19thC Antique Gemstone 3½ct Lapis Lazuli Ring Ancient Gem of Heaven

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Seller: Top-Rated Seller ancientgifts (4,732) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 123581493088 Antique Nineteenth Century Genuine Natural Russian Crafted/Afghani Mined Dark Blue Lapis Lazuli Oval Cabochon Cut Semi-Precious Gemstone. Contemporary High Quality Sterling Silver Ring (Size 10 – Resizing Available). CLASSIFICATION: Lapis Lazuli Cabochon Cut Oval. ORIGIN: 19th Century Badakhshan, northeastern Afghanistan. Ring setting is of contemporary origin. SIZE: Length: 10mm. Width: 8mm. Depth: 5mm. All measurements approximate. WEIGHT: 3.31 carats. NOTES: Resizing is available. 14kt solid gold setting is also available. DETAIL: Here’s a gorgeous, richly colored natural dark blue lapis lazuli semi-precious gemstone from the 7,000 year old mines at Badakhshan in Afghanistan, source of lapis lazuli for the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Phoenicians, and the rest of the ancient world, who referred to lapis lazuli as the gemstone of the heavens, as the golden-flecks of sparkling iron pyrite in the deep blue body was often associated by the ancients with the stars in the heavens. Some of the most splendid ancient jewelry ever unearthed by archaeologists was found in Queen Pu-abi's tomb at Ur in Sumeria dating from the 3rd millennium B.C., and in the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb. Lapis Lazuli was one of the most prominent gemstones found within these tombs, including on the famous mask of Tutankhamen. The gemstone was hand shaped and polished into this very beautiful oval cabochon by a 19th century Russian artisan, part of an heritage renown for the production of the elaborate gemstones and jewelry of the Czars of Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian Russia. The result is an exquisite and incredibly richly colored precious gemstone with lots of depth and gorgeous tone. It is considerably lighter than inky "midnight blue" African or Australian sapphires, but well past the medium blue of sapphires from Ceylon and Burma. It is truly a very rich and regal blue, bringing to mind all of the rich pageantry of the royal houses of Europe. Gem quality lapis lazuli is in high demand, and can be quite costly, and this is exceptionally good quality lapis lazuli, evenly and richly colored a deep, royal blue. The setting is of contemporary origin. It is a high quality setting manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers. It is constructed of solid sterling silver. We do have the ability to have the ring sent out for resizing if requested. Additionally, if preferred, the mounting is also available in 14kt solid gold. Under magnification the gemstone shows the unmistakable characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the 19th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, most serious collectors consider such gemstones more desirable, possessed of greater character and uniqueness when compared to today's cookie-cutter mass-produced machine-tumbled gemstones. Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones, the cut and finish of a gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago. For most, the unique nature and character of antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for minute blemishes which by and large, are only visible under magnification. HISTORY: Lapis Lazuli gets its name from the Arabic word "allazward", meaning "sky-blue". Along with turquoise and carnelian, the three are undoubtedly amongst the most ancient of gemstones. For more than 7,000 years lapis lazuli has been mined as a gemstone in Afghanistan, near ancient Mesopotamia, and traded throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. The ancient source of lapis lazuli was these very same mines at Badakhshan, in the Persian highlands above the fertile Mesopotamian lowlands. The Persian highlands and plateau provided many of the raw materials lacking in the ancient civilizations abounding in the Mesopotamian lowlands (the "fertile crescent"). The most ancient jewelry typically used one or more of these three gemstones (carnelian, turquoise), and lapis lazuli was certainly very popular. How popular? Well, the most ancient examples of jewelry are probably those found in Queen Pu-abi's tomb at Ur in Sumeria dating from the 3rd millennium B.C. In the crypt the queen was covered with a robe of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, carnelian, agate, and chalcedony beads. The lower edge of the robe was decorated with a fringed border of small gold, carnelian, and lapis lazuli cylinders. Near her right arm were three long gold pins with lapis lazuli heads, and three amulets in the shape of fish. Two of the fish amulets were made of gold and the third, you guessed it, lapis lazuli. On the queen's head were three diadems (above, right) each featuring lapis lazuli. At roughly the same time, lapis lazuli was also certainly popular in 3,100 B.C. with the Egyptians who used it in medicines, pigments (ultramarine), cosmetics (eye-shadow) and, of course, jewelry. The ancient Egyptians believed lapis lazuli to be sacred and used it in the tombs and coffins of pharaohs. The famous mask (left) covering the head of Tutankhamen's mummy is inlaid primarily in lapis lazuli, with accents of turquoise and carnelian. The tombs of Tutankhamen and Queen Pu-abi, two of the richest tombs in all history, lapis lazuli was featured prominently in both. Besides jewelry, lapis lazuli has also been used since ancient times for mosaics and other inlaid work, carved amulets, vases, and other objects. Ordinarily it was cut cabochon (smooth concave) as a gem. Since ancient times it was also ground and used as a pigment. When lapis was first introduced to Europe, it was called "ultramarinum", which means "beyond the sea". Ground lapis was the secret of the blue in ultramarine, the pigment which painters used to paint the sea and the sky until the nineteenth century. Lapis was also popular in inlays. In what was once one of the cultural capitals of Europe, the columns of St Isaac's Cathedral are lined with lapis, and the Pushkin Palace has lapis lazuli paneling! Most lapis lazuli contains iron pyrite in the form of golden flecks sprinkled throughout the gemstone, the hallmark characteristic of lapis lazuli, often compared by the ancient with stars in the sky. Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $17.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $21.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item 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. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is 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 return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). We travel to Russia each year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings – the gold reused – the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state – most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times. Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees – fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today. Our interest in the fabulous history of Russian gemstones and the fabulous jewelry of the Czar’s led to further education and contacts in India, Ceylon, and Siam, other ancient centers of gemstone production and finishing. We have a number of “helpers” (family members, friends, and colleagues) in Russia and in India who act as eyes and ears for us year-round, and in reciprocity we donate a portion of our revenues to support educational institutions in Russia and India. Occasionally while in Russia, India, Siam, and Ceylon we will also find such good buys on unique contemporary gemstones and jewelry that we will purchase a few pieces to offer to our customers here in America. These are always offered clearly labeled as contemporary, and not antiques – just to avoid confusion. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging. Material: Gemstone, Gemstone: Lapis Lazuli, Jewelry: Men's Ring, Metal: Sterling Silver

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