Faking it.

Anne here, bringing you the post on fake jewelry I promised you a few blogs ago.
Paste&painting

For years I've read stories where the family jewels had been replaced with imitations, usually by some spendthrift chap or a secret gambler. And the dowager declares in sorrow, or outrage, or horror, or in confidence, depending on the plot, "Paste my dear, nothing but paste."

I don't know what I thought paste was. I took the word fairly literally, and imagined some kind of paste that when hardened, looked like pearls, or jewels of some kind. Somewhere in the unexamined bowels of my mind there was a connection between these fakes and the paste we used at school — a kind of glue, but we called called paste. (Photos above and  below courtesy of The Three Graces)

PastebroochI imagined layers of some clever and mysterious substance, built up until it had depth and brilliance or at least lustre. I was sure that in some versions, fish scales were used to achieve the latter effect — I must have read that somewhere, I expect in Georgette Heyer. Clearly, going by my fiction reading, there were grades of paste — some were good imitations and could fool all but an expert, others were visible at a glance.

But it wasn't until I was writing my most recent book that I actually thought to research it.  (Yes, there are paste jewels in this story, but it's not a big part of the plot, so I'm not giving anything important away.) I don't know why I didn't look it up before — I even had a paste tiara in one of my books but it never occurred to me to research it before now.

Elizabeth_dress_2So, let us start with faking pearls. Pearls have always been popular. Queen Elizabeth the first, the Virgin Queen,  had a particular passion for them, not simply because they were pretty, but because they were also symbolic of purity. As you can see from this portrait, she wasn't subtle about getting her message across. Pearls galore.

In the early-mid 1600's, pearls blossomed in popularity throughout fashionable Europe, not simply worn as necklaces and other items of jewelry, but sewn onto clothing and even shoes as an adornment, and to be up there in the fashion stakes, you needed to wear masses of pearls. And the bigger the better.

Dauphin

But pearls were madly expensive — the art/science of cultured pearls was unknown until the 20th century, and pearls were both rare, and exotic, coming from far flung parts of the world. Only kings and queens and a few mega-rich could afford masses of real pearls, so the race was on to produce faux pearls that would fool everyone. Because one needed to appear richly dressed, even if one couldn't afford it—perhaps especially if one couldn't afford it — appearances, then as now, were crucial to social success.

In the 17th century, a man called Jaquin of Paris patented a method of faking pearls. He made tiny glass balls that were hollow inside, filled them with wax to strengthen them and give them the right kind of weight, then lacquered them with a compound made of ground-up iridescent fish scales. His method was so successful that Paris became the centre for the production of fake pearls for more than 200 years.

However, that's not paste. Even though these pearls were made of pasted-on fish scales, paste as a term for jewelry, has nothing to do with faking pearls. Simply speaking, paste jewelry is leaded glass cut and faceted to resemble gems or precious stones, like rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds and the like. Even opals could be faked with this method. 
Emeraldpaste

Paste is not the only way of faking precious stones — techniques of enhancing the appearance of genuine stones have long been in place — dyeing, waxing or smoking lesser-quality stones to enhance their color, fusing stones together to make composite stones.

Paste is a compound of glass containing white lead oxide and potash. The mixture of lead and glass makes the compound highly reflective. These pieces are cut — the variety of shapes possible is much more varied than in real gemstones — then the back is coated with a metal coating that enhances the brilliance and sometimes a colored foil that creates the color, like the paste "emeralds" above. (Photo used with permission)

FrenchcombThe eighteenth century marked the beginning of what has been called "The Age of Paste." Shoe buckles and hair adornments made of ornate paste, steel and tin were fashionable for many years. The shoes wore out but the buckles were removable. Even paste was quite expensive, so you didn't want to lose your buckles.

Jewelled buttons (of paste) were also fashionable. And of course paste jewels were used for all kinds of jewelry — necklaces, tiaras, brooches, bracelets — you name it. (Above left is a French comb, circa 1840; below paste buttons. Photos courtesy of The Three Graces)
Buttons

Once again the centre of faking it with paste gems was Paris — and the finest producer was Georges Strass. In fact some people still call paste jewelry "Strass jewelry." As the industrial revolution took off, however, the production of fake jewelry spread to the UK, to London and Birmingham, where they used steel for the settings of marcasite and cameos, particularly Jasperware, which was produced by Wedgewood Potteries to look like ancient cameo glass. Cameos became all the rage after Napoleon wore a cameo decorated crown for his coronation.
NapoleonsCrown

Interestingly, much of this early paste jewelry has lasted intact longer than some of the genuine articles, which was broken up and the stones reset into more modern styles.

The demand for paste continued to increase into the nineteenth and twentieth century and still remains popular, today. I know I had huge fun choosing a variety of paste items to wear when I went to the Romance Writers of Australia costume party dripping with "diamonds" — which as we all know, are a girl's best friend — even many years on. 😉

So what about you — Do you have any paste jewelry? Can you recall a book that contains some reference to paste jewellery? Or tell us about your favorite piece of jewellery — antique, real or paste, or a sentimental favorite.

190 thoughts on “Faking it.”

  1. Anne,
    I have quite a bit of paste inherited from my grandmothers and aunt. It’s all still quite beautiful and though I don’t go out to anything fancy, I do wear it when I can. I love to sparkle. My DH says I must have been a crow in another life ;o)
    I do have a gorgeous set of natural pearls. Double strand, 30 inches with a huge diamond clasp and matching bracelet. That set stays in the safe most of the time, but I have worn it. There’s nothing like pearls against the skin…

    Reply
  2. Anne,
    I have quite a bit of paste inherited from my grandmothers and aunt. It’s all still quite beautiful and though I don’t go out to anything fancy, I do wear it when I can. I love to sparkle. My DH says I must have been a crow in another life ;o)
    I do have a gorgeous set of natural pearls. Double strand, 30 inches with a huge diamond clasp and matching bracelet. That set stays in the safe most of the time, but I have worn it. There’s nothing like pearls against the skin…

    Reply
  3. Anne,
    I have quite a bit of paste inherited from my grandmothers and aunt. It’s all still quite beautiful and though I don’t go out to anything fancy, I do wear it when I can. I love to sparkle. My DH says I must have been a crow in another life ;o)
    I do have a gorgeous set of natural pearls. Double strand, 30 inches with a huge diamond clasp and matching bracelet. That set stays in the safe most of the time, but I have worn it. There’s nothing like pearls against the skin…

    Reply
  4. Anne,
    I have quite a bit of paste inherited from my grandmothers and aunt. It’s all still quite beautiful and though I don’t go out to anything fancy, I do wear it when I can. I love to sparkle. My DH says I must have been a crow in another life ;o)
    I do have a gorgeous set of natural pearls. Double strand, 30 inches with a huge diamond clasp and matching bracelet. That set stays in the safe most of the time, but I have worn it. There’s nothing like pearls against the skin…

    Reply
  5. Anne,
    I have quite a bit of paste inherited from my grandmothers and aunt. It’s all still quite beautiful and though I don’t go out to anything fancy, I do wear it when I can. I love to sparkle. My DH says I must have been a crow in another life ;o)
    I do have a gorgeous set of natural pearls. Double strand, 30 inches with a huge diamond clasp and matching bracelet. That set stays in the safe most of the time, but I have worn it. There’s nothing like pearls against the skin…

    Reply
  6. Theo, my oldest sister has my mother’s antique sparkles, but that’s fine by me because I’ve amassed quite a bit of my own bling. I love it too.
    Your pearls sound beautiful. I’m with you on the feeling of wearing them next to the skin — in fact I’ve read that you need to wear natural pearls frequently to maintain their lustre. Not sure if that’s a myth, but I can see a good excuse when I need one.

    Reply
  7. Theo, my oldest sister has my mother’s antique sparkles, but that’s fine by me because I’ve amassed quite a bit of my own bling. I love it too.
    Your pearls sound beautiful. I’m with you on the feeling of wearing them next to the skin — in fact I’ve read that you need to wear natural pearls frequently to maintain their lustre. Not sure if that’s a myth, but I can see a good excuse when I need one.

    Reply
  8. Theo, my oldest sister has my mother’s antique sparkles, but that’s fine by me because I’ve amassed quite a bit of my own bling. I love it too.
    Your pearls sound beautiful. I’m with you on the feeling of wearing them next to the skin — in fact I’ve read that you need to wear natural pearls frequently to maintain their lustre. Not sure if that’s a myth, but I can see a good excuse when I need one.

    Reply
  9. Theo, my oldest sister has my mother’s antique sparkles, but that’s fine by me because I’ve amassed quite a bit of my own bling. I love it too.
    Your pearls sound beautiful. I’m with you on the feeling of wearing them next to the skin — in fact I’ve read that you need to wear natural pearls frequently to maintain their lustre. Not sure if that’s a myth, but I can see a good excuse when I need one.

    Reply
  10. Theo, my oldest sister has my mother’s antique sparkles, but that’s fine by me because I’ve amassed quite a bit of my own bling. I love it too.
    Your pearls sound beautiful. I’m with you on the feeling of wearing them next to the skin — in fact I’ve read that you need to wear natural pearls frequently to maintain their lustre. Not sure if that’s a myth, but I can see a good excuse when I need one.

