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GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY: A HANDS-ON GUIDE TO MORE CONFIDENT BUYING & SELLING BY ANTOINETTE MATLINS.
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DESCRIPTION: HARDCOVER WITH DUSTJACKET. PUBLISHER: GEMSTONE PRESS (2003). PAGES: 330. SIZE: 10 X 6¼ X 1 INCH; 1½ POUNDS. THIS IS THE FIRST AND ONLY BOOK THAT EXPLAINS IN NON-TECHNICAL TERMS HOW TO IDENTIFY DIAMONDS AND COLORED GEMS, AND HOW TO SEPARATE NATURAL GEMS FROM IMITATIONS, TREATED STONES, SYNTHETICS, AND LOOK-ALIKES. THE BOOK'S APPROACH IS DIRECT AND PRACTICAL, AND ITS STYLE EASY TO UNDERSTAND. IN FACT, WITH THIS HIGHLY ACCESSIBLE GUIDE, ANYONE CAN BEGIN TO MASTER GEM IDENTIFICATION. USING A SIMPLE, STEP-BY-STEP SYSTEM, THE AUTHORS EXPLAIN HOW TO PROPERLY USE ESSENTIAL BUT UNCOMPLICATED INSTRUMENTS TO IDENTIFY STONES, WHAT TO LOOK FOR GEMSTONE BY GEMSTONE, AND HOW TO SET UP A BASIC LAB AT MODEST COST. THREE OF THE INSTRUMENTS ARE INEXPENSIVE, PORTABLE, POCKET INSTRUMENTS THAT, WHEN USED TOGETHER, CAN IDENTIFY ALMOST 85% OF ALL PRECIOUS AND POPULAR STONES. THE KEY TO AVOIDING COSTLY MISTAKES AND RECOGNIZING PROFITABLE OPPORTUNITIES IS KNOWING BOTH WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR. THIS BOOK WILL HELP YOU TO: OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE TYPES OF TREATMENTS, IMITATIONS, SYNTHETICS, LOOK-ALIKES, AND FAKES IN THE GEM MARKET TODAY; LEARN HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM. QUICKLY SPOT: SYNTHETICS, INCLUDING SYNTHETIC EMERALDS AND DIAMONDS; FILLED DIAMONDS; DIFFUSED BLUE SAPPHIRES AND RED RUBIES; HPHT-TREATED DIAMONDS; DETERMINE HOW TO SPOT THE NEWEST COMPOSITE IMITATIONS; LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY RECENTLY DISCOVERED GEMS SUCH AS MANDARIN GARNET, RED EMERALD, AND NORTH CAROLINA S CHROMIUM-RICH EMERALDS; DISCOVER NEW TREATMENTS SUCH AS SURFACE COATINGS TO CREATE FANCY COLOR DIAMONDS AND IMPROVE OR CHANGE THE COLOR OF MANY GEMSTONES; KNOW WHEN TO SEEK HELP FROM A PROFESSIONAL GEMOLOGIST OR LABORATORY; BECOME MORE PROFESSIONAL IN YOUR BUSINESS OR HOBBY.
CONDITION: LIKE NEW. UNREAD (AND IN THAT SENSE "NEW", BUT "SHOP WORN") HARDCOVER W/DUSTJACKET. GEMSTONE PRESS (2003) 330 PAGES. UNBLEMISHED EXCEPT FOR SHELFWEAR TO THE COVERS. FROM THE INSIDE THE BOOK IS PRISTINE; THE PAGES ARE CLEAN, CRISP, UNMARKED, UNMUTILATED, TIGHTLY BOUND, UNAMBIGUOUSLY UNREAD. FROM THE OUTSIDE THE BOOK DOES SHOW SOME SHELF OR SHOP WEAR. THE LOWER OPEN CORNER OF THE BACK COVER IS SLIGHTLY DENTED, AND THERE ARE THREE SHALLOW INDENTS TO THE TOP EDGE OF THE BACK COVER. THESE ARE TYPICALLY THE RESULT OF THE BOOK BEING BUMPED AGAINST THE EDGE OF A BOOK SHELF WHEN BEING HASTILY RESHELVED. THESE LITTLE BLEMISHES, ESPECIALLY THE BUMPED CORNER, ARE REALLY ONLY DISCERNIBLE IF YOU REMOVE THE DUSTJACKET. AND THEY ARE VERY SHALLOW, THEY DO NOT AFFECT THE PAGES BENEATH. OVERLYING THE COVERS THE DUSTJACKET IS ALMOST PERFECT, EVIDENCING ONLY FAINT EDGE AND CORNER SHELFWEAR. THE OVERALL CONDITION OF THE BOOK IS CONSISTENT WITH NEW STOCK FROM A BOOKSTORE ENVIRONMENT WHEREIN NEW BOOKS MIGHT SHOW MINOR SIGNS OF SHELFWEAR OR COSMETIC "INJURY", CONSEQUENCE OF ROUTINE HANDLING AND SIMPLY THE ORDEAL OF CONSTANTLY BEING SHELVED, RE-SHELVED, AND SHUFFLED ABOUT ON THE BOOK SHELF. SATISFACTION UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED. IN STOCK, READY TO SHIP. NO DISAPPOINTMENTS, NO EXCUSES. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! METICULOUS AND ACCURATE DESCRIPTIONS! SELLING RARE AND OUT-OF-PRINT ANCIENT HISTORY BOOKS ON-LINE SINCE 1997. WE ACCEPT RETURNS FOR ANY REASON WITHIN 30 DAYS! #8618.2C
PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK.
PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW.
PUBLISHER REVIEWS:
REVIEW: "GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY" IS THE FIRST AND ONLY BOOK THAT EXPLAINS IN NON-TECHNICAL TERMS HOW TO IDENTIFY DIAMONDS AND COLORED GEMS, AND HOW TO SEPARATE NATURAL GEMS FROM IMITATIONS, TREATED STONES, SYNTHETICS, AND LOOK-ALIKES. THE BOOK'S APPROACH IS DIRECT AND PRACTICAL, AND ITS STYLE EASY TO UNDERSTAND. IN FACT, WITH THIS HIGHLY ACCESSIBLE GUIDE, ANYONE CAN BEGIN TO MASTER GEM IDENTIFICATION. INCLUDES OVER 150 PHOTOGRAPHS AND ILLUSTRATIONS OVER 80 IN FULL COLOR!
USING A SIMPLE, STEP-BY-STEP SYSTEM, THE AUTHORS EXPLAIN HOW TO PROPERLY USE ESSENTIAL BUT UNCOMPLICATED INSTRUMENTS TO IDENTIFY STONES, WHAT TO LOOK FOR GEMSTONE BY GEMSTONE, AND HOW TO SET UP A BASIC LAB AT MODEST COST. THREE OF THE INSTRUMENTS ARE INEXPENSIVE, PORTABLE, POCKET INSTRUMENTS THAT, WHEN USED TOGETHER, CAN IDENTIFY ALMOST 85% OF ALL PRECIOUS AND POPULAR STONES.
THE KEY TO AVOIDING COSTLY MISTAKES AND RECOGNIZING PROFITABLE OPPORTUNITIES IS KNOWING BOTH WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR.
GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY WILL HELP YOU:
OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE TYPES OF TREATMENTS, IMITATIONS, SYNTHETICS, LOOK-ALIKES, AND FAKES IN THE GEM MARKET TODAY.
LEARN HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM.
QUICKLY SPOT:
SYNTHETICS, INCLUDING SYNTHETIC EMERALDS AND DIAMONDS.
FILLED DIAMONDS.
DIFFUSED "BLUE" SAPPHIRES AND "RED" RUBIES.
HPHT-TREATED DIAMONDS.
...AND MUCH MORE!
DETERMINE HOW TO SPOT THE NEWEST "COMPOSITE" IMITATIONS.
LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY RECENTLY DISCOVERED GEMS SUCH AS “MANDARIN” GARNET, RED “EMERALD,” AND NORTH CAROLINA'S CHROMIUM-RICH EMERALDS.
DISCOVER NEW TREATMENTS SUCH AS SURFACE COATINGS TO CREATE “FANCY COLOR” DIAMONDS AND IMPROVE OR CHANGE THE COLOR OF MANY GEMSTONES.
KNOW WHEN TO SEEK HELP FROM A PROFESSIONAL GEMOLOGIST OR LAB.
BECOME MORE PROFESSIONAL IN YOUR BUSINESS OR HOBBY.
REVIEW: ENJOY LEARNING ABOUT USING THE TOOLS OF THE GEM TRADE FROM TWO RENOWNED EXPERTS. REVISED, UPDATED AND EXPANDED EDITION OF THE FIRST AND ONLY BOOK OF ITS KIND. COVERS THE LATEST GEMS, SYNTHETICS, TREATMENTS AND EQUIPMENT. EASY TO USE. PRACTICAL. NON-TECHNICAL. SHOWS HOW TO IDENTIFY DIAMONDS, COLORED GEMSTONES AND PEARLS, AND SEPARATE THEM FROM FAKES AND LOOK-ALIKES. EXPLAINS WHAT EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED, HOW TO USE IT, WHERE TO GET IT AND WHAT SHOULD BE SEEN FOR EACH GEMSTONE. FASTER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE, ANYONE CAN LEARN TO IDENTIFY MOST OF THE GEMS AND IMITATIONS FOUND IN THE MARKETPLACE. THIS PRACTICAL VOLUME IS THE KEY TO AVOIDING COSTLY MISTAKES AND RECOGNIZING PROFITABLE OPPORTUNITIES. ESSENTIAL READING FOR COLLECTORS, INVESTORS, JEWELRY LOVERS, HOBBYISTS, JEWELERS, ANTIQUE DEALERS AND GEMOLOGY STUDENTS. WITH THIS HIGHLY ACCESSIBLE GUIDE,& ; ANYONE CAN BEGIN TO MASTER GEM IDENTIFICATION.
REVIEW: ANTOINETTE MATLINS, PG, FGA, IS AN INTERNATIONALLY RESPECTED GEM AND JEWELRY EXPERT, AUTHOR AND LECTURER. WITH OVER 1 MILLION COPIES OF HER SEVEN BOOKS IN PRINT IN NINE LANGUAGES, SHE IS THE MOST WIDELY READ AUTHOR IN THE WORLD ON THE SUBJECT OF JEWELRY AND GEMS. HONORED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITED GEMOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION'S HIGHEST AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN GEMOLOGY, MS. MATLINS’ BOOKS ARE WIDELY USED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD BY CONSUMERS AND PROFESSIONALS IN THE GEM AND JEWELRY FIELD. HER BOOKS INCLUDE “JEWELRY & GEMS: THE BUYING GUIDE” (OVER 400,000 COPIES NOW IN PRINT―THE ONLY BOOK OF ITS KIND EVER OFFERED BY “CONSUMER REPORTS”); “COLORED GEMSTONES: THE ANTOINETTE MATLINS BUYING GUIDE”; “THE PEARL BOOK: THE DEFINITIVE BUYING GUIDE”; “GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY”; “ENGAGEMENT & WEDDING RINGS: THE DEFINITIVE BUYING GUIDE FOR PEOPLE IN LOVE”; AND “JEWELRY & GEMS AT AUCTION: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO BUYING & SELLING AT THE AUCTION HOUSE & ON INTERNET AUCTION SITES” (ALL PUBLISHED BY GEMSTONE PRESS).
FORMER GEMOLOGY EDITOR OF NATIONAL JEWELER MAGAZINE, HER ARTICLES AND COMMENTS ON BUYING AND SELLING GEMS AND JEWELRY AND ON GEM INVESTMENT HAVE APPEARED IN MANY NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER AND TRADE PUBLICATIONS. SHE IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF THE "GEMSTONES" CHAPTER IN THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INVESTMENTS, SECOND EDITION.
MS. MATLINS HAS GAINED WIDE RECOGNITION AS A DEDICATED CONSUMER ADVOCATE, AND CONTINUES TO SPEARHEAD THE ACCREDITED GEMOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION’S NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN AGAINST GEMSTONE INVESTMENT TELEMARKETING SCAMS AND OTHER TYPES OF CONSUMER MISREPRESENTATION. A POPULAR MEDIA GUEST, SHE HAS BEEN SEEN ON ABC, CBS, NBC AND CNN, EDUCATING CONSUMERS ABOUT GEMS AND JEWELRY AND EXPOSING FRAUD.
IN ADDITION TO HER EDUCATIONAL WORK, MS. MATLINS IS RETAINED BY CLIENTS WORLDWIDE TO SEEK FINE, RARE OR UNUSUAL GEMS AND JEWELS FOR ACQUISITION.
ANTONIO C. BONANNO, FGA, ASA, MGA, WAS FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL GEM APPRAISING LABORATORY AND DIRECTOR OF THE COLUMBIA SCHOOL OF GEMOLOGY NEAR WASHINGTON, D.C. HE HELD THE COVETED "MASTER GEMOLOGIST APPRAISER" TITLE (MGA), THE HIGHEST DISTINCTION AWARDED TO GEM AND JEWELRY APPRAISERS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF APPRAISERS. HE WORKED WITH GEMS AND MINERALS FOR OVER SIXTY YEARS, SPECIALIZING IN FORENSIC GEMOLOGY, AND WAS FREQUENTLY CALLED AS AN EXPERT WITNESS IN A WIDE RANGE OF COURT CASES. A FELLOW OF THE GEMMOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF GREAT BRITAIN WITH DISTINCTION, HE WAS HIGHLY ESTEEMED IN THE FIELD AND HOLDS A PLACE IN THE PRESTIGIOUS GEMSTONE HALL OF FAME. HE FOUNDED THE ACCREDITED GEMOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION, WHICH CREATED THE ANTONIO C. BONANNO AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN GEMOLOGY IN HIS HONOR AFTER HIS DEATH IN 1996.
REVIEW: AN EASY-TO-USE BOOK THAT SHOWS HOW ANYONE CAN LEARN TO IDENTIFY MOST OF THE GEMS AND SYNTHETICS FOUND IN THE MARKETPLACE. THIS PRACTICAL BOOK IS ESSENTIAL READING FOR COLLECTORS, DEALERS, OR STUDENTS ALIKE ON HOW TO AVOID COSTLY MISTAKES AND RECOGNIZE PROFITABLE OPPORTUNITIES.
PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS:
REVIEW: ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 1989, GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY CATERS TO A VERY BROAD AUDIENCE OF GEM ENTHUSIASTS. IT SERVES TO INFORM AND EDUCATE INEXPERIENCED GEMOLOGISTS, A GOOD REFERENCE TOOL FOR SEASONED VETERANS. OVERALL, THIS BOOK CONTAINS A WEALTH OF VALUABLE INFORMATION ON SIMPLE, PRACTICAL TESTING METHODS, WRITTEN IN A CONCISE, EASY-TO-UNDERSTAND STYLE.
MANY TIPS AND TRICKS FOR DETECTING TREATMENTS AND HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC MATERIALS ARE COVERED. OF PARTICULAR INTEREST IN THIS LATEST EDITION IS A SECTION DEDICATED TO IDENTIFYING GLASS-FILLED RUBIES, WHICH HAVE PLAGUED THE MARKET IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. THIS CHAPTER WILL CLEARLY HELP EVEN NOVICE GEM BUYERS AND SELLERS AVOID A COSTLY MISTAKE REGARDING THIS MATERIAL.
HOWEVER, THIS BOOK LACKS IN THE SAME MEASURE OF DETAIL REGARDING DIFFUSION TREATMENT OF CORUNDUM, WHICH IS AT LEAST AS PROBLEMATIC IN THE GEM TRADE AS GLASS-FILLED RUBIES. THE OTHER AREA WHERE IT FALLS A BIT SHORT IS IMAGE QUALITY. ALTHOUGH COLOR PLATES ARE INCLUDED IN THIS VERSION, THE IMAGES ARE SMALL AND IN SOME CASES VERY POOR ILLUSTRATIONS OF THEIR INTENDED SUBJECTS. MOST OF THE INSTRUCTIONAL IMAGES THROUGHOUT THE TEXT ARE OTHERWISE ADEQUATE.
OVERALL, THIS IS A WELCOME ADDITION TO ANY GEMOLOGICAL LIBRARY, ESPECIALLY FOR THE GEMOLOGIST WHO MUST RELY ON PORTABLE INSTRUMENTS. IF YOU’RE IN SEARCH OF A “HOW-TO” BOOK FULL OF VIBRANT IMAGES, THIS IS NOT THE ONE FOR YOU. IF YOU ARE A GEMOLOGIST AT ANY LEVEL IN NEED OF A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO GEM TESTING OR A REFERENCE GUIDE, THEN YOU WILL BE QUITE SATISFIED WITH THIS BOOK. .
REVIEW: BY ANTOINETTE L. MATLINS, P.G. AND ANTONIO C. BONANNO, F.G.A., A.S.A., M.G.A. ENJOY LEARNING THE TOOLS OF THE GEM TRADE FROM TWO EXPERTS. AS IN JEWELRY & GEMS: THE BUYING GUIDE, MATLINS AND BONANNO MAKE GEM IDENTIFICATION FUN AND INTERESTING RATHER THAN TEDIOUS--EVEN FOR THOSE WITHOUT A SCIENTIFIC INCLINATION. GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY IS THE FIRST AND ONLY BOOK THAT EXPLAINS IN NON-TECHNICAL TERMS HOW TO IDENTIFY DIAMONDS AND COLORED GEMS, AND HOW TO SEPARATE NATURAL GEMS FROM IMITATIONS, TREATED STONES, SYNTHETICS, AND LOOK-ALIKES. THE BOOK'S APPROACH IS DIRECT AND PRACTICAL, AND ITS STYLE EASY TO UNDERSTAND. USING A SIMPLE, STEP-BY-STEP SYSTEM, THE AUTHORS EXPLAIN HOW PROPERLY TO USE ESSENTIAL BUT UNCOMPLICATED INSTRUMENTS TO IDENTIFY STONES, WHAT TO LOOK FOR GEMSTONE BY GEMSTONE, AND HOW TO SET UP A BASIC LAB AT MODEST COST. THREE OF THE INSTRUMENTS ARE INEXPENSIVE, PORTABLE, POCKET INSTRUMENTS THAT, WHEN USED TOGETHER, CAN IDENTIFY ALMOST 85% OF ALL PRECIOUS AND POPULAR STONES.
GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY WILL HELP YOU OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE TYPES OF TREATMENTS, IMITATIONS, SYNTHETICS, LOOK-ALIKES, AND FAKES IN THE GEM MARKET TODAY. LEARN HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM. QUICKLY SPOT: SYNTHETICS, INCLUDING SYNTHETIC EMERALDS AND DIAMONDS, FILLED DIAMONDS, DIFFUSED "BLUE" SAPPHIRES AND "RED" RUBIES, HPHT-TREATED DIAMONDS, AND MUCH MORE. DETERMINE HOW TO SPOT THE NEWEST "COMPOSITE" IMITATIONS.LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY RECENTLY DISCOVERED GEMS SUCH AS "MANDARIN" GARNET, RED "EMERALD," AND NORTH CAROLINA'S CHROMIUM-RICH EMERALDS.DISCOVER NEW TREATMENTS SUCH AS SURFACE COATINGS TO CREATE "FANCY COLOR" DIAMONDS AND IMPROVE OR CHANGE THE COLOR OF MANY GEMSTONES.KNOW WHEN TO SEEK HELP FROM A PROFESSIONAL GEMOLOGIST OR LAB. BECOME MORE PROFESSIONAL IN YOUR BUSINESS OR HOBBY. WITH THIS HIGHLY ACCESSIBLE GUIDE, ANYONE CAN BEGIN TO MASTER GEM IDENTIFICATION. 400 PAGES, OVER 150 PHOTOS & ILLUSTRATIONS, OVER 80 IN FULL COLOR; INDEX. HARDCOVER.
