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18thC Antique 2ct Onyx Ancient Greek Roman Soldier Courage Amulet Hercules Mars #63699

Cost: $ 159.99


Two Antique 18th Century Genuine Natural One Carat (Plus) Hand Crafted/Polished Siberian Agate Semi-Precious Gemstone Ovals. Mounted into contemporary high quality sterling silver “euroclick” earings.

CLASSIFICATION: Polished Siberian Onyx Polished Cabochons.

ORIGIN: 18th century Russia.

SIZE: Length: 8mm. Width: 6mm. Depth (Thickness): 3mm. Measurements approximate.

WEIGHT: 2.25 carats (total weight).

NOTES:  These earring settings are also available in solid 14kt gold.  Other setting styles (french hooks, lever backs, kidney wires, ball/stud dangles) are available upon request, both in sterling silver, as well as 14kt solid gold and in 14kt gold fill.

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

DETAIL
: Ancient Greek and Roman soldiers often wore a talisman of onyx, as it was believed that doing so would instill a sense of bravery in the soldiers. Oftentimes the talismans worn by Roman soldiers were carved with images of Hercules or Mars, the Roman God of War. Ancient historical accounts record that the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio (who defeated Hannibal at Carthage) frequently wore this gemstone. Onyx became particularly famous in the hands of both the Greeks and Romans, who as described by the first century Roman historian and naturalist “Pliny the Elder”, crafted beautiful intaglio seals out of onyx. In Greco-Roman Mythology, onyx was believed to originated from the fingernails of Venus, the Goddess of Beauty. In the ancient world, onyx was oftentimes more costly than either gold or silver, and one ancient reference recorded it as more valuable than sapphire.

Here is a pair of antique handcrafted Siberian black onyx cabochon cut gemstones. In the ancient world Persian magicians were believed to possess the power to divert storms through the use of agate talismans of various species (including onyx). Many forms of agate, including onyx, have been popularly used through recorded history for the production of jewelry, beads, and amulets due to the vibrant rainbow of colors agate naturally occurs in. Agate amulets produced by Stone Age man in France has been discovered, dating the known use of agate back to approximately 20,000 B.C. Agate was widely used and admired by the ancient Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Persians, Egyptians, etc. 

Hand crafted by an 18th 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. Originally used in indigenous jewelry, these particular specimens are of very nice quality, very beautiful. Under magnification the gemstones show the unmistakable characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the 18th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. But 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-tumbled 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. The earring settings are of contemporary origin.  They are high quality settings manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers.  They are constructed of  sterling silver; they are not cheap, silver electroplated earrings.  It is genuine sterling silver, designed to last a lifetime.  It's a first-class piece of jewelry throughout.  We can reset in 14kt solid gold or 14kt gold fill upon request, and there are also many other setting styles available upon request.

These gemstones have wonderful luster, nice polish, and rich character; but one cannot say with absolute certainty that it is absolutely flawless. True, any blemishes they possess are not visible to the naked eye, and even at 600% as in these photo enlargements here (or under a 5x jeweler’s loupe) there are no discernible flaws. However we hesitate to use the word “flawless”, as sooner or later blemishes will show up at higher levels of magnification with almost every natural gemstone. An absolutely flawless gemstone is very rare in nature (and usually turns out to be synthetic). However the gemstones can be characterized as, to use trade jargon, as "eye clean". To the eye they are indeed flawless; even to a jeweler’s loupe they are clean. Close examination with a jeweler’s loupe will however reveal occasional slight irregularities in the cut and finish. Naturally these characteristics are expected of hand-finished antique gemstones. However for most, the unique nature and character of antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for imperfect finishes which by and large, are only noticed under high magnification

HISTORY: Onyx is the name for the black (most often with white banding) variety of chalcedony. It has been used since antiquity where it was highly prized as a cameo stone. The layered color structure allows the engraver to cut the subject in one color while creating a background of another. According to Greek Mythology, the origins of onyx are traced to the Goddess Venus’s fingernails. One day when Venus (the Greco-Roman Goddess of Beauty) lay asleep the mischievous Cupid (her son and the God of Love) cut her fingernails and flew away leaving the fingernail clippings scattered on the ground. Because no part of a deity could be permitted to die, the gods turned the fingernail clippings into stone which later became known as onyx. In fact the name “onyx” draws its origin from the Greek language in which “onux” means fingernails. In the ancient world, onyx was oftentimes more costly than either gold or silver, and one ancient reference recorded it as more valuable than sapphire.

