Smithsonian Rocks & Gems Fossils & Minerals Diamond Emerald Ruby Sapphire 450pix

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Seller: ancientgifts ✉️ (5,284) 100%, Location: Ferndale, Washington, US, Ships to: WORLDWIDE, Item: 124400086149 Smithsonian Rocks & Gems Fossils & Minerals Diamond Emerald Ruby Sapphire 450pix. Smithsonian Rock and Gem: The Definitive Guide to Rocks, Minerals, Gems, and Fossils by Ronald Louis Bonewitz. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. And we do have absolutely new copies of this title in stock DESCRIPTION: Hardcover with printed, laminated covers and dustjacket. Publisher:DK Smithsonian (2007). Pages: 360. Size: 11 x 9 x 1 inches, 3½ pounds. From glittering gemstones to fascinating minerals and fossils, “Rock and Gem” is an incredible celebration of the Earth's buried treasures. Including specially commissioned photographs of more than 450 illustrious specimens and information-rich text, this book illustrates each stone¹s unique characteristics and its relationship to humankind through the ages. CONDITION: NEW. New oversized hardcover with dustjacket. DK Smithsonian (2007) 360 pages. Pages are pristine; clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. Dustjacket is virtually perfect. Printed laminate covers evidence slight corner bumping, as is not uncommon for such large, heavy books. Large, heavy books like this oftentimes are bumped against bookshelves as they are being carelessly/clumsily re-shelved, so it is not uncommon to see slightly bumped corner covers, as is the case with this particular copy. The shelfwear to the cover corners however is relatively mild, so mild that the pages beneath are unaffected (do not have echoing corner bumps). Condition is entirely consistent with new stock from an open-shelf bookstore environment (such as Barnes & Noble, or B. Dalton, for example) wherein new books might show minor signs of shelfwear consequence of simply being shelved and re-shelved. 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! #7571.3a. 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: From glittering gemstones to fascinating minerals and fossils, "Rock and Gem is an incredible celebration of the Earth's buried treasures. Including specially commissioned photographs of more than 450 illustrious specimens and information rich text, this book illustrates each stones unique characteristics and its relationship to humankind through the ages. REVIEW: With more than 40 years experience as a geologist, prospector, and gem cutter, Dr. Ronald L. Bonewitz provides a unique perspective on the subject. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: From primeval origins to their astonishing modern-day uses and appeal, this is the ultimate portrait of the Earth's natural treasures. A remarkable study of the Earth's rocks, minerals and gems, reveal the beauty and wonder of these outstanding natural phenomena and the fascinating ways they have been prized and used. Whether you are interested in glittering gemstones or minerals and fossils this is the essential guide for you. REVIEW: A fascinating encyclopedic reference on rocks and gems, including their identification, composition, and their use. The many feature boxes cover topics such as the Malachite room in the Winter Palace and the collection of the Hope Diamond and the superstitions surrounding it. REVIEW: Produced in classic DK style, Rock and Gem is an incredible celebration of the Earth's buried treasures. Featuring over 450 specially commissioned photographs and information-rich text, this book illustrates each stone's unique characteristics and explains its relationship to humankind through the ages. REVIEW: As one has come to expect of a Dorling Kindersley publication, it’s peppered with beautiful, glossy pictures...of such good quality. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: What a beautiful book! This coffee table book on rocks and minerals is absolutely stunning. The book is divided into four sections: 1. Origins, focusing on the evolution of the Earth and the universe, and how and why minerals are formed. 2. Rocks, a species-by-species guide to the major sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. 3. Minerals, a species-by-species guide to the key minerals (silicates, oxides, sulfates, etc.). 4. Fossils, showing fossils of the major taxonomic groups. The strength of the book is sections 2 and 3. Almost every page has jaw-dropping photographs of high-quality museum specimens of rocks and minerals (principally from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History), interspersed with great stock photography. On a visual basis, this book leaves its competition in the dust. The accompanying text is interesting as well, particularly in its explanations of how various minerals (and their component elements) are used in modern society. The species-by-species descriptions are interspersed with sidebars on interesting topics (the Taj Mahal, the Hope Diamond, the Petrified Forest, etc.). Overall this comes closer to being an all-in-one guide to rocks and minerals for the layperson than any other book I have come across. It is a source of wonder that you will find yourself returning to time and time again. It will make you aware of how much natural beauty there is in our world, for those who take the time to look. REVIEW: Excellent book with beautiful, detailed pictures of an extensive collection of rocks, gems, minerals and even fossils. I especially liked the articles depicting the various ways that mankind has utilized these items throughout history. An example being the exquisite pictures of a jade burial suit of an ancient Japanese princess. The book contains plenty of analytical detail for the serious geologist in a format that is appealing to the casual collector as well. Even if I didn't love the subject I would buy this book for the art and history it contains REVIEW: I just love this! It's an outstanding book! It has beautiful color photos, with well written information about the rocks, gems, fossils and minerals shown on the pages. On every page it lists the properties of each specimen. A must for all rockhounds! The first section is called Origins which includes the formation of the universe, the formation of the earth and earth's crust. Next is a section on collecting rocks and minerals. The rest of the book is information on rocks, minerals and fossils. I have several books on this subject and I must say this is my favorite. I could look through it for hours, actually I have. Excellent quick reference book and a great coffee table book. REVIEW: This is a first class book on rocks and gems. Beautiful pictures, excellent commentary about the gems and stones, and all around good information. This is a great reference book. I have paid much more for less information. Not to be missed for your collection. REVIEW: Not only does this book have full color pictures and great information, it goes into detail about every single rock and mineral, many of which I have never heard of. I am a scientist and I love to read books like this in leisure! I gather lots of information in it to write my many articles! If you are to get any book on rocks or minerals, I highly recommend this one! REVIEW: I've been looking for a reference to learn about gem stones after several trips to North Carolina mines. This is the best I've ever found for the lay man. Great pictures and history. I've learned more about what makes a stone precious from this guide than from anyone I've talked to. It also is useful if you plan to visit mines in other parts of the world. REVIEW: I have every book out there concerning rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, etc., and this is hands down my favorite one that I have come across so far; it is my "go-to" book! I have been rockhounding and into mineralogy for a long time, and am now working towards becoming a geologist/archaeologist. So, trust me when I say you can't go wrong with this book! REVIEW: I'm a geoscience student, and this book has become irreplaceable to me. Vital information on most minerals and rocks, the pictures look spectacular and they're in color, which in the study of minerals is essential. Very well cataloged and clear. REVIEW: I wanted to know more about the stones and gems I work with in my business so I bought this book. Well I definitely will know more about my product when I'm finished and a lot more. The book begins with the creation of the world. Maybe a little bit more than I originally wanted to know but fascinating none the less. I haven't finished it yet but it is definitely holding my interest and I am learning a great deal about the medium I work with. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about rocks and gems. REVIEW: A good way to get people interested in geosciences, this book provides a relatively detailed introduction to the world of geology with a heavy focus on minerals. Filled with stunning photographs and illustrations of basic geological concepts such as formation of the earth, the rock cycle and how volcanoes work. Definitely a book worth having REVIEW: I bought this book for my daughter who has a strong interest in collecting rocks and identifying them. This book is very comprehensive. It not only helps to identify rocks and minerals with gorgeous pictures and charts, but it explains how they are formed with basic geology concepts. A beautiful book, and very educational. REVIEW: This book has excellent history, photos, and descriptions in my opinion. According to other reviewers it's not perfect and I wouldn't doubt that, but personally I haven't found anything better yet, as I spent two hours in the local bookstore comparing books of this sort before finally opting on getting this one. REVIEW: Absolutely gorgeous and crammed with technical details. I've been collecting all my life (minerals as well as mineralogy books). This is my absolute favorite. Satisfying for kids, hobbyists, and mineralogists alike. Great section on fossils, as well. REVIEW: This book was great as it discussed more about the origins of the gemstones and stones that I am interested in. Other books I have talk about the metaphysical properties which is great but geographical info is appreciated also. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: 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. Ruby: The name ruby comes from the Latin "rubeus" (red). In the ancient world ruby was believed to possess magical powers, and was worn as a talisman for protection from plagues, poison, sorrow, and evil spirits. The ruby symbolized freedom, charity, dignity and divine power, and was associated with fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. Some ancient cultures believed that rubies, as well as other gemstones, grew on trees, just like fruit. The rubies would begin budding as small white gems, and would slowly grow and ripen, turning red in the light of the sun. When the ruby was saturated with red color, it was ready to be plucked. In the classical world, rubies from Afghanistan, Ceylon, India and Burma were traded in the ancient port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean (often by Phoenicians), and from there traveled throughout Europe. However it is believed that most of the ancient world’s ruby came from Ceylon, where evidence suggests ruby may have been mined for the past 20,000 years. Archaeologists have uncovered ancient Etruscan jewelry with Celanese ruby which dates back to the seventh century B.C. However scientists believe that ruby has also been mined in Burma since Paleolithic and Neolithic times as well, as tools have been excavated by archaeologists