Showcasing antique and vintage costume jewellery to the more modern. I am a geek when it comes to collecting unusual jewellery. From plastic to vintage jewellery brands and unsigned beauties.
Saturday, 7 November 2020
Love it or hate it? Bone jewellery has been around for a very long time and is still used extensively for material in jewellery today, even with the rise of the Vegan way of thinking. Bone is not only tactile, but a cheap component in jewellery to use. Once hand carved but now machine manufactured. It will be around for years to come. Now suitable to collect the many different bone jewellery pieces still available. It is relatively cheaper to create a collection. Although older antique jewellery is becoming more difficult to find.
Antique Scottish bone brooch of a thistle – hand carved.
The history of bone jewellery.
One of the earliest materials used by our ancestors was bone to make jewellery. After picking the bones dry, they used Ibex, horse. Carved bone jewellery was used to adoring themselves. Maybe to draw the animals to them when hunting – as obtaining food was a must to survive. No nipping to the local shop to buy groceries then. Or jewellery and clothing accessories were used in ritualistic practices or just for plain fashion of the times!. No one really knows for sure. Certainly, a bone was used in holding clothes together like buttons, clasps and buckles. But it was also fastened into beads and brooches that had no function other than to look good.
It seems to have been also used as a memorial to dead ancestors. Human bone beads were used in certain religion’s prayer beads. Ancient people would have their relatives or loved one’s bones or teeth fashioned into a necklace or headdress. A way to keep their memory alive or to give them that deceased person’s knowledge? Not something we would consider today – or is it. Jewellery can still be made with your loved one’s ashes turned into diamonds or a locket/holder that can contain a small amount of the cremated remains of your husband/wife/mother/father/child, etc.
Bone was used for jewellery making in certain cultures and in certain decades. Ethnic, Egyptian and North American jewellery often used bone. The Victorian era has many examples. Used to make Scottish bone jewellery and also harvest inspired pieces for good luck. Bone enjoyed a brief revival in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Chunky often tribal pieces were produced and imported into the UK. Today, bone is once again out of fashion with the move to vegan products.
Vintage rose brooch by Exquisite – the rose is carved bone circa the 1960s.
Harvest festival corn sheaf brooch - antique from Victorian era.
Animal bone in jewellery has never really gone out fashion. Nowadays it is dyed and shaped so that you can not tell what it is. A bone of course is used extensively now in our everyday life, as it was our ancestors. The following pieces of jewellery of bone and other materials are some that have been sourced in our travels and from many sources.
Bone and wood chunky bangle - modern in white, and two colours of brown wood (light and dark) Set into a brass bangle frame.
Black and yellow magnificent multi layered necklace. Bone and wood combination to give this tribal style. Modern necklace from the early 2000s.
Gold and black polished bone necklace. V shaped and quite chunky design circa 1990s.
An antique style bone bangle (modern from the early 2000s). Brass and off white bone have been segmented together to create this chunky piece.
Another chunky bone bangle. Again segments of white and black bone with brass giving a modern contemporary style. From the early 2000s.
Not strictly bone but horn - popular in Victorian jewellery. Here is a horn shaped brooch and below a thistle in silver metal fixed to a piece of antler horn. Both antique pieces.
A carved leaf brooch - antique now and mellowed to this yellow colouring.
A big and chunky red bone necklace. Wood beads with polished spine bone shaped beads. Asymmetrical and again a more modern necklace from the early 2000s.
Another large focal bone and wood necklace. This in neutral colours of brown both light and dark. Here the rectangular shaped bone is fixed onto polished wood. Modern from the early 2000s.
The above floral bead necklace looks like bone carved but is in fact made of plastic! Sometimes it can be difficult to see what the material is actually. This has been made to imitate carved bone, but made cheaply and probably mass produced.
As usual, we will add to this blog post photographs of the bone jewellery we still sourced. So please bookmark and come back again..
I preserve the past. Researching family and local history. Finding about mine and other people's ancestors, is just one of my passions. I also love vintage costume jewellery made here in the UK. I write about my finds and like to research.