Onyx was used in ancient Egypt as early as the Second Dynasty (about 2800 B.C.) to make bowls and other items. Onyx also was amongst the artifacts recovered of Minoan Crete (about 1800 B.C.), notably from the archaeological discoveries at Knossos. Onyx became particularly famous in the hands of both the Greeks and Romans, who as described by the first century Roman historian and naturalist “Pliny the Elder”, crafted beautiful intaglio seals out of onyx (see a spectacular first century example <A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kunsthistorisches_Museum_Vienna_June_2006_031.jpg">here</A>). Ancient Greek and Roman soldiers often wore a talisman of onyx, as it was believed that doing so would instill a sense of bravery in the soldiers. Oftentimes the talismans worn by Roman soldiers were carved with images of Hercules or Mars, the Roman God of War. Ancient historical accounts record that the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio (who defeated Hannibal at Carthage) frequently wore this gemstone. The Romans also believed that wearing onyx would enhance the growth of fingernails and regenerative skin growth.

In ancient Persia onyx was used by sorcerers and shamans who believed it enhanced intuition. In ancient India onyx was believed to calm the ardors of love, a belief which eventually was picked up by the Western World where onyx had the reputation of decreasing sexual desire. The ancient Hindus also wore onyx to protect against the evil eye as it was believed that onyx had a trapped demon within. To the ancient Chinese, onyx was known as the "stone of sadness", and it was believed that even entering a mine where onyx was found might lead to terrifying dreams, doubts, and disputes. Onyx was also known to the ancient Hebrews. According to Genesis, onyx was found in the land of “Havilah”, "where the gold is", thought to refer to Egypt or Arabia. A precious commodity in Old Testament times, onyx is also mentioned frequently in the Bible, such as "Job regarded God's wisdom as a greater possession than even costly onyx." Onyx is also frequently cited as one of the twelve stones in the breastplate of the High Priest, Aaron, representing the twelve tribes of ancient Israel.

In the Medieval World onyx was believed useful in aiding the wearer to cure bad habits, and to help the wearer retain strength. However the beliefs of the ancient Chinese had spread to Europe by the Middle Ages, and onyx was also believed by many to bring bad luck, sadness, fear and images of madness in sleep, as well as to create discord and dispute. Medieval Shamans and Magicians believed that onyx would protect against misfortune and illness, and would prevent illusions, nightmares and confusion caused by evil spirits. Onyx was often used in magic to contact spirits of the dead, and as an aid to recall memories and visions of past lives. It was believed to “soften” barriers between the worlds, allowing travel between different planes of existence. Shamans also believed that the stone could be used to summon friendly spirits to guide a dying soul on its journey to the next world. An onyx sphere was believed to protect the owner by providing a warning of impending danger.

In the Renaissance onyx was believed to fill the wearer with a gift of eloquence (and was regarded with great value by public speakers and orators), particularly when expressing his or her love to a new romantic interest. It was also worn with the belief that it helped increase concentration and sharpen the wearer’s wits, and was also worn to enhance one’s spiritual inspiration. Onyx was also believed to bring unexpected good luck and opportunity to its owner and to protect them from the plots and ill wishes of their enemies.
Onyx is a variety chalcedony quartz, part of the agate family, and is formed in the gas cavities of lava. Generally the stone is black or black with white banding. Some onyx displays white and lighter reddish bands or ribbons against a brown background, this variety is known as Sardonyx. When the onyx has a red base, it is known as Carnelian-onyx.

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 onyx gave courage and bravery to the wearer, would warn the wearer of impending danger, would enhance the intuitive and prophetical abilities of sorcerers and magicians, would act as a guide to the souls of the deceased, would enable mediums to communicate with the dead and recall past lives, would protect against the “evil eye”, and would also cool the flames of sexual desire. It was also believed to enhance the growth of fingernails and skin, to enhance intelligence and the ability to concentrate, would help the wearer break bad habits, enhance the wearer’s oratorical abilities, and would protect the wearer from evil spells and nightmares.

Modern practitioners believe that onyx is useful in healing old emotional wounds and enabling the wearer to move ahead by forgetting the past experiences of bad relationships, and as well help form new romantic relationships by improving expressive abilities between lovers. For absent-minded people onyx is regarded as being very helpful in increasing concentration levels and calming the mind amidst the chaotic conditions of modern life, even so far as being recommended for the treatment of various neurological disorders. Some modern practitioners claim that onyx can help physical ailments such as hearing problems, heart trouble, and ulcers. It is also believed to encourage new hair growth for those suffering from baldness, and is also believed an aid to those who are trying to break bad habits. Onyx is also said to lend comfort in unfamiliar surroundings, alleviating feelings of loneliness and alienation.

 

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