Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

All Blog Posts (272)

Testing Silver Content

A few people have asked me how I test silver content and so I will share what I do.  I want to start with a few caveats. 

First, you can harm a piece of silver with testing.  You are going to use a strong acid!  So practice first and be sure you really want or need to know the approximate silver content. 

Second, I WELCOME CORRECTIONS and additions.  I am just a curious amateur.  Most silver testing instructions recommend scratching or filing a piece which I…


Added by Lynn Ardent on June 8, 2015 at 20:00 — 8 Comments

Removing old silver polish

I wanted to share a few tips for removing old silver paste polish, which appears as a white dried-on residue.  Here is an example from my Burmese Shan cuff.  


This white residue is often rock-hard and quite impenetrable even to a good soaking and brushing.  To remove it, you need a little chemistry.  The white color here is calcium carbonate, an ingredient of…


Added by Lynn Ardent on April 3, 2015 at 17:20 — 10 Comments

18th/19th century Yemeni exhibit

Marjorie Ransom writes that the vast majority of available Yemeni jewelry was made in the 20th century, and that the prominent styles of Bedihi and Bawsani did not develop until early in the 20th century.  She says that she will have the 19th century pieces in her next book which focuses on the silversmiths that made the jewelry.  She also at once point writes that much 19th century silver in Yemen was a 50/50 silver/metal mix. 

I found a museum exhibit which has 18th and 19th…


Added by Lynn Ardent on March 18, 2015 at 13:12 — 24 Comments

The amber market

Here are links to a couple of interesting interviews related to the amber market, that I came across when trawling the web.

- The amber boom in China: an interview with Vivian Yang



Added by Preethi on March 1, 2015 at 13:17 — 8 Comments

Ifugao necklace for sale

If you are interested just send me a PM.

Added by Watze Kamstra on February 26, 2015 at 19:49 — 1 Comment

Learning your site

I have a question about a pair of bracelets I bought . I have seen a picture on the web of these and I own a pair but can not find any info . P1180047.JPG

Added by Sherry Kunkle on February 16, 2015 at 12:00 — 2 Comments

What is this buckle?

Recently I have seen two of these buckles - one on eBay, and one at a live auction.  These are pictures taken from eBay. 

Arguments in favor of eastern attribution:  the combination of filigree and stones, the glass stones are set using a technique that appears in some Balkan work, and this particular buckle is described as not testing for high grade silver which puts me in mind of Ottoman ~40% silver.  

In favor of western attribution:  the stones have a table…


Added by Lynn Ardent on January 26, 2015 at 14:33 — 10 Comments

Lecture on Yemeni Jewelry by Marjorie Ransom

I stumbled across a 2014 lecture by Marjorie Ransom at the US Library of Congress.

Added by Lynn Ardent on January 17, 2015 at 5:00 — 5 Comments

Help needed Re: Central Asian pieces' origin, possible age, etc?

I brought these back from a recent trip to Central Asia, thinking I would be able to figure out their origins once I returned. Nowhere, simply nowhere, can I find anything remotely like these pieces. I have seen photos of generically 'Afghan' or 'Kuchi' jewelry; however, as beautiful as they are, they do not have the same attention to detail as these do, which makes me question their origin even more.

Any thoughts, ideas, discussions would be greatly…


Added by Susanne Harlandt on January 11, 2015 at 22:54 — 7 Comments

On The Subject of Loubane. I would like to know more.....

Currently there are two loubane "amber" necklaces up for auction on eBay - see items no.111471211129 and 111471215504 by the same seller. I understand loubane to be a translation of the english gum arabic, which is derived from the resin of two variants of acacia tree, and which has many and varied uses in industry and as a constituent in comestibles.

Is anyone able to tell me if the description loubane is ever applied to any other resin or even types of plastic or phenolic…


Added by Frankie Carter on January 6, 2015 at 23:09 — 4 Comments

18th century Cypriot or Turkish buckle on

There is a very nice one on, with a Star of David.  Missing a stone and setting which could be replaced by a good silversmith.   161544201387

Added by Lynn Ardent on January 2, 2015 at 16:15 — No Comments

jewelry collection at year's end- verdigris

Every three or four months I inspect each piece of my collection for corrosion or verdigris. I think that is a very good idea for anybody with an extensive collection that they cannot keep in touch with on a daily basis. This time, I discovered some verdigris on a couple of my older pieces which had been stored in the same package, this told me that I had stored them wrong, not allowing enough airflow to get to them and that I had not allowed them to dry after I had cleaned them the last…


Added by Patricia Deany on December 26, 2014 at 15:30 — 11 Comments

What is this? Benares casting?

This bracelet recently appeared on eBay.  The casting is near-identical to the beautiful Benares enameled bracelets from India with the pink lotus flowers, but the enameling is quite different.  Does anyone know what this is?…


Added by Lynn Ardent on December 20, 2014 at 3:24 — 2 Comments

EXPERTS... I could Use Some Help Knowing more about This Old Beauty!

Yemen? I'm not sure... I…


Added by Kymmberly A Warren-Arbiso on November 5, 2014 at 3:57 — 5 Comments

Cleaning Ottoman Silver

I wanted to share a method I have found for cleaning Ottoman low silver, that is silver which is 30-40% real silver content.  Many Ottoman jewels were made entirely or partially in this lower silver content.  For example, the buckle I will share has the filigree top in high silver, and the frame and chain/pin closure in the low silver.   However unlike a lot of supposed low silver which is not silver at all but nickel or tin, the Ottoman low silver pieces will have 30-40% silver content and…


Added by Lynn Ardent on October 25, 2014 at 1:59 — 8 Comments

all colours for this autumn

Added by Stefany Tomalin on September 1, 2014 at 17:19 — 4 Comments


Imagine what you can do with the most unusual, rare, antique, vintage, ethnic, trade and collectable beads- of all kinds of precious and unexpected materials-

for wearing, designing, jewellery making and embellishing- 

sold singly, in groups or ready-to-wear strands-

you are invited to have a look at …


Added by Stefany Tomalin on September 1, 2014 at 17:05 — No Comments

For Son of Hmong

I believe that recently one of our members asked where he may find some Moroccan crosses -- lo and behold a current ebay auction displaying many different shapes and sizes.

Added by Patricia Deany on August 19, 2014 at 12:21 — 1 Comment

some items of central asian

  i  find   central  asian  jewelries  r  the  most   pretty!…


Added by Son of Hmong on August 11, 2014 at 6:50 — No Comments

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