I have located small pieces from Calif, but,they are in
nugget forms. I need to know who to break the nuggets down to a
powder to show the sparkle crystals that I see in so many Marcasite
jewelry pieces. also, would a person glue this material or is there
a process in the creativity of using it. I would appricate any
you can give me.
Camille, Marcasite used in jewelry is usually not actually the
mineral marcasite, but usually just iron pyrite, which looks about
the same. The key thing to note is that these are not used as broken
little pieces. If you break the stuff down, either to small bits, or
a powder, you won’t have anything even remotely sparkly. Broken
surfaces are generally quite dull looking, so if just broken, it
won’t look like much. And powder? That’d be just a dark powder.
No sparkle at all. What you’ve seen are actually little "rose cut"
stones. Flat backs, with a few shallow facets on the crown, and a
beveled round girdle. They are actually cut stones, not just bits and
pieces. In the best marcasite jewelry, these are actually set,
usually “bead” set. In sterling, it’s not that hard to do, since the
silver is so soft. Much of what’s commercially seen though, is just
glued in, usually with super glues (cyanoacrylate) or epoxy. I
prefer the super glue type, since one can, if working quickly enough,
use the corner of a tissue to wick away most of the glue after the
piece is places, so you don’t get obvious glue residues all over.
You can buy the marcasite stones from various stone dealers,
especially those that deal mostly in commercial type stones. They
come in calibrated millimeter sizes, down to about a half millimeter
In setting them, buy yourself a set of “pearl drills”. These are
little spade point drills, made with an almost flat faced front edge,
except for a center spur. They look much like the larger wood boring
drills that are also flat faced, rather than twist drills, with a
center spur and flat front side wings. These drills produce a flat
bottomed hole with a center depression, used for setting in seed
pearls and marcasite, for the most part. The flat bottomed round
hole produced lets you just glue these things in easily, as you can
fit the hole so the marcasite just drops in enough so it’s beveled
girdle is in the hole, and the facetted top is above it. If you
choose to raise beads to hold them in, rather than glue, be a bit
careful. They’re fragile and somewhat easy to break, even in silver.