Paua Shell Earrings Clip-on, Vintage Abalone Earrings




Add to wishlist

More info

These are vintage clip-on earrings made out of alpaca silver (see explanation further dow). They are inlaid with paua shell (abalone shell).

The triangular earrings measure 3cm along the sides. The clip-on mechanism is still nice and sharp.

These earrings are probably 50 to 60 years old and they are in fantastic condition for their age.

The Origins of Alpaca Silver

Contrary to what its name suggests, alpaca silver has nothing to do with alpacas or silver. It is based off a Chinese formulation of nickel silver (a type of copper alloy containing nickel and zinc) named paktong, translated in English to “white copper.” Nickel silver has a long history, tracing its origins all the way back to the Qing Dynasty in China. During the Qing period, nickel silver was smuggled into the East Indies in direct opposition to a government ban on export of the alloy.

Europe came to adopt paktong, even referring to the metal by its original Chinese name. Germany began to imitate paktong in 1750, producing several offshoots. Alpaca silver, also known as German silver, was developed in 1823 as the result of a German competition held with the goal of developing an alloy that had the most visual similarity to silver. Its trademark name Alpacca became widely known in Northern Europe as a source of nickel silver.

Although it is not as financially valuable as silver, alpaca silver is a popular material amongst some jewelers and craftsmen.

The Use of Alpaca Silver in Jewelry

In Mexico, Central America and South America, alpaca silver is frequently used to make jewelry and crafts. It is incredibly durable and malleable, allowing itself to be shaped into detailed pieces while being strong enough to hold its shape. The end products can be beautiful, but people with nickel allergies should avoid wearing alpaca silver jewelry to avoid potential breakouts.

25 other products in the same category: