Featured Help with Vintage Jerusalem Cross Silver Earrings with Blue Stones

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by Joan, Apr 18, 2022.

  1. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Does anyone recognize the mark on these silver Jerusalem cross earrings (looks like 90 or 06--could it be a partial mark for 900)? It's the only mark and is easier to read on one earring than the other. I'm wondering where they were made, and how old they are. The craftsmanship looks kind of crude especially on the bezel settings.

    I've also been trying to find out if the stones are glass or maybe aquamarine? The color is a little lighter than it looks in the photos--more like a light sky blue.

    I don't have a gem tester, so I took them to a local jewelry store this afternoon where the staff person just did a quick test with some type of tool that tests the sharpness of the facets and said the stones were glass, but I don't know if I should take her answer as absolute. I think I recall that some on this forum have Presidium gem testers, so I'm wondering if they're reliable (I've read the reviews on Amazon for the $269.00 version, and it seems several people had problems with it. I have a lot of vintage jewelry I should test, but don't want to buy something that isn't reliable, so I welcome opinions on gem testers also.)
    JerusalemCrossEarrings-2.jpg JerusalemCrossEarrings-3.jpg JerusalemCrossEarrings-4.jpg JerusalemCrossEarrings-1.jpg
  2. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    There is no tool to test the "sharpness" of facets.The sharpness is determined by the ability of the gem cutter on any type of gemstone.
    judy and Joan like this.
  3. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    It's possible I misunderstood her...she said something about the smoothness of the cut edges while she was quickly moving a pen-like tool over the stone, and also mentioned light refraction. Maybe the tool was for light refraction? It was pen-like and she quickly ran it over the stone and said it was glass. Before doing that she had commented twice that it was an inexpensive stone, which frustrated me because I had explained that I mainly wanted to know if it was glass or some type of stone.
    judy likes this.
  4. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    Glass doesn't surprise me. Those are Jerusalem cross earrings, something I'm used to being seeing as tourist jewelry. My mom brought a cross home in the 50s with a purple stone that may be amethyst and may not. The design hasn't changed over the years. The 90 is probably 90% silver, and they're not incredibly old. It's hard to say exactly how old because the design didn't change.
    Joan and judy like this.
  5. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Thanks, evelyb30, when I was researched these earrings, I noticed a lot of sellers were just calling the stones "blue stones," "green stones," "purple stones," etc. and not using the word glass, so maybe that's what I'll do if I don't get a gem identifier before I sell them. I did more looking at examples online and found one that was stamped "95" and identified as 95% silver, so you're right about the "90" on mine referring to 90% silver. When you said your mom brought a cross home in the 50s, I'm assuming you mean from Jerusalem. I noticed some are marked "Jerusalem" on the back, but am wondering if that's where they're all made.
    Figtree3 likes this.
  6. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    It's the design - a Jerusalem cross. Mom's was made there but these days who knows.
    Figtree3 and Joan like this.
  7. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    When I bought these earrings I'd never heard of a Jerusalem cross (or if I had, I didn't associate it with jewelry). I just thought they were unusual and looked like sterling silver. I learned the term "cannetile" on this forum, so I searched "cannetile cross" on eBay to see if I could find something similar, and that's when I discovered the correct term. Tonight I became curious about how a cross symbol would be called a Jerusalem cross and made in Jerusalem for tourists, so I googled Jerusalem cross and now I better understand the history behind it, although it seems kind of complicated.
    Figtree3 and KSW like this.
  8. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    They used to call it a Crusader's Cross too, but these days that'll get you in trouble.
    Joan likes this.
  9. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    I bought a Presidium gem tester in 2014, at the recommendation of a member here on Antiquers. The one I got was "Presidium Duo Tester PDT Diamond Gemstone Tester" (This is how it is listed on Amazon.) The current price they list is $485. I used some credit card points with it, so paid about half that price.

    The Amazon reviews on this are so-so, as you mentioned. For me it works well, though, for a general idea in my fairly small jewelry collection. Only one of my pieces came up to the diamond level... a cameo, one of the type where the person is wearing a necklace with a very small gem in it. You do have to be careful not to touch the sensor to metal, as the device will shriek loudly!

    I feel confident in the results I've gotten. And think it was worth the purchase price. Most of mine came out as glass, although there were a few gems such as amethyst.
    Joan likes this.
  10. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

    test it or make a small scratch to see if it's full silver.
    90 would be silverplate in the German system and what many people don't realize - there were more Germans and German speakers in the Holy Land before and after the terrible deeds from 1933 to 1945 than we may think. especially artists/ silversmiths etc. that had the luck to escape or simply "had it" - in bigger numbers since the 1890s !!! -and emigrated from Europe to Palestine.
    an interesting group were the Pietist Templars from Southern Germany. normally members of these groups had to have at least a proper and useful apprenticeship to guarantee the surviving of the group in foreign lands.
    Joan likes this.
  11. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    Not too much doubt about those.

    Oddly a lady was wearing a Jerusalem cross pendant in church this morning. When I commented she said it was rare that anyone knew what it was. She doensn't hang around this lot, obviously. :D
    Joan likes this.
  12. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry that I didn't see the posts from Sunday...I don't seem to be getting messages anymore when someone replies...
    Just stumbled across this one when looking at recent jewelry posts. This morning I decided to order an inexpensive diamond tester (Amazon Choice) so I could at least test for glass stones and diamonds (highly unlikely to have any except for wedding rings).
  13. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Fid, for enlightening me. I'll do a test with the 18k acid.
  14. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Here are the test results using 18k gold acid. I'm thinking I didn't press hard enough for the first try. Not sure about the butterfly clutch. According to the second try when I pressed harder, it looks like the earring is silver unless it has a thick layer of silver plating.

    Figtree3 and Fid like this.
  15. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    Looks like they're coated in something.
  16. Joan

    Joan Well-Known Member

    Final update...I used my new diamond tester for the first time and it confirmed the blue stones are glass. Thank you so much to all who helped answer my questions.
    Figtree3 and Fid like this.
  17. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    These are probably made other places as well, but lots are made in Israel for Christian tourists to the Holy Land. They come with variations in the design & different color center stones. I have a pin/pendant marked 'Jerusalem/Silver/999' & a pair of earrings that are very similar, simply marked '900'. Israel does not have (or at least didn't used to have) any national standard for silver fineness or markings, so you see all sorts of things.

    Mine have stones that generally look purple but that are actually color change sapphires. On color alone, your stone could be blue topaz, but no doubt glass is also possible.
    BoudiccaJones likes this.
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