Marcasite jewellery has been popular for hundreds of years. Marcasite is both attractive and inexpensive, and is typically set in silver to create antique-looking pieces. True marcasite (iron sulphide) is not used in jewellery as it tends to decompose into a powder. Instead, the marcasite used in jewellery is actually iron pyrite. Marcasite is usually set with jeweller’s cement, rather than prongs, and special care is needed when cleaning marcasite jewellery pieces to avoid loosening the cement.
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Things you need
- Rag for cleaning
- Lint-free rag for drying
- Soft toothbrush
- Jewellery cleaning cloth
Rub the marcasite jewellery, gently, with a barely damp rag. Dry the marcasite jewellery with a lint-free rag, such as an old T-shirt.
Clean heavier oxidation and grime by applying a small amount of a gentle soap to a lightly moistened toothbrush. Gently scrub the marcasite jewellery with the toothbrush until it is clean, rinse it quickly with cold water, and dry it immediately with a lint-free rag.
Polish oxidised sterling silver marcasite settings by rubbing the silver gently with a jewellery cleaning cloth. Finish by rubbing the polishing side of the cleaning cloth over the marcasite jewellery piece.
Tips and warnings
- Store your clean marcasite jewellery in a jeweller’s bag or a plastic zip-top bag to prevent further oxidation.
- Avoid getting your marcasite jewellery wet, as this can loosen the stones. Remove your marcasite jewellery when swimming or bathing.
- Never use chemical cleaners, ultrasonic cleaners, steam cleaners or tumblers with your marcasite jewellery.
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