    Reply
  11. Fabulous post, Anne, totally fascinating. Thank you! I know a bit about those pearl necklaces of the 17th century because pearls feature heavily in our portrait collection at Ashdown House. I knew nothing about paste jewellery though and found that really interesting.
    As far as I know, none of the jewellery I’ve inherited is paste although I look forward to the day I take it to be valued and the antiques expert does their best imitation of one of those dowagers and says: “It’s paste, my dear.” I won’t mind if it is – I love a bit of bling!

    Reply
  12. Fabulous post, Anne, totally fascinating. Thank you! I know a bit about those pearl necklaces of the 17th century because pearls feature heavily in our portrait collection at Ashdown House. I knew nothing about paste jewellery though and found that really interesting.
    As far as I know, none of the jewellery I’ve inherited is paste although I look forward to the day I take it to be valued and the antiques expert does their best imitation of one of those dowagers and says: “It’s paste, my dear.” I won’t mind if it is – I love a bit of bling!

    Reply
  13. Fabulous post, Anne, totally fascinating. Thank you! I know a bit about those pearl necklaces of the 17th century because pearls feature heavily in our portrait collection at Ashdown House. I knew nothing about paste jewellery though and found that really interesting.
    As far as I know, none of the jewellery I’ve inherited is paste although I look forward to the day I take it to be valued and the antiques expert does their best imitation of one of those dowagers and says: “It’s paste, my dear.” I won’t mind if it is – I love a bit of bling!

    Reply
  14. Fabulous post, Anne, totally fascinating. Thank you! I know a bit about those pearl necklaces of the 17th century because pearls feature heavily in our portrait collection at Ashdown House. I knew nothing about paste jewellery though and found that really interesting.
    As far as I know, none of the jewellery I’ve inherited is paste although I look forward to the day I take it to be valued and the antiques expert does their best imitation of one of those dowagers and says: “It’s paste, my dear.” I won’t mind if it is – I love a bit of bling!

    Reply
  15. Fabulous post, Anne, totally fascinating. Thank you! I know a bit about those pearl necklaces of the 17th century because pearls feature heavily in our portrait collection at Ashdown House. I knew nothing about paste jewellery though and found that really interesting.
    As far as I know, none of the jewellery I’ve inherited is paste although I look forward to the day I take it to be valued and the antiques expert does their best imitation of one of those dowagers and says: “It’s paste, my dear.” I won’t mind if it is – I love a bit of bling!

    Reply
  16. How fascinating. I had no idea. Until I read your post, I would have said I didn’t have any paste jewelry. Now, I have a lovely pair of pewter twined dragons with a red “jewel” between them, which I think is probably colored glass. I like paste, pretty without the stress of expensive. 🙂

    Reply
  17. How fascinating. I had no idea. Until I read your post, I would have said I didn’t have any paste jewelry. Now, I have a lovely pair of pewter twined dragons with a red “jewel” between them, which I think is probably colored glass. I like paste, pretty without the stress of expensive. 🙂

    Reply
  18. How fascinating. I had no idea. Until I read your post, I would have said I didn’t have any paste jewelry. Now, I have a lovely pair of pewter twined dragons with a red “jewel” between them, which I think is probably colored glass. I like paste, pretty without the stress of expensive. 🙂

    Reply
  19. How fascinating. I had no idea. Until I read your post, I would have said I didn’t have any paste jewelry. Now, I have a lovely pair of pewter twined dragons with a red “jewel” between them, which I think is probably colored glass. I like paste, pretty without the stress of expensive. 🙂

    Reply
  20. How fascinating. I had no idea. Until I read your post, I would have said I didn’t have any paste jewelry. Now, I have a lovely pair of pewter twined dragons with a red “jewel” between them, which I think is probably colored glass. I like paste, pretty without the stress of expensive. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Very interesting post, Anne. I’m not big on jewellery, but I do have a favorite piece. It’s the Claddagh ring my husband gave me for a birthday several years ago. The Claddagh ring is the traditional wedding ring from Galway, Ireland, and since I love everything Irish, this gift was very special to me. I even managed to work a Claddagh ring into my first novel (althoug mine is silver and the other one gold). I even named that series of book The Claddagh Series, for its motto of friendship, loyalty and love.

    Reply
  22. Very interesting post, Anne. I’m not big on jewellery, but I do have a favorite piece. It’s the Claddagh ring my husband gave me for a birthday several years ago. The Claddagh ring is the traditional wedding ring from Galway, Ireland, and since I love everything Irish, this gift was very special to me. I even managed to work a Claddagh ring into my first novel (althoug mine is silver and the other one gold). I even named that series of book The Claddagh Series, for its motto of friendship, loyalty and love.

    Reply
  23. Very interesting post, Anne. I’m not big on jewellery, but I do have a favorite piece. It’s the Claddagh ring my husband gave me for a birthday several years ago. The Claddagh ring is the traditional wedding ring from Galway, Ireland, and since I love everything Irish, this gift was very special to me. I even managed to work a Claddagh ring into my first novel (althoug mine is silver and the other one gold). I even named that series of book The Claddagh Series, for its motto of friendship, loyalty and love.

    Reply
  24. Very interesting post, Anne. I’m not big on jewellery, but I do have a favorite piece. It’s the Claddagh ring my husband gave me for a birthday several years ago. The Claddagh ring is the traditional wedding ring from Galway, Ireland, and since I love everything Irish, this gift was very special to me. I even managed to work a Claddagh ring into my first novel (althoug mine is silver and the other one gold). I even named that series of book The Claddagh Series, for its motto of friendship, loyalty and love.

    Reply
  25. Very interesting post, Anne. I’m not big on jewellery, but I do have a favorite piece. It’s the Claddagh ring my husband gave me for a birthday several years ago. The Claddagh ring is the traditional wedding ring from Galway, Ireland, and since I love everything Irish, this gift was very special to me. I even managed to work a Claddagh ring into my first novel (althoug mine is silver and the other one gold). I even named that series of book The Claddagh Series, for its motto of friendship, loyalty and love.

    Reply
  26. Well, you learn something new everyday! I always wondered what exactly ‘paste’ meant, but just figured ‘fake’ and read on.
    I have some costume jewelry from my grandmother that I remember playing with as a little girl, feeling fabulous! I have no little girls to give it to, but maybe one day I’ll have a grand-daughter who will do the same thing as I.
    Cynthia, I love the Claddagh symbol. My grandparent’s wedding rings were claddaghs, and the story that accompanies the symbol is great too. It’s everything marriage should be.

    Reply
  27. Well, you learn something new everyday! I always wondered what exactly ‘paste’ meant, but just figured ‘fake’ and read on.
    I have some costume jewelry from my grandmother that I remember playing with as a little girl, feeling fabulous! I have no little girls to give it to, but maybe one day I’ll have a grand-daughter who will do the same thing as I.
    Cynthia, I love the Claddagh symbol. My grandparent’s wedding rings were claddaghs, and the story that accompanies the symbol is great too. It’s everything marriage should be.

    Reply
  28. Well, you learn something new everyday! I always wondered what exactly ‘paste’ meant, but just figured ‘fake’ and read on.
    I have some costume jewelry from my grandmother that I remember playing with as a little girl, feeling fabulous! I have no little girls to give it to, but maybe one day I’ll have a grand-daughter who will do the same thing as I.
    Cynthia, I love the Claddagh symbol. My grandparent’s wedding rings were claddaghs, and the story that accompanies the symbol is great too. It’s everything marriage should be.

    Reply
  29. Well, you learn something new everyday! I always wondered what exactly ‘paste’ meant, but just figured ‘fake’ and read on.
    I have some costume jewelry from my grandmother that I remember playing with as a little girl, feeling fabulous! I have no little girls to give it to, but maybe one day I’ll have a grand-daughter who will do the same thing as I.
    Cynthia, I love the Claddagh symbol. My grandparent’s wedding rings were claddaghs, and the story that accompanies the symbol is great too. It’s everything marriage should be.

    Reply
  30. Well, you learn something new everyday! I always wondered what exactly ‘paste’ meant, but just figured ‘fake’ and read on.
    I have some costume jewelry from my grandmother that I remember playing with as a little girl, feeling fabulous! I have no little girls to give it to, but maybe one day I’ll have a grand-daughter who will do the same thing as I.
    Cynthia, I love the Claddagh symbol. My grandparent’s wedding rings were claddaghs, and the story that accompanies the symbol is great too. It’s everything marriage should be.

    Reply
  31. Anne, one should wear natural pearls against the skin often because the natural oils in our skin helps to keep the lustre of the pearls fresh somewhat moist. So your myth is correct. (I worked for great friends of mine who owned a jewelry store.)
    And some paste is still collectible and very expensive! Any of you who have paste, don’t discount what you have. Depending on the designer, you might have a small treasure trove.

    Reply
  32. Anne, one should wear natural pearls against the skin often because the natural oils in our skin helps to keep the lustre of the pearls fresh somewhat moist. So your myth is correct. (I worked for great friends of mine who owned a jewelry store.)
    And some paste is still collectible and very expensive! Any of you who have paste, don’t discount what you have. Depending on the designer, you might have a small treasure trove.

    Reply
  33. Anne, one should wear natural pearls against the skin often because the natural oils in our skin helps to keep the lustre of the pearls fresh somewhat moist. So your myth is correct. (I worked for great friends of mine who owned a jewelry store.)
    And some paste is still collectible and very expensive! Any of you who have paste, don’t discount what you have. Depending on the designer, you might have a small treasure trove.