REVIEW: WITH THE CONSUMER RIGHTS SPOTLIGHT FOCUSING EVER MORE INTENSELY ON DISCLOSURE RESPONSIBILITIES AND THEIR LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS, GEM AND JEWELRY PROFESSIONALS ARE LOOKING FOR A RELIABLE RESOURCE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES. THE NEWLY RELEASED “GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY: A HANDS-ON GUIDE TO MORE CONFIDENT BUYING & SELLING” (GEMSTONE PRESS) BY ANTOINETTE L. MATLINS, P.G., AND HER LATE FATHER, ANTONIO C. BONANNO, F.G.A., A.S.A., M.G.A., CONTAINS THE INFORMATION BOTH PROFESSIONALS AND NOVICES NEED TO KEEP THEMSELVES ON TOP OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE JEWELRY AND GEM MARKET . THE BOOK SHEDS LIGHT ON MANY NEW TREATMENTS, SYNTHETICS, AND IMITATIONS, PROVIDING PRACTICAL, SIMPLE TECHNIQUES FOR DETECTING EACH OF THEM. PERHAPS MOST ENCOURAGING FOR RETAILERS AND OTHERS IN THE JEWELRY TRADE, MOST OF THE TECHNIQUES ARE SIMPLE, AND THE INSTRUMENTS REQUIRED ARE INEXPENSIVE AND PORTABLE. ANYONE CAN MASTER THEM.
THIS AWARD-WINNING BOOK—WHICH HAS WON A BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARD FOR “BEST HOW-TO BOOK”—HAS DEMYSTIFIED THE PROCESS OF GEM IDENTIFICATION AND DIFFERENTIATION FOR THOUSANDS OF JEWELRY PROFESSIONALS AND GEM LOVERS SINCE THE FIRST EDITION WAS PUBLISHED IN 1989. THE NEW, FULLY REVISED AND EXPANDED GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY, 4TH EDITION: A HANDS-ON GUIDE TO MORE CONFIDENT BUYING & SELLING WILL UPDATE RETAILERS AND APPRAISERS ABOUT IMPORTANT TOPICS SUCH AS TREATMENTS AND DISCLOSURE ISSUES, JUST IN TIME FOR THE BUSY HOLIDAY SEASON. FULL OF THE KIND OF INFORMATION GEM AND JEWELRY PROFESSIONALS WILL APPRECIATE, BUT WRITTEN IN A STYLE A LAYPERSON CAN COMPREHEND, “GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY” IS AN INVALUABLE HANDBOOK. IT DISCUSSES THE SIMPLE, INEXPENSIVE INSTRUMENTS NEEDED TO DO THE JOB, HOW TO USE THEM, AND WHAT THEY SHOW, GEM BY GEM.
EQUALLY IMPORTANT, THE BOOK EMPHASIZES WHEN THE USE OF THESE SIMPLE TOOLS MAY NOT BE SUFFICIENT, PROVIDING VALUABLE GUIDELINES ON WHEN MORE SOPHISTICATED LABORATORY EQUIPMENT MAY BE NECESSARY. THE GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY, 4TH EDITION ALSO PROVIDES LATEST INFORMATION ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS, INCLUDING: INFORMATION ABOUT THE TECHNIQUES (HPHT) NOW USED ON CERTAIN DIAMOND TYPES—WHAT THEY ARE, AND HOW TO SPOT DIAMONDS THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN TREATED BY THESE NEW PROCESSES NEW DIFFUSION TECHNIQUES USED TO TREAT NEAR-COLORLESS SAPPHIRES TO OBTAIN “PADPARADSCHA” (ORANGY PINK), ORANGE, AND YELLOW COLORS—AND HOW TO DETECT THEM. NEW GEMS SUCH AS CHROMIUM-TYPE EMERALDS FROM HIDDENITE, NORTH CAROLINA—AND HOW TO DISTINGUISH THEM FROM EMERALDS FROM OTHER LOCALITIES. NEW, EASY-TO-USE, PORTABLE INSTRUMENTS FOR SPOTTING TREATMENTS, SYNTHETICS, AND LOOK-ALIKES, AND HOW TO USE THEM AND MORE…
REVIEW: THE THIRD EDITION OF THIS ACCESSIBLE AND KNOWLEDGEABLE GUIDE TO GEM IDENTIFICATION FEATURES UPDATED INFORMATION ON NEW TECHNIQUES AND GEMS, INCLUDING THE TECHNIQUES USED TO TREAT SOME TYPES OF DIAMONDS, METHODS FOR DETECTING DIFFUSION TECHNIQUES USED TO COLOR SAPPHIRES, AND NEW INSTRUMENTS FOR IDENTIFICATION. BASIC IDENTIFICATION TECHNIQUES ARE STRESSED, WITH INSTRUCTION IN SETTING UP A LAB, AND DISCUSSION OF INSTRUMENTS. MORE ADVANCED TECHNIQUES ARE THEN DISCUSSED. A CHAPTER IS INCLUDED ON ANTIQUE AND ESTATE JEWELRY. .
REVIEW: “GREAT BOOK … ‘REAL LIFE’ GEMOLOGY.” .
REVIEW: THE BOOK YOU CAN’T DO WITHOUT … ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED, IN NO-NONSENSE LANGUAGE. .
REVIEW: UNLIKE AN ACADEMIC TEXT, THIS HANDBOOK BRINGS THE TOPIC OF GEM IDENTIFICATION DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF A LAYPERSON, OFFERING NOT THEORY, BUT PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES ON GEM ID, AND THE TOOLS THAT YOU WILL NEED. .
REVIEW: “GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY A HANDS ON GUIDE TO MORE CONFIDENT BUYING AND SELLING" BY ANTOINETTE MATLINS AND A.C. BONANNO. A TECHNICAL GUIDE ON HOW TO PROPERLY USE EASY YET EFFICIENT POCKET GEM TESTING EQUIPMENT. THIS GUIDE WILL HELP YOU IDENTIFY THE MANY VARIETIES OF GEMSTONES AND QUALITIES. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED FOR COLLECTORS AND ANTIQUE HUNTERS.
REVIEW: EXPLANATIONS IN NON-TECHNICAL TERMS OF HOW TO USE POCKET, PORTABLE AND LABORATORY INSTRUMENTS TO IDENTIFY DIAMONDS AND COLORED GEMS AND TO SEPARATE THEM FROM IMITATIONS AND LOOK-ALIKES. THE AUTHORS EXPLAIN SIMPLY THE PROPER USE OF 9 ESSENTIAL BUT UNCOMPLICATED INSTRUMENTS THAT WILL DO IDENTIFICATION TASKS, DISCUSS WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN VARIOUS GEMSTONES, AND DESCRIBE HOW TO SET UP A BASIC LAB AT MODEST COST. INTERESTING TO ALL WHO BUY OR SELL GEMSTONES. .
REVIEW: AN ACCESSIBLE, PRACTICAL GUIDE TO GEM IDENTIFICATION SPEAKS TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN LEARNING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF RECOGNIZING AND IDENTIFYING GEMSTONES AND SYNTHETICS. THE AUTHORS (FATHER AND DAUGHTER GEMOLOGISTS) EXPLAIN HOW TO SET UP A SIMPLE TESTING LABORATORY BEFORE INTRODUCING GEM IDENTIFICATION INSTRUMENTS AND DISCUSSING PROPER SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES. NUMEROUS TABLES, CHARTS, AND BLACK-AND-WHITE AND COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS ACCENT THE LOGICALLY STRUCTURED MATERIAL, WHICH CONCLUDES WITH AN ENLIGHTENING SEGMENT ON ANTIQUE AND PERIOD JEWELRY. A USEFUL RESOURCE FOR A SPECIALTY AUDIENCE. INDEX. .
REVIEW: FOCUSING ON GEMOLOGY AS A SCIENCE RATHER THAN A FINE ART, THE AUTHORS HAVE WRITTEN AN HONEST AND STRAIGHTFORWARD BOOK THAT LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR IDENTIFYING GEMSTONES IN AN EASY-TO-READ-AND-UNDERSTAND VOLUME. THEY OUTLINE USEFUL INFORMATION ON SETTING UP A LAB, SECURING PROPER LIGHTING, AND IDENTIFYING THE ESSENTIAL AND OPTIONAL INSTRUMENTS USED IN SUCCESSFUL GEM IDENTIFICATION. THEY ALSO EXPLAIN HOW TO IDENTIFY THE MYRIAD INCLUSIONS AND BLEMISHES FOUND IN NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC GEMSTONES AND DEVOTE A SECTION TO ENHANCEMENT TECHNIQUES FOUND IN ANTIQUE AND ESTATE JEWELRY. RECOMMENDED. .
READER REVIEWS:
REVIEW: "GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY" OPENS UP THE WORLD OF GEM IDENTIFICATION TO THE JEWELER, HOBBYIST AND THE CURIOUS. I DIDN'T COME AWAY WITH THE IMPRESSION THAT GEM IDENTIFICATION IS EASY, BUT THAT SOME KINDS OF IDENTIFICATION ARE EASY, INEXPENSIVE AND FUN! ANTOINETTE MATLINS MAKES IT CLEAR THAT THE BAR TO ENTRY INTO GEMOLOGY IS LOW. PRACTICE, DILIGENCE, AND THREE SMALL INSTRUMENTS THAT COST LESS THAN $200 WILL ENABLE YOU TO IDENTIFY 80% OF COLORED GEMSTONES AND THEIR LOOK-ALIKES AS WELL AS DIAMONDS AND MOST OF THEIR IMITATIONS. SINCE THERE ARE AT LEAST 3 DIFFERENT GEMSTONES ON THE MARKET IN EVERY COLOR AND NO SHORTAGE OF SYNTHETICS AND ENHANCEMENT TREATMENTS, THE SKILLS WITHIN THE PAGES OF "GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY" ARE INVALUABLE TO ANYONE SHOPPING FOR GEMSTONES. IF GEMS FASCINATE YOU, THIS BOOK WILL HELP YOU DISCOVER IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE GEMOLOGY AS A CAREER OR SERIOUS HOBBY.
THE BULK OF "GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY" ARE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE INSTRUMENTS INVOLVED IN GEM IDENTIFICATION, DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE EACH, AND WHAT THEY CAN SHOW YOU, INCLUDING MANY CHARTS WHICH WILL HELP YOU IDENTIFY STONES. THE 3 ESSENTIAL INSTRUMENTS THAT EVERYONE WILL NEED ARE: LOUPE, CHELSEA FILTER, AND DICHROSCOPE. THE LOUPE MAGNIFIES THE STONES, REVEALING INCLUSIONS, BLEMISHES, AND FILLERS. THE CHELSEA FILTER DIFFERENTIATES BETWEEN SOME GEMS AND SYNTHETICS. THE DICHROSCOPE DISTINGUISHES SINGLE-REFRACTING STONES FROM DOUBLE-REFRACTING AND ALLOWS IDENTIFICATION OF STONES BY THE COLORS THEY EXHIBIT. IN ADDITION, MS. MATLINS PROVIDES INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL TOOLS THAT ONE WOULD NEED TO SET UP A LAB: UV LAMP, REFRACTOMETER, MICROSCOPE. LESS ESSENTIAL: SPECTROSCOPE, POLARISCOPE, AND IMMERSION CELL. FOR DIAMONDS: SSEF DIAMOND-TYPE SPOTTER AND ELECTRONIC DIAMOND TESTER. THESE COULD COST NEARLY $3000, BUT SHOPPING ON EBAY WILL BRING THE PRICE TAG DOWN.
THE AUTHOR ALSO DEDICATES A CHAPTER TO "ANTIQUE AND ESTATE JEWELRY", IN WHICH SHE DISCUSSES IMITATION AND ALTERATION TECHNIQUES FREQUENTLY FOUND IN ANTIQUE AND PERIOD JEWELRY. SHE ADVISES ON HOW TO DETECT THEM AND INCLUDES TABLES OF SYNTHETICS AND IMITATIONS, WHEN THEY APPEARED ON THE MARKET, AND CHARACTERISTICS THAT WILL HELP IDENTIFY THEM. THIS IS FOLLOWED BY MANY USEFUL APPENDICES: A LIST OF GEMS AND LOOK-ALIKES BY COLOR, GEM HARDNESS, SPECIFIC GRAVITIES, REFRACTIVE INDEX TABLES, TABLES OF DISPERSION AND BIREFRINGENCE, GLOSSARY OF TERMS, LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS OFFERING GEMOLOGY WORKSHOPS OR TRAINING, EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS. THESE ARE IN ADDITION TO THE MANY TABLES AND LISTS IN THE INSTRUMENT CHAPTERS. COLOR PHOTOS ARE LIMITED TO A CENTER INSERT, WHERE THERE ARE PHOTOS OF GEMSTONE INCLUSIONS AND A FEW OTHER IDENTIFYING FEATURES. "GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY" IS AN EASY TO UNDERSTAND, PRACTICAL ENTRY TO THE FASCINATING WORLD OF GEMSTONES.
REVIEW: REPLACING PREVIOUS EDITIONS WITH THIS NEW CURRENT EDITION. ALWAYS HAPPY TO HAVE THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION. I HAVE BEEN A SERIOUS HOBBYIST FOR YEARS AND AM NOW STUDYING FOR THE GG DIPLOMA THROUGH GIA. ALL QUALITY RESOURCES ARE VERY USEFUL AND I AM PLEASED TO HAVE THIS NEWEST VERSION.
REVIEW: AS A PROFESSIONAL GEMOLOGIST HAVING STUDIED GEMS EXTENSIVELY AND ALSO SOMEONE WHO HELPS INSTRUCT ALREADY CERTIFIED GEMOLOGIST, ASPIRING GEMOLOGIST, GEM AND JEWELRY RETAILERS (MANY ARE NOT GEMOLOGISTS), GEM CUTTERS, HOBBYIST AND CONSUMERS, I FIND GEM IDENTIFICATION MADE EASY TO BE A VERY WORTHWHILE PURCHASE. IT IS COMPREHENSIVELY INFORMATIVE, ACCURATE, RESOURCEFUL, INSPIRING, AND ARTICULATE AS APPROPRIATE FOR THE INTENDED AUDIENCE WITH A WIDE DIVERSITY OF GEMOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE. AND, IT'S FUN! LET'S FACE IT, GEMS, AND JEWELRY CONTAINING THEM, ARE EXPENSIVE TOYS, AND THOUGH THE MONEY USED TO PURCHASE THEM ARE TYPICALLY DISCRETIONARY, I DON'T KNOW ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PAY FOR SOMETHING THAT IS NOT WHAT IT IS REPRESENTED TO BE. VERY GOOD, BASIC GEMOLOGICAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BOOK WILL PLEASINGLY EDUCATE THE READER OF ANY OF THE CATEGORIES ABOVE, BUT CAN ALSO POTENTIALLY SAVE THE READER FROM MISTAKES WORTH MULTIPLE ORDERS OF DOLLAR MAGNITUDE BEYOND THE COST OF THE BOOK (OR THE RECOMMENDED BASIC TOOLS WHICH IT EXPLAINS HOW TO USE). THE 3RD EDITION PROVIDES UPDATES THAT DEAL WITH NEW TREATMENT PROCESSES, NEW SYNTHETICS AND SIMULANTS AND GEMOLOGICAL EVIDENCE THAT WILL AID IN THEIR IDENTIFICATION. I HAVE MANY REFERENCE BOOKS ON GEMOLOGY IN MY LIBRARY, AND I PROUDLY DISPLAY AND USE THIS ONE. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
REVIEW: I AM A BEGINNING GEMOLOGY STUDENT AND HAVE PURCHASED QUITE A FEW BOOKS TO HELP ME WITH MY STUDIES. BY FAR, THIS BOOK IS THE MOST HELPFUL. FIRST, IT HAS ALL THE INFORMATION I NEED IN ONE PLACE SO I NO LONGER HAVE TO LOOK AT 3 DIFFERENT BOOKS TO GET THE INFORMATION I NEED. SECOND, IT IS WRITTEN WITH THE BEGINNER IN MIND. IDEAS AND EQUIPMENT ARE EXPLAINED IN LAYMAN'S TERMS AND THEN USED IN PROFESSIONAL TERMS SO YOU LEARN THE "LINGO" AS YOU GO. MANY IDEA AND EXPLANATIONS WERE EASILY UNDERSTANDABLE IN THIS BOOK AFTER DIGGING OTHER PLACES. THE COLOR PHOTOS ARE GREAT TOO. THIS BOOK IS INTERESTING FOR HOBBYISTS AND ESSENTIAL FOR JEWELRY SALES STAFF, STUDENTS, AND ANYONE READY TO MAKE A SMART, INFORMED PURCHASE OF A GEM. I AGREE WITH THE REVIEWER THAT SAID THIS SHOULD BE MANDATORY READING FOR SALES PEOPLE.
REVIEW: THOUGH I HAVE NOT YET FINISHED READING THIS BOOK (I AM ABOUT HALF-WAY THROUGH), I CAN ALREADY STATE THAT THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK FOR ANY LAPIDARIST, JEWELER OR GEMOLOGIST (ASPIRING OR WITH EXPERIENCE!), OR AS IN MY CASE A HOBBYIST/COLLECTOR WHO JUST WANTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO IDENTIFY GEMSTONES SO AS TO NOT TOTALLY RELY ON OUTSIDE SOURCES. INDIVIDUAL CHAPTERS ON ALL THE VARIETY OF TOOLS, DESCRIBING HOW TO USE THEM, AND PROVIDING MORE INFO THAN ONE COULD POSSIBLY MEMORIZE ON SPECIFICS FOR ALL THE VARIETY OF GEMSTONES - INCLUDING GREAT ADVICE ON HOW TO SPOT LAB CREATED STONES AND IMITATIONS ("FAKES"). I WILL BE COMING BACK TO THIS BOOK OVER AND OVER AGAIN AS IT ALSO IS AN EXCELLENT REFERENCE BOOK
REVIEW: I HAVE NEVER BEEN VERY INTERESTED IN SCIENCE, BUT GEMS HAVE ALWAYS FASCINATED ME AND I WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM. I ACTUALLY GOT THIS BOOK BY MISTAKE, BUT I'M SO GLAD I DID. IT WAS REALLY INTERESTING TO READ, AND VERY EASY TO UNDERSTAND. THE AUTHORS ARE REALLY GIFTED IN THEIR ABILITY TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW, AND HOW TO DO IT. I'M AMAZED AT HOW MUCH I NOW KNOW AND CAN DO ON MY OWN WHEN IT COMES TO IDENTIFYING GEMSTONES-AND MY JEWELER IS ALSO IMPRESSED BY HOW MANY STONES I CAN NOW ACCURATELY IDENTIFY. BEING ABLE TO IDENTIFY GEMSTONES HAS ADDED A WHOLE NEW LEVEL OF EXCITEMENT, AND I WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO IT WITHOUT HAVING STUMBLED ONTO THIS WONDERFUL BOOK. I HEARTILY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW TO IDENTIFY STONES AND FAKES, AND ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO, LIKE ME, THINK IT'S A SUBJECT THAT'S OVER THEIR HEAD, OR "TOO TECHNICAL" TO BE OF INTEREST. IT ISN'T - AT LEAST NOT THE WAY IT'S HANDLED IN THIS BOOK!
