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19thC Antique 1ct+ Zircon Oldest Ever Tested Terrestrial Substance 4½ Billion BC #56932

Cost: $ 129.99


A Sensational Nineteenth Century Antique Genuine Natural Siberian Blue Zircon Briolette Hand Cut and Faceted Semi-Precious Gemstone. Contemporary Pendant Setting.

CLASSIFICATION: Faceted Blue Zircon Briolette.

ORIGIN: Russian Siberia. 19th Century.

SIZE: Approximate Length: 6mm. Approximate Diameter: 4mm.

WEIGHT: Approximately 1.21 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:
Testing of zircons from Western Australia indicate they formed (in a water rich environment) 4.4 billion years ago, making them the oldest material ever dated on Earth. An even older example was found in a large meteorite in Chile. It was the oldest thing scientists have ever examined. The zircon gemstone found within the meteorite was formed at least 4.6 billion years ago in the swirl of dust and rocks that became the planets within our solar system. Zircon has been mined in Ceylon since classical antiquity and there are records of its use in sixth century B.C. Italy and Greece. However in the ancient world yellow zircon was called "hyacinth", from the flower. The word “zircon” originated in the 18th century from the Persian word "zargon", which means "gold colored". During Europe’s Middle Ages zircon was worn by travelers as a protective amulet, and was believed to ward off both lightning strikes and the plague (“black death”).

Celebrating our historical legacy here's a gorgeous, sparkling, blue zircon which originated in Russian Siberia. This particular gemstone was hand cut and faceted into a briolette teardrop, an old fashioned cut reflecting its heritage. Hand crafted 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. This is a crystal clear semi-precious gemstone with virtually all the fire and brilliance of a diamond. It has a few colorless crystalline inclusions quite characteristic of natural zircon. However these tiny blemishes are not really discernible by the naked eye – in fact, they’re not even very easy to discern in the accompanying photo enlargements. This is truly a very beautiful, natural gemstone, and will easily fool most anyone, even many jewelers, into believing that it is a light blue diamond. Zircon is exceeding difficult to distinguish from highest quality diamond, the refractive (brilliance) index of zircon being almost that of diamond.

This is a nice quality specimen, completely transparent, but not absolutely flawless. This specimen is quite characteristic of both the workmanship and the gemstone quality common to the 19th century. 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.

As might be expected under magnification the gemstone shows the unmistakable, hallmark characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the antique, handcrafted finish is considered desirable to most gemstone aficionados, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, many believe that such antique hand-crafted gemstones possess much greater character and appeal than today's mass-produced, laser-cut gemstones. Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones that approach flawlessness in a perfect finish, the cut and finish of an antique, handcrafted gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago. 

Handcrafted though it may be the gemstone possesses great luster and sparkle, and to the eye is absolutely transparent, but it is not absolutely flawless. True, the blemishes it possesses are virtually invisible to the naked eye, and to use trade jargon the gemstone can be characterizedn, as "eye clean" to the casual admirer, or “near eye clean” to intent scrutiny. However magnified as it is here in the accompanying photo enlargements you can see slight blemishes (composed of crystalline material) within the gemstone. Of course much the same may said about almost any antique gemstone of natural origin. An absolutely flawless gemstone simply is not the rule in nature. Most absolutely flawless gemstones will upon close examination be revealed to be synthetic, as perfect gemstones are the realm of laboratory-produced gemstones, not Mother Nature. These photo enlargements also reveal some occasional irregularities in the cut, faceting, and finish consequence of hand-crafting.

Naturally these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques even possible then, let alone in practice, did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so commonplace today. Keep in mind 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. It is precisely 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.

ZIRCON HISTORY: Not to be confused with synthetic “cubic zirconium”, zircon is a natural gemstone known to mankind for thousands of years. The word “zircon” originated in the 18th century from the Persian word "zargon", which means "gold colored", due to the yellow color of the zircon gemstones found there. In ancient history the first references zircon are in Hindu mythology, many thousands of years ago in a poem about the “Kalpa” tree, described as a glowing tree draped with gemstones, with leaves made of zircons. In the ancient world yellow zircon was called "hyacinth", from the flower. In ancient Greek Mythology Hyacinth was a young and beautiful young man and was loved by the God Apollo. One day Apollo and Hyacinth were throwing a discus.

