It's one of my faves, gotta tell ya that.
I've always been a fan of old Victorian goldfilled jewelry, or rolled gold. I'm not an expert on how goldfilled sheet is made but I've always been under the impression that it is milled, or rolled; a very very thin layer of gold onto an alloy base. It's NOT gold jewelry, but it's a step above just goldplating. The color is rich, mellow, with a unique 18K look to it. I totally love the gf bangles and the Mizpah pins....sometime I will have to show you my small collection of pretty vintage pieces. I think I have one of the prettiest Victorian Mizpah pins ever. Someday I will show it to you and tell you the true meaning of Mizpah ("The Lord watch between me and thee while we are apart from one another").
Designers in the early-to-mid 20th century loved this look as well, and developed a plating shade called "Russian Goldplate". It mocked the old gold filled look but it had a very unique antique to it that gave you the sense of patina, and it was indeed a form of plating. It was actually a type of brass over brass-----rich mellow yellow brass plating over a brass form, with patina antique, and sealant.
Miriam Haskell jewelry used this form of plating ALOT. Since I love the tone, it's got to be one of the reasons I was always in love with Miriam Haskell jewelry and treasure the few pieces I have to wear, and cherish even more the damaged ones I found in fleas....because I have learned so much from them.
As we began to have our brass stampings plated about 9-10 years ago, I longed to have a finish similar to the OLD Russian goldplating. Unfortunately, the way it was done on the filigree used for MH jewelry was a secret recipe made for that company, although other designers of the period used similar finishes. My platers have been in the trade a long time, and were familiar with it the old formula. Oas told that chemicals were used to produce that finish that are no longer legal to use in the plating industry, so it cannot be completely duplicated. Waaah.
One of my platers did work out a lovely finish for me that is very close......see the picture below:
What I'll tell you first is that EVERYTHING you see in the photo above, is still made. But the Haskell parts were probably made and plated late 60's-early 70's.
Okay, I'll tell you. The stuff on the left is MH; the stuff on the right is B'sue Boutiques.
Up close and personal, you can DEFINITELY tell it apart: the sealant on the MH pieces makes them shinier than ours. Ours are sealed, but with a matte finish. Also, the plating on the MH pieces has just a hint of 'greasy-green', probably because of the brass content plating over old brass and the fact, too, that they are vintage. Our Russian Goldplating is true; it really does have gold in the plating mix, not brass. The antique on the MH pieces is a little more ombre; on ours it is more red-mocha.
I'm glad it can be told apart because I didn't bring it back so that people could buy the pieces and fake Haskell items. Beaders today are very experienced and savvy, the sort of cagework beadery techniques employed in the collectible cagework items would not be difficult for them to execute.
Beaders may be savvy and experienced, BUT!! collectors know more today than ever; I doubt there will be any to really be fooled....so don't do it. Learn from the genre and come up with your own work, and be proud to develop your own brand and put your own signature on it.
Enjoy this plating shade and the vintage stampings we place it on BECAUSE IT IS BEAUTIFUL.
Any number of stampings companies have touted with great success the gingerbread-mocha-brown brass in the matted-down patina. It is rich and lovely. We do quite well with our own brass ox line, which we have sold for many years . We price it reasonably and the finish is applied by the best plater in the costume jewelry trade here in the US. You can also mock the old brown or gingerbread patina via the methods I have discussed frequently on this blog, using raw brass pieces.
Russian goldplated finish has a very rich history and it is GORGEOUS. It combines beautifully with old Czech stones, Japanese glass pearls and West German beads, if you want a true vintage look. We have some awesome vintage Japanese pearl drops that complement it exquisitely. It also looks fantastic with new Swarovski machine cut glass or Czech Preciosa line.
Our stocks are deep in most styles and we carry a very large selection of Russian goldplated brass at http://www.bsueboutiques.com
Check it out!