REVIEW: FOR ANYONE THAT WANTS TO KNOW HOW TO IDENTIFY GEMS. THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU. VERY GOOD INFORMATION FOR THE BEGINNER!
REVIEW: IF YOU ARE A HOBBYIST, OR DESIRE A CAREER IN THE GEMOLOGICAL FIELD, THIS BOOK IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD NOT BE WITHOUT. I WOULD RECOMMEND ALL JEWELRY STORES HAVE THEIR STAFF READ THIS BOOK BEFORE TALKING TO POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS. FROM USING INSTRUMENTS TO IDENTIFYING STONES, THIS BOOK HAS IT ALL! TECHNICAL BOOKS ARE USUALLY SO DRY AND BORING, BUT THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT. IT ACTUALLY COVERS THE MATERIAL IN AN EASY-TO-READ, FUN FORMAT! HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH YOUR GEMS - AND LEARN! GET A COPY FOR YOURSELF.
REVIEW: THE BOOK CERTAINLY LIVES UP TO ITS TITLE AS I CONSIDER THIS BOOK QUITE COMPLETE FOR A BEGINNER IN EVALUATING GEMSTONES. I AM A HOBBYIST WITH QUITE AN EXTENSIVE COLLECTION OF SEMI-PRECIOUS ( AND A FEW PRECIOUS) STONES, MOST ALL OF WHICH HAVE PAPERS AND SPECS FROM THE DEALERS I'VE BOUGHT THEM FROM. QUITE FRANKLY, THE ACQUISITION OF THE STONES WAS WHAT DROVE ME AT THE BEGINNING AS I HAD ALWAYS WANTED MY OWN 'TREASURE CHEST' BUT AFTER YOU'VE BOUGHT POUNDS OF THE STUFF YOU END UP BEING CURIOUS AS TO HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE ONE STONE FROM THE OTHER (LIKE NEPHRITE FROM 'GRASS' JADE, RED TOURMALINE FROM RUBY OR GARNET, PARAIBA TOURMALINE FROM PARAIBA CITRINE, BLUE TOPAZ FROM AQUAMARINE, ETC., ETC.). THIS BOOK IS GREAT WITH THIS. IT IS QUITE COMPREHENSIVE AND NOT ONLY LISTS THE EQUIPMENT YOU WOULD NEED FOR 'ON THE GO' EVALUATING ( AT AUCTIONS IN ASIA ) OR FOR THE SMALL WORKSHOP/HOBBY CENTER YOU CAN SET UP FOR YOURSELF IN YOUR HOME BUT ALSO HOW TO USE SAID TOOLS. IT GIVES YOU INSTRUCTIONS FOR BASIC EXAMINATIONS TO DIFFERENT LEVELS OF MORE COMPLETE ONES. I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU WILL BECOME IGA OR AGS PROFICIENT, BUT THIS IS A GREAT START FOR EVEN THAT AMBITION.
REVIEW: I AM JUST A BEGINNER ON GEMS AND I FOUND THIS BOOK TO BE VERY HELPFUL IN MY QUEST TO IDENTIFY DIFFERENT GEMS. ALSO HELPED WITH WHAT TYPE OF EQUIPMENT ONE NEEDS TO MAKE THE PROCESS EASIER. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE JUST STARTING ON GEMS IDENTIFICATION.
REVIEW: THE INFORMATION INSIDE IS EXTREMELY HELPFUL TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN GEMSTONE COLLECTING/BUYING. ANTOINETTE MATLINS IS ARGUABLY ONE OF THE BEST AUTHORS OF GEMSTONE LITERATURE AS SHE HAS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND A KNACK FOR EXPLAINING DIFFICULT CONCEPTS. I AM VERY PICKY ABOUT WHICH BOOKS I BUY TO OWN (AS OPPOSED TO JUST READING THEM AT THE LOCAL LIBRARY) AND THIS IS ONE BOOK I STILL "RE-VISIT" QUITE OFTEN FOR REFERENCE.
THIS BOOK EXPLAINS THE BASICS OF GEM IDENTIFICATION AND THE WAYS TO TEST GEMS FOR AUTHENTICITY. IT DELVES INTO THE DEPTHS OF SYNTHETIC GEM PRODUCTION AND THE VARIOUS METHODS USED TO TREAT/ENHANCE GEMSTONES. KNOWING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SYNTHETIC VS. HEAT TREATED VS. 100% NATURAL CAN LITERALLY SAVE YOU HUNDREDS; EVEN THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WHEN INSPECTING FINE GEMS FOR PURCHASE!
REVIEW: EXCELLENT UPDATE, EVEN FOR THE JEWELRY PROFESSIONAL, BECAUSE IT ADDRESSES THE NEW TREATMENTS, AND WAYS TO EASILY IDENTIFY THEM! (HPHT, LEAD FILLING, ETC) YET SIMPLE ENOUGH FOR THE CONSUMER TO UNDERSTAND AND BECOME EDUCATED!
REVIEW: I HAVE BEEN PART OF THE GEM AND JEWELRY TRADE FOR OVER 30 YEARS AND A GEMOLOGIST FOR OVER 15 YEARS. WHEN I WAS AT THE TUCSON GEM AND MINERAL SHOWS 10 YEARS AGO, I BOUGHT A COPY THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS FABULOUS BOOK. I WAS IMMEDIATELY STRUCK BY THE WAY MS MATLINS WAS ABLE TO SIMPLIFY COMPLEX INSTRUMENTS AND TECHNIQUES USED TO IDENTIFY GEMS TO THE POINT THAT LITERALLY ANYONE COULD LEARN. ON ALMOST EVERY PAGE I LEARNED EITHER A NEW TECHNIQUE OR AN EASIER WAY TO UNDERSTAND AND/OR USE EVERY INSTRUMENT IN MY ARSENAL. I WAS SO IMPRESSED THAT I LATER BOUGHT BOTH THE SECOND AND THIRD EDITIONS SO THAT I COULD KEEP UP WITH ALL OF THE NEW DEVELOPMENTS. MS MATLINS SHOULD BE CONGRATULATED FOR MAKING THIS MATERIAL SO AVAILABLE TO SO MANY PEOPLE.
REVIEW: I AM AN ASPIRING GEMOLOGIST AND I HAVE A LOT OF REFERENCE BOOKS. THIS BOOK IS MY "GO TO" BOOK WHEN I NEED A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF A TOPIC OR CLARIFICATION ON HOW TO USE GEMOLOGICAL IDENTIFICATION TOOLS. THIS BOOK IS VERY WELL WRITTEN AND EASY TO READ. I'D GIVE IT 10 STARS. THE PICTURES OF GEM INCLUSIONS ARE EXCELLENT! THIS BOOK IS TRULY THE BEST GUIDE AVAILABLE TO DATE. ALL THE BEST!
REVIEW: GOOD BOOK FOR THE NOVICE. WELL LAID OUT. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. IDEAL BOOK FOR STARTING OUT ON THE QUEST FOR BUYING QUALITY GEMS AND KNOWING YOU ARE GETTING VALUE FOR YOUR HARD EARNED CASH. TELLS YOU WHAT EQUIPMENT TO BUY AND WHAT TO BE AWARE OF, FROM FAKE TO POOR QUALITY GEMS. IT OBVIOUSLY TAKES YEARS TO BE AN EXPERT IN THIS FIELD, BUT IT WILL SURELY HELP YOU TO AVOID BEING CAUGHT OUT WHEN PURCHASING GEMS FOR YOURSELF.
REVIEW: EXCELLENT RESOURCE. EASY AND INFORMATIVE READ. THIS IS AN EXCELLENT AND KEY ADDITION TO MY GEMOLOGICAL HOBBY RESOURCES
REVIEW: THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK AND RESOURCE FOR GEMSTONE BUYERS. IT GIVES EASY-TO-FOLLOW DETAILS ON WHAT TO LOOK FOR, TECHNIQUES, INSTRUMENTS TO USE, TREATMENTS, SYNTHETIC AND SIMULATED STONES. IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR GEMSTONES, ARE A HOBBYIST OR JUST STARTING A CAREER IN GEMOLOGY THIS BOOK IS A MUST HAVE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND GIVE IT AAA AND FIVE STARS.
REVIEW: THIS BOOK HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. LOTS OF TABLES TO HELP IN GEM ID AS WELL AS EASY TO READ INSTRUCTIONS ON USING GEMSTONE IDENTIFICATION INSTRUMENTS. WHETHER BRAND NEW TO GEMOLOGY OR BEEN AROUND GEMSTONES FOR A WHILE YOU WILL FIND SOMETHING OF USE IN THIS BOOK. A GREAT BOOK FOR THE BEGINNER, A GOOD REFERENCE FOR THE INTERMEDIATE, AND THE PERFECT REFRESHER BOOK FOR THE PRO.
REVIEW: THERE ARE AT LEAST 3 DOZEN GEMSTONE ID OR HOW TO BUY THE PERFECT GEM BOOKS ON MY SHELVES. THE THREE THAT SIT NEXT TO THE COMPUTER ARE WALTER SCHUMANN'S GEMSTONES OF WORLD AND TWO BY ANTOINETTE MATLINS - GEM ID MADE EASY AND COLOR GEMSTONE BUYING GUIDE. AS A JEWELRY DESIGN, LAPIDARY AND GEMOLOGY STUDENT I AM ALWAYS REACHING FOR ONE OR THE OTHER. THANKS ANTOINETTE WE ALWAYS GET YOUR BEST EFFORT!!!
REVIEW: I HAD LOOKED THROUGH SOME GEMOLOGY BOOKS IN THE PAST, BUT FOUND THEM TOO SCIENTIFIC AND INTIMIDATING. THIS BOOK IS VERY READABLE AND INFORMATIVE. THE READER WILL UNDERSTAND HOW THREE INEXPENSIVE TOOLS CAN BE USED TO EVALUATE THE MAJORITY OF GEMS. THE BOOK ALSO DESCRIBES HOW THE READER CAN GO ABOUT GETTING MORE INFORMATION AND FURTHER EXPANDING THEIR KNOWLEDGE. THIS IS A BOOK WELL WORTH HAVING FOR ANYONE WISHING TO LEARN ABOUT GEMOLOGY.
REVIEW: I MAKE JEWELRY, AND SOMETIMES BUY IN BULK TO SAVE MONEY. I MAY DECIDE TO USE A COLORED GEMSTONE THAT I PURCHASED A YEAR AGO. I MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT TYPE IT IS, BUT REMEMBER WHAT TYPES I HAVE PURCHASED IN THE PAST. THIS IS NICE TO HAVE AS A REMINDER OF WHAT I HAVE PURCHASED. THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW FOR SURE WHAT STONE YOU HAVE PURCHASED IS TO PURCHASE A MACHINE THAT CAN MEASURE THE WEIGHT AND DENSITY, AND THEY ARE VERY EXPENSIVE. BUT IN GENERAL THIS CAN BE A GOOD BOOK, IF ONLY TO LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT GEMSTONES.
REVIEW: THIS BOOK CONTAINS A VAST AMOUNT OF INFORMATION TO BOTH EXPERIENCED AND HOBBYIST GEM COLLECTORS. IT PROVIDES CLEAR EXPLANATIONS OF MANY TOOLS USED TO HELP IDENTIFY STONES AND IS A GREAT RESOURCE FOR HELPING ONE TO IDENTIFY STONES EITHER IN A COLLECTION OR BEFORE A PURCHASE.
REVIEW: BOOK IS EXACTLY AS DESCRIBED, FULL OF GREAT INFORMATION, AND ARRIVED IN A TIMELY MANNER. HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO GET THROUGH IT ALL JUST YET, IT MAY BE MADE EASY, BUT EASIER THAN WHAT? :-) WOW, MAY TAKE ME SOME TIME TO GET THROUGH IT ALL. I WOULD SUGGEST ANYONE WANTING TO TAKE CLASSES IN GEM IDENTIFICATION READ THIS BOOK FIRST TO MAKE SURE THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO FOR A LIVING. LOTS OF INFO!
REVIEW: THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING I WAS LOOKING FOR IN BASIC GEMOLOGY. ITS LOADED WITH USEFUL INFORMATION ON WHAT INSTRUMENTS PROVIDE A SOLID BASE FOR REALLY LOOKING AT GEMSTONES----AS A HOBBY, AVOCATION, OR FIRST STEPS FOR BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL GEMOLOGIST. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.
REVIEW: I LIKE THE LAYOUT OF THIS BOOK! EASY TO READ, NICE PICTURES, AND GOOD INFO. I AM A BEGINNER AT COLLECTING GEMSTONES AND THIS BOOK HAS HELPED A LOT! I WOULD RECOMMEND TO BEGINNERS TO SEASONED COLLECTORS.
REVIEW: THIS BOOK IS COMPREHENSIVE, DETAILED, AND IT IS NOT DRY DULL READING AS SO MANY SIMILAR TEXTS CAN BE. IF YOU ARE IN THE GEM AND JEWELRY BUSINESS, OR JUST A COLLECTOR YOU WILL GET SOMETHING OUT OF THIS BOOK. WELL WORTH THE MONEY!
REVIEW: A GOOD REFERENCE AND LEARNING TOOL. NOT SO EASY, BUT IT WILL HELP GREATLY WITH MY LAPIDARY WORK. UP TO DATE AND INCLUDES THE LATEST GEM ALTERING TECHNIQUES. A MUST IF YOU ARE INVESTING IN QUALITY GEMS.P> REVIEW: THIS BOOK OFFERS THE MOST CONCISE EXPLANATIONS OF REAL GEMSTONE IDENTIFICATION INSTRUMENTS AND TECHNIQUES I HAVE SPENT A LIFETIME OF DEALING WITH GEMSTONES AROUND THE WORLD, MAKING LOTS OF MISTAKES ALONG THE WAY. MOST OF THE BASIC MISTAKES CAN BE EASILY AVOIDED WITH THE TOOLS AND INFORMATION ANTOINETTE DESCRIBES IN THE NEWEST EDITION. A MUST -HAVE!
REVIEW: EXCELLENT RESOURCE FOR GEMSTONE IDENTIFICATION. QUICK AND EASY USING MINIMUM TOOLS. WELL EXPLAINED AND GREAT IMAGES! VERY GOOD FOR BEGINNERS TO ASSIST IN THE UNDERSTANDING THE COMPLEXITIES OF GEMSTONE IDENTIFICATION.
GEMSTONES IN ANCIENT HISTORY: THROUGHOUT HISTORY, GEMSTONES WERE BELIEVED CAPABLE OF CURING ILLNESS TO 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. HEREINBELOW ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF THE USES FOR AND BELIEFS CONCERNING SPECIFIC GEMSTONE VARIETIES IN THE ANCIENT WORLD.
PEARLS: THE PEARL IS LIKELY THE FIRST GEMSTONE KNOWN TO PREHISTORIC MAN. A FRAGMENT OF THE OLDEST KNOWN PEARL JEWELRY, FOUND IN THE SARCOPHAGUS OF A PERSIAN PRINCESS WHO DIED IN 520 B.C., IS DISPLAYED IN THE LOUVRE IN PARIS. PEARL NECKLACES HAVE ALSO BEEN FOUND BY ARCHAEOLOGISTS WITHIN THE SARCOPHAGUS OF ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MUMMIES. IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, NATURAL SALT-WATER PEARLS WERE PRINCIPALLY HARVESTED FROM THE PERSIAN GULF, THE GULF OF MANAAR (INDIAN OCEAN), AND THE RED SEA. MAN HAS ADORNED HIM(HER)SELF WITH PEARLS FOR AT LEAST 6,000 YEARS. IN THE ANCIENT GEMSTONE MARKETS OF BABYLON, 5,000 YEARS AGO, PEARLS WERE PRIZED POSSESSIONS BELIEVED TO RESTORE YOUTH. WRITTEN ACCOUNTS OF PEARL JEWELRY EXIST BOTH IN THIRD MILLENNIUM B.C. INDIAN AND CHINESE TEXTS.
THE ULTIMATE ORIGIN OF PEARLS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD WAS THE SOURCE OF MANY COMPETING MYTHS AND LEGENDS. ANCIENT CHINESE WRITTEN ACCOUNTS TELL THAT PEARLS FELL FROM THE SKIES WHEN DRAGONS ABOVE FIGHT (THE PEARLS DROPLETS OF DRAGON SALIVA). ALTERNATE ANCIENT CHINESE LEGENDS STATED THAT PEARLS WERE FOUND IN THE BRAINS OF DRAGONS. AS EARLY AS THE HAN DYNASTY (200 B.C.) THE ANCIENT CHINESE HUNTED EXTENSIVELY FOR SEAWATER PEARLS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA. THE ANCIENT HINDUS BELIEVED THAT PEARLS WERE DEWDROPS THAT FELL AT NIGHT INTO THE SEA AND COLLECTED IN OYSTERS. THE PEARL (“MUKTA” IN SANSKRIT) WAS ASSOCIATED WITH MANY HINDU DEITIES, THE MOST FAMOUS BEING THE KOUSTUBHA WHICH LORD VISHNU WORE ON HIS CHEST. ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNTS OF MARCO POLO, THE KINGS OF MALABAR (NEAR PRESENT-DAY CALICUT, KERALA, INDIA) WORE A NECKLACE OF 108 RUBIES AND 108 PRECIOUS PEARLS WHICH WAS GIVEN FROM ONE GENERATION OF KINGS TO THE NEXT.
THE SPHERICAL SHAPE OF SOME PEARLS ALSO LED MANY ANCIENT CULTURES TO ASSOCIATE THIS GEM WITH THE MOON. TO THE ANCIENT PERSIANS, PEARLS SYMBOLIZED THE MOON AND ITS MAGICAL POWERS, THE MOON INSTILLING PEARLS WITH ITS CELESTIAL GLOW AND MYSTERY. IN SOME MUSLIM LEGENDS, THE PEARL IS GOD'S FIRST ACT OF CREATION. MANY ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN CULTURES BELIEVED PEARLS WERE FORMED WHEN AN ANGEL'S TEARS FELL INTO THE OPEN OYSTER SHELL, OR ALTERNATIVELY WERE THE TEARS OF GODS. HOWEVER ACCORDING TO ONE ANCIENT GREEK LEGEND, PEARLS WERE FORMED BY LIGHTNING STRIKING THE OCEAN. ANOTHER ANCIENT GREEK LEGEND POSITED THAT PEARLS WERE DEW FROM THE MOON COLLECTED BY OYSTERS THAT OPENED THEIR SHELLS AS THEY FLOATED ON THE SEA AT NIGHT.
EVEN THE BIBLE REFERRED TO THE HIGH VALUE OF PEARLS WHEN CHRIST SAID, "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE A MERCHANT SEARCHING FOR BEAUTIFUL PEARLS, WHO, FINDING ONE OF GREAT COST, SELLS ALL HIS POSSESSIONS TO BUY IT.” ALSO ACCORDING TO BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS, THE TWELVE GATES OF THE (POST-APOCALYPTIC) NEW JERUSALEM ARE EACH MADE OF A SINGLE PEARL (THE “PEARLY GATES” OF HEAVEN). "AND THE TWELVE GATES WERE TWELVE PEARLS; EVERY GATE WAS OF ONE PEARL, AND THE STREETS OF THE CITY WERE PURE GOLD, AS IF TRANSPARENT GLASS." LIKEWISE IN ISLAMIC SCRIPTURE, THE KORAN SPECIFIES THAT THE REWARDS OF PARADISE INCLUDE PEARLS. “GOD WILL ADMIT THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND WORK RIGHTEOUS DEEDS, TO GARDENS BENEATH WHICH RIVERS FLOW. THEY SHALL BE ADORNED THEREIN WITH BRACELETS OF GOLD AND PEARLS; AND THEIR GARMENTS THERE WILL BE OF SILK.”
