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19thC Antique 1/3ct Colombia Emerald Sacred Greek Earth Goddess Aphrodite Venus #55247

Cost: $ 239.99


Exceptionally Nice Nineteenth Century Antique Handcrafted Genuine Natural Colombian One-Third Carat “Old-Fashioned” Cut Faceted Emerald.

CLASSIFICATION:  Hand Cut and Faceted Colombian Emerald.

ORIGIN:  Produced in Colombia, Cut and Finished in Russia, late 19th Century.

SIZE:  Length:  5mm.  Width:  4mm.  Depth:  2 1/4mm.  All measurements approximate.

WEIGHT:  0.36 carats.

NOTES:  Upon request we can set your gemstones as a ring, pendant, or as earrings (click <A HREF=http://members.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=ancientgifts>here</A> for more information).

DETAIL:  T
he Greeks regarded the emerald as the sacred stone of the goddess Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) and of the Earth Goddess.  The source of emerald in the ancient world was the (recently rediscovered) Egyptian mines (“Cleopatra’s Mines”) near the Red Sea.  The Greeks worked these mines in the time of Alexander the Great and throughout the Ptolemaic Dynasty.  The last ruler of the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty in Egypt, Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, was often depicted and described wearing fabulous emeralds mined from those same famous ancient mines.  Here’s a beautiful, exceptionally good quality, richly colored Colombian green emerald of intense, bright hue.  Emeralds are nearly 100 times rarer than diamonds, and there are few opportunities to acquire such good quality natural emeralds at reasonable prices.  The best specimens can bring over $40,000 a carat. 

Though the gemstone originated in Colombia, it 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 artisan’s efforts yielded a beautiful, “old-fashioned” cut gemstone of gorgeous hue.  The cut is also known within the trade as a “cushion” cut.  Emeralds were the most prized of the Russian Crown Jewels during the centuries long-rule of successive Russian Czars.  Though Russian Siberia does produce its own beautiful emerald, Colombian emerald is especially prized, even in Russia, for its rich green color (Siberian emeralds tend to be a few shades lighter). 

Most commonly emeralds are included with various bits and pieces known as "jardin", French for "garden".  Most emeralds literally have a garden of inclusions, and most emeralds consequentially are not transparent as are these, rather they are merely translucent.  Unfortunately most transparent “emeralds” sold even by the largest and most reputable retailers in the United States are synthetic (read the fine print; and the same is true of rubies and sapphires).  Why would you buy synthetic emerald at the mall when you can have the real thing?  Though this particular specimen seems without blemish to the cursory view of the casual admirer, it is not flawless. 

The gemstone is absolutely crystal clear, however if you look at the accompanying photo enlargements very carefully, you can see three very short, very thin rutile needles off toward the perimeters (the look like little snippets of exceedingly thin eyelashes).  In fact, from many angles of view these rutile blemishes are not even visible, as they are hidden by the facets around the gemstone’s perimeter.  Once set into a ring or pendant, these minute blemishes would be even harder to discern.  However no mistaking the fact that if you roll the gemstone around and examine it very intently, you can catch sight of these three tiny rutile blemishes, and they are of course discernible in these photo enlargements.  Thus the gemstone cannot be characterized as “eye clean”, but it is certainly within the realm of what could be described as “near eye clean” or “slightly blemished”.  Again, particularly due to the fact that these rutile blemishes are so close gemstone’s extremities, to the casual viewer, the gemstone seems without flaw.    

Considering that this is a natural emerald, it is of very good quality.  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.

This gemstone has great luster and sparkle, and to the eye is completely transparent, but it is not absolutely flawless.  True, the blemishes it possesses are likely unnoticed by the casual admirer, and the gemstone can be characterized, to use trade jargon, as "near eye clean" or “lightly blemished”.  Even to careful scruity, with the unaided eye, the rutle blemishes the gemstone possesses are not easy to discern.  However magnified five times over as it is here, you can see slight blemishes within the stone. Of course the same may said about almost any natural gemstone, particularly emerald.  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.  You might also notice under magnification occasional irregularities in the cut and finish.  Of course, 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.  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 antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for miniscule blemishes and cutting imperfections which are inherent in antique, hand-cut gemstones, and which are by and large, are only visible under high magnification.

