Black and Silver Bead Necklace – Help Me Identify Please

Hi Paula, a few months about I emailed pics of a necklace I owned and wanted to know if you could tell me something about it.  Hadn’t heard back and thought I would try again.  I can email photos, but the make up of the necklance is silver beads and black beads that seem to not be stone or glass.  They actually seem to be plastic.  The chain is silver along with the Sheild with feathers.  But I don’t see a mark. Thank you for any help you can offer. Eileen

Hi Eileen,

Yeah I usually run about 2 months behind on answering questions, then Christmas came and I got even behinder !

Well it is hard to say for sure from a photo, but as soon as you said plastic, I thought acoma jet because it is very lightweight and sometimes is mistaken for plastic by people who haven’t seen or handled any jet items before.  If the silver is sterling silver, I would bet the black beads are acoma jet.

If the silver is just silver tone metal, then it could be that the black beads are plastic.

The silver beads and end findings do look Native American style. The round beads look like bench made old style necklace beads.

Without seeing it in person or being able to test it for sterling and without any hallmarks, that is about the best I can do !


2 thoughts on “Black and Silver Bead Necklace – Help Me Identify Please

  1. Thank you for the reply, yes the silver is sterling and I suspect that the silver beads are also sterling. Thank you for the info on the black beads. When I purchased this necklace the “trading post” seller said that it was an antique. That was over 25 yrs ago. I was just wanting to make sure that it was Native American. But as I have said, there are no hallmarks. Also thanks for the information on the acoma jet beads. Thank you again for your reply.

  2. A little more information on the organic ‘gemstone’ Jet. Jet is a fossilized wood product often found in coal deposits. Right now there is much real jet coming from Mongolia. It is also found in Spain, the US and most notably in England (Whitby Jet). This is the Black Jet you find in all the Victorian mourning jewelry up until the jet supply was dwindling then anthracite jet from Germany was often used and a fancy glass called French Jet was also substituted in lower end pieces. . When you find a broken bead the wood grain is often visible with a loop. Beads will most often crack along a ‘flaw’ in the wood and it is a very brittle and a bit fragile material. Another test is to press the point of a red hot needle slightly into the bead. If it stinks like burning diesel it’s plastic, If it smells like charcoal, it’s jet. Some coatings that might be on a real jet bead might also make it smell bad, so would a stabilizing resin injected into poor quality jet to make it cuttable. I would not advise using any scratch or pin test on a rare antique or vintage piece unless you’re practiced at this test! Jet is also warm to the touch whereas onyx or plastic is cold. It will also hold a negative electrical charge. Ya, i love love love jet and have driven myself half nuts over the years gleaning any information I could find from Native sellers and European antiquities dealers and gemologists. Acoma jet is one of the most lovely of the jets and to find it in that style necklace cut into such even beads is a real find!

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