Mystery Metal

by Nancy Vaughan.
(San Diego, CA)

Mystery Medal by Nancy Vaughan  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

The Marcasite Circles

Is it pewter? Is it brass? Is it silver plate?

The metal in this necklace really is a mystery. In certain lights it has a bit of a golden sheen but in others it looks more like silver.

This necklace is made from a deconstructed thrift store find.

The original style was made using about 4 feet of chain with all of the irregular circle pieces as singles or groups of two or three. They were attached to each other with sections of chain and in no particular order.

When I got a close up look at the necklace what really caught my attention were the circular pieces that had what looked like channel set marcasite. Interesting components, blah design.

Mystery Medal by Nancy Vaughan  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

The Bib

I took it apart, saved about 14 inches of chain and kept the original clasp. I tried several design combinations with the circles and finally decided on a bib design.

I’m very pleased with the final results but I still don’t know what the metal is.

Nancy Vaughan

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  • Judy Bjorkman says:

    Nancy, that is a nice-looking design! if you have an extra piece of the original, simply file into it, to see what the original metal looks like. It may be silver-plated brass, copper, or steel. If steel, it will also be magnetic — test for that, too. I don’t know how to test for pewter. There are expensive little bottles of liquid (mainly nitric acid, I think) for testing for silver, but I always find the results to be somewhat ambiguous.

  • John says:

    I wonder if it is gilding metal (Copper and zinc) it polishes up like gold. I use it with my students as a cheaper gold looking metal.

  • Moogie says:

    White bronze is a possibility. I like Judy’s idea of filing into it. In any case, nice design! Let us know if you figure it out.

  • Nancy Vaughan says:

    Judy, thanks for the suggestion. There were no leftover pieces of the circles but I may try a little scratch on one of the not so important components.

  • Nancy Vaughan says:

    John, I’m not familiar with gilding metal so I’ll have to look it up on line or in my Funk and Wagnall. Thanks for the information.

  • Nancy Vaughan says:

    Moogie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen white bronze. Another material I’ll have to look up.

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