or two
that are glued, they may have been replaced during a repair at some
time. If they are all glued I wouldn’t be in a great hurry to put it
through the ultrasonic cleaner, you could end up with a lot of shiny
little things at the bottom of the tank, or sieve. When the glue gives
in on one the rest are probably ready to give in as well. When
polishing a repair I try to leave it as it was originally
manufactured, this sometimes is an educated guess. Some pieces were
oxidised and then lightly buffed at the factory, others, espisaly the
watches had a bright finish. I just use a dentists rotary brush in
the pendant drill and white metal polish. Just one mans thoughts from
one shop, there must be thousands of versions on this theme

Have lots of fun and do it well.

Bruce New Zealand. . . .