THE GREEKS THOUGHT THAT PEARLS HELD THE ESSENCE OF LOVE AND BEAUTY. A PAIR OF PEARL EARRINGS OWNED BY CLEOPATRA WERE ESTIMATED BY THE ANCIENT ROMAN HISTORIAN PLINY TO HAVE A VALUE OF ABOUT 60 MILLION SESTERCES (EQUIVALENT TO 10,000 POUNDS OF GOLD, $40 MILLION IN TODAY’S VALUE). WHO CAN FORGET THE TALE OF CLEOPATRA DISSOLVING ONE OF THESE TWO PEARLS IN THE PRESENCE OF MARC ANTONY, SO SHE COULD “TASTE” THE ESSENCE OF PEARL. THROUGHOUT ANCIENT ROME AND INTO MEDIEVAL EUROPE, PEARLS ALWAYS DECORATED CROWNS AND ROBES OF KINGS AND QUEENS. IN FACT, ALL OF ROME AND THE ENTIRE ROMAN MEDITERRANEAN WERE “PEARL CRAZY”. ACCORDING TO THE FIRST CENTURY HISTORIAN AND NATURALIST “PLINY THE ELDER” (WHO WROTE THAT PEARLS WERE CREATED FROM THE MORNING DEW), THE CRAZE STARTED WHEN A PORTRAIT OF POMPEY THE GREAT WAS RENDERED IN PEARLS TO MARK THE OCCASION OF HIS THIRD TRIUMPH (CELEBRATORY PARADE) OVER THE DEFEAT OF MITHRIDATES, KING OF PONTUS (PRESENT DAY TURKEY ON THE BLACK SEA).
AS WELL, AMONGST THE SPOILS OF THE WAR DISPLAYED DURING THE PARADE WERE NUMEROUS PEARLS SET IN CROWNS AND OTHER JEWELRY. IN THE FOLLOWING FASHION FRENZY, THE WOMEN OF ROME PREFERRED TO WEAR TWO OR THREE PEARLS DANGLING FROM THEIR EARS, SO THEY WOULD RATTLE AS THEY MOVED, ATTRACTING ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THEY WERE WEARING PEARLS. ROMAN MATRONS HAD PEARLS WOVEN INTO THEIR GARMENTS, AND EVEN USED PEARLS TO DECORATE THEIR COUCHES. THE THIRD WIFE OF THE ROMAN EMPEROR CALIGULA REPORTEDLY OWNED PEARL JEWELRY WITH A VALUE OF 40 MILLION SESTERCES ($25 MILLION IN TODAY’S DOLLARS). IN FACT IT WAS RUMORED WITHIN ROME ITSELF THAT THE REAL PURPOSE OF JULIUS CAESAR’S INVASION OF BRITAIN WAS TO GAIN CONTROL OF THE FRESH WATER PEARLS THAT WERE FOUND THERE, AND THAT "IN COMPARING THEIR SIZE HE SOMETIMES WEIGHED THEM WITH HIS OWN HAND". IN 46 B.C., WHEN CAESAR RETURNED FROM EGYPT TO ROME WHERE HE WAS JOINED BY CLEOPATRA AND THEIR INFANT SON, HE DEDICATED A CUIRASS MADE COMPLETELY OF BRITISH PEARLS IN THE TEMPLE OF VENUS GENETRIX.
IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, SHAMANS USED PEARLS TO HELP ENHANCE THEIR PSYCHIC AND DIVINATION POWERS, AND TO CONNECT WITH LUNAR GODS AND GODS OF THE OCEANS AND SEAS. DURING THE MIDDLE AGES IT WAS BELIEVED THAT PEARLS POSSESSED THE POWER TO PROTECT THE WEARER IN BATTLE, AND SO IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON TO FIND SUITS OF ARMOR FOR THE NOBILITY ENCRUSTED WITH PEARLS. IN RENAISSANCE EUROPE THE APPETITE FOR PEARLS BECAME SO GREAT THAT LAWS FORBADE ANYONE OTHER THAN ROYALTY OR THE VERY PRIVILEGED CLASSES FROM EVEN WEARING PEARLS. PEARLS WERE THE EXCLUSIVE DOMAIN OF THE CROWN AND SELECT NOBILITY! THE APPETITE FOR PEARLS WAS ENORMOUS, AND THE NATURAL SALT WATER PEARL BEDS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA WERE RAVAGED.
THE PRINCIPAL SALT-WATER OYSTER BEDS REMAINING WHICH STILL PRODUCE SOLID PEARLS TODAY LAY IN AUSTRALIA, THE PERSIAN GULF, ALONG THE COASTS OF INDIA, SRI LANKA, AND IN THE RED SEA. THE PRINCIPLE SOURCES FOR CULTURED SALTWATER PEARLS TODAY ARE AUSTRALIA, INDONESIA, TAHITI, THE PHILIPPINES, AND BURMA. CHINA, THE USA, AND BAVARIA ARE THE PRINCIPLE SOURCES FOR FRESHWATER PEARLS. UNKNOWN TODAY TO MOST, AMERICA EXPORTED TO VICTORIAN EUROPE LARGE NUMBERS OF VERY HIGH QUALITY FRESHWATER PEARLS FROM THE OHIO, MISSISSIPPI, AND TENNESSEE RIVER BASINS. SO MANY GEMS WERE EXPORTED TO EUROPE THAT THE NEW WORLD QUICKLY GAINED THE APPELLATION "LAND OF PEARLS." EXCEPT FOR THE FRESHWATER PRODUCTION OF SMALL SPECIMENS, GENUINE SOLID PEARLS ARE BY AND LARGE ONLY OBTAINABLE AS ANTIQUES.
FROM THE 1930’S TO PRESENT DAY, CULTURED PEARLS FROM JAPAN HAVE PREDOMINATED THE MARKETPLACE. MOST PEOPLE GENERALLY CREDIT THE “INVENTION” OF CULTURED PEARLS WITH KOKICHI MIKIMOTO IN JAPAN AT THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. HOWEVER EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS AGO IN CHINA, MONKS PLANTED CARVINGS OF BUDDHIST DEITIES INTO RIVER MOLLUSKS IN ORDER TO BE COATED WITH PEARL-LIKE LAYERS, THE FIRST RECORDED CULTURED “PEARLS”. SINCE THE 1990’S, WITH THE DECLINE OF JAPANESE CULTURED PEARL PRODUCTION DUE TO POLLUTION AND DISEASE, CHINA HAS INCREASINGLY BEEN THE DOMINANT SUPPLIER OF CULTURED PEARLS, BOTH FRESHWATER AND SALTWATER. HOWEVER IT IS STILL GENERALLY BELIEVED THAT THE FINEST CULTURED PEARLS EVER PRODUCED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF LIMITED QUANTITIES PRODUCED IN TAHITI, WERE PRODUCED IN JAPAN BETWEEN 1930 AND 1970.
PEARLS ARE FOUND IN A WIDE VARIETY OF COLORS AND SHADES, THE MOST HIGHLY VALUED BEING WHITE, BLACK, ROSE, AND CREAM. BLACK PEARLS ARE VERY RARE AND HIGHLY PRIZED, AND ARE TYPICALLY FOUND ONLY IN TAHITI AND THE COOK ISLANDS. ALSO ESPECIALLY PRIZED ARE ROSE-COLORED PEARLS FOUND IN INDIA, SRI LANKA (CEYLON), AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC. PEARLS ARE FORMED AS LUSTROUS CONCRETION PRODUCED PRINCIPALLY BY CERTAIN BIVALVE MOLLUSKS (AS WELL AS SCALLOPS, ABALONE, CONCHS, AND EVEN SNAILS). A PEARL CONSISTS ALMOST ENTIRELY OF NACRE (ALSO KNOWN AS WHICH IS THE SUBSTANCE FORMING THE INNER LAYERS OF THE MOLLUSK SHELLS. BOTH MARINE AND FRESHWATER MOLLUSKS PRODUCE PEARLS. IN NATURE A PEARL STARTS WHEN AN IRRITANT OR PARASITE HAS MANAGED TO GET INSIDE THE MOLLUSK’S SHELL. THE IRRITANT OR PARASITE SERVES AS THE NUCLEUS OF THE PEARL WHICH RESULTS WHEN NACRE IS DEPOSITED LAYER-UPON-LAYER BY THE MOLLUSK AROUND THE IRRITANT OR PARASITE AS A DEFENSE MECHANISM.
A NATURAL PEARL IS VERY RARE IN NATURE, AND OCCURS ONLY ONCE IN 15,000 MOLLUSKS. CULTURED PEARLS ARE FORMED WHEN MAN INTERCEDES, DEPOSITING THE NUCLEUS OF A NEW PEARL INSIDE THE TISSUE OF THE MOLLUSK, THUS “ARTIFICIALLY” INDUCING THE MOLLUSK TO CREATE PEARL. FRESHWATER PEARLS ARE PRODUCED BY MUSSELS IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD, THOUGH CHINA IS THE PRINCIPAL PRODUCER OF FRESHWATER PEARLS. HOWEVER PEARL PRODUCTION IS A CAREFULLY FOSTERED INDUSTRY IN CENTRAL EUROPE, AND THE FOREST STREAMS OF BAVARIA, IN PARTICULAR, ARE A SOURCE OF CHOICE FRESHWATER PEARLS. GEM-QUALITY FRESHWATER PEARLS ARE ALSO PRODUCED IN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
IN THE ANCIENT WORLD PEARLS WERE THOUGHT TO SIGNIFY CHARITY, FAITH AND INNOCENCE. THEY WERE BELIEVED TO HELP TO PROVIDE A FOCUS TO ONES ATTENTION, AND ENHANCE PERSONAL INTEGRITY. THE PEARL WAS KNOWN AS A STONE OF SINCERITY. PEARLS WERE BELIEVED TO INHIBIT ROWDY BEHAVIOR. THE LUSTER WAS THOUGHT TO PROVIDE A REFLECTION OF THE INNER SELF, SO THAT ONE COULD PERCEIVE ONESELF AS OTHERS DID. IN THE ANCIENT CULTURES OF ASIA PEARLS WERE THOUGHT TO QUICKEN THE LAWS OF KARMA AND TO CEMENT ENGAGEMENTS AND LOVE RELATIONSHIPS. THEY WERE ALSO USED AS A TALISMAN TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE. PEARLS WERE ALSO POWDERED AND USED AS A MEDICINE TO PROMOTE MENTAL HEALTH, AS WELL AS AN AID FOR STOMACH, STOMACH ULCER, SPLEEN, AND INTESTINAL TRACT PROBLEMS .
OPALS: THE ORIGINAL ANCIENT SOURCE OF OPAL GEMSTONES, KNOWN IN ROMAN TIMES, WAS IN WHAT IS NOW EAST SLOVAKIA PERHAPS AS LONG AGO AS THE SIXTH MILLENNIA B.C. ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE INDICATES THAT OPALS WERE ALSO MINED IN ETHIOPIA STARTING AROUND 400 B.C. OPAL WAS CONSIDERED A “NOBLE” GEMSTONE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD AND WAS RANKED SECOND ONLY TO EMERALD BY THE ROMANS, WHO SOMETIMES REFERRED TO OPAL AS THE "CUPID STONE". THE ROMANS ALSO REFERRED TO OPAL AS “THE QUEEN OF GEMS” BECAUSE IT EMBODIED THE COLORS OF ALL THE OTHER GEMS. ACCORDING TO OTHER ROMAN SOURCES, THE OPAL WAS CONSIDERED THE ULTIMATE IN GEMSTONES, DUE TO ITS MYSTERIOUS AND IRIDESCENT QUALITIES. OPALS WERE USED IN THE ROMAN WORLD FOR JEWELRY AND WERE ALSO CARVED AS CAMEOS.
THE ROMAN SCHOLAR AND HISTORIAN PLINY (23-79 A.D.) IN HIS 37-VOLUME WORK, "HISTORIA NATURALIS", DESCRIBED OPAL AS HAVING "THE FIRE OF THE GARNET, THE BRILLIANT PURPLE OF THE AMETHYST, AND THE SEA-GREEN OF THE EMERALD ALL SHINING TOGETHER IN INCREDIBLE UNION". PLINY RELATED IN HIS ACCOUNTS THAT MARK ANTONY (JULIUS CAESAR’S “LIEUTENANT”, EVENTUALLY CLEOPATRA’S HUSBAND) LOVED OPAL, AND SO MUCH COVETED AN OPAL OWNED BY ROMAN SENATOR NONIUS THAT MARK ANTONY BANISHED THE SENATOR, EXILING HIM FROM ROME, AFTER HE REFUSED TO SELL THE ALMOND SIZED STONE. LEGEND STATES THAT ONE ROMAN EMPEROR OFFERED TO TRADE ONE-THIRD OF HIS VAST KINGDOM FOR A SINGLE OPAL. WORN AS A TALISMAN, THE ROMANS BELIEVED THAT OPAL HAD TO POWER TO CURE DISEASE, AND ALSO CONSIDERED OPAL TO BE A TOKEN OF HOPE AND PURITY.
ELSEWHERE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, THE EARLY ARABS BELIEVED OPALS FELL FROM THE HEAVENS IN FLASHES OF LIGHTNING THAT GAVE THEM THEIR FIERY PLAY-OF-COLOR, AND THAT WEARING OPAL AS A TALISMAN WOULD PROTECT ONE FROM LIGHTENING STRIKES. IN THE CLASSICAL MEDITERRANEAN WORLD, IT WAS THOUGHT THAT OPALS WERE ACTUALLY BITS OF RAINBOWS WHICH HAD FALLEN FROM THE SKIES. ANCIENT GREEKS, AMONGST MANY OTHER ANCIENT CULTURES, THOUGHT OPALS GAVE THEIR OWNER THE GIFT OF PROPHECY AND FORESIGHT, AND PREVENTED DISEASES. THE MAYAS AND AZTECS CALLED OPAL THE “BIRD OF PARADISE STONE”. ACCORDING AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINE LEGENDS, THE CREATOR CAME DOWN TO EARTH ON A RAINBOW, AND AT THE VERY SPOT, WHERE HIS FOOT TOUCHED THE GROUND, THE STONES BECAME ALIVE AND STARTED SPARKLING IN ALL THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW. THAT WAS THE BIRTH OF THE OPALS, ALSO KNOWN AS THE “FIRE OF THE DESERT”.
OPALS MAINTAINED TREMENDOUS POPULARITY THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE AGES AND INTO THE RENAISSANCE. FOR A WHILE IN THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES, OPALS WERE CONSIDERED TO BE AMONGST THE WORLD'S MOST DESIRABLE GEMSTONES, AND LITERALLY A KING'S RANSOM WAS ON OCCASION PAID FOR A PARTICULARLY HANDSOME SPECIMEN. OPAL WAS ALSO REGARDED AS THE PATRON GEMSTONE OF THIEVES, BECAUSE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT WRAPPED IN BAY LEAF, IT WOULD CONFER INVISIBILITY. BLACK OPAL WAS CONSIDERED TO BE A PARTICULARLY EFFECTIVE IN ATTRACTING GOOD LUCK, AND FIRE OPAL WAS BELIEVED TO ATTRACT WEALTH. OPAL WAS ALSO BELIEVED TO BE AN EFFECTIVE TALISMAN FOR THOSE SEEKING TRUE LOVE. WOMEN WITH BLOND HAIR WORE OPAL EARRINGS AND HAIR ORNAMENTS, BELIEVING IT WOULD KEEP THEIR HAIR FROM GOING GRAY.
OPALS WERE ALSO GROUND UP AND USED AS MAGIC POTIONS TO HEAL THE BODY AND WARD OFF BAD DREAMS. RENAISSANCE-ERA MYSTICS BELIEVED THAT OPAL COULD CONDUCT THE ENERGIES OF THE PLANET VENUS THROUGH THE GEMSTONE, FOCUSING THOSE ENERGIES TO THE WEARER. THE ORIGINAL ANCIENT GRECO-ROMAN SOURCE OF “HUNGARIAN OPALS” HAD BEEN PRODUCING OPAL FOR PERHAPS 8,000 YEARS BEFORE FALLING OUT OF FAVOR WITH THE DISCOVERY OF GEMSTONES OF MUCH HIGHER QUALITY IN AUSTRALIA. FROM THAT TIME FORWARD, AUSTRALIAN OPALS CAME TO DOMINATE THE MARKET. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 90% AND 95% OF THE WORLD’S GEM-QUALITY OPAL NOW ORIGINATES IN AUSTRALIA.
THE NAME "OPAL" IS DERIVED FROM THE LATIN "OPALLUS", AND FROM SANSKRIT "UPALA", BOTH OF WHICH TRANSLATE TO "PRECIOUS STONE"; AS WELL AS PERHAPS FROM THE ANCIENT GREEK OPALLIOS, MEANING “TO SEE A CHANGE OF COLOR”. OPALS ARE GENERALLY DIVIDED INTO TWO GROUPS, WHITE AND BLACK. BOTH SHARE THE SIMILAR APPEARANCE WHERE A SPECTRUM OF COLORS CAN BE SEEN IN THE DEPTHS OF THE STONE. BLACK OPAL, WITH A BODY COLOR FROM A DARK GRAY TO BLACK, CONTAINING WITHIN THE FULL PLAY OF IRIDESCENT COLORS, IS THE MOST VALUABLE VARIETY OF ALL. OPALS ARE MOST ABUNDANT IN VOLCANIC ROCKS, ESPECIALLY IN AREAS OF HOT-SPRING ACTIVITY. OPAL FORMS IN SEDIMENTARY ROCKS WHEN SILICA-RICH WATER SLOWLY SEEPS INTO THE HOST ROCK, FILLING SEAMS AND CRACKS. IF THE WATER THEN HITS A NON POROUS LAYER OF ROCK THAT STOPS ITS PROGRESS, AND THE SILICA-LADEN WATER THEN SITS FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS DEEP WITHIN THE EARTH, THE SILICA WILL SETTLE AND EVENTUALLY FORM A SOLID GEL, TRAPPING THE REMAINING WATER WITHIN ITS STRUCTURE. IT BECOMES OPAL.
IN AUSTRALIA, THIS HAPPENED ABOUT 60 MILLION YEARS AGO IN THE CRETACEOUS PERIOD, WHEN DINOSAURS ROAMED THE EARTH AND MUCH OF AUSTRALIA WAS COVERED BY A VAST INLAND SEA. ONE OF THE CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OPAL IS THE BRILLIANT PLAY OF COLORS THAT MAY BE SEEN IN SUPERIOR STONES. THESE COLORS RESULT FROM THE FORMATION OF MINUTE FISSURES IN THE STONE AS IT HARDENS AND THE DEPOSITION OF ADDITIONAL OPAL IN THE FISSURES. THE REFRACTIVE QUALITIES OF THE ORIGINAL STONE AND THE ADDITIONAL DEPOSITS USUALLY DIFFER FROM ONE ANOTHER, AND RESULT IN LIGHT INTERFERENCE CAUSING A PLAY OF COLORS. THE MILKY COLOR OF MANY WHITE OPALS IS ATTRIBUTABLE TO AN ABUNDANCE OF TINY GAS-FILLED CAVITIES IN THEM. BLACK OPAL, WITH A VERY DARK GRAY OR BLUE TO BLACK BODY COLOR, IS PARTICULARLY RARE AND HIGHLY PRIZED.
