Vintage Paste Jewellery
We can't lie, shimmering diamonds and luscious gemstones are what we all want to be wearing,and there’s no feeling quite like being able to parade your finest jewels to anyone who is willing to look! (I mean, we’re almost sure that it isn’t just us that does this?!?) But rolling around in thousands of pounds of jewellery isn’t always possible or sensible.
Now, your initial thoughts on "an alternative" to precious gems might fill your heart with dread, and your head full of jewellery nightmares! But don't worry! When we say a more affordable alternative to Diamonds we don't mean the cheap man-made Cubic Zirconias of GemsTV, so you can be rid of your visions of tatty plastic rings and jewellery whose Gold plating has seen better days. No! Don’t be hasty, because there is a world of lovely jewellery pieces waiting for you at really reasonable prices.
There are lots of other options available to you besides the traditional "norms" of wearing Diamonds, Sapphires, Emeralds, Rubies and Pearls to all occasions, (as delightful as they may be!)
Impressive Georgian Emerald Paste parure - Pinterest
There are so many affordable jewellery options we can suggest that will give you a touch of glamour without a hefty price tag. From amazing antique Silver Albert chains that are edgy and versatile to bright bakelite and lucite bangles from the 50's and 60's, and the glittering cut steel of the 1700's to name a few. But today we've chosen to focus on our personal favourite, antique Paste.
What is Paste Jewellery?
Paste is, for us, one of the most underrated types of jewellery out there today. It can be found all over the world, in different styles and settings, but the best Paste pieces are just as beautiful as Diamond or precious gemstone jewellery and is almost always a fraction of the cost.
So, "what is Paste?", I hear you say! Paste jewellery is a special type of flint glass that emulates a number of gemstones. The origins of Paste jewellery date back to the mid-18th century, to a jeweller named Georges Frederic Stras, who worked as a jeweller to the king when he moved from Strasbourg to Paris in 1724. His name is still attached to the craft as some people refer to fine-quality antique paste jewellery as ‘Stras’ (or "Strass") instead.
Much of the beauty and appeal of antique Paste jewellery is that it was such a difficult and labour-intensive thing to produce. The special Paste glass was cut and polished by hand so that is shone and glittered.
Georgian Harlequin Paste riviere - Pinterest
Sometimes the craftsmanship was so superb that you couldn't tell the difference between a real Diamond and a Paste, a real Topaz, Garnet, Sapphire, an Emerald or a Paste. Whilst some in Parisian high society even deemed Paste jewellery as superior to the real thing!
Georgian Paste Riviere - RubyLane Darla's fab finds
Often Paste jewellery was set with a metal base or "foil" to improve the colour and luminosity of the glass. And sometimes coloured so if you wanted a romantic Ruby red or an amazing Emerald green, paste jewellery had you covered.
Paste jewellery was popular throughout the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras, and even the Art Deco period to some extent. And with this history comes the knowledge that there are many excellent pieces of vintage paste jewellery just waiting to be discovered!
Each piece of paste jewellery has its own slice of history running through it. It is an acquired taste, but we're sure if you try it you'll grow to love it!
Paste jewellery has risen the ranks in the past few years and is once again fashionable. (Prices are rising fast as these pieces are snapped up by dealers and collectors, so this is a great time to invest!) Owing to its versatility and sense of occasion, the jewellery has become a mainstay for some of its fans.
We’re definitely a fan of the genre and we have a few luscious pieces of paste jewellery in our collection at the moment that are available for purchase. We think you’ll agree, they’re drop dead gorgeous!
This divine Edwardian brooch dates from the early 20th century and will add some real pizzazz to any piece of clothing. You can wear it on a shawl or scarf, a cardigan or lapel, or even (for the creatively inclined) in your hair! The clear stones are set into the solid silver backing and the central green jewel will have you standing out it any crowd. The brooch is also made of high purity 935 silver, which is a higher grade than sterling silver, so you can be assured of its quality and sturdiness.
Next up is this pair of delightful Sapphire Blue and Diamond Paste earrings. Embodying a cute and classic simple Art Deco design, these earrings are a real show stopper. They’re made from 9ct yellow gold and are small, but perfectly formed! The blue and Diamond paste gems work perfectly with the yellow gold and these vintage earrings would make a great, versatile addition to your collection.
We have a particular fondness for Paste pendants and this one is a real humdinger. This piece of Victorian Paste jewellery dates from around the mid-19th century and oozes quality. The silver heart pendant also comes with a chain so you can start wearing it from the moment you unwrap it. They are really cute and extremely collectible, so this would make a great gift unless you feel like keeping it for yourself!
To wrap-up our little rundown we thought we’d go with something big! This pendant is a shining example of Georgian Paste jewellery and is a real beauty! With the pearls lined in rose gold and surrounding the huge past jewel, you’ll be hard pushed to not be blown away. The Paste is foiled so it has the most amazing raspberry pink colour and is so luminous you'll honestly just want to devour it!! (But don't!)
Emerald green Georgian Paste drop earrings - Lillicoco sold archive
These pieces are just a small sample of the Paste jewellery pieces we have listed on our website so check out the full range here. And as always, if there’s anything you have your heart set on, but can’t find on our website, then don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll help you find your dream jewellery.