Monday, January 12, 2015

1/12/15 Report - Wire Wrapped Jewelry. Quartz Crystal Find. Difficulty Of Identifying Age.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Wire Wrapped Quartz Pendant Treasure Coast  Beach Find.
Dating found items can be very difficult at times.  On mistake I've made multiple times in the past is to conclude that something is new when it is actually old simply because it looks like something that I know is made today.  Many designs and techniques have been used for a very long time.

One very old technique for making jewelry is wire wrapping.  People do it today.  You might have seen wire wrapped sharks teeth used as pendants for example.  Many items are wrapped and used as various types of jewelry. 

Wikipedia says that wire wrapping is one of the oldest jewelry making techniques and dates back to thousands of years BC.  (See Wikipedia link below.)

Above is a wire wrapped pendant find.  This one is small.  Only about an inch long.

The piece of quartz is interesting to me.  It is not a very nice specimen.  I suspect that it might have been found by the person that made the pendant, rather than being a piece selected by a jeweler, but of course I don't know that. 

Better View of Quartz.
I've read that many people think there might have been a jeweler on the Nieves..  Jewelry in various states of construction, particularly silver, have been found, as have tools and jewelry making supplies, such as silver wire and thin rolled silver strips.

I have no idea how old this quartz pendant is.  It might be either new or old.  About the only thing I can tell with any degree of certainty is that it is old enough to have picked up a thick black patina.  So all that tells me is that it isn't a recent drop.

There was a time when I thought items from an old galleon would be the kind of thing shown in the movies or promotional pictures - expensive ornate silver and gold.  Of course that isn't always true.  A lot of items were for daily use and made for or by the lower classes and often crudely hand made.  I've also made the opposite mistake, thinking something too fine or well-crafted or in too good condition to be old.  It can go both ways. 

I long ago found an enameled ring that was so pretty and bright that I immediately thought it was new.  I didn't know at the time that enameling is a very old technique too.

It is easy to jump to quick conclusions and make mistakes.  Fortunately we learn more and more over time.  Unfortunately the learning often comes too slow.  Some old things can look new, and some new things can look old.   It can be very hard to tell.

As I often say, it is good to hang onto items until you learn more about them.

Here is the link about wire wrapping.

While looking at this pendant, it might also be worth pointing out that quartz has long been thought to have special properties and provide some type of help or protection for the person who wears it.  Some still believe that.

Here is a quartz pendant and text seen on the following linked FSU web site.

Here is that link.

Deagan's book on Spanish Colonial artifacts also states that large numbers of talismans were shipped to the new world.

Here is a link to a gallery showing the opening of a 200 year-old time capsule.  You probably heard about this story on the TV news a few days ago.  The contents included both coins and documents.

One person who went to the recent FUN convention in Orlando said the State Museum exhibit of shipwreck artifacts was less than spectacular.

On the Treasure Coast the surf is supposed to be something like 4 to 6 feet.  Unfortunately the wind is not from a favorable direction. 

Later the wind will be from the North, but then the surf won't be as high.  Things just aren't coming together well.

Happy hunting,