HISTORY:  The name "emerald" comes indirectly from the Greek "smaragdos", a name that was given to a number of gemstones having little in common except a green color.  Emeralds have been since ancient times one of the most highly valued of all gemstones.  Even today gem-quality emeralds are so rare they are considered more valuable than diamonds.  Emeralds were traded at the earliest known gem market in Babylon 6,000 years ago.  One of the major sources for the ancient world of the classical Mediterranean’s emerald were Egyptian mines near the Red Sea, which were worked as early as 2000 B.C., perhaps even 3,000 B.C.  Ancient Egyptian texts document the use of emerald during the life of Pharaoh Sesostris III in the 19th century B.C. To the ancient Egyptians, emerald's green color stood for fertility and rebirth, and emeralds were used to treat eye diseases.

The earliest references to emerald in the classical world of the Mediterranean are attributable to Aristotle, fourth century B.C. philosopher, student of Plato, and teacher to Alexander the Great.  Aristotle wrote that owning an emerald increased the owner’s importance in presence and speech during business, gave victory in trials, helped to settle litigation, and that ground into a fine powder and made into a lotion, emerald could also be used to comfort and sooth eyesight.  He also stated an emerald worn as a talisman would prevent epilepsy, and recommended that all children be so adorned with an emerald amulet.  The ancient Greeks regarded the emerald as the sacred stone of the Goddess of Love, Venus (as did the Romans) and of the Earth Goddess, and believed the gemstone would protect lovers from unfaithfulness.  The ancient Greeks worked the Egyptian emerald mines during the time of Alexander the Great and throughout the Ptolemaic Dynasty that period of time where Hellenic Greeks ruled ancient Egypt).  In fact Alexander himself wore a large emerald mounted onto his belt.

In the first century B.C. one of the Ptolemaic kings had an emerald engraved with the portrait of Lucullus, the great Roman general. He then presented it to him when Lucullus visited Egypt. These same mines later provided the last Ptolemaic monarch, Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, the wonderful emeralds she was often depicted and described as wearing.  Though lost for many centuries, extensive remains of "Cleopatra's Mines" were discovered about 1817; and are located near the Red Sea coast, east of Aswan.  Emeralds were also quite favored in the Roman Empire, especially by Roman Emperors, emeralds oftentimes used as Roman crown jewels.  The Roman Emperor Nero reportedly watched chariot races and gladiator contests through lenses made of emeralds, as he found the color to be calming. Roman texts of the second century B.C. recorded that emerald “influences every kind of business, and if you remain chaste while you wear it, it adds substance to both the body and the speech.”  Romans also considered light-colored emeralds to be “unripe”, believing that an emerald becomes darker as it matures.  During the Roman era emerald was discovered in Germany near present-day Salzburg, and production continued through the Middle Ages before the deposit played out.

To the early Christians, the emerald was a symbol for immortality and faith, and also was generally regarded as a symbol of kindness.  These beliefs, though held by both preceding Greek and Roman culture, probably originated with Egyptian and Sumerian culture.  In the ancient Near East, the ancient Babylonians believed that each emerald stone contained a goddess.  The Sumerians believed that an emerald worn on the little finger of the left hand would cure inflammation of the eyes.  In ancient Islam (both in the Near East as well as in Mogul India), green was a holy color symbolizing the unity of Islam, and an amulet of emerald was often engraved with a verse from the Koran. And in both ancient India as well as ancient China, emerald was worn as a talisman thought to bring good luck.

During the Middle Ages an emerald amulet was believed to keep a woman chaste. Medieval shamans and magicians believed that emeralds enabled them to foretell future events if put on the tongue or worn on the left side of the body. Emeralds were also believed to reveal what was true or false, and to give eloquence in speech and make people more intelligent and honest.  Worn as a talisman, emerald was regarded as a sure antidote for enchantments and spells, was believed to repel evil spirits, and it was believed that a high quality emerald would change hues to alert the wearer to impending danger.  In many legends of King Arthur, the Holy Grail (the cup used to catch Christ’s blood at the crucifixion) is described as being fashioned from a large emerald.  Charlemagne the Great (ruler of a vast eighth century Frankish Kingdom) had a large and famous collection of emeralds, and Henry II, when he was made King of Ireland in 1171, was given a large emerald ring.  In the Renaissance medical practitioners ground up emerald with laudanum, an opium derivative, as a medicine for certain fevers and ailments.