dating both to the Bronze Age as well as backwards into the Stone Age. In ancient literature, the ruby was described both by the fourth century B.C. Greek Philosopher/Scientist Theophratus (student and successor of Plato and Socrates) as well as by Pliny, the first century A.D. Roman historian and naturalist. In ancient Rome the ruby was associated with the principles of justice and its administrators (the judicial system). Ancient literature from China indicates that ruby was traded along the northern silk route, moving westward into Europe. The Bible as well makes numerous mentions of ruby, first as one of the twelve precious stones created by God when he created mankind. Ruby is then described as “the lord of gems” when one was given to Aaron on the command of God. And ruby adorned Aaron's breastplate and was symbol of Judah. The Bible also frequently states that the high value of ruby was only exceeded by wisdom and by virtuous women, implying that ruby indeed was exceptionally valuable. The Greeks believed that the "fire" evidenced by a ruby's red coloration could melt wax. Greeks legends speak about huge rubies which were given to Heraclea by the female stork to lighten her room as a token of her kindness. The ancient populations of the Mediterranean also believed that the color of a ruby would change mirroring changes in the health of its owner, and that the color would drain from a ruby at the moment its owner died. In Antiquity and through the Middle Ages it was believed that the cosmos was reflected in gemstones. Ruby was associated with the planet Mars. Ruby was deemed to be the most precious of gemstones not only in the Bible, but also in ancient Sanskrit writings. In Sanskrit, an ancient language of India, ruby was called "ratnaraj", which means "King of Gems". To them, this fiery stone burned with an inextinguishable fire, capable of boiling the water in which it was placed. Ancient Indian legends said that God first created ruby and later created man to possess it, and that he who offered rubies to the gods would be reincarnated as a powerful king or emperor. In ancient India rubies were also sorted into upper class, middle class, and lower class stones in relation to their color, flawlessness and beauty. Much like Indian society today, no inferior ruby was allowed contact with an upper class ruby because it was believed the low-caste ruby would contaminate the better one, thereby diminishing its magical powers. In nearby ancient Burma it was felt a ruby must not just be worn, but embedded in the skin to become part of the body, thus making the wearer invulnerable. Up in time through Medieval Europe, rubies were worn as a talisman for protection against unhappiness, lightening and upsetting dreams. The ruby was also believed to encourage bliss, and was used to treat fever and heart disorders relating to blood flow through the ventricles. It was also believed that when worn on the left hand or in a brooch on the left side, ruby enabled the wearer to live in peace among enemies. Ruby was greatly valued in the Medieval Arab world. There are many references to ruby in ancient Arabic literature, including many references to “yakut”, a term used for red corundum (ruby) during the sixth through tenth centuries, culminating in a noteworthy treatise by the 11th century Arab scholar Al-Biruni, who conducted specific gravity determinations on a whole series of gemstones. Throughout Medieval Central Asia, the Near East, and China ruby was used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen. Rubies were laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure. Much of the ruby reaching early Medieval Europe came from Badakshan, on the border between present-day Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Marco Polo described visiting these mines in his accounts of his travels. Later Medieval Europe’s rubies came principally from the border region between Burma and Siam (present-day Myanmar and Thailand). In Medieval Europe, rubies were considered even more valuable than diamonds. In 16th century ruby was priced 8 times higher than diamond. Rubies were viewed as a stone of prophecy, used by medieval shamans and sorcerers to divine the future. Ruby was also worn as a talisman, as it was believed that the stone darkened when danger was near and then returned to its original color when the danger was past. It was believed that wearing ruby would attract good health, wisdom, fortune, and true love. Ruby was also thought to be an antidote to poisoning as well. In England, ruby was used for royal coronation rings. Medieval Europe also believed that ruby had important medical applications. A thirteenth century prescription to cure liver problems called for powdered ruby, and it was also believed that when rubbed on the skin, ruby would restore youth and vitality. Ivan the Terrible of Russia stated that rubies were good for the heart, brain and memory. Rubies are mined all over the world, but the highest quality gemstones come from Burma, Ceylon, and Siam, then India, Madagascar, Russia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Mexico, and North Carolina in the USA. Ruby is the red variety of corundum, the second hardest natural mineral known to mankind. The non-red variety of corundum is Sapphire. Sapphires are well known among the general public as being blue, but can be nearly any color. A ruby's color is due to a trace of chromic oxide; the amount of this trace mineral determines the depth of color. The most sought after shade of red for ruby is often given the name "pigeon blood red", but ruby can be any shade of red up to almost pink. The only source of "pigeon blood" rubies is Mogok in Upper Burma, about ninety miles from Kepling's Mandalay, and are known in the trade as "Mogok" rubies, and are considered the finest in the world.