THE REAL APPEAL OF OPALS, OF COURSE, IS THE RICH IRIDESCENCE AND REMARKABLE PLAY OF CHANGING COLORS (AS THE GEMSTONE IS VIEWED FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES), USUALLY IN RED, GREEN, AND BLUE. MODERN ELECTRON MICROSCOPE STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT OPAL IS COMPOSED OF NUMEROUS MINUTE SILICA SPHERES FROM 0.0001 MM TO 0.0005 MM IN DIAMETER, ARRANGED IN ORDERLY ROWS AND LAYERS. THE PLAY OF COLORS IN PRECIOUS OPAL ARISES FROM THE THREE-DIMENSIONAL DIFFRACTION OF LIGHT FROM THESE SUBMICROSCOPIC LAYERS OF REGULARLY ORIENTED SILICA SPHERES. IN THE ANCIENT WORLD OPALS WERE THOUGHT TO AMPLIFY ONE'S PERSONALITY TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS. THEY WERE BELIEVED TO STRENGTHEN MEMORY AND TO INSTILL FAITHFULNESS AND LOYALTY WITH RESPECT TO LOVE, PERSONAL AND BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS. OPALS WERE REGARDED AS A STONE OF HOPE, POSITIVE ACTIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS. OPALS HAD MEDICINAL USES INCLUDING POSSESSING STRONG THERAPEUTIC VALUE FOR DISEASES OF THE EYE, AND WHEN WORN AS AN AMULET, IT WAS BELIEVED TO PROVIDE THE WEARER WITH IMMUNITY FROM DISEASE AS WELL AS INCREASE THE POWERS OF THE EYES AND THE MIND. FURTHERMORE, MANY BELIEVED THAT TO THE EXTENT THE COLORS OF RED AND GREEN WERE SEEN, THE WEARER WOULD ALSO ENJOY THE THERAPEUTIC POWERS OF THOSE STONES; THE POWER TO STOP BLEEDING FROM THE RUBY, OR THE POWER TO CURE DISEASES FROM THE EMERALD.
OPALS WERE USED TO TREAT INFECTIONS AND FEVERS, AND WERE REGARDED EFFECTIVE IN PURIFYING BLOOD AND KIDNEYS, REGULATING INSULIN, AND EASING BOTH CHILDBIRTH AND MENSTRUAL SYMPTOMS. OPAL WAS WORN SO AS TO STRENGTHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND THE BODY’S RESISTANCE TO INFECTION. ON THE METAPHYSICAL PLANE OPAL WAS BELIEVED TO AMPLIFY TRAITS, WHETHER GOOD OR BAD, AND TO BRING CHARACTERISTICS TO THE SURFACE FOR TRANSFORMATION. IT WAS BELIEVED TO ENHANCE CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM, IMPROVE MEMORY, AND TO HELP THE WEARER COMPREHEND THEIR FULL POTENTIAL. IT ALSO WAS THOUGHT TO BRING CREATE LIGHTNESS AND SPONTANEITY, TO STIMULATE ORIGINALITY AND DYNAMIC CREATIVITY, AND ENCOURAGE AN INTEREST IN THE ARTS. OPAL WAS ALSO ASSOCIATED WITH LOVE AND PASSION, AS WELL AS DESIRE AND EROTICISM; A SEDUCTIVE STONE THAT INTENSIFIED EMOTIONAL STATES, RELEASED INHIBITIONS, DROVE AWAY SHYNESS AND SHAME, AND ENCOURAGED SEXUAL LIBERATION. AND AS OPAL REPRESENTED JUSTICE AND HARMONY, IT WAS REGARDED AN EFFECTIVE TALISMAN IN DANGEROUS PLACES. LAST, OPAL WAS USED BY SHAMANS TO AID IN RECALLING PAST LIVES .
JADE: THE HIGHEST QUALITY AND RAREST FORM OF JADE IS KNOWN AS “JADEITE”, AND IS FOUND ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN BURMA, TIBET AND SOUTHERN CHINA (AND IN SMALL AMOUNTS IN JAPAN AND GUATEMALA). JADEITE RANGES IN COLOR FROM DARK GREEN TO NEARLY WHITE, BUT CAN ALSO BE FOUND IN SHADES OF PINK, PURPLE, BLUE, YELLOW, ORANGE, RED, GRAY, BROWN AND BLACK. THE HIGHEST GRADE OF JADEITE IS KNOWN AS “IMPERIAL JADE”, BECAUSE IN ANCIENT CHINA, ALL IMPERIAL JADE WAS OWNED BY THE EMPEROR. WHAT DIFFERENTIATES IMPERIAL JADE FROM ORDINARY JADEITE IS ITS LIGHT TO MEDIUM “EMERALD” GREEN COLOR, THE HOMOGENEITY OF ITS COLOR, AND ITS TRANSLUCENT TO TRANSPARENT CHARACTER.
NEPHRITE, THE MORE COMMON AND LESS VALUABLE FORM OF JADE IS FOUND IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD FROM CALIFORNIA TO SIBERIA. NEPHRITE IS CREAMIER IN COLOR AND LESS TRANSLUCENT THAN JADEITE AND POSSESSES AN OILY LUSTER. JADE WAS USED IN ANCIENT TIMES FOR WEAPONS, UTENSILS, AND ORNAMENTS, AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN ESPECIALLY VALUED BY THE CHINESE AND JAPANESE AS THE MOST PRECIOUS OF ALL STONES. MANY BEAUTIFUL HAND CARVED JADEITE VASES, BOWLS, TABLETS, AND STATUES PRODUCED IN ANCIENT CHINA NOW RESIDE IN MUSEUMS WORLD-WIDE.
THE LESS VALUABLE FORM OF JADE, “NEPHRITE” WAS WIDELY USED BY PRIMITIVE PEOPLES AS TOOLS AND WEAPONS IN THE NEOLITHIC, ESPECIALLY IN EUROPE, MEXICO, ASIA, NEW ZEALAND, AND NORTH AFRICA (INCLUDING ANCIENT EGYPT). BOTH NEPHRITE AS WELL AS THE MORE VALUABLE JADEITE WERE WORKED INTO IMPLEMENTS BY NEOLITHIC PEOPLES IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD, HOWEVER NEPHRITE WAS MOST OFTEN USED FOR TOOLS AND WEAPONS. THE BEST-KNOWN FINDS ARE FROM THE LAKE DWELLINGS OF SWITZERLAND, WESTERN FRANCE, AND CHINA. THE SOURCE FOR NEOLITHIC JADE IN EUROPE REMAINS UNDISCOVERED, BUT IT WAS PROBABLY FROM A DEPOSIT IN THE ALPS. NEPHRITE IS VERY HARD AND WAS PRIZED FOR KEEPING A SHARP EDGE. ONE SUCH VARIETY WAS USED BY THE NATIVES OF THE SOUTH SEA ISLANDS FOR MAKING HATCHETS.
JADE WAS MINED IN CHINA SINCE AT LEAST AS FAR BACK AS 6,000 B.C. RECORDS OF ITS USE IN CHINA AS JEWELRY GOES BACK AT LEAST 5,000 YEARS. JADE JEWELRY CAN BE FOUND IN EMPEROR’S TOMBS DATING BACK TO THE FOURTH MILLENNIUM B.C. JADE BANGLES DATE BACKWARD AT LEAST 4,000 YEARS. JADE WAS EXTREMELY VALUABLE IN ANCIENT CHINA, THERE ARE RECORDS OF AN ENTIRE CITY BEING TRADED FOR A CARVED ORNAMENTAL JADE PIECE. THE CHINESE HAVE VALUED THIS GEM MORE THAN ANY OTHER, USING IT FOR CURRENCY, CEREMONIAL VESSELS, AND MARRIAGE BOWLS.
SINCE AT LEAST 2950 B.C., JADE HAS BEEN TREASURED IN CHINA AS THE IMPERIAL GEMSTONE, "YU". THE WORD "YU" IS USED IN CHINESE TO CALL SOMETHING PRECIOUS, AS IN ENGLISH WE USE THE TERM "GOLDEN". INDEED THE COST OF JADE IN ANCIENT CHINA EXCEEDED THAT OF GOLD. IN ADDITION TO THEIR OWN SOURCES OF JADE, FROM THE KINGDOM OF KHOTAN, ON THE SOUTHERN LEG OF THE SILK ROAD (PRESENT-DAY TURKESTAN), YEARLY TRIBUTE PAYMENTS CONSISTING OF THE MOST PRECIOUS WHITE JADE (A CREAMY WHITE FORM OF NEPHRITE KNOWN IN CHINA AS "MUTTON FAT" JADE) WERE MADE TO THE CHINESE IMPERIAL COURT.
IN THE NEOLITHIC THE CHINESE WERE CARVING JADE INTO TOOLS AND SIMPLE CULT OBJECTS (AMULETS). BY ABOUT 1800 B.C., THEY BEGAN MAKING SMALL CARVED ORNAMENTAL PLAQUES WITH DECORATIVE DESIGNS OF ANIMALS. THE INTRODUCTION OF IRON TOOLS (ABOUT 500 B.C.) MADE MORE INTRICATE CARVINGS POSSIBLE, AND JADE BEGAN TO BE MADE INTO A WIDE VARIETY OF UTILITARIAN AND LUXURY OBJECTS, SUCH AS BELT HOOKS AND ORNAMENTS, SWORD AND SCABBARD ACCOUTREMENTS, HOLLOW VESSELS, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, SCULPTURE IN THE ROUND. THE CRAFT OF JADE CARVING IN CHINA ATTAINED MATURITY TOWARD THE CLOSE OF THE CHOU DYNASTY IN 255 B.C., WITH DESIGNS OF UNSURPASSED EXCELLENCE AND BEAUTY.
THE ANCIENT CHINESE BELIEVED JADE TO PRESERVE THE BODY AFTER DEATH. ONE ROYAL TOMB CONTAINED AN ENTIRE SUIT MADE OUT OF JADE, TO ASSURE THE PHYSICAL IMMORTALITY OF ITS OWNER. EMPERORS SLEPT UPON PILLOWS OF JADE BELIEVING THAT IT PRESERVED VITALITY AND YOUTH. IN CHINESE MYTHOLOGY THE MOON HARE MADE AN ELIXIR OF IMMORTALITY FROM CRUSHED JADE. SO OF COURSE JADE WAS GROUND UP AND DRUNKEN AS AN “ELIXIR OF IMMORTALITY”, BELIEVED TO PRESERVE VITALITY AND YOUTH. EVEN MERELY EATING FROM JADE DISHES WAS BELIEVED TO ENSURE A LONG AND FORTUNATE LIFE.
IT WAS ALSO BELIEVED THAT JADE COULD PREDICT THE STAGES OF THE WEARER’S LIFE. IF A JADE ORNAMENT APPEARED MORE BRILLIANT AND TRANSPARENT, GOOD FORTUNE LAY AHEAD. IF IT BECAME DULL, THEN BAD LUCK WAS INEVITABLE. IN CHINESE ATHLETIC COMPETITIONS, IVORY WAS GIVEN FOR THIRD PLACE AND GOLD FOR SECOND. JADE WAS RESERVED SOLELY FOR THE WINNERS, INCLUDING HIGH OFFICIALS IN THE IMPERIAL COURT.
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, UP THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE SECOND MILLENNIUM, THE CHINESE ONLY HAD ACCESS TO NEPHRITE JADE. OCCASIONALLY A PIECE OF TWO OF FINE BURMESE JADEITE TANTALIZED ANCIENT CHINA, BUT FOR 500 YEARS THE ACTUAL SOURCE OF JADEITE PROVED ELUSIVE. ACCORDING TO LEGEND SOMETIME IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY A CHINESE TRADER TRAVELING THROUGH NORTHERN BURMA PICKED UP A BOULDER TO BALANCE THE LOAD ON HIS MULE. MUCH LATER WHEN IT HAPPENED TO BREAK OPEN, THE BROWN-SKINNED ROCK REVEALED A VIVID, “EMERALD” GREEN JADE.
THE CHINESE WERE CAPTIVATED BY THIS STONE, AND SENT EXPEDITIONS TO FIND THE SOURCE THE 13TH AND 14TH CENTURIES, BUT THEY WERE UNSUCCESSFUL. ALTHOUGH OCCASIONAL SMALL PIECES OF GREEN JADEITE WOULD APPEAR IN CHINA OVER THE NEXT 500 YEARS, THEIR ORIGIN REMAINED A MYSTERY UNTIL THE LATE 18TH CENTURY. FINALLY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY CHINESE ADVENTURERS DISCOVERED THE SOURCE OF THE GREEN STONE. FROM THAT TIME ONWARDS CONSIDERABLE AMOUNTS OF JADEITE WERE TRANSPORTED TO BEIJING AND THE WORKSHOPS OF CHINA’S FOREMOST JADE CARVERS.
BOTH JAPANESE AND CHINESE CULTURES TRADITIONALLY ASSOCIATED JADE WITH THE FIVE CARDINAL VIRTUES; CHARITY, MODESTY, COURAGE, JUSTICE, AND WISDOM. JADE WAS ALSO POPULAR IN OTHER REGIONS OF ANCIENT ASIA. A TEMPLE IN ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA IS HOME TO A 5-FOOT HIGH SCULPTURE OF AN ESPECIALLY REVERED SAGE THAT IS CARVED ENTIRELY OUT OF JADE, THE LARGEST SCULPTURE MADE FROM A SINGLE JADE ROCK IN THE WORLD. THE ANCIENT EAST INDIANS CALLED JADE THE “DIVINE STONE” AND USED IT TO TREAT ASTHMA, EPILEPSY AND HEARTBURN.
THE EMERALD BUDDHA, ENSHRINED IN A TEMPLE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND’S GRAND PALACE, SAID TO HAVE BEEN CREATED IN 43 B.C., IS ALSO ACTUALLY MADE OF EMERALD-GREEN JADEITE. JADE IS FOUND IN ANCIENT KOREAN BURIALS DATING BACK TO ABOUT 1,000 B.C. THE ANCIENT TURKS AND MONGOLS CONSIDERED JADE TO BE THE “STONE OF VICTORY”, AND USED IT TO DECORATE SWORDS AND BELTS. IN ANCIENT EGYPT, JADE WAS ADMIRED AS THE STONE OF LOVE, INNER PEACE, HARMONY AND BALANCE.
THE AZTECS, MAYAS, OLMECS, TOLTECS, AND OTHER PRE-COLUMBIAN PEOPLES OF MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA CARVED JADEITE FOR USE AS ORNAMENTS, AMULETS, BADGES OF RANK, PLAQUES, FIGURINES, SMALL MASKS, PENDANTS, AND OF COURSE TOOLS AND WEAPONS. NEARLY ALL OF THESE MESO-AMERICAN JADES ARE OF VARIOUS SHADES OF GREEN, WITH EMERALD GREEN THE MOST HIGHLY PRIZED COLOR AMONG THE AZTECS. ARCHAEOLOGISTS BELIEVE THAT ALL ANCIENT MESO-AMERICAN JADE CAME FROM DEPOSITS IN GUATEMALA. ITS COST AND RARITY DICTATED THAT ITS USE WAS CONFINED TO THE ELITE ELEMENTS OF SOCIETY.
AS WAS THE CASE WITH THE CHINESE, THE AZTECS PLACED A HIGHER VALUE ON JADE THAN ON GOLD. MEDIEVAL EUROPE WAS UNFAMILIAR WITH JADE AS A GEMSTONE FOR JEWELRY USE UNTIL THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY WHEN JADE OBJECTS WERE IMPORTED FROM CHINA AND, LATER, CENTRAL AMERICA. THE PORTUGUESE IMPORTED JADE FROM THEIR COLONY AT CANTON, CHINA. THE PORTUGUESE CALLED JADE "PIEDRE DE ILHARGA", OR STONE OF THE LOINS, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED IT TO BE STRONG MEDICINE FOR KIDNEY AILMENTS AND TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN. JADE JEWELRY WAS REGARDED AS SYMBOLIC OF PERFECTION AND PURITY, AND WAS ALSO A FAVORITE OF MEDIEVAL ALCHEMISTS.
WITH CONTACT BETWEEN SPAIN AND MESO-AMERICA ESTABLISHED, JADE OBJECTS BROUGHT BACK TO SPAIN FROM THE NEW WORLD WERE CALLED BY THE SPANISH VERSION OF THIS PHRASE, "PIEDRA DE HIJADA". THIS BECAME TO THE FRENCH EJADE, AND THEN, FINALLY, "JADE". WITH RESPECT TO THE NAME "NEPHRITE" JADE, THE WORD NEPHRITE COMES FROM THE GREEK WORD FOR KIDNEY, "NEPHROS". THE WIDESPREAD USE OF JADE DIED OUT IN MESO-AMERICA AFTER THE SPANISH CONQUEST IN THE 16TH CENTURY. WHETHER SIMPLY FOLKLORE OR NOT, IT’S STILL INDICATIVE OF THE HIGH REGARD FOR GOLD IN MESO-AMERICA: AS CORTEZ CUT HIS SWATH THROUGH THE AZTEC EMPIRE, PILLAGING GOLD, SILVER AND EMERALDS, MONTEZUMA IS SAID TO HAVE REMARKED TO HIS FOLLOWERS: “THANK GOD THEY DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE JADE.” JADE REMAINS TODAY, PARTICULARLY IN ASIA, A HIGHLY VALUED GEMSTONE USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF JEWELRY.
IN ANCIENT ASIA CULTURES JADE WAS BELIEVED TO HELP ONE ACCESS THE SPIRITUAL WORLD, AND WAS PERCEIVED AS A SACRED SUBSTANCE. JADE WAS KNOWN AS THE "DREAM STONE". THE ANCIENT CHINESE BELIEVE THAT THE SECRET VIRTUE OF JADE WAS ABSORBED INTO THE BODY. IT WAS ALSO BELIEVED TO PROVIDE SELF-CONFIDENCE, TO ENHANCE FERTILITY, AND TO RE-ENERGIZE THE LOVE BETWEEN MARRIED COUPLES. JADE WAS SAID TO CONTAIN THE CONCENTRATED ESSENCE OF LOVE, TO RELIEVE THIRST, BRING RAIN, AND TO PROTECT AGAINST LIGHTNING. JADE DROVE OFF EVIL BEASTS, HELPED WARRIORS, STRENGTHENED THE WEARER, ENHANCED THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, AND PROLONGED LIFE.
JADE BANGLES WERE OF PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE TO THE ANCIENT CHINESE. IT WAS WIDELY BELIEVED IN ANCIENT CHINA THAT A BANGLE WOULD PROTECT ITS WEARER FROM DISASTER BY ABSORBING NEGATIVE INFLUENCES. FOR EXAMPLE, IF THE WEARER WERE CAUGHT IN AN ACCIDENT, THE BANGLE WOULD BREAK SO THAT ITS OWNER WOULD REMAIN UNHARMED. ANOTHER COMMON BELIEF WAS THAT A SPOT OF FINE COLOR IN A BANGLE WOULD SPREAD ACROSS THE ENTIRE STONE, DEPENDING UPON THE GOOD FORTUNE OF THE OWNER. BANGLES AND RINGS WERE OFTEN MADE IN PAIRS, IN THE BELIEF THAT GOOD THINGS ALWAYS COME IN TWOS.