    Reply
  34. Anne, one should wear natural pearls against the skin often because the natural oils in our skin helps to keep the lustre of the pearls fresh somewhat moist. So your myth is correct. (I worked for great friends of mine who owned a jewelry store.)
    And some paste is still collectible and very expensive! Any of you who have paste, don’t discount what you have. Depending on the designer, you might have a small treasure trove.

    Reply
  35. Anne, one should wear natural pearls against the skin often because the natural oils in our skin helps to keep the lustre of the pearls fresh somewhat moist. So your myth is correct. (I worked for great friends of mine who owned a jewelry store.)
    And some paste is still collectible and very expensive! Any of you who have paste, don’t discount what you have. Depending on the designer, you might have a small treasure trove.

    Reply
  36. You are quite right, Anne, you did read about fake pearls in Heyer. It’s in Black Sheep when Stacy Calverleigh has just met that winsome widow “Mrs. Clapham” and is wondering about her jewelry and whether it’s real and expensive: “He recalled that she had been wearing large pearl drops in her ears, and round her throat a necklace of pearls which, if they were indeed pearls, must have cost the late Mr Clapham a pretty penny. But in these days one never knew: the most convincing pearls could be made out of glass and fish-scales. He had purchased one of these sham necklaces himself once, to gratify the lightskirt at that time living in his keeping and the sheen on those trumpery beads would have deceived anyone but a jeweller.”
    On a recent episode of Pawn Stars someone brought in a set of paste buttons of large snowflake/explosion/star design which he believed had belonged to Marie Antoinette, and Rick went into what paste is comprised of and how to tell paste from real. Alas for the seller, the detail on the crest stamped on the box indicated the buttons were post-Napoleon. The buttons themselves were quite pretty and one could wear them today, I think.

    Reply
  37. You are quite right, Anne, you did read about fake pearls in Heyer. It’s in Black Sheep when Stacy Calverleigh has just met that winsome widow “Mrs. Clapham” and is wondering about her jewelry and whether it’s real and expensive: “He recalled that she had been wearing large pearl drops in her ears, and round her throat a necklace of pearls which, if they were indeed pearls, must have cost the late Mr Clapham a pretty penny. But in these days one never knew: the most convincing pearls could be made out of glass and fish-scales. He had purchased one of these sham necklaces himself once, to gratify the lightskirt at that time living in his keeping and the sheen on those trumpery beads would have deceived anyone but a jeweller.”
    On a recent episode of Pawn Stars someone brought in a set of paste buttons of large snowflake/explosion/star design which he believed had belonged to Marie Antoinette, and Rick went into what paste is comprised of and how to tell paste from real. Alas for the seller, the detail on the crest stamped on the box indicated the buttons were post-Napoleon. The buttons themselves were quite pretty and one could wear them today, I think.

    Reply
  38. You are quite right, Anne, you did read about fake pearls in Heyer. It’s in Black Sheep when Stacy Calverleigh has just met that winsome widow “Mrs. Clapham” and is wondering about her jewelry and whether it’s real and expensive: “He recalled that she had been wearing large pearl drops in her ears, and round her throat a necklace of pearls which, if they were indeed pearls, must have cost the late Mr Clapham a pretty penny. But in these days one never knew: the most convincing pearls could be made out of glass and fish-scales. He had purchased one of these sham necklaces himself once, to gratify the lightskirt at that time living in his keeping and the sheen on those trumpery beads would have deceived anyone but a jeweller.”
    On a recent episode of Pawn Stars someone brought in a set of paste buttons of large snowflake/explosion/star design which he believed had belonged to Marie Antoinette, and Rick went into what paste is comprised of and how to tell paste from real. Alas for the seller, the detail on the crest stamped on the box indicated the buttons were post-Napoleon. The buttons themselves were quite pretty and one could wear them today, I think.

    Reply
  39. You are quite right, Anne, you did read about fake pearls in Heyer. It’s in Black Sheep when Stacy Calverleigh has just met that winsome widow “Mrs. Clapham” and is wondering about her jewelry and whether it’s real and expensive: “He recalled that she had been wearing large pearl drops in her ears, and round her throat a necklace of pearls which, if they were indeed pearls, must have cost the late Mr Clapham a pretty penny. But in these days one never knew: the most convincing pearls could be made out of glass and fish-scales. He had purchased one of these sham necklaces himself once, to gratify the lightskirt at that time living in his keeping and the sheen on those trumpery beads would have deceived anyone but a jeweller.”
    On a recent episode of Pawn Stars someone brought in a set of paste buttons of large snowflake/explosion/star design which he believed had belonged to Marie Antoinette, and Rick went into what paste is comprised of and how to tell paste from real. Alas for the seller, the detail on the crest stamped on the box indicated the buttons were post-Napoleon. The buttons themselves were quite pretty and one could wear them today, I think.

    Reply
  40. You are quite right, Anne, you did read about fake pearls in Heyer. It’s in Black Sheep when Stacy Calverleigh has just met that winsome widow “Mrs. Clapham” and is wondering about her jewelry and whether it’s real and expensive: “He recalled that she had been wearing large pearl drops in her ears, and round her throat a necklace of pearls which, if they were indeed pearls, must have cost the late Mr Clapham a pretty penny. But in these days one never knew: the most convincing pearls could be made out of glass and fish-scales. He had purchased one of these sham necklaces himself once, to gratify the lightskirt at that time living in his keeping and the sheen on those trumpery beads would have deceived anyone but a jeweller.”
    On a recent episode of Pawn Stars someone brought in a set of paste buttons of large snowflake/explosion/star design which he believed had belonged to Marie Antoinette, and Rick went into what paste is comprised of and how to tell paste from real. Alas for the seller, the detail on the crest stamped on the box indicated the buttons were post-Napoleon. The buttons themselves were quite pretty and one could wear them today, I think.

    Reply
  41. Nicola, I can’t wait for my next trip to the UK, where I’m determined to go to Ashdown house and maybe get a personal tour. *g*
    As for paste jewellery, it’s a fascinating area of study. (she says veering between English/Australian spelling and US spelling)
    I read that sometimes a client would commission a jeweller to make a real set of jewellery and also a paste set identical to the first. Security, I suppose.

    Reply
  42. Nicola, I can’t wait for my next trip to the UK, where I’m determined to go to Ashdown house and maybe get a personal tour. *g*
    As for paste jewellery, it’s a fascinating area of study. (she says veering between English/Australian spelling and US spelling)
    I read that sometimes a client would commission a jeweller to make a real set of jewellery and also a paste set identical to the first. Security, I suppose.

    Reply
  43. Nicola, I can’t wait for my next trip to the UK, where I’m determined to go to Ashdown house and maybe get a personal tour. *g*
    As for paste jewellery, it’s a fascinating area of study. (she says veering between English/Australian spelling and US spelling)
    I read that sometimes a client would commission a jeweller to make a real set of jewellery and also a paste set identical to the first. Security, I suppose.

    Reply
  44. Nicola, I can’t wait for my next trip to the UK, where I’m determined to go to Ashdown house and maybe get a personal tour. *g*
    As for paste jewellery, it’s a fascinating area of study. (she says veering between English/Australian spelling and US spelling)
    I read that sometimes a client would commission a jeweller to make a real set of jewellery and also a paste set identical to the first. Security, I suppose.

    Reply
  45. Nicola, I can’t wait for my next trip to the UK, where I’m determined to go to Ashdown house and maybe get a personal tour. *g*
    As for paste jewellery, it’s a fascinating area of study. (she says veering between English/Australian spelling and US spelling)
    I read that sometimes a client would commission a jeweller to make a real set of jewellery and also a paste set identical to the first. Security, I suppose.

    Reply
  46. Cynthia, I’ve always thought the Claddagh ring is a beautifully romantic thing. It’s so simple, yet the message is so heartfelt. A lovely present from a thoughtful husband.

    Reply
  47. Cynthia, I’ve always thought the Claddagh ring is a beautifully romantic thing. It’s so simple, yet the message is so heartfelt. A lovely present from a thoughtful husband.

    Reply
  48. Cynthia, I’ve always thought the Claddagh ring is a beautifully romantic thing. It’s so simple, yet the message is so heartfelt. A lovely present from a thoughtful husband.

    Reply
  49. Cynthia, I’ve always thought the Claddagh ring is a beautifully romantic thing. It’s so simple, yet the message is so heartfelt. A lovely present from a thoughtful husband.

    Reply
  50. Cynthia, I’ve always thought the Claddagh ring is a beautifully romantic thing. It’s so simple, yet the message is so heartfelt. A lovely present from a thoughtful husband.

    Reply
  51. Kestrel, I was the same — just made a vague guess — the important thing was that it was fake — and read on. Now I’ve bought a book about faking all sorts of things and I can tell you, it’s an eye-opener.
    But hang onto that paste jewelry you inherited— it’s probably already valuable now, and your granddaughter(s) to be will love it, I’m sure.

    Reply
  52. Kestrel, I was the same — just made a vague guess — the important thing was that it was fake — and read on. Now I’ve bought a book about faking all sorts of things and I can tell you, it’s an eye-opener.
    But hang onto that paste jewelry you inherited— it’s probably already valuable now, and your granddaughter(s) to be will love it, I’m sure.

