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19thC Antique 2½ct Scotland Cairngorm Smoky Quartz Ancient Roman Intaglio Gem Ur #63918

Cost: $ 79.99


Exquisite, Antique, Nineteenth Century Cabochon Cut Hand Faceted Genuine Natural Scottish Smoky Quartz Oval Semi-Precious Gemstone Cab. Mounted into high quality solid sterling silver pendant (not cheap silver plated).

CLASSIFICATION: Cabochon Cut Scottish Smoky Quartz.

ORIGIN: Mount Cairngorm, Scotland. Handcut in or near Yekaterinburg, Russia. 19th Century. Chain and pendant setting contemporary.

SIZE: Length: 10mm. Width: 8mm. Thickness: 4mm.

WEIGHT: 2.41 carats.
 
NOTE:  Default chain is silver electroplate 16, 18, 20 or 24 inch (provided free).  Sterling silver chains are also available in lengths from 16 to 24 inches.  We also have available handcrafted, high-quality (solid not formed) Greek black leather cords.

NOTE:   This same setting is also available in 14kt solid gold.  If you would prefer a different setting style, odds are we have many different setting styles available which would fit this stone which could be substituted for no or very little additional cost.  14kt solid gold settings and 14kt gold fill (5% gold over 95% silver) are also available. 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:
Smoky quartz from Mount Cairngorm, Scotland, known as "cairngorm", and since ancient times has been a favorite ornamental gemstone. Smoky quartz was very popular with the ancient Romans, who often used the stone for carving intaglio seals. Much of the smoky quartz in the classical Mediterranean World came from the Swiss Alps. Fragments of smoky quartz vases have been uncovered in the excavations of ancient Babylonian Ur. Cairngorm is also the national gemstone of Scotland and has been considered a sacred stone for millennia, a belief dating back to the Druids. The Celtic population of the British called smoky quartz they mined in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish highlands “morion”, and the yellow-brown to gray-brown crystals mined there “cairngorm” . For centuries Smoky Quartz has also been commonly set into the pommel of the Scottish dirk, or “black dagger”, a long dagger with a straight blade that is a prerequisite of Highland costume.

Here is a richly colored, antique, hand faceted, very uncommon semi-precious gemstone from Victorian-era Scotland, specifically Mount Cairngorm. Very popular in 18th and 19th century Victorian Scotland, this gemstone is known either as “Smoky” or “Cairngorm” Quartz. Generally “crystal” clear, the smoky tone is caused by the natural radiation emanating from granite stone the quartz is exposed to while buried in the earth. This is a very handsome gemstone, completely transparent, with beautiful sparkle and luster. It is exceptionally clean, water clear, and possesses gorgeous smoky brown color. This particular gemstone was hand cut and faceted into a somewhat coarse cabochon, an old fashioned cut reflecting their heritage, 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 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, and can be reset into 14kt gold if requested, and there are also many other setting styles available upon request. If you would like to see them, email us and we will reply with pictures of other available setting styles.  The default chain is silver electroplated 24 inch.  However we do have solid sterling silver (as well as 14kt gold and gold fill) chains available in lengths between 16 and 24 inches available upon request.  We also have available high quality (solid, not formed) handcrafted genuine Greek leather cord with either sterling silver or bronze/brass fasteners.

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 that approach flawlessness in a perfect finish, the cut and finish of handcrafted gemstones such as this are the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.

This gemstone has great luster and sparkle, and to the eye is completely transparent, but one cannot say with absolute certainty that it is absolutely flawless. True, the blemishes it possesses are not visible to the naked eye, and the gemstone can be characterized at a minimum, to use trade jargon, as "eye clean". To the eye it is indeed flawless; however magnified many times over as it is here, you might be able to pick out one or two slight blemishes within the gemstone, barely perceptible even at such high magnification. 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 even theoretically possible, let alone commonly practiced, did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so commonplace 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. But 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 are only visible under magnification.

HISTORY OF SMOKY QUARTZ: Smoky quartz from Mount Cairngorm, Scotland, known as "cairngorm", has since ancient times has been a favorite ornamental gemstone. It is the national gemstone of Scotland and has been considered a sacred stone there for millennia, a belief dating back to the Druids. The Celtic population of the British called smoky quartz they mined in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish highlands “morion”, and the yellow-brown to gray-brown crystals mined there “cairngorm” Beginning in the seventeenth century, craftsmen of Scottish weapons began to incorporate smoky quartz or citrines from the Cairngorm Mountains into shoulder brooches, kilt pins and dirk pommels. Smoky quartz was and is a favorite ornamental stone set into the pommel of the Scottish dirk, or “black dagger”, a long dagger with a straight blade that is a prerequisite of Highland costume, having first appeared in the eighteenth century as a military accoutrement.

