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Identifying Victorian Black Jewelry

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Victorian Black Jewelry: Gutta Percha
Identifying Victorian Black Jewelry

Gutta percha pendant, English, ca. 1870-1900

Hacienda (www.trocadero.com/Hacienda)

Gutta Percha is a rubber-like gum derived from the resin of trees, mainly in Malaysia. Like its synthetic cousin, vulcanite, it's brownish-black in appearance (but tends to hold its black matte color over time better), and is molded rather than carved -- so, "sometimes you can detect mold lines, with the eye or a loupe," Stockhammer notes. It will give off an acrid, rubber smell when rubbed briskly or subject to heat.

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