    Reply
  53. Kestrel, I was the same — just made a vague guess — the important thing was that it was fake — and read on. Now I’ve bought a book about faking all sorts of things and I can tell you, it’s an eye-opener.
    But hang onto that paste jewelry you inherited— it’s probably already valuable now, and your granddaughter(s) to be will love it, I’m sure.

    Reply
  54. Kestrel, I was the same — just made a vague guess — the important thing was that it was fake — and read on. Now I’ve bought a book about faking all sorts of things and I can tell you, it’s an eye-opener.
    But hang onto that paste jewelry you inherited— it’s probably already valuable now, and your granddaughter(s) to be will love it, I’m sure.

    Reply
  55. Kestrel, I was the same — just made a vague guess — the important thing was that it was fake — and read on. Now I’ve bought a book about faking all sorts of things and I can tell you, it’s an eye-opener.
    But hang onto that paste jewelry you inherited— it’s probably already valuable now, and your granddaughter(s) to be will love it, I’m sure.

    Reply
  56. Thanks, Theo for that little bit of wisdom about keeping the lustre of pearls fresh. I pick up bits of knowledge and lore like fluff all the time and never know where I got the information from or how true it is.
    And absolutely, don’t discount the paste jewelry you own— most of the photos I used in the blog are from antique dealers (who very kindly gave me permission to use the photos) and those pretty sparkles are worth serious money. And a lot of the top fashion houses prefer paste now because you can cut glass in a greater variety of shapes and the actual craft work of the metal surrounding is the same as for genuine gems.

    Reply
  57. Thanks, Theo for that little bit of wisdom about keeping the lustre of pearls fresh. I pick up bits of knowledge and lore like fluff all the time and never know where I got the information from or how true it is.
    And absolutely, don’t discount the paste jewelry you own— most of the photos I used in the blog are from antique dealers (who very kindly gave me permission to use the photos) and those pretty sparkles are worth serious money. And a lot of the top fashion houses prefer paste now because you can cut glass in a greater variety of shapes and the actual craft work of the metal surrounding is the same as for genuine gems.

    Reply
  58. Thanks, Theo for that little bit of wisdom about keeping the lustre of pearls fresh. I pick up bits of knowledge and lore like fluff all the time and never know where I got the information from or how true it is.
    And absolutely, don’t discount the paste jewelry you own— most of the photos I used in the blog are from antique dealers (who very kindly gave me permission to use the photos) and those pretty sparkles are worth serious money. And a lot of the top fashion houses prefer paste now because you can cut glass in a greater variety of shapes and the actual craft work of the metal surrounding is the same as for genuine gems.

    Reply
  59. Thanks, Theo for that little bit of wisdom about keeping the lustre of pearls fresh. I pick up bits of knowledge and lore like fluff all the time and never know where I got the information from or how true it is.
    And absolutely, don’t discount the paste jewelry you own— most of the photos I used in the blog are from antique dealers (who very kindly gave me permission to use the photos) and those pretty sparkles are worth serious money. And a lot of the top fashion houses prefer paste now because you can cut glass in a greater variety of shapes and the actual craft work of the metal surrounding is the same as for genuine gems.

    Reply
  60. Thanks, Theo for that little bit of wisdom about keeping the lustre of pearls fresh. I pick up bits of knowledge and lore like fluff all the time and never know where I got the information from or how true it is.
    And absolutely, don’t discount the paste jewelry you own— most of the photos I used in the blog are from antique dealers (who very kindly gave me permission to use the photos) and those pretty sparkles are worth serious money. And a lot of the top fashion houses prefer paste now because you can cut glass in a greater variety of shapes and the actual craft work of the metal surrounding is the same as for genuine gems.

    Reply
  61. Janice, you’re a gem, and not a paste one, either. It was indeed that book of Heyers that taught me about glass and fish-scale pearls. Thank you!
    That’s a very interesting story about Pawn Stars and the post-Napoleonic buttons. I read that apparently Napoleon’s empire gave rise to a whole new resurgence of bling, as he and his family flaunted their new-found wealth. And as the new paste techniques gave such spectacular results, everyone was buying it.

    Reply
  62. Janice, you’re a gem, and not a paste one, either. It was indeed that book of Heyers that taught me about glass and fish-scale pearls. Thank you!
    That’s a very interesting story about Pawn Stars and the post-Napoleonic buttons. I read that apparently Napoleon’s empire gave rise to a whole new resurgence of bling, as he and his family flaunted their new-found wealth. And as the new paste techniques gave such spectacular results, everyone was buying it.

    Reply
  63. Janice, you’re a gem, and not a paste one, either. It was indeed that book of Heyers that taught me about glass and fish-scale pearls. Thank you!
    That’s a very interesting story about Pawn Stars and the post-Napoleonic buttons. I read that apparently Napoleon’s empire gave rise to a whole new resurgence of bling, as he and his family flaunted their new-found wealth. And as the new paste techniques gave such spectacular results, everyone was buying it.

    Reply
  64. Janice, you’re a gem, and not a paste one, either. It was indeed that book of Heyers that taught me about glass and fish-scale pearls. Thank you!
    That’s a very interesting story about Pawn Stars and the post-Napoleonic buttons. I read that apparently Napoleon’s empire gave rise to a whole new resurgence of bling, as he and his family flaunted their new-found wealth. And as the new paste techniques gave such spectacular results, everyone was buying it.

    Reply
  65. Janice, you’re a gem, and not a paste one, either. It was indeed that book of Heyers that taught me about glass and fish-scale pearls. Thank you!
    That’s a very interesting story about Pawn Stars and the post-Napoleonic buttons. I read that apparently Napoleon’s empire gave rise to a whole new resurgence of bling, as he and his family flaunted their new-found wealth. And as the new paste techniques gave such spectacular results, everyone was buying it.

    Reply
  66. What a fascinating post, Anne! I guess I had a rather amorphous idea of what constituted paste jewelry, but your post clarifies a great deal for me. I do have a number of lovely old pieces that belonged to my great aunt. She was very fond of broaches and often used them as hat pins as well.
    I collect cameos, some genuine and some I am sure are completely fake, but lovely nonetheless. My Mom has a complete set of Wedgewood cameos – ring, earrings and necklace. My Dad bought them for her when we lived in England. I always wear them at least one evening at RWA’s National Conference.
    I love the idea of having one genuine set made and a paste set made as security. Very clever. And some of the paste jewelry I have seen quite puts some modern pieces to shame!

    Reply
  67. What a fascinating post, Anne! I guess I had a rather amorphous idea of what constituted paste jewelry, but your post clarifies a great deal for me. I do have a number of lovely old pieces that belonged to my great aunt. She was very fond of broaches and often used them as hat pins as well.
    I collect cameos, some genuine and some I am sure are completely fake, but lovely nonetheless. My Mom has a complete set of Wedgewood cameos – ring, earrings and necklace. My Dad bought them for her when we lived in England. I always wear them at least one evening at RWA’s National Conference.
    I love the idea of having one genuine set made and a paste set made as security. Very clever. And some of the paste jewelry I have seen quite puts some modern pieces to shame!

    Reply
  68. What a fascinating post, Anne! I guess I had a rather amorphous idea of what constituted paste jewelry, but your post clarifies a great deal for me. I do have a number of lovely old pieces that belonged to my great aunt. She was very fond of broaches and often used them as hat pins as well.
    I collect cameos, some genuine and some I am sure are completely fake, but lovely nonetheless. My Mom has a complete set of Wedgewood cameos – ring, earrings and necklace. My Dad bought them for her when we lived in England. I always wear them at least one evening at RWA’s National Conference.
    I love the idea of having one genuine set made and a paste set made as security. Very clever. And some of the paste jewelry I have seen quite puts some modern pieces to shame!

    Reply
  69. What a fascinating post, Anne! I guess I had a rather amorphous idea of what constituted paste jewelry, but your post clarifies a great deal for me. I do have a number of lovely old pieces that belonged to my great aunt. She was very fond of broaches and often used them as hat pins as well.
    I collect cameos, some genuine and some I am sure are completely fake, but lovely nonetheless. My Mom has a complete set of Wedgewood cameos – ring, earrings and necklace. My Dad bought them for her when we lived in England. I always wear them at least one evening at RWA’s National Conference.
    I love the idea of having one genuine set made and a paste set made as security. Very clever. And some of the paste jewelry I have seen quite puts some modern pieces to shame!

    Reply
  70. What a fascinating post, Anne! I guess I had a rather amorphous idea of what constituted paste jewelry, but your post clarifies a great deal for me. I do have a number of lovely old pieces that belonged to my great aunt. She was very fond of broaches and often used them as hat pins as well.
    I collect cameos, some genuine and some I am sure are completely fake, but lovely nonetheless. My Mom has a complete set of Wedgewood cameos – ring, earrings and necklace. My Dad bought them for her when we lived in England. I always wear them at least one evening at RWA’s National Conference.
    I love the idea of having one genuine set made and a paste set made as security. Very clever. And some of the paste jewelry I have seen quite puts some modern pieces to shame!

    Reply
  71. Louisa, I adore cameos and will look forward to seeing your set next time I’m at National. I also love the idea of hatpins, though you’d need a lot of thick and maybe curly hair, I suspect, and currently I have quite a short crop.
    A bead lady I know makes the most gorgeous necklaces combining woven beads with antique bling — really stunning to look at.

