Georgian / Early Victorian Gold Gilt Pinchbeck Chain Circa 1830

Collections: Sold Archive

Please note boxes and chains are for display only unless otherwise stated

DESCRIPTION (Please scroll to the bottom to view video)

As wearable today as it was 200 plus years ago this Georgian ‘Pinchbeck’, as they are commonly called chain, or gold gilt which is perhaps more appropriate.


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.

Today the term is widely used to describe original Pinchbeck or gilt metal from other producers from this era.

Pinchbeck fell out of use in the second half of the 19th century being replaced by low carat gold which had been legalised in the in 1854.

Of belcher link style, each link has a textured back ground and tiny raised ‘dots’ giving the much sought after Georgian textured link finish.

Clasping very securely with a 1.8cm sturdy barrel push in clasp, original, which is also textured with a pattern.

Measuring 39cm this is a shorter chain depending on neck circumference but tends to sit just on the collar bones (please measure you neck).


Georgian 1714-1830

39.3 cm : 15 1/2 inches

16 grams

XRF Tested to the closest known elements composing early Pinchbeck

This chain is 200 plus years old.  Under close examination there are losses to ‘pinchbeck’ / gold gilt, but over all this chain is bright and lush.  No repairs to links, very solid.  Clasp is excellent and opens and loses perfectly.


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