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Author Topic:   "Gold in quartz" jewelry
Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1792
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 05-20-2005 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Gold-in-quartz" jewelry and accessories were popular souvenirs of gold mining expeditions, mostly in California. As the name suggests, these objects are set with gold-bearing quartz samples. The most common type of gold-in-quartz souvenir is probably the brooch. Other typical forms are stickpins, watch chains/fobs, walking stick handles, etc.

Gold-in-quartz objects have a strong collector following. The most desirable examples are usually 19th century American. Factors such as the size of the piece(s) of quartz and use of the quartz also determine value. Some examples (probably those commissioned by the unlucky miners) will only have one small piece of gold-bearing quartz, while other objects may feature several pieces of differently colored quartz arranged in an interesting pattern.

This type of jewelry is still being made today, but there is naturally much more demand for the more historical 19th century examples. The older pieces frequently feature typically elaborate Victorian settings, often with engraving and black tracery enamel. The most fascinating pieces are those with inscriptions.

Not surprisingly, most gold-in-quartz objects are made of 10-18k gold. However, gold-filled and silver examples also exist. The example below, from about 1880, features a nicely sized dark quartz sample with an all over "dusting" of gold deposit. It is set within an unmarked, handmade silver mounting, which I find more appealing and elegant than some of the ornate Victorian gold settings.

Though gold nugget souvenir spoons are fairly common, I have yet to see or hear of a piece of silver flatware set with gold-in-quartz.

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