    Reply
  72. Louisa, I adore cameos and will look forward to seeing your set next time I’m at National. I also love the idea of hatpins, though you’d need a lot of thick and maybe curly hair, I suspect, and currently I have quite a short crop.
    A bead lady I know makes the most gorgeous necklaces combining woven beads with antique bling — really stunning to look at.

    Reply
  73. Louisa, I adore cameos and will look forward to seeing your set next time I’m at National. I also love the idea of hatpins, though you’d need a lot of thick and maybe curly hair, I suspect, and currently I have quite a short crop.
    A bead lady I know makes the most gorgeous necklaces combining woven beads with antique bling — really stunning to look at.

    Reply
  74. Louisa, I adore cameos and will look forward to seeing your set next time I’m at National. I also love the idea of hatpins, though you’d need a lot of thick and maybe curly hair, I suspect, and currently I have quite a short crop.
    A bead lady I know makes the most gorgeous necklaces combining woven beads with antique bling — really stunning to look at.

    Reply
  75. Louisa, I adore cameos and will look forward to seeing your set next time I’m at National. I also love the idea of hatpins, though you’d need a lot of thick and maybe curly hair, I suspect, and currently I have quite a short crop.
    A bead lady I know makes the most gorgeous necklaces combining woven beads with antique bling — really stunning to look at.

    Reply
  76. Fascinating post, Anne. I always thought paste was built up of a sort of paste and would be rubbery to the touch.
    I have had a significant wedding anniversary worthy of a “good” ring, but have spotted a paste one that I think I like better.
    I have now found out I love paste jewellery. But now I’m wondering what the difference is between it and costume jewellery?
    Alison

    Reply
  77. Fascinating post, Anne. I always thought paste was built up of a sort of paste and would be rubbery to the touch.
    I have had a significant wedding anniversary worthy of a “good” ring, but have spotted a paste one that I think I like better.
    I have now found out I love paste jewellery. But now I’m wondering what the difference is between it and costume jewellery?
    Alison

    Reply
  78. Fascinating post, Anne. I always thought paste was built up of a sort of paste and would be rubbery to the touch.
    I have had a significant wedding anniversary worthy of a “good” ring, but have spotted a paste one that I think I like better.
    I have now found out I love paste jewellery. But now I’m wondering what the difference is between it and costume jewellery?
    Alison

    Reply
  79. Fascinating post, Anne. I always thought paste was built up of a sort of paste and would be rubbery to the touch.
    I have had a significant wedding anniversary worthy of a “good” ring, but have spotted a paste one that I think I like better.
    I have now found out I love paste jewellery. But now I’m wondering what the difference is between it and costume jewellery?
    Alison

    Reply
  80. Fascinating post, Anne. I always thought paste was built up of a sort of paste and would be rubbery to the touch.
    I have had a significant wedding anniversary worthy of a “good” ring, but have spotted a paste one that I think I like better.
    I have now found out I love paste jewellery. But now I’m wondering what the difference is between it and costume jewellery?
    Alison

    Reply
  81. Alison, congratulations on your significant wedding anniversary.
    As for the difference between paste jewellery and costume jewellery, I don’t think there is any. Two terms for the same thing with ‘paste’ being the old fashioned term and ‘costume’ being the more modern one.

    Reply
  82. Alison, congratulations on your significant wedding anniversary.
    As for the difference between paste jewellery and costume jewellery, I don’t think there is any. Two terms for the same thing with ‘paste’ being the old fashioned term and ‘costume’ being the more modern one.

    Reply
  83. Alison, congratulations on your significant wedding anniversary.
    As for the difference between paste jewellery and costume jewellery, I don’t think there is any. Two terms for the same thing with ‘paste’ being the old fashioned term and ‘costume’ being the more modern one.

    Reply
  84. Alison, congratulations on your significant wedding anniversary.
    As for the difference between paste jewellery and costume jewellery, I don’t think there is any. Two terms for the same thing with ‘paste’ being the old fashioned term and ‘costume’ being the more modern one.

    Reply
  85. Alison, congratulations on your significant wedding anniversary.
    As for the difference between paste jewellery and costume jewellery, I don’t think there is any. Two terms for the same thing with ‘paste’ being the old fashioned term and ‘costume’ being the more modern one.

    Reply
  86. OK, I looked it up and now I’d say ‘costume jewellery’ is more of a general term for a range of different fakes, whereas ‘paste’ is a specific kind of fake.
    From wikipedia: “Costume jewelry came into being in the 1930s as a cheap, disposable accessory meant to be worn with a specific outfit. It was intended to be fashionable for a short period of time, outdate itself, and then be repurchased to fit with a new outfit or new fashion style. Its main use is in fashion, as opposed to “real” (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments. Costume jewelry is made of less valuable materials including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones; in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gems.”

    Reply
  87. OK, I looked it up and now I’d say ‘costume jewellery’ is more of a general term for a range of different fakes, whereas ‘paste’ is a specific kind of fake.
    From wikipedia: “Costume jewelry came into being in the 1930s as a cheap, disposable accessory meant to be worn with a specific outfit. It was intended to be fashionable for a short period of time, outdate itself, and then be repurchased to fit with a new outfit or new fashion style. Its main use is in fashion, as opposed to “real” (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments. Costume jewelry is made of less valuable materials including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones; in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gems.”

    Reply
  88. OK, I looked it up and now I’d say ‘costume jewellery’ is more of a general term for a range of different fakes, whereas ‘paste’ is a specific kind of fake.
    From wikipedia: “Costume jewelry came into being in the 1930s as a cheap, disposable accessory meant to be worn with a specific outfit. It was intended to be fashionable for a short period of time, outdate itself, and then be repurchased to fit with a new outfit or new fashion style. Its main use is in fashion, as opposed to “real” (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments. Costume jewelry is made of less valuable materials including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones; in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gems.”

    Reply
  89. OK, I looked it up and now I’d say ‘costume jewellery’ is more of a general term for a range of different fakes, whereas ‘paste’ is a specific kind of fake.
    From wikipedia: “Costume jewelry came into being in the 1930s as a cheap, disposable accessory meant to be worn with a specific outfit. It was intended to be fashionable for a short period of time, outdate itself, and then be repurchased to fit with a new outfit or new fashion style. Its main use is in fashion, as opposed to “real” (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments. Costume jewelry is made of less valuable materials including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones; in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gems.”

    Reply
  90. OK, I looked it up and now I’d say ‘costume jewellery’ is more of a general term for a range of different fakes, whereas ‘paste’ is a specific kind of fake.
    From wikipedia: “Costume jewelry came into being in the 1930s as a cheap, disposable accessory meant to be worn with a specific outfit. It was intended to be fashionable for a short period of time, outdate itself, and then be repurchased to fit with a new outfit or new fashion style. Its main use is in fashion, as opposed to “real” (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments. Costume jewelry is made of less valuable materials including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones; in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gems.”

    Reply
  91. Great blog Anne. I have quite a collection of unset paste stones dating from the late 1800s into the 1900s. My father was a jeweller and he collected them when he first went into business in about 1930. Every now and then I look at them and think “wow – if only they were real!” I also have some Victorian jewellery containing paste stones. It is very pretty.
    Theo, I also remember my father telling me to wear pearls next to the skin, otherwise they would eventually die.

    Reply
  92. Great blog Anne. I have quite a collection of unset paste stones dating from the late 1800s into the 1900s. My father was a jeweller and he collected them when he first went into business in about 1930. Every now and then I look at them and think “wow – if only they were real!” I also have some Victorian jewellery containing paste stones. It is very pretty.
    Theo, I also remember my father telling me to wear pearls next to the skin, otherwise they would eventually die.

    Reply
  93. Great blog Anne. I have quite a collection of unset paste stones dating from the late 1800s into the 1900s. My father was a jeweller and he collected them when he first went into business in about 1930. Every now and then I look at them and think “wow – if only they were real!” I also have some Victorian jewellery containing paste stones. It is very pretty.
    Theo, I also remember my father telling me to wear pearls next to the skin, otherwise they would eventually die.

    Reply
  94. Great blog Anne. I have quite a collection of unset paste stones dating from the late 1800s into the 1900s. My father was a jeweller and he collected them when he first went into business in about 1930. Every now and then I look at them and think “wow – if only they were real!” I also have some Victorian jewellery containing paste stones. It is very pretty.
    Theo, I also remember my father telling me to wear pearls next to the skin, otherwise they would eventually die.

    Reply
  95. Great blog Anne. I have quite a collection of unset paste stones dating from the late 1800s into the 1900s. My father was a jeweller and he collected them when he first went into business in about 1930. Every now and then I look at them and think “wow – if only they were real!” I also have some Victorian jewellery containing paste stones. It is very pretty.
    Theo, I also remember my father telling me to wear pearls next to the skin, otherwise they would eventually die.

    Reply
  96. Great post, Anne. Yes, paste jewellery so often gets mentioned in the way you noted. But I always love it when a heroine – usually impoverished or lower class – has a paste brooch or jewel they treasure above everything either because of who it belonged to or because it is the prettiest thing they’ve ever owned.
    Pearl wearers, just be careful the skin you’re wearing those natural pearls against hasn’t been sprayed with perfume. Nothing is more harmful to a pearl.

