Tanzanite is a transparent blue gemstone that was first discovered in 1962 in Tanzania, in East Africa. It is a variety of a mineral called zoisite. Initially only small pockets were discovered, but in the late 1960s a large deposit was discovered, and large-scale mining began. Its immense and sudden popularity was almost entirely due […]

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Irish Silver Maker’s Marks Photographs of Irish silver maker’s marks, first letter from A to L, including some biographical background to each silversmith where possible, in alphabetical order. Anthony Lefebvre Anthony Lefebvre worked in Dublin in the 1730s. He was originally apprenticed to Mary Barrett, one of the few female silversmiths working at the time. His maker’s […]

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As most Antique Cork items do not bear offical assay office marks, they cannot be called “silver”. In the 18th century, it was impractical to send items all the way to Dublin for hallmarking, and the city of Cork was never given its own assay office, despite repeated requests. To overcome this, Cork silversmiths took […]

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Most diamonds in the world are slightly coloured with a faint trace of yellow or brown, although they can exist in almost any colour. The amount of colour a diamond possesses has a huge impact on its value. In increasing order of rarity, yellow diamond is followed by brown, colorless, then by blue, green, black, […]

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While we now understand the crystallography of diamonds, and most, if not all, of their chemical properties, this was not always true. The exact nature of diamonds was a mystery to scientists for many years; many people struggled with the “indestructible” nature of diamonds. It was widely known by the 17th century that they could […]

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For almost all of history, emeralds have been cherished and loved by man (and woman!). It is thought that the ancient Egyptians were mining emeralds as long ago as 3500-3000BC. The ancient Romans were thought to have an emerald mine in the Alps, but if they did, it was a very minor source. Indeed, until […]

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A Posy Ring is a gold ring with a short inscription on the inside. The name comes from the French word “poésie”, as the inscription is usually in the form of a rhyming couple or verse. It was common practise to give such rings at weddings from the 16th century until the 18th century. They […]

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Citrine is a yellow to brown coloured variety of quartz. Although quartz itself is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust, gem quality citrine is rare and desirable, and has been used since ancient times for jewellery. Its name comes from the Latin word ‘Citrina’, meaning ‘yellow’, due to its body-colour. Citrine is one […]

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Generally, Irish Silver is expected to bear 4 marks: a maker’s mark, purity mark (.925 for sterling silver), Hibernia, and a year mark. A mark called the  Harp Crowned, the traditional purity mark, may also appear. At certain points in the past, special marks have also been added to silver, to commemorate events or anniversaries. In […]

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Our newest arrival is this wonderful piece of micromosaic jewellery, a brooch/pendant. Micromosaics are a special form of mosaic that uses unusually small mosaic pieces of glass, or in later Italian pieces an enamel-like material, to make small images. From the Renaissance they began to be made in Italy, reaching the height of their popularity […]

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