“Cleopatra’s Mines” in Upper Egypt provided Europe with emeralds all the way through the 16th century A.D.  Though by today's standards the ancient Egyptian mines produced relatively small and poor quality gemstones, in the days of the Russian Czars, emeralds were the most prized of the Russian Crown Jewels.  The famous 16th century Italian Goldsmith Benvenutto Cellini commented in his writings that emeralds fetched four times the price of diamond.  Renaissance era astrologers and mystics recommended wearing a gold ring set with emerald on the little finger to protect the wearer from mental distress, frequent injuries, or loss of wealth.  In the 18th century, Columbian emeralds started reaching Europe as a result of the Spanish plunder of South American Indians.  In fact treasure hunters seeking wrecks of Spanish galleons are occasionally rewarded by the discovery of emeralds lost by the conquistadors long ago.  Prior to the coming of the Spanish Conquistadors, South American natives had been working emerald mines for at least several centuries, and also held the gemstone in high regard.  In fact, emeralds were worshipped by the Incas who had an emerald goddess to which they sacrificed their children.

Though the world’s best emeralds are generally regarded as being Colombian, emeralds are also produced in Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, India, and throughout Africa.  Very large specimens are found in Siberia (though of a lighter hue than Colombian emerald) and in India (though of generally very low quality), and in the United States emeralds have been found in North Carolina.  Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl (as are aquamarine, morganite, goshenite, heliodore, and bixbite).  Although beautiful in color, emerald tends to be very "dirty" in that it typically contains a lot of inclusions known as "jardin," French for "garden".  Seen under magnification, emerald reveals inclusions that resemble the foliage in a garden, or moss.  The emerald was among the dearest treasures of the gem markets of Babylon, and today - nearly six thousand years later - this lovely stone remains one of the most valuable objects in the world. Flawless specimens of good color and size are exceedingly rare and command higher prices than diamonds of equal weight.

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 emerald was loved and worshipped for thousands of years as a symbol of the eternal cycle of life.  Emerald was believed to possess magical regenerative properties, and was widely used for medicinal purposes in the ancient world.  It was believed to prevent infection and diseases and was used by expectant mothers to keep unborn children safe from complications during childbirth. It was even used to treat cholera, dysentery, and malaria.

There were many ailments that were believed to be cured by emeralds.  Disorders that emeralds have been used for include colic, burns, ulcers, headaches, tension, influenza, epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart disorders, neuralgia, cancer, skin disorders, dysentery, syphilis, fevers, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, asthma and anemia. It was believed to strengthen the heart and circulatory system, as well as the bladder and kidney functions.  It was also used to treat forgetfulness, epilepsy, stammering and even insanity.  The emerald was also once prized as an antidote in cases of poisoning. Even today, the powder of poorer quality emeralds is used in folk medicines in China.

On the metaphysical plane, emerald was used by shamans and magicians to enhance clairvoyance, thus helping to predict future events.  Emerald was believed to detoxify negativity and transform it into positive emotional energy; to stabilize, soothe, and create a sense of security, harmony, faith, hope, and a closeness to God. Emerald was believed to keep the mind in excellent condition and promote a healthy memory and enhance intelligence, enabling one to think clearly about past, present, and future.  Emeralds were often used by politicians and public speakers with the belief that they would promote creativity and eloquence, and to improve the wearer’s intuition, thereby enhancing perceptive abilities. Emeralds were also believed to bring good fortune (particularly in ancient China), and to foster kindness, sympathy, and truthfulness. There have even been times in history when the emerald was believed to be able to control one’s passions and lusts. They were also believed to help one express love, devotion, and adoration, and throughout the ancient world, wearing an emerald talisman was believed to drive away evil spirits.
 

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