    Reply
  97. Great post, Anne. Yes, paste jewellery so often gets mentioned in the way you noted. But I always love it when a heroine – usually impoverished or lower class – has a paste brooch or jewel they treasure above everything either because of who it belonged to or because it is the prettiest thing they’ve ever owned.
    Pearl wearers, just be careful the skin you’re wearing those natural pearls against hasn’t been sprayed with perfume. Nothing is more harmful to a pearl.

    Reply
  98. Great post, Anne. Yes, paste jewellery so often gets mentioned in the way you noted. But I always love it when a heroine – usually impoverished or lower class – has a paste brooch or jewel they treasure above everything either because of who it belonged to or because it is the prettiest thing they’ve ever owned.
    Pearl wearers, just be careful the skin you’re wearing those natural pearls against hasn’t been sprayed with perfume. Nothing is more harmful to a pearl.

    Reply
  99. Great post, Anne. Yes, paste jewellery so often gets mentioned in the way you noted. But I always love it when a heroine – usually impoverished or lower class – has a paste brooch or jewel they treasure above everything either because of who it belonged to or because it is the prettiest thing they’ve ever owned.
    Pearl wearers, just be careful the skin you’re wearing those natural pearls against hasn’t been sprayed with perfume. Nothing is more harmful to a pearl.

    Reply
  100. Great post, Anne. Yes, paste jewellery so often gets mentioned in the way you noted. But I always love it when a heroine – usually impoverished or lower class – has a paste brooch or jewel they treasure above everything either because of who it belonged to or because it is the prettiest thing they’ve ever owned.
    Pearl wearers, just be careful the skin you’re wearing those natural pearls against hasn’t been sprayed with perfume. Nothing is more harmful to a pearl.

    Reply
  101. Not about paste, but about the politics of fakery – part of a paragraph from Colette’s Gigi that I’ve loved for years:
    “… they knew how to converse on scandalous topics traditional and recondite. From the age of twelve, Gigi had known that Madame Otero’s string of large black pearls were ‘dipped’ – that is to say, artificially tinted – while the three rows of her matchlessly graded pearl necklace were ‘worth a king’s ransom’; that Madame de Pougy’s seven rows lacked ‘life’; that Eugenie Fougeres famous diamond bolero was quite worthless…”

    Reply
  102. Not about paste, but about the politics of fakery – part of a paragraph from Colette’s Gigi that I’ve loved for years:
    “… they knew how to converse on scandalous topics traditional and recondite. From the age of twelve, Gigi had known that Madame Otero’s string of large black pearls were ‘dipped’ – that is to say, artificially tinted – while the three rows of her matchlessly graded pearl necklace were ‘worth a king’s ransom’; that Madame de Pougy’s seven rows lacked ‘life’; that Eugenie Fougeres famous diamond bolero was quite worthless…”

    Reply
  103. Not about paste, but about the politics of fakery – part of a paragraph from Colette’s Gigi that I’ve loved for years:
    “… they knew how to converse on scandalous topics traditional and recondite. From the age of twelve, Gigi had known that Madame Otero’s string of large black pearls were ‘dipped’ – that is to say, artificially tinted – while the three rows of her matchlessly graded pearl necklace were ‘worth a king’s ransom’; that Madame de Pougy’s seven rows lacked ‘life’; that Eugenie Fougeres famous diamond bolero was quite worthless…”

    Reply
  104. Not about paste, but about the politics of fakery – part of a paragraph from Colette’s Gigi that I’ve loved for years:
    “… they knew how to converse on scandalous topics traditional and recondite. From the age of twelve, Gigi had known that Madame Otero’s string of large black pearls were ‘dipped’ – that is to say, artificially tinted – while the three rows of her matchlessly graded pearl necklace were ‘worth a king’s ransom’; that Madame de Pougy’s seven rows lacked ‘life’; that Eugenie Fougeres famous diamond bolero was quite worthless…”

    Reply
  105. Not about paste, but about the politics of fakery – part of a paragraph from Colette’s Gigi that I’ve loved for years:
    “… they knew how to converse on scandalous topics traditional and recondite. From the age of twelve, Gigi had known that Madame Otero’s string of large black pearls were ‘dipped’ – that is to say, artificially tinted – while the three rows of her matchlessly graded pearl necklace were ‘worth a king’s ransom’; that Madame de Pougy’s seven rows lacked ‘life’; that Eugenie Fougeres famous diamond bolero was quite worthless…”

    Reply
  106. My favorite piece of jewlery is a plain thick gold band that belonged to my grandmother’s mother. She was a concert pianist who died vy young trying to give birth to her third child. Her husband later remarried, and gave the gold band to his daughter, my grandmother, with the engraving “from Papa 1899”.

    Reply
  107. My favorite piece of jewlery is a plain thick gold band that belonged to my grandmother’s mother. She was a concert pianist who died vy young trying to give birth to her third child. Her husband later remarried, and gave the gold band to his daughter, my grandmother, with the engraving “from Papa 1899”.

    Reply
  108. My favorite piece of jewlery is a plain thick gold band that belonged to my grandmother’s mother. She was a concert pianist who died vy young trying to give birth to her third child. Her husband later remarried, and gave the gold band to his daughter, my grandmother, with the engraving “from Papa 1899”.

    Reply
  109. My favorite piece of jewlery is a plain thick gold band that belonged to my grandmother’s mother. She was a concert pianist who died vy young trying to give birth to her third child. Her husband later remarried, and gave the gold band to his daughter, my grandmother, with the engraving “from Papa 1899”.

    Reply
  110. My favorite piece of jewlery is a plain thick gold band that belonged to my grandmother’s mother. She was a concert pianist who died vy young trying to give birth to her third child. Her husband later remarried, and gave the gold band to his daughter, my grandmother, with the engraving “from Papa 1899”.

    Reply
  111. Jenny what an interesting collection from your father. It sounds really gorgeous, and as for being real — antique paste is pretty fancy these days.
    Some Victorian era jewellery is lovely, I agree, though some is also a bit over-the-top for me.

    Reply
  112. Jenny what an interesting collection from your father. It sounds really gorgeous, and as for being real — antique paste is pretty fancy these days.
    Some Victorian era jewellery is lovely, I agree, though some is also a bit over-the-top for me.

    Reply
  113. Jenny what an interesting collection from your father. It sounds really gorgeous, and as for being real — antique paste is pretty fancy these days.
    Some Victorian era jewellery is lovely, I agree, though some is also a bit over-the-top for me.

    Reply
  114. Jenny what an interesting collection from your father. It sounds really gorgeous, and as for being real — antique paste is pretty fancy these days.
    Some Victorian era jewellery is lovely, I agree, though some is also a bit over-the-top for me.

    Reply
  115. Jenny what an interesting collection from your father. It sounds really gorgeous, and as for being real — antique paste is pretty fancy these days.
    Some Victorian era jewellery is lovely, I agree, though some is also a bit over-the-top for me.

    Reply
  116. Thanks for that little nugget of info re pearls and perfume, Louise. I didn’t know that, but I rarely wear perfume anyway, so probably haven’t killed any pearls lately.
    I also like it when a heroine loves something for its sentimental value, rather than its monetary value. My princess heroine loved her paste tiara because it was her mothers.

    Reply
  117. Thanks for that little nugget of info re pearls and perfume, Louise. I didn’t know that, but I rarely wear perfume anyway, so probably haven’t killed any pearls lately.
    I also like it when a heroine loves something for its sentimental value, rather than its monetary value. My princess heroine loved her paste tiara because it was her mothers.

    Reply
  118. Thanks for that little nugget of info re pearls and perfume, Louise. I didn’t know that, but I rarely wear perfume anyway, so probably haven’t killed any pearls lately.
    I also like it when a heroine loves something for its sentimental value, rather than its monetary value. My princess heroine loved her paste tiara because it was her mothers.

    Reply
  119. Thanks for that little nugget of info re pearls and perfume, Louise. I didn’t know that, but I rarely wear perfume anyway, so probably haven’t killed any pearls lately.
    I also like it when a heroine loves something for its sentimental value, rather than its monetary value. My princess heroine loved her paste tiara because it was her mothers.

    Reply
  120. Thanks for that little nugget of info re pearls and perfume, Louise. I didn’t know that, but I rarely wear perfume anyway, so probably haven’t killed any pearls lately.
    I also like it when a heroine loves something for its sentimental value, rather than its monetary value. My princess heroine loved her paste tiara because it was her mothers.

    Reply
  121. Shannon, that quote from Gigi was gorgeous, thank you — quite delicious. It’s made me want to read it again.
    Betty what a lovely story to go with that ring. I love hearing about items that have a story attached to them. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  122. Shannon, that quote from Gigi was gorgeous, thank you — quite delicious. It’s made me want to read it again.
    Betty what a lovely story to go with that ring. I love hearing about items that have a story attached to them. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  123. Shannon, that quote from Gigi was gorgeous, thank you — quite delicious. It’s made me want to read it again.
    Betty what a lovely story to go with that ring. I love hearing about items that have a story attached to them. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  124. Shannon, that quote from Gigi was gorgeous, thank you — quite delicious. It’s made me want to read it again.
    Betty what a lovely story to go with that ring. I love hearing about items that have a story attached to them. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  125. Shannon, that quote from Gigi was gorgeous, thank you — quite delicious. It’s made me want to read it again.
    Betty what a lovely story to go with that ring. I love hearing about items that have a story attached to them. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  126. Jane O, I haven’t really come across a good explanation of why it’s called paste, I’m afraid. The origin of the term seems to be unknown. Some have suggested it’s from the Italian word ‘pasta’ because it’s soft and easily shaped. This seems unlikely to me.  Glass and foil isn’t exactly soft.
    Perhaps it’s related to this meaning (from the OED) “6.  [Perhaps an alteration of Middle French passe part of a woman’s headdress shielding the face (a1486; French passe).] An ornamental headdress made from pasteboard and worn by women. Now hist. and rare.”

