Antique Georgian/Early Victorian ‘Pinchbeck’ Bracelet Circa 1810
History of Pinchbeck
Pinchbeck is a form of brass an alloy of copper and zinc, mixed in proportions so that it closely resembles gold in appearance. It was invented in the early 18th century by Christopher Pinchbeck, a London clock and watchmaker.
Since gold was affordable only by the upper classes at that time, the development of pinchbeck allowed ordinary people to buy gold 'effect' jewellery on a budget. The inventor allegedly made pinchbeck jewellery clearly labelled as such. The original Pinchbeck was made by Christopher Pinchbeck and his decedents until the 1830s.
The family kept its exact formula a secret, but others guessed the alloy's two components and began to experiment with their own mixes, some more successfully than others.
Others tried to pass off jewellery made from their own formulas as gold, but the Pinchbeck family always made it clear that their metal was a substitute. Over time, the term Pinchbeck was often used generically to refer to all types of gold substitutes.
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