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Antique Rosaries for Reference
Vintage Rosaries for Reference
Specialty Rosaries for Reference
Crucifixes, Medals & Collectibles for Reference
Antique Rosaries 1
Antique Rosaries 1a
Antique Rosary 2
Antique Rosaries 3
Antique Rosaries 4
Antique Rosaries 5
Antique Rosaries 6
Antique Rosaries 7
Antique  Rosary 8
Antique Rosaries 9
Antique Rosaries 10
Antique Rosary 12
Antique Rosaries 14
Antique Rosaries 15
Antique Rosaries 16
Antique Rosaries 18
Antique Rosaries 19
Antique Rosaries 20
Antique Rosaries 21
Antique Rosaries 23
Antique Rosaries 30
Unique Skull Rosaries for the Dead
Antique Stanhope Rosaries
Rare Vintage  Civelli Rosary from 1950
1958 Lourdes Apparition 100th Anniversary Rosary
Antique Crucifixes and Medals
Antique Crucifixes and Medals 2
Antique Crucifixes and Medals 3
Antique Crucifixes and Medals 4
Antique Crucifixes and Medals 5
Antique Crucifixes and Medals 7
Antique Crucifixes and Medals 9
Vintage and Sterling Rosaries 1
Vintage and Sterling  Rosaries 2
Vintage and Sterling  Rosaries 3
Vintageand Sterling  Rosaries 4
Vintage and Sterling Rosaries 5
Vintage and Sterling Rosaries 6
Vintage and Sterling Rosaries 7
Tenners- Medieval Style
Designer Rosaries
Designer Rosaries 2
Designer Rosaries 3
Designer Rosaries 4
Designer Rosaries 5
Designer Rosaries 6
Designer Rosaries 7
Other Collectable Items
Ordering Information
FAQ
Gallery
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Gallery Eight
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Frequently Asked Questions About Antique and Vintage Rosaries

Information about antique and vintage jewelery in general can be found in many sources but it is difficult to find a lot of information specifically about antique and vintage rosaries. I have tried to answer some of your questions below. If you have more, I love doing research and will be happy to add more information.

What is the difference between "antique" and "vintage"?

Strictly speaking antique items must be at least 100 years old and vintage must be at least 50 years old, BUT, I have used the terms rather loosely, based more on stylistic characteristics than strictly on age. It is often very difficult to date a rosary because some styles were used for decades. I try my best to describe a general age for the rosaries. New to me is 1980's to the present and you will not find many rosaries on my site of this age.

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How do I know it is silver?

In the first decade of the 1900's the US passed a law that all precious metals entering and/or sold in the US must be marked with their precious metal content. This is the reason items had to be marked with "sterling", "925", "800" etc.. Older items may be marked but it wasn't required. European silver that was not imported into the US may have a makers' stamp only. Truely antique items rarely have "sterling" stamped on them, so you can be pretty sure they are from 1900 to the present if it has "sterling" stamped on it. Silver marked "925" means it is 92.5% silver with the rest being alloys to add strength. Silver marked 800 is often of European origin and is 80% silver and 20% other alloys to add strength. Silver plate on old rosaries is often worn through the plating and you can see a hint of copper or brass showing through. A very worn crucifix or center that has all the characteristics of silver and shows no underlying metal is most likely solid silver but without testing you can not be truly positive about this. I NEVER test an item for silver content, this is usually a destructive process and I will not use it. I look with a magnifying glass for silver marks and also just rub with my thumb to see what happens- silver will quickly shine up and leave a black mark on your thumb, it also has a very distinctive smell. Old silver tarnishes black, never ever green. Alpaca has NO silver content and is an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc. It is also known as "nickel silver". It is widely used in Mexico and Europe because it retains a nice shine and is inexpensive. But it never develops that soft warm look of old silver, it stays a rather bright and harsh silver color. To identify makers' marks on silver items there is a fantastic online source of information, The Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks http://www.925-1000.com/index.html

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What is "gutta percha"?

Gutta Percha is a natural latex that began to be used in the mid-1800's for everything from jewelry to wire insulation to furniture and golf balls! It was widely used in mourning jewelry during the Victorian era due to it's black color and ability to be molded and carved. Many rosaries that seem to have black wooden beads really have gutta percha beads. They are very durable and have lasted well into the present.

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How many beads should a rosary have?

The standard 5 decade rosary will always have 59 beads. There are 5 groups of 10 on the big loop separated by 4 beads. The smaller beads in the groups of 10 are called the Ave beads, the larger separating beads are Paters. Then between the center and the crucifix there is a set of 3 Ave beads with 2 Paters, one on either side of the Aves. There are many other less common rosary forms with different configurations of beads. Two of the more often seen are the Seven Sorrows or Mater Dolorosa Servite rosary that has 7 groups of 7 beads with 3 between the center and terminal medal. The Five Wounds rosary has 5 groups of 5 with 3 between the center and terminal medal. If a rosary is incomplete, doesn't have the set number of beads, I will always mention this. Antique rosaries often are missing beads or have a replacement bead/s. With years of use a rosary may break and beads are lost.

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Where can I find more information?

There are several great sources of information on rosaries on the internet. At "The Yankee Lady's Chapel" http://www.yankeelady.com/ you will find lots of information on dating and identifying old rosaries. Another great site is The Rosary Workshop. Look at their museum for examples of antique to contemporary rosaries of importance. The Jeweled Rose has a wonderful gallery section and great information on antique rosaries. Find this website at http://jeweledrose.com/index.htm. I only know of one book devoted exclusively to collecting rosaries, "The Rosary Collector's Guide" by Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner. It covers many of the collectible rosaries and has plenty of pictures and information.

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