Marcasite is a natural gemstone with a rich and amazing history. For those of you who like a bit of science in your life, the stone referred to as marcasite in jewellery-making is actually pyrite (sometimes referred to as fool's gold).
Our Wellington & North collections feature marcasite set in sterling silver, which allows the natural dark beauty of this stone to really shine.
Marcasite jewellery has been around for centuries, with archaeologists discovering examples of iron pyrite jewellery in Incan burial places in Peru, and finding examples where the ancient Greeks used it to adorn themselves.
In 1720, a French edict from the court of Louis XV forbade women of the court from wearing diamonds, pearls and other precious stones. Marcasite was exempt from this ruling, and there are some lovely examples of marcasite jewellery created for women who still wanted a bit of bling in their life!
Marcasite hit its peak of popularity in the Victorian era, and the stylings of this period are what most people visualise when they think of marcasite jewellery. Queen Victoria mourned her husband by wearing black clothing and more muted accessories, favouring marcasite for its remarkable ability to catch the light while remaining suitably dark. Her subjects followed her lead, and it became the fashion for many years. The understated accessory was perfect not just for the look and feel, but people could also wear multiple pieces as a result of the more affordable price tag. From rings to pendants, earrings to bracelets, marcasite jewellery looks best when paired together which is what we have tried to do within our collections.
During the machine age of the Art Deco period, marcasite jewellery had something of a renaissance, with this gorgeous gem featuring alongside other precious and semi-precious stones (particularly onyx) in striking geometric designs.
Many Wellington & North design take inspiration from the Victorian and Art Deco periods, which we feel showcase marcasite in all its understated glory.