Forgetting Hyacinth was merely mortal, Apollo threw the discus with all his strength. When Hyacinth tried to catch the discus it killed him. Drops of Hyacinth’s blood fell to the ground and colored by Apollo’s tears, became hyacinth flowers. Petrified, the flowers became hyacinth (zircon) gemstones. Zircon was frequently referred to as hyacinth in the Bible as well, particularly as one of the twelve gemstones on the breastplate of the High Priest Aaron, representing the twelve tribes of ancient Israel. Zircon was also mentioned in the Bible as the stone given to Moses in Ezekiel, and as one of the "foundation stones" of post-apocalyptic Jerusalem's city walls in Revelations. According to Jewish legend, the angel sent to the Garden of Eden to watch over Adam and Eve was named Zircon.

Many ancient medical texts from quite a number of Mediterranean cultures refer to zircon as a sleeping aid, and that it was used to prevent nightmares. It was also believed to lose it sparkle and luster at the approach of danger, thus warning the wearer of peril. In the Middle Ages red zircon was believed to prevent pregnancy, and was worn as a talisman in the ancient world by artists, travelers, and merchants. In Medieval Europe zircon was also worn by travelers as a protective amulet, and was believed to ward off lightning strikes. It was also believed to drive away plagues, evil spirits, and nightmares, and in the Middle Ages, zircon was worn to promote riches, honor and wisdom.

Zircon has been mined in Ceylon since classical antiquity (at least 2,000 years), and there are records of its use in sixth century B.C. Italy and Greece. Zircon occurs in a rainbow of colors including blue, yellow, green, brown, orange, red and colorless. Blue zircon and colorless zircon remain the most sought after and costly forms of zircon. Blue zircon was immensely popular in the 1880's and was used extensively in Victorian jewelry. Historically the colorless form of zircon, known as “Matara diamond”, has been the most popular and the most costly. This colorless form of zircon looks more like diamond than any other natural stone due the high refractive index of zircon. These physical properties cause zircon to come very close to diamonds in fire and brilliancy. Colorless zircon is occasionally confused with "cubic zirconia" due to the fact that both have been used a substitutes for diamonds. Cubic zirconia is a man-made synthetic gemstone. Zircon is a natural gemstone.

Zircons are currently mined in Norway, Austria, Germany, France, the Ural Mountains of Russia, Ceylon, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Viet Nam, Korea, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, Nigeria, Madagascar, Mozambique, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and also in the United States and Canada. Testing of zircons from Western Australia indicate they formed (in a water rich environment) 4.4 billion years ago, making them the oldest material ever dated on Earth. An even older example was found in a large meteorite in Chile. The oldest thing scientists have ever examined, that zircon formed at least 4.6 billion years ago in the swirl of dust and rocks that became the planets within our solar system.

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 it was believed that zircon enhanced emotional health, helped to heal grief, remove melancholy, restore appetite, cure insomnia, prevent nightmares, and enhance self-esteem. Its healing properties, though principally associated with emotional and physical balance, also was believed to increase ones hardiness and to facilitate continuity in all endeavors. It was used as a talisman for travelers to protect them from all sickness and evils during the long journey.

Modern practitioners still “prescribe” zircon as a talisman to protect air travelers, and is still believed helpful to those suffering from low self-esteem come to better accept themselves, and to cleanse the wearer of old traumas, doubts and sadness without being overwhelmed by the accompanying emotions. Along those lines zircon is said to bestow upon its wearers confidence, optimism, and good spirits. It is also used to improve mental abilities, and is believed to encourage interest in science. Zircon is said to be of help for varicose veins, relieving pain, blisters and issues pertaining to male reproductive organs. It is also believed to stimulate appetite, and so considered useful for those afflicted with eating disorders; as well as aid with gastric and intestinal disorders, including constipation.
 

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