Uncommon 19th Century Hand Cut and Faceted Fourteen and Three-Quarter Carat Green Grossular Garnet Briolette Teardrop Semi-Precious Gemstone.
CLASSIFICATION: Bright Green Grossular Garnet Briolette.
ORIGIN: Siberia, Russia, 19th Century.
SIZE: Length: 17mm. Diameter: 10mm. All measurements approximate.
WEIGHT: 14.68 carats.
NOTES: Upon request we can set your gemstones as a ring, pendant, or as earrings (click here for more information).
Ancient cultures including the Celts, Greeks, Hebrews, Persians and Romans highly valued garnet. Most ancient Mediterranean populations believed that garnet would be worn for protection when traveling, as garnet was believed to warn the wearer of approaching danger. They also believed that that a garnet could give its wearer guidance in the night, allowing them to see when others could not. The ancient Greeks believed it guarded children from drowning, and it was also thought to be a potent antidote against poisons. The ancient Persians regarded garnet as a royal stone, and only royalty was allowed to possess the gemstone. Here is a gorgeously colored bright green grossular garnet of very substantial proportions. Although seemingly long forgotten, grossular garnet was originally name for the gooseberry of which grossularia is the botanical name, in reference to this green variety of garnet which was originally discovered in 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 particular type of green garnet is no longer well known outside of Russia, but as you can see, it is a beautiful and uncommon variety of garnet.
This is a nice quality specimen, however this variety is characteristically somewhere between transparent and translucent – not 100% unblemished and/or absolutely transparent. As well the gemstone variety characteristically contains colorless inclusions as well. This specimen is quite characteristic of both the workmanship and the gemstone quality common to the 19th century. The trained eye will easily discern from the photo that the gemstone has been hand-faceted. The coarseness of the 19th century faceting is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment. Unlike today's computer controlled machine processes, the cut and finish of gemstones such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago. Such antique hand-faceted gemstones possess much greater character and appeal than today's mass-produced machine-faceted gemstones.
The gemstone has great lustre, and is close to transparent, but it is not flawless, and could not meet the contemporary criteria necessary to be even characterized as high quality. True, the blemishes it possesses are not immediately visible to the naked eye. However magnified several times over, as it is here, you can see many small blemishes composed of colorless crystalline material within the gemstone, as well as very slight irregularities in the faceting and finish. However these characteristics are common to this variety of green garnet. As well, these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques prevalent did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so common today.
Two centuries ago mankind was more or less limited to surface deposits or near surface deposits of precious and semi-precious gemstones. Higher quality gemstones which today are routinely mined from beneath hundreds of meters, even kilometers beneath the earth's surface, were simply inaccessible. So antique gemstones must be appreciated as antiques first, gemstones second. The relatively superlative quality of contemporary gemstones mined from deep beneath the earth's surface 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 minute blemishes and irregular finishing which by and large are not so terribly obvious as they are in these photo enlargements
GARNET HISTORY: The name Garnet is derived from the Latin for pomegranate, "grantum", because crystals in rock reminded early aficionados of pomegranate seeds. However in ancient times garnet was also known as “carbuncle”. Mankind has used garnet as ornamentation for many thousands of years. Archaeologists recently found a garnet bead necklace worn by a young man in a grave that dates back to 3000 B.C. Garnet was used in earliest pre-dynastic Ancient Egypt. Excavations in Egypt have uncovered garnet jewelry dating back to 3100 B.C., garnet being used to construct necklaces for Pharaohs. In the ancient Roman world, it was not only popular with the Romans themselves (particularly for the carving of intaglios for signet rings), but also with the Germanic (“barbarian”) tribes in Northern Europe bordering the Roman Empire. Garnet was also prominently featured in the magnificent cloisonné inlay jewelry found in sixth and seventh century burials in England at the Anglo-Saxon site of Sutto Hoo, and was also popular with the other peoples of ancient Britannia, including the Celts, Franks, and Normans. According to historical accounts, the King of Saxony is said to have had a garnet of over 465 carats.