IN ADDITION TO ITS USE IN THE PRODUCTION OF JEWELRY AND GREAT WORKS OF ART, JADE WAS ALSO USED AS WELL FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES. IT WAS USED TO EASE PAIN FROM THE KIDNEYS AND GROIN AREA, AND AIDED IN CHILDBIRTH. IN ADDITION TO THE ASSOCIATION WITH LONG-LIFE, JADE IS ALSO REGARDED AS A "LUCKY CHARM", AND JADE CHARMS ARE A FAVORITE ACCESSORY FOR GAMBLERS TO THIS DAY. EVEN CONFUCIUS EXPOUNDED ON THE VIRTUES OF JADE. "LIKE INTELLIGENCE, IT IS SMOOTH AND SHINING. LIKE JUSTICE, ITS EDGES SEEM SHARP BUT DO NOT CUT. LIKE HUMILITY, IT HANGS DOWN TOWARD THE GROUND AS A PENDANT. LIKE MUSIC, IT GIVES A CLEAR RINGING SOUND. LIKE TRUTHFULNESS, IT DOES NOT HIDE ITS FAULTS, AND THIS ONLY ADDS TO ITS BEAUTY. LIKE THE EARTH, ITS FIRMNESS IS BORN OF THE MOUNTAIN AND THE WATER."
MODERN PRACTITIONERS RECOMMEND JADE AS A TALISMAN FOR THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO CHANGE OR REDIRECT THEIR LIVES. AS A “STONE OF CHANGE”, IT IS BELIEVED TO EMPOWER THE WEARER TO BREAK THROUGH DEADLOCKS. JADE IS ALSO BELIEVED TO PROMOTE FAMILY UNITY, AND STILL BELIEVED TO PROLONG LONG AS WELL. WEARING A JADE TALISMAN IS BELIEVED TO ATTRACT WEALTH AND PROSPERITY, AND TO INCREASES THE WEARER’S SENSE OF SELF WORTH AND CONFIDENCE. MEDITATING WITH JADE IS SAID TO SHARPEN CONCENTRATION, INCREASE COMPREHENSION, AND AID IN ABSORBING AND RETAINING INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE. THE WEARING OF A TALISMAN BY GARDENING ENTHUSIASTS IS SAID TO BENEFIT THEIR PLANTS AS WELL AS THE WEARER.
SOME BELIEVE THAT JADE CAN HELPS TO CONTROL THE CONTENT OF OUR DREAMS OR THEIR FOCUS. JADE IS ALSO THOUGHT BY SOME TO BE A VERY PROTECTIVE STONE, PARTICULARLY GOOD FOR PROTECTING CHILDREN AGAINST ILLNESS OR FOR PROTECTION ON LONG JOURNEYS. IN PRESENT-DAY ASIA JADE IS BELIEVED EFFECTIVE IN REGULATING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, AND IN CALMING EMOTIONAL OUTBURSTS. IT IS BELIEVED AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR INFERTILITY, HEART DISEASE, AND VARIOUS DISORDERS OF THE EYE. CONTEMPORARY CRYSTAL HEALERS BELIEVE THAT JADE PROTECTS THE KIDNEYS, LIVER, SPLEEN, HEART AND THYROID GLAND. MYSTICS HOLD THAT JADE IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ELEMENTAL POWER OF DRAGONS, AND CAN BE USED IN MAGIC TO ATTRACT AND COMMUNICATE WITH THEM. THEY BELIEVE THAT JADE CAN HELP BRING VISIONS OF DRAGONS WHEN SCRYING (WITH A CRYSTAL BALL), AND THAT SLEEPING WITH THE STONE CAN BRING MAGICAL DREAMS AND HELP SUBCONSCIOUS, INTUITIVE MESSAGES RISE TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE USER’S MIND .
AMBER: AMBER IS FOSSIL TREE RESIN FROM LONG-EXTINCT CONIFEROUS (PINE) TRESS. AMBER HAS BEEN FOUND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, BUT THE LARGEST AND MOST SIGNIFICANT DEPOSITS OCCUR ALONG THE SHORES OF THE BALTIC SEA IN SANDS BETWEEN 40 AND 60 MILLION YEARS OLD. FOSSILIZED AMBER STARTED AS BLOBS OF RESIN EXUDED FROM A TREE, WHICH EVENTUALLY WERE COVERED OVER AND BURIED IN THE EARTH BEFORE BEING WEATHERED OUT OF THE SOIL, THEN RELEASED INTO THE SEA WHERE THEY DRIFTED TO SHORES AS FAR AS ENGLAND. THE OLDEST FOSSILIZED AMBER DEPOSITS DISCOVERED CONTAIN AMBER WHICH IS APPROXIMATELY 360 MILLION YEARS OLD. AMBER HAS BEEN TREASURED AND USED FOR MILLENNIA; BEADS, NECKLACES, BUTTONS, AND OTHER ORNAMENTAL CARVED OBJECTS HAVE BEEN MADE FROM THIS GEMSTONE. STONE AGE PEOPLES BELIEVED THAT AMBER CONTAINED THE RESTING PLACE OF THE SPIRIT, OR SOUL, AND THAT AMBER POSSESSED SUPERNATURAL PROPERTIES. FOR THIS REASON IT WAS A VERY POWERFUL MATERIAL FROM WHICH TO FASHION MAGICAL AMULETS.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE FOUND AMBER PENDANTS, BEADS, BROOCHES AND STATUETTES OF PEOPLE AT EXCAVATION SITES OF STONE AGE SETTLEMENTS, AND BELIEVE THAT THE STATUETTES AND AMULETS REPRESENTED PROTECTORS - WORLD RULERS - OF THOSE TIMES. TWO NOTEWORTHY DISCOVERIES HAVE INCLUDED PALEOLITHIC-ERA BEADS FROM 11,000 B.C. FOUND IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND IN AN ANCIENT CAVERN KNOWN AS “GOUGH’S CAVE”; AND A HUMAN-FORM AMBER PENDANT FROM ABOUT 7,000 B.C. DISCOVERED IN AN ANCIENT PEAT BOG IN DENMARK. AN ENORMOUS COLLECTION OF ANCIENT AMBER AMULETS WAS DISCOVERED IN 1860. THE AMULETS DATED BACK TO THE 3RD MILLENNIUM B.C., AND WERE KNOWN COLLECTIVELY AS THE "JUODKRANTË TREASURE". CONSISTING OF 434 PIECES, ALL WERE DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK "STONE AGE AMBER ADORNMENTS" PUBLISHED IN 1882. UNFORTUNATELY THE ENTIRE COLLECTION DISAPPEARED DURING WORLD WAR II, AND HAS NEVER BEEN LOCATED.
THE GREEK NAME FOR AMBER IS ELECTRON, AND AMBER WAS THOUGHT TO BE PIECES OF THE SUN, BROKEN OFF AND FALLEN IN THE OCEAN. IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY AMBER WAS THE TEARS OF THE HELIADE SISTERS, WHO HAD BEEN TURNED IN TO BLACK POPLARS BY ZEUS WHO WAS FURIOUS OVER THE FACT THAT THEY WERE CRYING OVER THE DEATH OF THEIR BROTHER, PHAETHON, SON OF HELIOS, WHO WAS KILLED BY ZEUS FOR DRIVING HIS SUN CHARIOT TOO CLOSE TO EARTH, AND SETTING IT ABLAZE. THE ANCIENT GREEKS ATTRIBUTED TO AMBER THE POWER AS A CURE FOR DEAFNESS (WHEN MIXED WITH ROSE OIL AND HONEY) AND EYESIGHT IMPROVEMENT (WHEN MIXED WITH HONEY ALONE). THE FOURTH-CENTURY B.C. ATHENIAN STATESMAN CALLISTRATUS STATED THAT INSANITY OR WILD AND IRRATIONAL BEHAVIOR COULD BE CURED BY THE ADMINISTRATION OF POWDERED AMBER IN WINE. IN ADDITION TO THE ANCIENT GREEKS, AMBER HAD GREAT VALUE AND SIGNIFICANCE TO THE ASSYRIANS, EGYPTIANS, ETRUSCANS, MINOANS, AND PHOENICIANS.
THE FOSSILIZED RESIN GIVES A PINE TREE AROMA WHEN BURNED AND IN ANCIENT EGYPT AS WELL AS IN INDIA AMBER WAS USED AS AN INCENSE TO IN RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES TO PURIFY THE SURROUNDING AREA. THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS ALSO OFTEN UTILIZED AMBER IN THE MUMMIFICATION PROCESS. IN CHINESE AMBER IS TRANSLATED TO "THE SOUL OF THE TIGER" FROM THE ANCIENT BELIEF THAT AMBER WAS THE SPIRIT OF A TIGER. ANOTHER ANCIENT CHINESE LEGEND HAS IT THAT AMBER WAS FORMED FROM DROPS OF DRAGON'S BLOOD WHICH SOLIDIFIED WHEN THEY HIT THE GROUND. IT IS KNOWN FROM WRITTEN RECORDS THAT AMBER WAS COMING TO CHINA THROUGH INDIA EARLY IN THE HAN DYNASTY, PERHAPS AS EARLY AS THE SECOND CENTURY B.C. IN NORSE MYTHOLOGY, AMBER IS SACRED TO THE GODDESS FREYA, WHOSE MAGIC GIRDLE “BRISINGAMEN” WAS CARVED FROM THE STONE. IT WAS WIDELY USED IN RITUALS TO ENCOURAGE PASSION OR FERTILITY.
DURING THE BRONZE AGE (PERHAPS AS EARLY AS THE FOURTH MILLENNIUM B.C.), AMBER WAS PARTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR A NETWORK OF ROADS BUILT TO FACILITATE THE TRADE. THE FIRST TRADE ROADS ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE EVIDENCE FOR ARE FROM THE ANCIENT BIBLICAL/MESOPOTAMIAN CITY OF UR (HOME OF ABRAHAM). BY 1700 B.C., THE MINOANS HAD ESTABLISHED JEALOUSLY-GUARDED TRADE ROUTES FROM KNOSSOS (CRETE) TO TURKEY, CYPRUS, EGYPT, AFGHANISTAN, AND SCANDINAVIA WHERE THEY TRADED AMBER, AS WELL AS COPPER, IVORY, AMETHYST, LAPIS-LAZULI, CARNELIAN, GOLD, AND OTHER IMPORTANT COMMODITIES. BY ABOUT 1500 B.C. MANY OF THE ROADS IN EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE HAD LINKED TOGETHER INTO AN EXTENSIVE TRADING NETWORK KNOWN AS THE “AMBER ROUTES”. THE ANCIENT AMBER TRADE ROUTE RAN FROM THE BALTIC SEA, DOWN THE ELBE RIVER, AND ON TO THE DANUBE. WHEN THE MINOAN CIVILIZATION WAS DESTROYED AROUND 1200 B.C., IT WAS THE PHOENICIANS WHO FILLED THE VOID, PROSPERING AS A SEA-TRADING POWER FROM 1200 TO 800 B.C. AMBER WAS ONE OF THE PHOENICIAN’S MORE SIGNIFICANT TRADE COMMODITIES.
BY THE TIME THE ROMAN EMPIRE AROSE, THE ROADS OF THE “AMBER ROUTE” LED OVERLAND FROM THE DANUBE THROUGH THE BRENNER PASS INTO ITALY, THE HEART OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. FROM ROME THE ROADS WOVE THROUGHOUT THE FAR-FLUNG EMPIRE. ONE PRINCIPAL ROUTE RAN ALL THE WAY FROM ITALY TO SPAIN VIA MARSEILLE AND NEARBY HERACLEA, CLOSE TO PRESENT-DAY AVIGNON. THESE ROADS WERE CONSTRUCTED OF MULTIPLE LAYERS OF LOGS, AND REMNANTS OF SOME OF THESE ROADS DATING BACK TO BEFORE 1,500 B.C. STILL EXIST. IN ANCIENT ROME AMBER WAS WORN TO PREVENT INSANITY AND TO AROUSE SEXUAL DESIRE. IT WAS ALSO BELIEVED THAT AN AMBER TALISMAN PROTECTED THE BODY FROM PHYSICAL HARM, SO GLADIATORS WOULD OFTEN CARRY SUCH A CHARM FOR PROTECTION IN THE ARENA. ONE FIRST CENTURY ROMAN HISTORIAN CREDITED THE SOURCE OF AMBER TO THE URINE OF THE LYNX. HOWEVER FIRST CENTURY ROMAN HISTORIAN AND NATURALIST “PLINY THE ELDER” CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED THE SOURCE OF AMBER AS BEING THE RESIN OF PINE TREES, AND ALSO CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED THE ORIGIN OF AMBER AS BEING NORTH OF GERMANY.
FOR THE BETTER PART OF A MILLENNIUM, ROME WAS THE UNDISPUTED CENTER OF THE AMBER INDUSTRY IN THE ANCIENT WORLD. THE ROMANS SENT ARMIES TO CONQUER AND CONTROL AMBER PRODUCING AREAS. EXOTIC ORNAMENTS MADE OF AMBER WERE IN GREAT DEMAND. THE ROMANS APPARENTLY VALUED AMBER EVEN MORE THAN THE BALTIC SLAVES WHO HARVESTED THE AMBER. DURING THE REIGN OF NERO, WHO WAS HIMSELF A GREAT CONNOISSEUR OF AMBER, PLINY WROTE THAT THE PRICE OF AN AMBER FIGURINE, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, EXCEEDED THE PRICE OF A LIVING HEALTHY SLAVE. NOT UNTIL THE THIRD CENTURY A.D., WHEN WARS WITH THE GOTHS MADE SUCH TRADE IN LUXURY ITEMS UNSUSTAINABLE, DID THE ROMAN DOMINATION OF THE AMBER INDUSTRY COME TO AN END. AFTER THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE ENSUING “DARK AGES”, FOR 700 YEARS ALL TRACES OF THE AMBER TRADE DISAPPEARED FROM WRITTEN HISTORY. NONETHELESS DURING THIS TIME ANGLO-SAXON AND CELTIC CRAFTS PEOPLE PRODUCED SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND EXQUISITE AMBER PIECES DESPITE THE BARBARITY OF TIMES.
BY THE TWELFTH CENTURY, AS EUROPE REBOUNDED FROM ROME’S COLLAPSE AND HEADED INTO THE HIGH MIDDLE AGES, THE BALTIC REGION WAS UNDER THE RULE OF THE DUKES OF POMERANIA AND, LATER, THE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS, AND THE AMBER TRADE RESURFACED. BOTH THE DUKES OF POMERANIA AS WELL AS THE TEURONIC KNIGHTS EXERCISED ABSOLUTE CONTROL OVER ALL ASPECTS OF THE AMBER TRADE. THEY EVEN PROHIBITED THE UNSUPERVISED COLLECTION OF AMBER ON BEACHES UNDER PENALTY OF HANGING, AND REQUIRED FISHERMEN TO SWEAR AN OATH THAT THEY WOULD NOT RETAIN THE AMBER THAT CAME UP WITH THEIR NETS. EVEN THE MERE POSSESSION OF RAW AMBER WAS ILLEGAL IN MOST OF EUROPE BY THE YEAR 1400. AS THE KNIGHT'S POWER WANED, MONOPOLISTIC TRADE GUILDS BECAME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT PLAYERS IN THE AMBER TRADE. THE AMBER GUILD ESTABLISHED IN DANZIG IN 1477 STILL EXISTS TODAY.
DURING THE MIDDLE AGES, ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE, AMBER WAS CONSIDERED THE BEST MATERIAL FOR ROSARY BEADS DUE TO ITS SMOOTH SILKY FEEL. THE GERMANS BURNED AMBER AS INCENSE, SO THEY CALLED IT BERNSTEIN, OR "BURN STONE." IN MEDIEVAL EUROPE THE DEMAND FOR AMBER WAS NOT ONLY FOR ITS VALUE AS A GEMSTONE, BUT ALSO FOR ITS MEDICINAL USES. ACCORDING TO ONE MEDIEVAL TEXT AMBER WAS USED FOR CHILDBIRTH, TO TREAT EXCESS STOMACH ACID AS WELL AS THROAT DISORDERS, AND WAS USED AS A POISON ANTIDOTE. IT WAS BELIEVED THAT THE SMOKE FROM BURNING AMBER DROVE POISONOUS INSECTS AWAY AND THE SAME SMOKE WAS RECOMMENDED AS A FUMIGATION TO PROTECT AGAINST THE PLAGUE (“BLACK DEATH”). IT WAS EVEN RECORDED IN THIS SAME SOURCE THAT AMBER, “IF LAID ON THE BREAST OF A WIFE WHEN SHE IS ASLEEP, IT MAKES HER CONFESS ALL HER EVIL DEEDS.” MEDIEVAL SHAMANS BELIEVED THAT AMBER COULD STIMULATE VISIONS CONTAINING GLIMPSES OF ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE.
THE ART OF SKILLFULLY WORKING AMBER INTO BEAUTIFUL OBJECTS D'ART FLOURISHED IN EUROPE FROM THE LATE SIXTEENTH CENTURY TO THE MID-EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, ESPECIALLY IN THE NORTHERN GERMANY, PRUSSIA, POLAND AND THE BALTIC COUNTRIES. DURING THE SUCCEEDING VICTORIAN AGE, DUE TO THE BELIEF THAT AMBER COULD IMPEDE THE TRANSMISSION OF DISEASES, IT WAS USED TO PRODUCE STEM-PIECES FOR CIGARETTE HOLDERS AND PIPES. AMBER HAS ALSO SOMETIMES BEEN USED AS AN INGREDIENT IN PERFUME, AND SINCE THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY HAS BEEN USED AS A FLAVORING AGENT IN THE SCANDINAVIAN AKVAVIT LIQUOR. FROM ANCIENT TIMES THROUGH THE VICTORIAN ERA, MOST AMBER HAS BEEN GATHER ALONG THE SHORES OF THE BALTIC OCEAN AFTER VIOLENT STORMS WHICH DISLODGE THE AMBER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR, WHEREUPON IT IS CAST ONTO THE SHORE. A SEVENTEENTH CENTURY BOOK ON THE SUBJECT DESCRIBES AMBER DIVERS WHO CARRIED A WOODEN SPADE TO DISLODGE AMBER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR, AS WELL AS SURF RIDERS WHO ON HORSEBACK GATHERED AMBER IN NETS MOUNTED TO POLES.
CONTEMPORARILY, THE LARGEST MINING OPERATION FOR AMBER IN THE BALTIC REGION IS IN RUSSIA, WEST OF KALININGRAD, WHICH PRODUCES ABOUT 90% OF THE WORLD’S BEST GEM-GRADE AMBER. BALTIC AMBER IS ALSO FOUND IN LITHUANIA, LATVIA, ESTONIA, AND POLAND; AND OCCASIONALLY WASHES UP ON THE SHORES OF THE BALTIC SEA AS FAR AWAY AS DENMARK, NORWAY, AND ENGLAND. OTHER AMBER SOURCES INCLUDE BURMA (MYANMAR), LEBANON, SICILY, MEXICO, ROMANIA, GERMANY, AND CANADA. AMBER GAINED A GREAT DEAL OF POPULARITY RECENTLY AFTER THE RELEASE OF THE MOVIE “JURASSIC PARK”. YOU’LL RECALL THAT “DINO DNA” WAS EXTRACTED FROM MOSQUITOES WHICH HAD “DINED” ON “DINO BLOOD”, AND THEN BEEN TRAPPED WITHIN AMBER. FAR-FETCHED? IN 1994, A MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST AT CAL POLY EXTRACTED DNA FROM A WEEVIL THAT WAS TRAPPED IN AMBER 120 TO 135 MILLION YEARS AGO, WHEN DINOSAURS ROAMED THE EARTH.
