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19thC Antique Iolite Ancient Norway Medieval Viking Norse Solar Navigational Aid #63749

Cost: $ 79.99


Antique Genuine Natural Handcrafted Siberian Violet-Blue Iolite Semi-Precious Gemstone. Contemporary High Quality Sterling Silver Ring (Size 7 – Resizing Available).

CLASSIFICATION: Faceted Blue-Violet Iolite Round.

ORIGIN: Chelyabinsk Russia. 19th Century.

SIZE: Diameter: 4mm. Thickness: 2mm. 

WEIGHT: Approximately 0.19 carats.

NOTE:
Resizing is available. 14kt solid gold setting is also available. If you would prefer a different setting style, odds are we have many different setting styles available which would fit this stone(s) which could be substituted for no or very little additional cost. Write us for pictures and prices.

NOTE: If you would like only the gemstone, and not the setting, we can dismount the gemstone and offer you the gemstone without the setting. Just let us know, and yes, we’ll discount the price by the cost of the setting.

DETAIL:
Known as the gemstone of the Vikings, Iolite was used by Norse and Viking explorers as a navigational aid, as a properly oriented stone would change color in relation to the direction of sunlight, allowing for crude navigation in the fog-enshrouded northern Atlantic waters where the direction of the sun was otherwise impossible to discern. Mined from deposits in Norway and Greenland, it was called “water sapphire” by some as it is clear from one direction, light blue from another, and from the third direction, light yellow or gray. Its darkest blue-violet shade is seen when held 90 degrees from the sun. It is believed that the Vikings would use thin slices of iolite as polarizing filters, allowing them to look directly at the sun and determine its exact location in the sky. During the Middle Ages there exist accounts that Iolite was used by shamans, mystics, seers, witches and wizards to help achieve a deep trance state, stimulate visions, and stimulate astral travel.

Here is an absolutely gorgeous, richly colored iolite gemstone from Chelyabinsk, Russia. The gemstone was hand crafted and faceted by a 19th century Russian artisan, part of an heritage renown for the production of the elaborate gemstones and jewelry of the Czars of Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian Russia. The faceted cut is a coarse precursor to what eventually became known in the industry as a “brilliant cut” round, the contemporary finish generally given to round diamonds. Though the gemstone is not absolutely flawless, it is quite typical of the gemstones of the 19th century. To the cursory inspection of the casual admirer, the gemstone is seemingly without blemish. It is beautifully colored, transparent, lustrous, and sparkling. It is a very attractive gemstone, of very special character and remarkable color and texture. 

Nonetheless if you were to inspect it intently, even with the naked eye, you can just discern a blemish or two composed of colorless crystalline material. And of course in the accompanying photo enlargements you can also discern these minute blemishes. Highly favored by the royal houses of Europe in the 19th century, Iolite has recently become very "hot". Ignored for centuries by Europe and America, it is now suddenly recognized as a truly stunning and beautiful gemstone, possessing rich, exceptional blue to violet hues which made iolite one of the most valuable possessions in the ancient Viking world. The setting is of contemporary origin. It is a high quality setting manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers. It is constructed of solid sterling silver. We do have the ability to have the ring sent out for resizing if requested. Additionally, if preferred, the mounting is also available in 14kt solid gold.

Under magnification the gemstone shows the unmistakable characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the 19th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, most serious collectors consider such gemstones more desirable, possessed of greater character and uniqueness when compared to today's cookie-cutter mass-produced machine-faceted gemstones. Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones, the cut and finish of a gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.

Handcrafted though it may be this gemstone has great luster and sparkle. To the eye is essentially transparent, but it is not entirely flawless. True, the blemishes it possesses are not immediately obvious to the naked eye, and the gemstone can be characterized, to use trade jargon, as "near eye clean". However magnified as the gemstone is here in these photo enlargements it is possible to detect a few slight blemishes within the stone. Of course the same may said about almost any natural gemstone. An absolutely flawless gemstone simply is not the rule in nature. Most absolutely flawless gemstones will upon close examination be revealed to be synthetic.

You might also notice under magnification occasional irregularities in the cut and finish. Naturally these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques prevalent did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so common today. Keep in mind that two centuries ago mankind was more or less limited to surface deposits or near surface deposits of gemstones. Higher quality gemstones which today are routinely mined from beneath hundreds of meters, even kilometers beneath the earth's surface, were simply inaccessible then.

For these reasons antique gemstones must be appreciated as antiques first, gemstones second. The relatively superlative quality of contemporary gemstones routinely mined from deep beneath the earth's surface today were simply not accessible two centuries ago, or at least, only rarely so. However for most, the unique nature and character of these antique gemstones more than makes up for the blemishes found within the gemstones, as well as the cutting irregularities common to handcrafted gemstones, all of which are by and large (if at all) are only visible under magnification.

IOLITE HISTORY: Known as the gemstone of the Vikings, Iolite is a blue-violet colored gemstone often mistaken for sapphire or tanzanite. Unknown to classical ancient Mediterranean cultures, it was used by Norse and Viking explorers to navigate. Mined from deposits in Norway and Greenland, this exceptional gemstone changes colors depending up the direction it is oriented, thus allowing crude navigator even without a fix on the sun or stars, vital in the fog-enshrouded northern Atlantic waters where the direction of the sun was otherwise impossible to discern. Iolite is usually a very richly textured purplish blue when cut properly. Called “water sapphire” by some as it is clear from one direction, light blue from another, and from the third direction, light yellow or gray.

Its darkest blue-violet shade is seen when held 90 degrees from the sun. It is also believed that the Vikings would use thin slices of iolite as polarizing filters, allowing them to look directly at the sun and determine its exact location in the sky. During the Middle Ages there exist accounts that Iolite was used by shamans to help achieve a deep trance state, stimulate visions, and stimulate astral travel. In some Medieval cultures Iolite was held sacred to the Mother Goddess, and in other Medieval cultures it was held to be sacred to the Father God or King of Gods (especially the Roman deity Jupiter).

The name iolite comes from the Greek ios, which means violet. In the 19th century it was known as "cordierite", after a French geologist, Pierre L. Cordier, who had “(re)discovered” the gemstone for the benefit of Western Europe. It was very popular during that century, but then drifted in obscurity. It is presently mined in Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and Brazil. The largest iolite ever discovered is a 1714 carat nodule discovered at Palmer Canyon, Wyoming, and is known as the “Palmer Canyon Blue Star”. However typically pieces of rough over 8 carats are quite uncommon, and gemstone quality faceted gemstones over 1 carat are likewise fairly uncommon.

Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In these as well as other ancient cultures, it was believed that iolite would help balance the various aspects of the personality, especially those characteristics within an individual considered "female" and "male". As well iolite was believed to bring harmony to interpersonal relationships, to help determine the truth, and as well to energize athletes.

Iolite was also held to help purify the body of wastes. Iolite was also been used by mystics as an aid in bringing visions. In the Victorian era it was believed that wearing iolite would enhance one’s ability to manage money and avoid debt. It was also used to relieve headaches, and it was believed to enhance liver function, eliminating systemic toxicity. Modern practitioners believe that iolite gives its wearers a better understanding of themselves and their special purpose, helping them find direction that has been missing in their lives. It’s also believed to help wearers "let go" of feelings of helplessness and victimization related to circumstances, gently nurturing growth and maturity. Iolite is also reputed to increase spiritual insight and help in seeing both sides of an issue more clearly. On a more practical level, iolite is presently used in the manufacture of catalytic converters. 
 

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