    Reply
  127. Jane O, I haven’t really come across a good explanation of why it’s called paste, I’m afraid. The origin of the term seems to be unknown. Some have suggested it’s from the Italian word ‘pasta’ because it’s soft and easily shaped. This seems unlikely to me.  Glass and foil isn’t exactly soft.
    Perhaps it’s related to this meaning (from the OED) “6.  [Perhaps an alteration of Middle French passe part of a woman’s headdress shielding the face (a1486; French passe).] An ornamental headdress made from pasteboard and worn by women. Now hist. and rare.”

    Reply
  128. Jane O, I haven’t really come across a good explanation of why it’s called paste, I’m afraid. The origin of the term seems to be unknown. Some have suggested it’s from the Italian word ‘pasta’ because it’s soft and easily shaped. This seems unlikely to me.  Glass and foil isn’t exactly soft.
    Perhaps it’s related to this meaning (from the OED) “6.  [Perhaps an alteration of Middle French passe part of a woman’s headdress shielding the face (a1486; French passe).] An ornamental headdress made from pasteboard and worn by women. Now hist. and rare.”

    Reply
  129. Jane O, I haven’t really come across a good explanation of why it’s called paste, I’m afraid. The origin of the term seems to be unknown. Some have suggested it’s from the Italian word ‘pasta’ because it’s soft and easily shaped. This seems unlikely to me.  Glass and foil isn’t exactly soft.
    Perhaps it’s related to this meaning (from the OED) “6.  [Perhaps an alteration of Middle French passe part of a woman’s headdress shielding the face (a1486; French passe).] An ornamental headdress made from pasteboard and worn by women. Now hist. and rare.”

    Reply
  130. Jane O, I haven’t really come across a good explanation of why it’s called paste, I’m afraid. The origin of the term seems to be unknown. Some have suggested it’s from the Italian word ‘pasta’ because it’s soft and easily shaped. This seems unlikely to me.  Glass and foil isn’t exactly soft.
    Perhaps it’s related to this meaning (from the OED) “6.  [Perhaps an alteration of Middle French passe part of a woman’s headdress shielding the face (a1486; French passe).] An ornamental headdress made from pasteboard and worn by women. Now hist. and rare.”

    Reply
  131. Don’t know if this is an urban legend, but I heard that Elizabeth Taylor was not allowed to wear the real “Burton diamond” but had a copy made while the original lived in a vault.

    Reply
  132. Don’t know if this is an urban legend, but I heard that Elizabeth Taylor was not allowed to wear the real “Burton diamond” but had a copy made while the original lived in a vault.

    Reply
  133. Don’t know if this is an urban legend, but I heard that Elizabeth Taylor was not allowed to wear the real “Burton diamond” but had a copy made while the original lived in a vault.

    Reply
  134. Don’t know if this is an urban legend, but I heard that Elizabeth Taylor was not allowed to wear the real “Burton diamond” but had a copy made while the original lived in a vault.

    Reply
  135. Don’t know if this is an urban legend, but I heard that Elizabeth Taylor was not allowed to wear the real “Burton diamond” but had a copy made while the original lived in a vault.

    Reply
  136. When my great-grandmother was dying she gave her Sunday necklace to my grandma. Her brother demanded that she return “my mother’s pearls” to him. She said “what pearls?” He said “the ones she wore every Sunday.” She said “Frank, she bought them in Murphy’s 5&10.” I have them here in the original box and for fake 5&10 pearls they have held up very well. I don’t dare touch them though. I’m afraid they will break.

    Reply
  137. When my great-grandmother was dying she gave her Sunday necklace to my grandma. Her brother demanded that she return “my mother’s pearls” to him. She said “what pearls?” He said “the ones she wore every Sunday.” She said “Frank, she bought them in Murphy’s 5&10.” I have them here in the original box and for fake 5&10 pearls they have held up very well. I don’t dare touch them though. I’m afraid they will break.

    Reply
  138. When my great-grandmother was dying she gave her Sunday necklace to my grandma. Her brother demanded that she return “my mother’s pearls” to him. She said “what pearls?” He said “the ones she wore every Sunday.” She said “Frank, she bought them in Murphy’s 5&10.” I have them here in the original box and for fake 5&10 pearls they have held up very well. I don’t dare touch them though. I’m afraid they will break.

    Reply
  139. When my great-grandmother was dying she gave her Sunday necklace to my grandma. Her brother demanded that she return “my mother’s pearls” to him. She said “what pearls?” He said “the ones she wore every Sunday.” She said “Frank, she bought them in Murphy’s 5&10.” I have them here in the original box and for fake 5&10 pearls they have held up very well. I don’t dare touch them though. I’m afraid they will break.

    Reply
  140. When my great-grandmother was dying she gave her Sunday necklace to my grandma. Her brother demanded that she return “my mother’s pearls” to him. She said “what pearls?” He said “the ones she wore every Sunday.” She said “Frank, she bought them in Murphy’s 5&10.” I have them here in the original box and for fake 5&10 pearls they have held up very well. I don’t dare touch them though. I’m afraid they will break.

    Reply
  141. My favorite book involving paste jewels is Heyer’s False Colours. A large part of the plot revolves around an attempt to retrieve a brooch that turns out to be real rather than paste.

    Reply
  142. My favorite book involving paste jewels is Heyer’s False Colours. A large part of the plot revolves around an attempt to retrieve a brooch that turns out to be real rather than paste.

    Reply
  143. My favorite book involving paste jewels is Heyer’s False Colours. A large part of the plot revolves around an attempt to retrieve a brooch that turns out to be real rather than paste.

    Reply
  144. My favorite book involving paste jewels is Heyer’s False Colours. A large part of the plot revolves around an attempt to retrieve a brooch that turns out to be real rather than paste.

    Reply
  145. My favorite book involving paste jewels is Heyer’s False Colours. A large part of the plot revolves around an attempt to retrieve a brooch that turns out to be real rather than paste.

    Reply
  146. Love both of those stories, Artemisia — it kind of makes security sense that Liz didn’t wear the real thing, but then, really — what’s the point?
    And I love that your great-grandmother loved her Sunday pearls so much. And that your great-uncle thought they must be valuable. Mind you, valuable or not, the gift meant it was your grandma’s anyway. My nan had some cheap pearls, and all the lustre wore off like peeling nail polish. We kids used to play with them.

    Reply
  147. Love both of those stories, Artemisia — it kind of makes security sense that Liz didn’t wear the real thing, but then, really — what’s the point?
    And I love that your great-grandmother loved her Sunday pearls so much. And that your great-uncle thought they must be valuable. Mind you, valuable or not, the gift meant it was your grandma’s anyway. My nan had some cheap pearls, and all the lustre wore off like peeling nail polish. We kids used to play with them.

    Reply
  148. Love both of those stories, Artemisia — it kind of makes security sense that Liz didn’t wear the real thing, but then, really — what’s the point?
    And I love that your great-grandmother loved her Sunday pearls so much. And that your great-uncle thought they must be valuable. Mind you, valuable or not, the gift meant it was your grandma’s anyway. My nan had some cheap pearls, and all the lustre wore off like peeling nail polish. We kids used to play with them.

    Reply
  149. Love both of those stories, Artemisia — it kind of makes security sense that Liz didn’t wear the real thing, but then, really — what’s the point?
    And I love that your great-grandmother loved her Sunday pearls so much. And that your great-uncle thought they must be valuable. Mind you, valuable or not, the gift meant it was your grandma’s anyway. My nan had some cheap pearls, and all the lustre wore off like peeling nail polish. We kids used to play with them.

    Reply
  150. Love both of those stories, Artemisia — it kind of makes security sense that Liz didn’t wear the real thing, but then, really — what’s the point?
    And I love that your great-grandmother loved her Sunday pearls so much. And that your great-uncle thought they must be valuable. Mind you, valuable or not, the gift meant it was your grandma’s anyway. My nan had some cheap pearls, and all the lustre wore off like peeling nail polish. We kids used to play with them.

    Reply
  151. Linda, are you sure it’s False Colours? I keep trying to recall a brooch in False Colours and can’t think of one.
    But if you mean a scene involving a card game, a poker and later on, “Pom’s great-aunt’s brooch” *G* it’s in the Convenient Marriage. I love that scene. And the book.

    Reply
  152. Linda, are you sure it’s False Colours? I keep trying to recall a brooch in False Colours and can’t think of one.
    But if you mean a scene involving a card game, a poker and later on, “Pom’s great-aunt’s brooch” *G* it’s in the Convenient Marriage. I love that scene. And the book.

    Reply
  153. Linda, are you sure it’s False Colours? I keep trying to recall a brooch in False Colours and can’t think of one.
    But if you mean a scene involving a card game, a poker and later on, “Pom’s great-aunt’s brooch” *G* it’s in the Convenient Marriage. I love that scene. And the book.

