Saturday, 7 November 2020

bone jewellery

Bone jewellery.

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 thistle bone brooch

Antique Scottish bone brooch of a thistle – hand carved.
Bone thistle brooch - Victorian

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. 
Bone rose brooch by Exquisite

Vintage rose brooch by Exquisite – the rose is carved bone circa the 1960s.
Harvest festival corn sheaf brooch - antique
Harvest festival corn sheaf brooch - antique from Victorian era.

Bone jewellery from the past to now....

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 chunk bangle - modern

Bone and wood chunky bangle - modern in white, and two colours of brown wood (light and dark) Set into a brass bangle frame.
Yellow and black bone tribal necklace

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 bone necklace modern

Gold and black bone V shaped necklace modern
Gold and black polished bone necklace. V shaped and quite chunky design circa 1990s.

Antique style bone bangle chunky
An antique style bone bangle (modern from the early 2000s). Brass and off white bone have been segmented together to create this chunky piece.
Contemporary style bone bangle chunky
Another chunky bone bangle. Again segments of white and black bone with brass giving a modern contemporary style. From the early 2000s. 
Horn antique brooch

Antler horn antique brooch
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.
Horn and thistle antique brooch

Antique leaf brooch of horn carved
A carved leaf brooch - antique now and mellowed to this yellow colouring.
Statement red bone necklace

Chunky wood bone red necklace
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.
Wood bone natural necklace

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.
Faux bone pendant necklace of plastic

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..

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About Me

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Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
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.