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Ancient Persia Magic Talisman Antique 19thC Blue Agate #27878

Cost: $ 24.98

Antique 19th Century Genuine Natural Two and One-Half Carat Hand Crafted/Polished Russian Blue Agate Semi-Precious Gemstone Oval.

CLASSIFICATION:  Polished Blue Agate Cabochon.

ORIGIN:  Russia; 19th Century; Southern Urals near Yekaterinburg.

SIZE:  Length:  10mm.  Width:  8mm.  Depth (Thickness):  3 1/2mm.  Measurements approximate.

WEIGHT:  1.79 carats.

NOTES:  Upon request we can set your gemstone as a ring, earring, or pendant.

Agate is named after its ancient source, the Achates River in Sicily.  Persian magicians were believed to possess the power to divert storms through the use of agate talismans.  A very nice quality 19th century antique hand crafted/shaped/polished blue agate semi-precious gemstone from the Southern Urals or Russia.  The gemstone was produced in the 19th century by Russian artisans famed for centuries for the elaborate jewelry produced using precious and semi-precious gemstones mined in the fabled Southern Ural Mountains of Siberia.  Agate has 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.

Though the classical source of agate for the ancient Mediterranean world was Sicily, the Southern Urals of Siberia have been producing agate gemstones for use in Russian jewelry for at least 1,000 years.  And Russia was famous for its elaborate jewelry through the Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian worlds.  Crafted by a 19th century Russian artisan into this beautiful polished cabochon, it was intended for use in the domestic jewelry production.  This is a jewelry quality gemstone, and is colored a very beautiful vibrant blue.  However close examination of the gemstone reveals that the gemstone has been hand shaped and hand finished.  The slight irregularities which are the hallmark of a handcrafted gemstone are generally regarded as appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered detrimental.  Unlike today’s computer controlled machine finished gemstones, the cut and finish of a gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.  Such antique hand-crafted gemstones possess much greater character and appeal than today's mass-produced machine-produced gemstones.
HISTORY OF AGATE:  Agate is named after its ancient source, the Achates River in Sicily, now known as the Drillo River, which remains a major source of this gemstone.  The gemstone was so named by the 4th century B.C. ancient Greek Philosopher/Naturalist Theophrastus, who “discovered” the stone along the shore line of the river (there’s a dissenting opinion that the word agate is derived from the Greek word "agate??" – meaning happy).  The Greeks used agate for making jewelry and beads.  Ancient Greek mariners wore amulets of agate to protect against the perils of the sea.  The Ancient Greeks also used agate to relieve stomach pains and diarrhea.  However agate had already been used for by man for decorative and amuletic purposes for thousands of years prior to the ancient Greeks, first by Stone Age man in France around 25,000 B.C.  Archaeological discoveries demonstrate that the ancient Egyptians used agate well prior to 3,000 B.C. for talismans, amulets, seals, rings and vessels.  In the Ptolemaic Period (fourth century B.C. to first century A.D.) the ancient Egyptians carved agate carved into scarabs.  The ancient Egyptians believed that gray agate when worn around the neck would protect against and heal stiffness of the neck.

Agate was also extremely popular for use in jewelry in ancient Sumer, and agate was amongst the archaeological artifacts excavated at the Knossos site on Crete evidencing its use by the Bronze Age Minoan culture (about 1,800 B.C.). Persian magicians were believed to possess the power to divert storms through the use of agate talismans.  Ancient Persians also believed that agate would confer eloquence upon the wearer.  The ancient Persians (as well as other ancient Near Eastern cultures) also used agate as an antidote to fevers by placing the agate in the mouth. It was said to relieve thirst and reduce body temperature.  The ancient Babylonians used red agate to treat insect bites and stings, green agate to treat eye infections, and black agate (onyx) to protect women from disease.  Agate talismans were worn in the Ancient Middle East to keep the blood healthy.   In ancient Asia, agates were used by seers and magicians to see into the future.  

Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in many other ancient cultures.  It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers.  Another widespread belief in the ancient world was that wearing agate as a talisman would render the wearer invisible, thereby protecting the wearer from danger.  Athletes throughout the ancient world wore agate amulets with the belief that agate would give them extra energy during competition and help them recover their strength afterwards.  Agate was also worn by various ancient cultures as protection against drowning, falling, mischievous fairies and poison, and was also believed an effective talisman to protect young children from harm.  Farmers in many ancient civilizations (including the Romans) wore agate talismans to ensure a good harvest.