    Reply
  154. Linda, are you sure it’s False Colours? I keep trying to recall a brooch in False Colours and can’t think of one.
    But if you mean a scene involving a card game, a poker and later on, “Pom’s great-aunt’s brooch” *G* it’s in the Convenient Marriage. I love that scene. And the book.

    Reply
  155. Linda, are you sure it’s False Colours? I keep trying to recall a brooch in False Colours and can’t think of one.
    But if you mean a scene involving a card game, a poker and later on, “Pom’s great-aunt’s brooch” *G* it’s in the Convenient Marriage. I love that scene. And the book.

    Reply
  156. Anne,
    Thanks so much for sharing such fascinating information. I always wondered about ‘paste’ but I’d never researched it. And loved the discussion about pearls and paste.
    Can I please squeeze into your suitcase when you visit Nicola at Ashdown House??
    Suzi

    Reply
  157. Anne,
    Thanks so much for sharing such fascinating information. I always wondered about ‘paste’ but I’d never researched it. And loved the discussion about pearls and paste.
    Can I please squeeze into your suitcase when you visit Nicola at Ashdown House??
    Suzi

    Reply
  158. Anne,
    Thanks so much for sharing such fascinating information. I always wondered about ‘paste’ but I’d never researched it. And loved the discussion about pearls and paste.
    Can I please squeeze into your suitcase when you visit Nicola at Ashdown House??
    Suzi

    Reply
  159. Anne,
    Thanks so much for sharing such fascinating information. I always wondered about ‘paste’ but I’d never researched it. And loved the discussion about pearls and paste.
    Can I please squeeze into your suitcase when you visit Nicola at Ashdown House??
    Suzi

    Reply
  160. Anne,
    Thanks so much for sharing such fascinating information. I always wondered about ‘paste’ but I’d never researched it. And loved the discussion about pearls and paste.
    Can I please squeeze into your suitcase when you visit Nicola at Ashdown House??
    Suzi

    Reply
  161. Anne, you sent me running to my bookshelves to check. In False Colours Evelyn, the older twin, goes to Brighton to retrieve a brooch of his mother’s, lost in a card game. He has a road accident and misses his engagement party. His twin, Kit, stands in for him, and complications ensue. The brooch is thought to be paste which is why the twins’ mother is so anxious to get it back before her card opponent finds out. A paste brooch wouldn’t have been worth as much money as the gambling debt!
    I had forgotten the brooch in The Convenient Marriage, but I love that book, too!

    Reply
  162. Anne, you sent me running to my bookshelves to check. In False Colours Evelyn, the older twin, goes to Brighton to retrieve a brooch of his mother’s, lost in a card game. He has a road accident and misses his engagement party. His twin, Kit, stands in for him, and complications ensue. The brooch is thought to be paste which is why the twins’ mother is so anxious to get it back before her card opponent finds out. A paste brooch wouldn’t have been worth as much money as the gambling debt!
    I had forgotten the brooch in The Convenient Marriage, but I love that book, too!

    Reply
  163. Anne, you sent me running to my bookshelves to check. In False Colours Evelyn, the older twin, goes to Brighton to retrieve a brooch of his mother’s, lost in a card game. He has a road accident and misses his engagement party. His twin, Kit, stands in for him, and complications ensue. The brooch is thought to be paste which is why the twins’ mother is so anxious to get it back before her card opponent finds out. A paste brooch wouldn’t have been worth as much money as the gambling debt!
    I had forgotten the brooch in The Convenient Marriage, but I love that book, too!

    Reply
  164. Anne, you sent me running to my bookshelves to check. In False Colours Evelyn, the older twin, goes to Brighton to retrieve a brooch of his mother’s, lost in a card game. He has a road accident and misses his engagement party. His twin, Kit, stands in for him, and complications ensue. The brooch is thought to be paste which is why the twins’ mother is so anxious to get it back before her card opponent finds out. A paste brooch wouldn’t have been worth as much money as the gambling debt!
    I had forgotten the brooch in The Convenient Marriage, but I love that book, too!

    Reply
  165. Anne, you sent me running to my bookshelves to check. In False Colours Evelyn, the older twin, goes to Brighton to retrieve a brooch of his mother’s, lost in a card game. He has a road accident and misses his engagement party. His twin, Kit, stands in for him, and complications ensue. The brooch is thought to be paste which is why the twins’ mother is so anxious to get it back before her card opponent finds out. A paste brooch wouldn’t have been worth as much money as the gambling debt!
    I had forgotten the brooch in The Convenient Marriage, but I love that book, too!

    Reply
  166. Linda, I’d completely forgotten that part of the story. All I remembered is Evelyn’s accident and him waking up to an angel looking down at him. Thanks so much for explaining it.
    Clearly I need to read it again. Oh, dear what a hardship. *g*

    Reply
  167. Linda, I’d completely forgotten that part of the story. All I remembered is Evelyn’s accident and him waking up to an angel looking down at him. Thanks so much for explaining it.
    Clearly I need to read it again. Oh, dear what a hardship. *g*

    Reply
  168. Linda, I’d completely forgotten that part of the story. All I remembered is Evelyn’s accident and him waking up to an angel looking down at him. Thanks so much for explaining it.
    Clearly I need to read it again. Oh, dear what a hardship. *g*

    Reply
  169. Linda, I’d completely forgotten that part of the story. All I remembered is Evelyn’s accident and him waking up to an angel looking down at him. Thanks so much for explaining it.
    Clearly I need to read it again. Oh, dear what a hardship. *g*

    Reply
  170. Linda, I’d completely forgotten that part of the story. All I remembered is Evelyn’s accident and him waking up to an angel looking down at him. Thanks so much for explaining it.
    Clearly I need to read it again. Oh, dear what a hardship. *g*

    Reply
  171. Anne again. Lyn just sent me this explanation of the origin of the term “paste”
    She said: Reading an article in The Economist free iPad magazine Intelligent Life, Nov/Dec 2012 issue is this explanation.
    “In the 18th century an Alsatian jeweler called Georg Strass began experimenting with the recipe for glass, mixing silica with high levels of lead oxide and additives such as potassium in a wet “paste” before firing.
    The results were unusually hard and clear, and could be cut, polished and backed with metal foil like real diamonds, at the time themselves backed with foil in an attempt to increase their glitter. But Strass’s paste was more malleable than diamond, his gems could be bigger, and cut to any shape, so they could be set very closely together.”
    Thanks you so much for that, Lyn.

    Reply
  172. Anne again. Lyn just sent me this explanation of the origin of the term “paste”
    She said: Reading an article in The Economist free iPad magazine Intelligent Life, Nov/Dec 2012 issue is this explanation.
    “In the 18th century an Alsatian jeweler called Georg Strass began experimenting with the recipe for glass, mixing silica with high levels of lead oxide and additives such as potassium in a wet “paste” before firing.
    The results were unusually hard and clear, and could be cut, polished and backed with metal foil like real diamonds, at the time themselves backed with foil in an attempt to increase their glitter. But Strass’s paste was more malleable than diamond, his gems could be bigger, and cut to any shape, so they could be set very closely together.”
    Thanks you so much for that, Lyn.

    Reply
  173. Anne again. Lyn just sent me this explanation of the origin of the term “paste”
    She said: Reading an article in The Economist free iPad magazine Intelligent Life, Nov/Dec 2012 issue is this explanation.
    “In the 18th century an Alsatian jeweler called Georg Strass began experimenting with the recipe for glass, mixing silica with high levels of lead oxide and additives such as potassium in a wet “paste” before firing.
    The results were unusually hard and clear, and could be cut, polished and backed with metal foil like real diamonds, at the time themselves backed with foil in an attempt to increase their glitter. But Strass’s paste was more malleable than diamond, his gems could be bigger, and cut to any shape, so they could be set very closely together.”
    Thanks you so much for that, Lyn.

    Reply
  174. Anne again. Lyn just sent me this explanation of the origin of the term “paste”
    She said: Reading an article in The Economist free iPad magazine Intelligent Life, Nov/Dec 2012 issue is this explanation.
    “In the 18th century an Alsatian jeweler called Georg Strass began experimenting with the recipe for glass, mixing silica with high levels of lead oxide and additives such as potassium in a wet “paste” before firing.
    The results were unusually hard and clear, and could be cut, polished and backed with metal foil like real diamonds, at the time themselves backed with foil in an attempt to increase their glitter. But Strass’s paste was more malleable than diamond, his gems could be bigger, and cut to any shape, so they could be set very closely together.”
    Thanks you so much for that, Lyn.

    Reply
  175. Anne again. Lyn just sent me this explanation of the origin of the term “paste”
    She said: Reading an article in The Economist free iPad magazine Intelligent Life, Nov/Dec 2012 issue is this explanation.
    “In the 18th century an Alsatian jeweler called Georg Strass began experimenting with the recipe for glass, mixing silica with high levels of lead oxide and additives such as potassium in a wet “paste” before firing.
    The results were unusually hard and clear, and could be cut, polished and backed with metal foil like real diamonds, at the time themselves backed with foil in an attempt to increase their glitter. But Strass’s paste was more malleable than diamond, his gems could be bigger, and cut to any shape, so they could be set very closely together.”
    Thanks you so much for that, Lyn.

    Reply

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