Classical Mediterranean cultures believed that a garnet could give its wearer guidance in the night, allowing them to see when others could not. Garnet was worn for protection when traveling, as garnet was believed to warn the wearer of approaching danger. The Persians considered garnet a royal stone, as did the Russians in Imperial times. Asian and North American Indian tribes used garnets as bullets, believing the stone would inflict fatal wounds. The Koran holds that the garnet illuminates the Fourth Heaven of Islam. The Greeks said it guarded children from drowning, and it was also thought to be a potent antidote against poisons. According to historical accounts, the Greek Philosopher Plato had his portrait engraved on a garnet by a Roman engraver. And according to Greek myth, garnet is symbolic of a quick return and separated love, since Hades had given a pomegranate to Persephone before she left him to ensure her speedy return. Therefore, Garnet was often given to a beloved one before embarking on a trip, as it was believed to heal the broken bonds of lovers.
In medieval times, garnet was thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams, and relieve diseases of the liver, as well as hemorrhages. It was also believed that a garnet engraved with the figure of a lion was an all around effective charm that would protect and preserve health, cure the wearer of all disease, bring honors, and guard from all the possible perils of traveling. The wearing of a garnet talisman was also believed to protect against the plague (“Black Death”), lightening strikes, and was believed to change color so as to warn the wearer of impending danger. The Crusaders set Garnets into their body armor, believing the protective power of the stones would lead them to safety. From the 16th through 19th centuries, Bohemia, now a part of Czechoslovakia, was a tremendous source of garnet, and at one time, particularly in the Victorian Era, cutting, polishing, and mounting garnets was a very rich industry in that country. Many Bohemian castles and churches had magnificent interiors decorated with garnet. The different varieties of garnet are found in almost all colors except blue. Brown, red, green, yellow, black, and colorless stones are the most common. Darker gemstones are usually opaque, and light ones may be transparent or translucent. The best known members of the Garnet family are the deep red varieties, the Pyrope and Alamandite. The Pyrope derives its name from the Greek word meaning "firelike". It was the Pyrope Garnet that figured in the ancient Talmudic legend, which held that the only light in Noah's Ark was supplied by an enormous red garnet.
Through out history, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness and providing protection. Found in Egypt, dated 1500 B.C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. In the eastern civilizations of China, India, and Tibet, gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. Today these traditional cultures regard garnet as a stone of "good health", capable of balancing an individual's energy, stimulate desires, uplift attitude, and increase popularity. Medicinally garnet was long believed to cure heart palpitations, varicose veins, lung diseases, and various diseases of the blood. It was believed to stimulate metabolism, purify and reenergize the blood, heart and lungs, and was used to treat spinal disorders and arthritis. Garnets were also worn to enhance bodily strength, endurance and vigor. It was widely believed to be extremely beneficial to wear a garnet when one had to physically exert oneself. For men, it was believed to keep the reproductive system healthy. For women, it was believed to promote hormonal balance and was said to reduce swelling.
On the meta-physical plane, garnets were believed to bring good fortune, love, and success, and to improve self-esteem, thus even today they are often carried by businessmen as a talisman. The stone is said to sharpen one’s perception both of self and of other people. Garnet is believed to balance the sex drive, and is said to aid in sexual potency and fertility, to enhance sexual attraction, and to liberate one’s sensual side and so enhance passion and love. Adherents claim that garnet moves a couple deeper into a passionate and sensual exploration of sexual magic. The stone is said to inspire commitment, monogamous and stable marriage, and promises one’s love, devotion, and fidelity. It is also believed to aid in finding true lovers.
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We travel to Russia each year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings – the gold reused – the gemstones recut and reset.
Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state – most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times. Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees – fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today.
Our interest in the fabulous history of Russian gemstones and the fabulous jewelry of the Czar’s led to further education and contacts in India, Ceylon, and Siam, other ancient centers of gemstone production and finishing.
We have a number of “helpers” (family members, friends, and colleagues) in Russia and in India who act as eyes and ears for us year-round, and in reciprocity we donate a portion of our revenues to support educational institutions in Russia and India. Occasionally while in Russia, India, Siam, and Ceylon we will also find such good buys on unique contemporary gemstones and jewelry that we will purchase a few pieces to offer to our customers here in America. These are always offered clearly labeled as contemporary, and not antiques – just to avoid confusion. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging.
We would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from us. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."