THE AMBER, WHICH WAS FROM THE LOWER CRETACEOUS PERIOD, WAS MINED IN THE MOUNTAINS OF LEBANON SOUTH OF BEIRUT. THE AMBER WAS PART OF A COLLECTION OF AMBER PIECES CONTAINING 700 INSECTS, INCLUDING TERMITES, MOTHS, CATERPILLARS, SPIDERS, SCORPIONS, AND MIDGES, WHICH DID SUCK DINOSAUR BLOOD. IN THE ANCIENT WORLD IT WAS BELIEVED THAT AMBER WAS A “HEALING” STONE, CAPABLE OF DISINFECTING AND ENCOURAGING THE HEALING OF WOUNDS. TURNS OUT THAT AMBER CONTAINS SUCCINITE ACID, WHICH HAS ANTI-BACTERIAL PROPERTIES. SCIENCE FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED WHAT OUR ANCESTORS THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO KNEW. EVEN ANCIENT BABY-TEETHERS MADE OF AMBER HAVE BEEN UNCOVERED BY ARCHAEOLOGISTS.
OTHER ATTRIBUTES GIVEN IN THE PAST HAVE INCLUDED THE CALMING OF NERVES A SPIRITED DISPOSITION. AMBER HAS IN MANY CULTURES BEEN BELIEVED TO BRING BOTH GOOD LUCK AND LONG LIFE TO THE WEARER. AMBER WAS ALSO BELIEVED TO ENCOURAGE BRAVERY AND SELF-CONFIDENCE. ON THE METAPHYSICAL PLANE AMBER WAS BELIEVED TO STIMULATE INTELLECT AND CREATIVITY. MODERN-DAY PRACTITIONERS BELIEVE THAT THE BRIGHT HEALING ENERGY EMITTED FROM AMBER DRAWS OUT NEGATIVE ENERGY, COUNTERACTS BELLIGERENT AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR, PURIFIES THE HEART AND SPIRIT, AND HELPS IN MAKING DIFFICULT CHOICES BY THE REMOVAL OF SELF IMPOSED OBSTACLES
CORAL: PRECIOUS CORAL IS THE COMMON NAME GIVEN TO _CORALLIUM RUBRUM_ AND SEVERAL RELATED SPECIES OF MARINE CORAL. THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTIC OF PRECIOUS CORALS IS THEIR DURABLE AND INTENSELY COLORED RED OR PINK SKELETON, WHICH IS USED FOR MAKING JEWELRY. PRECIOUS CORALS GROW ON ROCKY SEA BOTTOMS WITH LOW SEDIMENTATION, TYPICALLY IN DARK ENVIRONMENTS; EITHER IN THE DEPTHS OR IN DARK CAVERNS OR CREVICES. THEIR GROWTH RATE IS TYPICALLY UNDER TWO CENTIMETERS (UNDER ONE INCH) PER YEAR. BENEATH THE OCEAN SURFACE CORAL GROWTHS HAVE A TREE-LIKE APPEARANCE AND IN ANTIQUITY CORAL WAS THOUGHT TO BE A PLANT, MARINE TREES, AND WAS A SYMBOL OF ETERNAL LIFE. MANY ARCHAEOLOGISTS AND HISTORIANS BELIEVE THAT IT WAS THE “TREE OF LIFE” SOUGHT BY THE KING OF URUK IN THE FAMOUS SUMERIAN EPIC “GILGAMESH” (WRITTEN CIRCA 2700 B.C.), WHEREIN THE STORY’S HERO WENT "DOWN" FROM SUMER TO THE PERSIAN GULF AREA WHERE HE HAD BEEN TOLD HE WOULD FIND A “PLANT” (CORAL) THAT WOULD GIVE HIM ETERNAL LIFE.
THE ORIGINAL SPECIES IN THE MOST DESIRABLE QUALITIES ARE FOUND MAINLY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA, IN PARTICULAR IN THE UNDERWATER CAVES OF ALGHERO, SARDINIA (THE "CORAL RIVIERA"), AS WELL AS ALONG THE COASTS OF TUNIS, ALGERIA, MOROCCO, SARDINIA AND LARGE PARTS OF ITALY. THE SAME SPECIES IS ALSO FOUND IN THE RED SEA, AS WELL AS IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN NEAR THE STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR (JUST OUTSIDE THE MEDITERRANEAN), AT THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS OFF THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA. OTHER _CORALLIUM_ SPECIES ARE NATIVE TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN, NOTABLY AROUND JAPAN (_CORALLIUM JAPONICUM_) AND TAIWAN. THE HARD SKELETON OF RED CORAL BRANCHES IS NATURALLY MATTE, BUT CAN BE POLISHED TO A GLASSY SHINE. IT EXHIBITS A RANGE OF WARM REDDISH PINK COLORS FROM PALE PINK TO DEEP RED. OWING TO ITS INTENSE AND PERMANENT COLORATION AND GLOSSINESS, PRECIOUS CORAL SKELETONS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED SINCE ANTIQUITY FOR DECORATIVE USE. ONE OF A HANDFUL OF GEMS OF ORGANIC ORIGIN (SUCH AS PEARL, AMBER, JET, IVORY AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL), CORAL IS AMONG THE MOST ANCIENT MATERIALS USED FOR JEWELRY, RELIGIOUS OBJECTS AND MEDICINE.
MANKIND’S OLDEST USE OF CORAL WAS IN SOME ROUGHLY PIERCED BEADS DATING FROM THE PALEOLITHIC AGE, ABOUT 35,000 B.C. ARCHAEOLOGISTS FREQUENTLY DISCOVER CORAL JEWELRY IN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN, MESOPOTAMIAN (SUMERIAN), AND PREHISTORIC EUROPEAN BURIALS DATING BACK AS FAR AS 10,000 B.C. IN THE NEOLITHIC CITY OF CATALHOYUK (CA. 8,000-7,000 B.C.), ONE OF THE WORLD'S OLDEST SETTLEMENTS IN CENTRAL ANATOLIA (TURKEY), ARCHEOLOGISTS UNEARTHED THE GRAVESITES OF BABIES AND CHILDREN WHO WERE BURIED WITH LONG STRANDS OF SMALL POLISHED BEADS MADE OF SHELL AND CORAL. ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN SWITZERLAND RECENTLY DISCOVERED CARVED CORAL AMULETS IN (PROTO-CELTIC) GRAVES DATING BACK TO THE SAME PERIOD OF TIME. INLAYS AND ORNAMENTS OF CORAL HAVE BEEN FOUND IN CELTIC TOMBS FROM THE IRON AGE, MOST NOTABLY THAT OF A TRIBAL "WARRIOR QUEEN" FOUND IN YORKSHIRE. THE CELTS OF BRITAIN WERE ALSO KNOWN TO USE CORAL INLAY TO DECORATE JEWELRY AND WEAPONS.
THE ORIGIN OF CORAL IS EXPLAINED IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY BY THE STORY OF PERSEUS AND MEDUSA, THE SNAKE-HEADED GORGON. AFTER HAVING SEVERED MEDUSA’S HEAD, PERSEUS PLACED THE HEAD ON A RIVERBANK WHILE HE WASHED HIS HANDS. WHEN HE RECOVERED HER HEAD, HE SAW THAT HER BLOOD HAD TURNED THE SEAWEED (IN SOME VARIANTS THE REEDS) INTO RED CORAL. THUS, THE GREEK WORD FOR CORAL IS “GORGEIA”, AS MEDUSA WAS ONE OF THE THREE GORGONS. IN ANOTHER ANCIENT GREEK LEGEND “POSEIDON” (THE GREEK GOD OF THE SEA, KNOWN AS “NEPTUNE” TO THE ROMANS) RESIDED IN A PALACE MADE OF CORAL AND GEMS, AND “HEPHAESTUS” (THE GREEK GOD OF METALSMITHS, CRAFTSMEN, AND ARTISANS, KNOWN TO THE ROMANS AS “VULCAN”) FIRST CRAFTED HIS WORK FROM CORAL. CORAL WAS ALSO REGARDED SACRED TO THE ANCIENT GREEK GODDESS “APHRODITE” (“VENUS” TO THE ROMANS) IN HER ROLE AS GODDESS OF THE SEA.
A POWERFULLY SACRED TALISMAN IN MANY CULTURES, ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN PEOPLES BELIEVED CORAL CONTAINED THE LIFE ESSENCE OF THE MOTHER GODDESS, THUS CORAL HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED WITH DIVINITIES AS DIVERSE AS: 1) THE ROMAN GODDESS OF LOVE AND BEAUTY, VENUS; 2) THE DIVINE EGYPTIAN MOTHER-GODDESS, ISIS; 3) THE ROMAN GOD OF WAR, MARS; 4) THE ANCIENT HINDU GOD OF WAR, KARTTIKEYA; AND 5) RAN, THE STORMY NORSE SPIRIT OF THE SEA.
ACCORDING TO ONE ANCIENT HINDU LEGEND, DURING A STRUGGLE BETWEEN “VISHNU” (THE CHIEF MALE DEITY OF THE HINDU PANTHEON) AND “BALI” (AN ARROGANT DEMON KING WHO RULED THE EARTH AND SKY), VISHNU BROKE BALI'S BODY INTO PIECES. BALI'S BLOOD THAT FLOWED DOWN TO THE SEA FORMED CORAL. TODAY IN INDIA THE NAME GIVEN TO CORAL TRANSLATES TO THE "EYE OF SHIVA", THE DESTROYER, THIRD GOD IN THE HINDU HOLY TRINITY THAT INCLUDES BRAHMA AND VISHNU, A SYMBOL OF SPIRITUALITY AND RENUNCIATION. GIVEN THE MANY ANCIENT ASSOCIATIONS WITH THE SEA, IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT THE ANCIENT GREEKS AND ROMANS BELIEVED THAT CORAL QUIETED AND CALMED THE WAVES OF THE SEA, PROTECTED WEARERS OF CORAL AMULETS (AS WELL AS THEIR SHIPS) FROM LIGHTNING AND TEMPESTS, AND COUNTERACTED EVIL SPELLS, POISONS AND WAS USED AS A TALISMAN TO PROTECT AGAINST ROBBERY. ANCIENT GREEK ORACLES, AS WELL AS ORACLES IN PALESTINE, ASIA MINOR AND THROUGHOUT THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN, USED CORAL TO AID IN VISIONS WHICH ALLOWED THEM TO FORESEE THE FUTURE.
TRADED FOR DISTANT GOODS LIKE TIN AND BALTIC AMBER BY THE MINOANS (CA. 2000-1200 B.C., ANCIENT CRETE), CORAL WAS ALSO TRADED BY THE PHOENICIANS (CA. 1200-600 B.C., ANCIENT LEBANON), AND EVENTUALLY BY THE ROMANS. FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS CORAL WAS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TRADE GOODS ALONG LAND TRADE ROUTES, SUCH AS THE FAMOUS “SILK ROUTE” BETWEEN THE MEDITERRANEAN, THE MIDDLE EAST, CENTRAL ASIA, AND CHINA. ANCIENT EGYPTIANS SCATTERED POWDERED CORAL OVER THEIR FIELDS TO PROTECT CROPS FROM THE RAVAGES OF INSECTS OR OF UNTIMELY STORMS. IF WORN THROUGHOUT CHILDHOOD, CORAL WAS BELIEVED TO MAKE A GIRL BEAUTIFUL, PRESERVING HER YOUTH AND BEAUTY. THE FIRST CENTURY ROMAN NATURALIST AND HISTORIAN PLINY THE ELDER WROTE OF THE PROTECTION PROVIDED BY CORAL AGAINST BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AS WELL AS TO STILL TEMPTRESSES, AND HOW THE GEMSTONE WOULD CHANGE COLOR REFLECTING THE HEALTH OF THE WEARER (AND THUS COULD BE USED AS A DIAGNOSTIC TOOL BY PHYSICIANS). PLINY ALSO PROMOTED THE USE OF GROUND CORAL AS A TREATMENT FOR DYSPEPSIA, POSSIBLY THE MOST ANCIENT PREDECESSOR TO TODAY'S ANTACIDS. DURING THE ROMAN EMPIRE, FOR MANY CENTURIES, THERE EXISTED A GREAT TRADE CARRIED ON IN CORAL EXPORTED FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN TO INDIA, WHERE IT WAS HIGHLY ESTEEMED AS A SUBSTANCE ENDOWED WITH MYSTERIOUS SACRED PROPERTIES. IT IS REMARKED BY PLINY THE ELDER THAT PRIOR TO THE EXISTENCE OF THE INDIAN DEMAND, THE (CELTIC) GAULS HAD BEEN IN THE HABIT OF USING IT FOR THE ORNAMENTATION OF THEIR WEAPONS OF WAR AND HELMETS; BUT IN HIS DAY, SO INSATIABLE WAS THE DEMAND IN INDIA, THAT IT WAS VERY RARELY SEEN EVEN IN THE REGIONS WHICH PRODUCED IT. ACCORDING TO PLINY, RED CORAL FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN WAS HIGHLY PRIZED BY INDIAN WOMEN FOR USE IN JEWELRY AND AMULETS, AND THE PRICE PAID BY INDIANS FOR THE CORAL WAS TWENTY TIMES THE WEIGHT IN GOLD. PLINY REMARKED THAT THIS WAS HELPFUL TO ROME’S ECONOMY INASMUCH AS ROME HAD AN ENORMOUS TRADE DEFICIT WITH INDIA DUE TO ROME’S MASSIVE PURCHASES OF BLACK PEPPERCORNS FROM THE MALABAR COAST OF INDIA. IN FACT PEPPER WAS SO POPULAR IN THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN THAT ALARIC, THE RAMBUNCTIOUS KING OF THE VISIGOTHS, DEMANDED MORE THAN A TON OF IT FROM THE ROMANS AS RANSOM WHEN HE LAID SIEGE TO THE CITY OF ROME IN 410 A.D. THE TRADE BETWEEN ITALY AND INDIA IN PEPPERCORNS CONTINUED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. PEPPER WAS THE MOST WIDELY TRADED COMMODITY IN FOURTEENTH CENTURY EUROPE, AND MADE THE REPUBLIC OF VENICE RICH BEYOND COMPARE.
THE ANCIENT HINDUS ALSO BELIEVED THAT CORAL WOULD ATTRACT GOOD LUCK, AND KEEP AWAY CALAMITIES, PARTICULARLY PROTECTING THE WEARER AGAINST THE ADVERSE EFFECTIVES OF THE “EVIL EYE”, REFLECTING THE ANCIENT BELIEF THAT SOME EVIL SORCERERS OR WITCHES HAD THE ABILITY TO TRANSMIT EVIL WITH JUST A GLANCE. RED CORAL WAS ALSO CONSIDERED BY THE ANCIENT HINDUS A VALUABLE HARBINGER OF ILLNESS OR POISONING, BELIEVED TO PALE IN COLOR IF THE WEARER WAS ILL OR HAD EVEN BEEN EXPOSED TO ILLNESS, OR DARKEN AS THE WEARER BEGAN TO RECOVER. THE ROMANS ALSO BELIEVED THAT THE CHANGING COLORS OF CORAL UPON THE WEARER COULD BE USED TO DIAGNOSE ILLNESSES, AND LIKEWISE BELIEVED THAT CORAL WOULD PROTECT AGAINST THE “EVIL EYE”. THEY ALSO HUNG BRANCHES OF CORAL AROUND CHILDREN'S NECKS TO PRESERVE THEM FROM DANGER. CORAL ALSO HAD MANY MEDICINAL VIRTUES ATTRIBUTED TO IT, INCLUDING THE POWER TO CURE WOUNDS MADE BY SNAKES AND SCORPIONS, STAUNCH THE FLOW OF BLOOD, AND DRIVE OFF FEVER. GROUND TO A FINE POWDER AND MIXED WITH WATER OR WINE, IT WAS SAID TO CURE A WIDE ASSORTMENT OF HUMAN ILLS. THE ROMANS ALSO PRODUCED A “TINCTURE OF CORAL” BY STEEPING CORAL IN WATER, THE RESULTING LIQUID THOUGHT TO BE AN EXCELLENT OVERALL HEALTH TONIC, AS WELL AS POSSESSING THE POWER TO DRIVE "BAD HUMORS" FROM THE BODY AS A RESULT OF CAUSING PERSPIRATION AND DIURETIC ACTION.
A PROTECTIVE STONE FOR WOMEN, ESPECIALLY PRIESTESSES AND PROSTITUTES, CORAL WAS BELIEVED TO CONTAIN THE ENERGY OF FEMININE MAGIC AND WISDOM, AND TO THE ROMANS ITS DEEP RED COLOR SYMBOLIZED THE BLOOD OF MENSTRUATION. ROMAN MEN, PARTICULARLY LEGIONARY SOLDIERS, ALSO WORE CORAL AROUND THEIR NECKS DURING WARS AS A PROTECTIVE TALISMAN. AND LEST IT BE OVERLOOKED, THE ROMANS ALSO USED CORAL WIDELY IN THE FASHIONING OF JEWELRY AND OTHER ITEMS OF PERSONAL ADORNMENT. AFTER THE FALL OF ROME THROUGH THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY THE CORAL FISHING INDUSTRY WAS CONTROLLED BY THE ITALIAN REPUBLICS. HOWEVER FROM THE LATE MIDDLE AGES ONWARD THE RIGHTS TO THE CORAL FISHERIES ON THE AFRICAN COASTS BECAME AN OBJECT OF CONSIDERABLE RIVALRY AMONG THE MEDITERRANEAN COMMUNITIES OF EUROPE. THE ITALIAN TOWN TORRE DEL GRECO (NOW A SUBURB OF NAPLES) AT THE FOOT OF MOUNT VESUVIUS, THE VOLCANO THAT BURIED POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM (AS WELL AS TORRE DEL GRECO ITSELF) HAS FOR MILLENNIA (SINCE PERHAPS THE FIFTH CENTURY B.C.) BEEN THE MAIN CENTER OF CORAL TRADE AND CORAL CUTTING. ORIGINALLY A COLONIAL CITY SETTLED BY THE ANCIENT HELLENIC GREEKS AND CONQUERED BY THE ROMANS IN 326 B.C., FROM THE TOWN OF TORRE DEL GRECO, BOATS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD HARVESTED CORAL FROM BEDS IN THE GULF OF NAPLES, AS WELL AS FROM BEDS NEAR THE ISLANDS OF CAPRI, SICILY, SARDINIA AND EVEN AS FAR AWAY AS CORFU.
