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PinchbeckBanded AgateSnake Locket


This BIG, bold, freaky, friendly snake holds a banded agate-studded locket in his mouth. On the reverse, there's a framed glass panel that opens so you can add a photo, if you like (it may require the assistance of a local jeweler). It's made in pinchbeck, a metal alloy invented in the 18th century by a guy named Christopher Pinchbeck. It was designed to be a cheap substitute for gold, so the word "pinchbeck" has been idiomatically used to describe something fake, junky, or counterfeit. But back then AND now, the historically interesting material means that large-scale jewels can be affordable (a piece like this in solid gold would be $$$$$$$).


  • Materials

    Pinchbeck, banded agate, glass (locket)

  • Age

    c. 1840

  • Condition

    Good. Large agate oval is cracked but repaired solidly

  • Size

    6.6 x 3.7 x 1.4cm (including bail). Bail: 2.2 x 1.2cm. Main stone: 3.5 x 2.8cm





RelatedHistory Lesson

Pinchbeck& Gold Alternatives

The best “costume jewelry” during the Georgian era was pinchbeck, a top-secret formula that looked — and wore — just like gold.