The Romans, as well as the ancient Greeks, made extensive use of agate in their production of cameos and intaglio seals (as in signet rings).  Moss agate, according to the Romans, had a divine power and an agate stone was used to grind ingredients for lotions and other ointments on, believing it would improve one's eyesight and/or disposition. A famous collection of four thousand agate bowls that was accumulated by Mithradates, king of Pontus (Hellenic Turkey) is illustrative of the high value the ancient world had for agate.  Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire.  Collecting agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance and many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have spectacular examples.

Early Celts in Britain used the gem to prevent skin disease, and in Celtic mythology orange agate was believed to be a powerful protection against Dragons.  The Vikings and Saxons used agate to find lost items by ax and stone, a method of divination known as “axinomancy”. A double-headed ax would be made red-hot and then the shaft pushed into a hole. A round agate pebble would then be placed on the upright ax head. If the pebble stayed on top of the ax, the questioner had to look elsewhere for the lost item.  If the pebble fell to the ground, the questioner had to follow the direction of the rolling stone to find the missing item.

During the Roman wars with the Gauls (in the first century B.C.), agate deposits were discovered along the Nahe river (a tributary to the Rhine) in Germany. The gem-cutting facilities set up there by the Romans survived until present day and, although the deposits are now depleted, the city of Idar-Oberstein on the Nahe river is still the major lapidary center of Europe.  Particularly from the 16th century onwards, huge quantities of cameos were cut from agate where layers of different colors occurred within the stone.  The background material was cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief.

In the Middle Ages and through to the Renaissance agate was worn as a talisman in the belief it could prevent harm from thunder and lightening, sorcery, poison, drunkenness and demonic possession.  Medieval shamans and sorcerers believed that agate allow them to divine the truth.   Agate was also believed to remove curses and spells, and to help eliminate bad luck. In Renaissance Europe, agate was believed to have a calming effect during times of stress and to give the wearer strength and courage. Renaissance-era artists and writers wore agate in the belief it would enhance creativity.  Wearing agate was also believed to improve vitality and physical strength, relieve headache pain, ensure marital and romantic fidelity, stimulate the intellect, and suppress anger.  Agate was prized in Czarist Russia as a stone of long life, good health and prosperity.

Agate is a variety of chalcedony quartz composed of colorful microscopic crystals of quartz occurring in bands of varying color and transparency.  Most agates start as gas bubble cavities in eruptive rocks or ancient lava.  Silica laden water seeps into the bubbles and coagulates to a silica gel, eventually crystallizing as quartz.  Agate is found in a wide variety of patterns and beautiful colors, and can be transparent to opaque.  Many fossils (such as petrified wood, petrified coral, and even dinosaur bones) are agatized material where the original organic substance has been replaced by agate while retaining the original structure.  The primary sources of agate today are Brazil, Uruguay, China, India, Madagascar, Mexico, the Ural Mountains of Russia, and the USA.

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 wearing agate made a person agreeable, happy, and cautious yet brave. Ancient cultures used it as a talisman as it was believed to bestow on the wearer protection against all dangers.  White agate was used as a cure for insomnia and guaranteed pleasant dreams.  Agate was also believed to improve memory and concentration, increase stamina and encourage honesty, as well as aiding wearers to remain calm and focused.

Contemporary practitioners attribute agate with fostering the ability to discover one's natural talents, enhancing analytical ability, and improving perceptiveness.  It is believed to create a healthy balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual state of the wearer.  Agate is reported to be an aid in overcoming fears and loneliness.  It helps one view themselves with more clarity and view the world with a broader perspective.  It is claimed to eliminate and cleanse “negative energies” from the body, and is thought to stimulate fertility and to be effective in treating bone marrow ailments and allergies.  Due to the association with precision, agates are touted as useful talismans for accountants and bankers.  And as in the distant past, agate is still considered an effective talisman which will increase wealth, good luck, long life, courage and strength; and to help protect and heal the wearer.



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