A man’s “sgian dubh” (literally “black dagger” but also known as a “sock knife”) was invariably carried in a place of concealment, very often under his armpit. However when calling on another household Highland protocol called for men to deposit their weapons (claymore or broadsword, dirk, pistols, etc.) at the front door. Nonetheless even when visiting friends it was not safe to be entirely unarmed, and so Highlanders kept their dirk close at hand. But out of courtesy to his host the proper Highland gentleman would remove it from under his armpit and put it somewhere where his host could see it, usually in his stocking, which incidentally also made it even quicker to access if needed. Even the Scottish royal scepter features a cairngorm stone. It is made of silver gilt and topped by a 2½ inch sphere of Scottish smoky quartz and a Scottish pearl. It was a gift in 1494 A.D. from Pope Alexander VI to King James IV, as a symbol of papal support for Scotland, a “special daughter” of the Holy See. Together with a royal crown and sword, the three items form the Scottish “honors”, first used together at the coronation Mary, Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle in 1543. They were last used at the coronation of King Charles II at Scone Palace, the ancient crowning place of the kings of Scotland, on January 1, 1651, the last coronation to ever take place in Scotland.

Other ancient cultures have used smoky quartz, and the Cairngorm Mountains were not the only source of smoky quartz in the ancient world. Much of the smoky quartz in the classical Mediterranean World came from the Swiss Alps. Fragments of smoky quartz vases have been uncovered in the excavations of ancient Babylonian Ur. Smoky quartz was popular in ancient times with the Romans, who used the stone for carving intaglio seals. In the Middle Ages the most important deposit of smoky quartz was in Upper Silesia (now Poland). According to legend, a crystal ball of smoky quartz was the scrying or diving tool used by the renowned Dr. John Dee (1527-1608), alchemist, mathematician, astrologer, magician, and court diviner to Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603). In Medieval Europe smoky quartz gemstones were often engraved with the image of a man in armor holding a bow and arrow. The stone supposedly guarded the wearer and the place where it was situated. According to some historical references, smoky quartz was made into “sunglasses” in 12th century Medieval China, so that judges could use the smoky quartz glasses to hide their facial expressions when they interrogated witnesses. Later smoky quartz gained popularity as a material from whence snuff bottles were carved.

Historically smoky quartz was often used shamanistic rituals, particularly in North American Indian ceremonies where smoky quartz was often found at the top of ritual wands used by some Indian cultures. It was particularly prized by the Cherokees. In fact 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 the ancient world smoky quartz was recognized as a gemstone which possessed healing properties, and was also used by shamans to bring rain. Smoky quartz when worn as a talisman was also believed to protect the wearer from negative forces, surrounding the wearer with a barrier of protective energy. In the ancient world smoky quartz was often associated with the Greco-Roman Goddess Hecate, the goddess of magic, witchcraft, and necromancy (the summoning of the spirit of a deceased person).

Modern practitioners sometimes refer to smoky quartz as "the dream stone," as it is thought to enhance dreams, meditation, and channeling abilities. Smoky quartz is regarded as calming, soothing, comforting and stabilizing, with the power to restore balance and harmony, transform negative emotions to more positive energies, and to improve clarity of thought. Modern practitioners use smoky quartz to treat stress, depression, nightmares, fear, panic, depression, and pessimism. It is believed to help dispose of “psychic waste”, and to foster the courage to make changes and break bad habits, especially old beliefs and emotions that prevent one from experiencing life fully. On the physical side, smoky quartz is regarded as a powerful healer, used to help remove toxins from the body and aid the proper functioning of the kidneys (relieving fluid retention), adrenals, and pancreas. It is also used to help balance sexual energies, as well as help increase fertility. Worn as an amulet, smoky quartz is said to keep the mind clear, banish confusion, clear ambivalence, fortify resolve, help the wearer consciously focus on spiritual growth, and heighten the wearer’s understanding of nature and the environment. Contemporary spiritualists claim that smoky quartz Smokey Quartz is a very powerful scrying stone, revealing visions of dragons, strange astral realms and ancient secrets.
 

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