TORRE DEL GRECO WAS PARTICULAR WELL KNOWN DURING ROMAN AND GREEK TIMES FOR ITS FABULOUS CARVED CAMEOS. DEVASTATED BY THE ERUPTION OF VESUVIUS IN 79 A.D., THEN AGAIN WHEN OVERRUN BY VISIGOTHS, VANDALS, AND OSTROGOTHS AS ROME FELL, AGRICULTURAL LANDS WERE DEPOPULATED AND ALL NEARBY TOWNS DECLINED OR CEASED TO BE, AND THE ART OF CORAL CAMEO CARVING DIED OUT. HOWEVER AS EUROPE BEGAN TO RECOVER FROM THE “DARK AGES” AND THE CORAL TRADE RESUMED BETWEEN THE MEDITERRANEAN AND INDIA, TORRE DEL GRECO ONCE AGAIN RESUMED ITS ROLE AS CENTER OF THE CORAL INDUSTRY. ITALIAN MEN STILL WEAR AN AMULET OF RED CORAL WHICH ROMANS FIRST WORE 2,000 YEARS AGO. THE “CORNUTO” IS A LONG, GENTLY TWISTED HORN-SHAPED AMULET SIMILAR IN APPEARANCE TO A RED PEPPER CARVED OUT OF RED CORAL INTENDED TO PROTECT THE MALE GENITALIA FROM MALOCCHIO, "THE EVIL EYE". LIKE MANY OF THE CUSTOMS HANDED DOWN FROM THE ANCIENT WORLD, THE SILVER (ONCE SACRED TO THE MOON GODDESS, LUNA) AND CORAL (ONCE SACRED TO THE SEA GODDESS, VENUS) HINTS AT THE SURVIVAL OF A LINK BETWEEN THE ANCIENT WORSHIP OF A PRE-CHRISTIAN HORNED ANIMAL GOD (THE "HORNED ONE") AND A MOTHER OR FERTILITY GODDESS.
DURING THE MIDDLE AGES A BELIEF IN CORAL’S POTENCY AS A TALISMAN CONTINUED THROUGHOUT EUROPE. IT WAS BELIEVED AN EFFECTIVE REMEDY AGAINST HEMORRHAGING, WAS WORN BY WOMEN AS A CURE FOR STERILITY, AND WAS ALSO BELIEVED AN EFFECTIVE CURE FOR MADNESS. THOSE WHO COULD AFFORD IT ADDED POWDERED CORAL TO THEIR CHILDREN'S FOOD TO PROTECT THEM FROM EPIDEMICS AND PLAGUES SUCH AS “THE BLACK DEATH”. CORAL AMULETS WERE STILL WORN TO PROTECT THE WEARER AGAINST THE ADVERSE EFFECTIVES OF THE “EVIL EYE”. CORAL WAS BELIEVED TO ENHANCE THE FERTILITY OF AGRICULTURAL FIELDS, AND TO PROTECT CROPS AGAINST LOSS. WEARING AN AMULET OF CORAL WAS ALSO BELIEVED TO PROVIDE RELIEF TO SUFFERERS OF ARTHRITIS, AND IT WAS BELIEVED A NECESSITY TO CARRY A FEW PIECES OF CORAL WHEN TRAVELING TO WARD OFF WITCHES. AS A TALISMAN, IT WAS BELIEVED TO PROTECT THE WEARER WHEN CROSSING A RIVER. ITALIAN MEN IN THE MIDDLE AGES PRESENTED CORAL JEWELRY TO THEIR BELOVED AS A TOKEN OF LOVE AND FIDELITY AND TO SIGNIFY THEIR ENGAGEMENT. A SIXTEENTH CENTURY RENAISSANCE-ERA PHYSICIAN WROTE THAT CORAL "SHOULD BE WORN ROUND THE NECK OF CHILDREN AS A PRESERVATIVE AGAINST FITS, SORCERY, CHARMS, AND POISON." A HUGE NEW SOURCE OF RED CORAL WAS “DISCOVERED” AND EXPLOITED AT THE SMALL ADRIATIC ISLAND OF ZLARIN OFF CROATIA'S DALMATION COAST, ONCE KNOWN AS THE "ISLAND OF RED CORALS”. THE DEPOSITS WERE EXTENSIVELY EXPLOITED RUING THE LATE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE, FINALLY PLAYING OUT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (WHICH CONSEQUENTIALLY RESULTED IN MUCH OF THE POPULATION OF THE ISLAND EMIGRATING).
OUTSIDE THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD, CORAL WAS ALSO PARTICULARLY FAVORED AND POSSESSED RELIGIOUS AND MAGICAL SIGNIFICANCE THROUGH MUCH OF THE REST OF THE ANCIENT WORLD. EARLY CHRISTIANS ASSOCIATED CORAL WITH CHRIST'S BLOOD, SEEING IT AS A SYMBOL OF CHRIST'S DEATH AND RESURRECTION. CORAL WAS ALSO MENTIONED FREQUENTLY IN THE BIBLE. EZEKIEL (27:16) REFERS TO TRADERS OF CORAL FROM “ARAM”, THOUGHT BY BIBLICAL SCHOLARS TO REFER TO DAMASCUS IN SYRIA OR TO NORTHERN MESOPOTAMIA. ANCIENT EGYPTIANS SCATTERED POWDERED CORAL OVER THEIR FIELDS TO PROTECT CROPS FROM THE RAVAGES OF INSECTS OR UNTIMELY STORMS. IF WORN THROUGHOUT CHILDHOOD, CORAL WAS BELIEVED TO MAKE A GIRL BEAUTIFUL, PRESERVING HER YOUTH AND BEAUTY. IN JAPANESE MYTHOLOGY, THE PALACE OF RYUJIN, THE JAPANESE DRAGON KING, WAS BUILT FROM RED AND WHITE CORAL. GUARDED BY DRAGONS, THE PALACE WAS BELIEVED TO BE FULL OF TREASURE, ESPECIALLY THE “TIDE JEWELS”, WHICH CONTROLLED THE EBB AND FLOW OF TIDAL WATERS. FISH AND OTHER SEA LIFE SERVED RYUJIN AS VASSALS, WITH THE TURTLE ACTING AS THE DRAGON'S MAIN MESSENGER. AMONG THE ANCIENT CHINESE AND HINDUS, CORAL WAS HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM, AND WAS USED TO ORNAMENT THE IMAGES OF THEIR GODS. IN CHINESE CULTURES CORAL WAS CREDITED AS PROLONGING LIFE EXPECTANCY. DURING THE TIME THE MANCHU’S RULED CHINA (FROM THE 17TH TO EARLY 20TH CENTURIES) RED CORAL WAS AN OFFICIALLY PRESCRIBED ORNAMENTAL “BADGE” TO BE WORN BY BOTH ROYALTY AS WELL AS HIGH-RANKING COURT FUNCTIONARIES AND MILITARY OFFICIALS, EITHER IN THE FORM OF BEADS AROUND THE NECK OR THE FINIAL ATOP THEIR OFFICIAL HAT. AND THE PRACTICE OF WEARING CORAL BEADS AS A COURT INSIGNIA ACTUALLY DATED BACK TO THE HAN DYNASTY OF 200 B.C.
IN ANCIENT INDIA CORAL WAS (AND STILL IS) WIDELY USED IN MANY AYURVEDIC MEDICINES. IN INDIAN ASTROLOGY WEARING THE STONE WAS BELIEVED TO STRENGTHEN THE CONSTITUTION, LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE, INCREASE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ENERGY, INCREASE LIFESPAN, MARITAL HAPPINESS AND PROLONG YOUTH. ANCIENT HINDUS ALSO PLACED A CORAL AMULET ON THE BODY OF THE DEAD TO PREVENT EVIL SPIRITS FROM ENTERING AND TAKING POSSESSION. TOGETHER WITH TURQUOISE AND AMBER, CORAL RANKS AS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR GEMSTONES WITH THE PEOPLE OF TIBET. ASIDE FROM ITS ESTHETIC VALUE, IT HAD A DEEP RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE TIBETANS SINCE RED IS SYMBOLICAL OF ONE OF THE INCARNATIONS OF BUDDHA. DURING A VISIT TO TIBET IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY, MARCO POLO, THE ITALIAN EXPLORER, NOTED THE PREDOMINANT USE OF CORAL FOR PERSONAL ADORNMENT, AS WELL AS FOR ORNAMENTING THE IDOLS IN THEIR TEMPLES. REPRESENTING THE "THIRD EYE," CORAL STANDS FOR THE "EYE OF HIGHER PERCEPTION" OFTEN DISPLAYED IN TIBETAN RELIGIOUS ART, ESPECIALLY PAINTINGS. TIBETAN “THANGKAS”, TRADITIONAL INTRICATELY DESIGNED DEPICTIONS OF HOLY BEINGS PAINTED ON CLOTH USED AS A “GUIDE” FOR CONTEMPLATIVE EXERCISES, OFTEN DEPICT A RED CORAL WITH EIGHT BRANCHES. CORAL IS ALSO ONE OF THE PRIMARY STONES USED TO EMBELLISH “GAU”, PORTABLE SHRINES WHERE VERSES AND PRAYERS ARE KEPT, CLOSE TO THE OWNER'S HEART. EVEN TODAY ONE OF THE MOST COMMON NECK ORNAMENTS IN TIBET IS A ROSARY OF ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHT CORAL BEADS, EACH BEAD A SYMBOL OF THE NEVER-ENDING CYCLE OF BIRTH, DEATH, AND REBIRTH IN THEIR QUEST TO ACHIEVE ENLIGHTENMENT.
IN CERTAIN PARTS OF AFRICA STRINGS OF CORAL ONCE POSSESSED A VERY SACRED QUALITY AND WERE REGARDED AS THE MOST PRICELESS GIFT A RULER COULD BESTOW. ROYAL REGALIA OFTEN INCLUDED NUMEROUS ROPES, COLLARS, BRACELETS, ANKLETS AND BELTS OF CORAL; CORAL ENCRUSTED SHOES; AN ELABORATE CORAL BEAD OVERCOAT; A LARGE LEGHORN HAT, ALSO OF CORAL; A CORAL AND FABRIC CROWN WITH A TALL CORAL FINIAL, ALL OF WHICH SERVED TO CONNECT THE REIGNING MONARCH WITH “OLOKUN”, THE DEITY OF THE SEA ASSOCIATED WITH WEALTH, FERTILITY AND BEAUTY. STRINGS OF CORAL WERE WORN BY COURT OFFICIALS AND ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONARIES AS SYMBOLS OF THE AUTHORITY DELEGATED TO THEM BY THE MONARCH. IF THE OFFICIAL LOST THE CORAL NECKLACE, OR IT WAS STOLEN, THE PENALTY WAS OFTEN THE LOSS OF HIS HEAD. CORAL HARVESTED FROM NEARBY REEFS ALSO PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT PART IN MESOAMERICAN CULTURE, ESPECIALLY AMONG THE TEOTIHUACAN (300-650 A.D.) AND MIXTEC (900-1250 AD), BOTH ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS OF PRE-COLONIAL MEXICO. BOTH CULTURES EXCELLED IN DECORATING MASKS, SACRIFICIAL KNIVES, AND OTHER OBJECTS WITH MOSAIC INLAYS OF CORAL, SHELL, TURQUOISE, AND OTHER STONES. TO ANCIENT NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS, CORAL REPRESENTED THE BLOOD OF MOTHER EARTH, AND WAS BELIEVED TO BESTOW UPON THE WEARER COURAGE AND PROTECTION.
IN THE ANCIENT WORLD MANY CULTURES USED CORAL NOT ONLY FOR ADORNMENT, BUT ALSO FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES. AS WELL, PARTICULARLY IN MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES AS ITALY, MOROCCO, CORSICA, ALGIERS AS WELL AS NORTHERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, CORAL WAS WORN AS A TALISMAN. IN INDIA CORAL WAS AND IS STILL USED IN AYRUVEDIC MEDICINE, BELIEVED TO REGENERATE CELLS OF THE BODY, TO HEAL RHEUMATISM, GENITAL PROBLEMS, EYE AND VISION PROBLEMS, EPILEPSY, WHOOPING COUGH, AND MENTAL DISORDERS. REFLECTING THE BELIEFS TRACEABLE THOUSANDS OF YEARS TO THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN, CONTEMPORARY PRACTITIONERS BELIEVE THAT CORAL INCREASES FERTILITY AND REGULATES MENSTRUATION. FOR YOUNG CHILDREN CORAL IS SAID TO ENSURE THEIR FUTURE HEALTH AS WELL AS TO EASE TEETHING AND PREVENT EPILEPSY. AND CORAL IS STILL USED TO TREAT ARTHRITIS IN THE ELDERLY. CORAL IS ALSO BELIEVED TO AID IN HEALING BONE DAMAGE AND BONE CANCER AND RIDDING THE BODY OF CALCIUM DEPOSITS AS WELL AS BEING USEFUL FOR DENTAL AND PRENATAL CARE. AS WELL, SOME MODERN PRACTITIONERS USE CORAL TO TREAT AILMENTS PERTAINING TO THE LUNGS, DIGESTION, COLIC, KIDNEYS, BLADDER, AS WELL AS RESPIRATORY, CIRCULATORY AND HEART AILMENTS, ANEMIA, AND TO IMPROVE NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES.
METAPHYSICALLY, CORAL IS BELIEVED AN AID TO AFFECT INNER CHANGE AND TO DISPEL FOOLISHNESS, NERVOUSNESS, FEAR, DEPRESSION, LETHARGY, MURDEROUS THOUGHTS, PANIC AND NIGHTMARES. IT IS SAID TO ENHANCE CREATIVITY, OPTIMISM, INTUITION, IMAGINATION, VISUALIZATION, AND INNER PEACE. IN ADDITION, RED CORAL IN PARTICULAR IS SAID TO ENHANCE PASSION, ROMANTIC LOVE, WISDOM, AND ENTHUSIASM. CALMING THE EMOTIONS, IT IS ALSO THOUGHT TO GIVE THE WEARER COURAGE AND IMPROVED WORK CAPACITY, AS WELL AS TO ACT AS AN AID IN RESTORING HARMONY DISRUPTED BY EMOTIONAL CONFLICTS. PINK CORAL IS BELIEVED TO HAVE THE ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF ENCOURAGING PLATONIC LOVE, FRIENDSHIP AND A SENSE OF COMMUNITY. CONTEMPORARY MYSTICS AND SHAMANS CLAIM THAT MEDITATING WITH CORAL CAN HELP ONE OVERCOME FEARS, PHOBIAS AND DOUBT, TO BRING THE LIGHT OF REASON TO ONE’S DEEPEST, DARKEST SHADOWS. CORAL IS ALSO SAID TO REVEAL THE SECRETS HIDDEN IN THE WEARER’S MIND (AND THE MINDS OF OTHERS) AND TO FACILITATE COMMUNICATION WITH “THE MAGICAL BEINGS OF THE OCEANS”. AND AFTER THOUSANDS OF YEARS, IT IS STILL BELIEVED THAT A NECKLACE OF CORAL HUNG ON THE CRIB OF A NEW-BORN WILL DRIVE AWAY ANY EVIL AND BRING THE CHILD UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE “MOTHER GODDESS” .
SHIPPING & RETURNS/REFUNDS: WE ALWAYS SHIP BOOKS DOMESTICALLY (WITHIN THE USA) VIA USPS _INSURED_ MEDIA MAIL (“BOOK RATE”). MOST INTERNATIONAL ORDERS COST AN ADDITIONAL $13.49 TO $41.99 FOR AN _INSURED_ SHIPMENT IN A HEAVILY PADDED MAILER. THERE IS ALSO A DISCOUNT PROGRAM WHICH CAN CUT POSTAGE COSTS BY 50% TO 75% IF YOU’RE BUYING ABOUT HALF-A-DOZEN BOOKS OR MORE (5 KILOS+). OUR POSTAGE CHARGES ARE AS REASONABLE AS USPS RATES ALLOW. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES DO RECEIVE A VERY LARGE DISCOUNT, TYPICALLY ABOUT $5 PER BOOK (FOR EACH ADDITIONAL BOOK AFTER THE FIRST) SO AS TO REWARD YOU FOR THE ECONOMIES OF COMBINED SHIPPING/INSURANCE COSTS.
YOUR PURCHASE WILL ORDINARILY BE SHIPPED WITHIN 48 HOURS OF PAYMENT. WE PACKAGE AS WELL AS ANYONE IN THE BUSINESS, WITH LOTS OF PROTECTIVE PADDING AND CONTAINERS. ALL OF OUR SHIPMENTS ARE FULLY INSURED AGAINST LOSS, AND OUR SHIPPING RATES INCLUDE THE COST OF THIS COVERAGE (THROUGH STAMPS.COM, SHIPSAVER.COM, THE USPS, UPS, OR FED-EX). INTERNATIONAL TRACKING IS PROVIDED FREE BY THE USPS FOR CERTAIN COUNTRIES, OTHER COUNTRIES ARE AT ADDITIONAL COST. WE DO OFFER U.S. POSTAL SERVICE PRIORITY MAIL, REGISTERED MAIL, AND EXPRESS MAIL FOR BOTH INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC SHIPMENTS, AS WELL UNITED PARCEL SERVICE (UPS) AND FEDERAL EXPRESS (FED-EX). PLEASE ASK FOR A RATE QUOTATION. WE WILL ACCEPT WHATEVER PAYMENT METHOD YOU ARE MOST COMFORTABLE WITH.
IF UPON RECEIPT OF THE ITEM YOU ARE DISAPPOINTED FOR ANY REASON WHATEVER, I OFFER A NO QUESTIONS ASKED 30-DAY RETURN POLICY. SEND IT BACK, I WILL GIVE YOU A COMPLETE REFUND OF THE PURCHASE PRICE; 1) LESS OUR ORIGINAL SHIPPING/INSURANCE COSTS, 2) LESS NON-REFUNDABLE PAYPAL/EBAY PAYMENT PROCESSING FEES. PLEASE NOTE THAT PAYPAL DOES NOT REFUND FEES. EVEN IF YOU “ACCIDENTALLY” PURCHASE SOMETHING AND THEN CANCEL THE PURCHASE BEFORE IT IS SHIPPED, PAYPAL WILL NOT REFUND THEIR FEES. SO ALL REFUNDS FOR ANY REASON, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, DO NOT INCLUDE PAYPAL/EBAY PAYMENT PROCESSING FEES (TYPICALLY BETWEEN 3% AND 5%) AND SHIPPING/INSURANCE COSTS (IF ANY). IF YOU’RE UNHAPPY WITH PAYPAL AND EBAY’S “NO FEE REFUND” POLICY, AND WE ARE EXTREMELY UNHAPPY, PLEASE VOICE YOUR DISPLEASURE BY CONTACTING PAYPAL AND/OR EBAY. WE HAVE NO ABILITY TO INFLUENCE, MODIFY OR WAIVE PAYPAL OR EBAY POLICIES.
ABOUT US: PRIOR TO OUR RETIREMENT WE USED TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA SEVERAL TIMES A YEAR. MOST OF THE ITEMS WE OFFER CAME FROM ACQUISITIONS WE MADE IN EASTERN EUROPE, INDIA, AND FROM THE LEVANT (EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN/NEAR EAST) DURING THESE YEARS FROM VARIOUS INSTITUTIONS AND DEALERS. MUCH OF WHAT WE GENERATE ON ETSY, AMAZON AND EBAY GOES TO SUPPORT THE HERMITAGE MUSEUM IN ST. PETERSBURG, AS WELL AS SOME OTHER WORTHY INSTITUTIONS IN EUROPE AND ASIA CONNECTED WITH ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY. THOUGH WE HAVE A COLLECTION OF ANCIENT COINS NUMBERING IN THE TENS OF THOUSANDS, OUR PRIMARY INTERESTS ARE ANCIENT JEWELRY AND GEMSTONES. PRIOR TO OUR RETIREMENT WE TRAVELED TO RUSSIA EVERY 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. 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 $3 FEE FOR MAILING UNDER SEPARATE COVER. I WILL ALWAYS RESPOND TO EVERY INQUIRY WHETHER VIA EMAIL OR EBAY MESSAGE, SO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO WRITE.

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