< In Mogok, the rubies are mined by natives according to centuries-old customs. From ancient times through the Middle Ages and into the Victorian period, all Mogok rubies belonged to the King. There are references to several rubies in the weight range between 100 and 400 carats reportedly mined during the nineteenth century and presented to the King of Burma. It is known that in the nineteenth century the British Museum of Natural History acquired a 167 carat Burmese ruby which remains there today on display, and there also exists a 196 carat specimen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Two massive, uncut rubies which remain the possession of the Burma/Myanmar government include “the Sun of Mogok”, weighing 1743 carats, and the “Navara Ruby”, weighing 505 carats. The famous "Hill of Precious Stones", near Bangkok, Thailand, yields rubies of a deeper shade with purple undertones. Rubies from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) tend toward violet, and are lighter in color. Oriented rutile crystal inclusions cause a six-rayed-star light effect (called asterism) to form the popular "Star Ruby". The "Star Ruby" is also known as a "Mysore Ruby" as the majority are mined in Mysore, India. However the largest star ruby known is a 138.7 carat specimen which was mined from Ceylon, and is presently at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The color of ruby is accompanied by a marked fluorescence, which is stimulated by natural and artificial light making rubies turn brighter red under such light. The King of Ceylon was said to possess a ruby that shone so brightly that when he brought it out at night, it would light up the entire palace. Experts consider that the color is ruby’s most important attribute, while its transparency is secondary. It is almost impossible to find a ruby of finer quality over 3 carats in size, therefore, minor blemishes are deemed acceptable and most ruby jewelry is made with stones under 3 carats. In fact the blemishes within a ruby are like fingerprints, proving its authenticity and revealing the beauty and the individuality of each stone. In the ancient world it was believed that rubies brought health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love to those who wore them. The ruby was associated with the sun, and was thought to preserve both mental and physical health. The medicinal uses of ruby included its use to overcome exhaustion and calm hyperactivity. Ruby was also used to detoxify the body and blood, treat fevers, diseases, and restricted blood flow. Wearing ruby was believed to benefit the heart and circulatory system and stimulate the adrenals, kidneys, reproductive organs and spleen. According to one ancient text, ground to a fine powder and placed on the tongue, ruby was used to cure blood diseases, stop bleeding, ensure good health, bring peace, and treat indigestion. Ruby was also believed to be an effective treatment for backaches. On the metaphysical plane, for thousands of years, ruby was considered the stone of love, passion, and power. It was believed to represent masculinity, nobility, and valor in men; pride, seductiveness, and passion in women. Ruby was believed to restore vital life forces and increase energy, vigor, and zest for life. Ruby was also regarded as the stone of courage, ancient sources citing that the wearer of ruby could pass through life without fear of evil or misfortune, and that ruby would make the wearer invulnerable to wounds, an especially useful attribute for ancient warriors. Wearing ruby was believed to strengthen the wearer during times of controversy or dispute, to shield against physical attack, to enhance creativity and spirituality, and to inspire confidence and self-esteem. Ruby was also believed to be capable of arousing passion and enthusiasm and attracting sexual activity. Even today in Asia ruby is worn by businessmen who believe that ruby improves motivation and the setting of goals, and promotes dynamic leadership. They are believed to heighten one’s state of mind, sharp, hyper-aware and focused [AncientGifts]. Sapphire: Sapphires have been since ancient times one of the most highly valued of all gemstones, and references to the gemstone date back to about 800 B.C. In the ancient Mediterranean world (including the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Hebrews, and the various Indo-European Celtic tribes), priests and sorcerers honored the sapphire above all other gems. They believed that the sapphire enabled them to interpret oracles and foretell the future. Sapphire is also the original “true blue”, the gem of fidelity and of the soul. In the ancient world, a gift of a sapphire was a pledge of trust, honesty, purity, and loyalty. The oldest sapphire jewelry unearthed by archaeologists has been of Etruscan origin, about sixth century B.C. The Greeks and Romans are known to have worn sapphires from Ceylon, as described by writers from those times. Though some argue that the name sapphire is derived from its association with the planet and ancient deity Saturn (the name can be roughly be translated to mean “dear to the planet Saturn” in many different languages), most linguists and scholars agree that the name "sapphire" comes from the Latin "sapphirus" and the Greek "sappheiros", which translates to "blue" in both languages. The name sapphire is also a derivative of the ancient Hebrew and Persian word for "blue" as well. To the ancient Romans however, the word "sapphirus" actually referred to lapis lazuli, another blue gemstone. According to Pliny, the first century Roman naturalist, what the Romans called blue sapphire (“cyanus”, from the Greek “cyan”, or “blue”) translates to "hyacinth"; the green sapphire was "emerald", and the purple sapphire was "amethyst". However the “Saturn” origin theory is appealing in that in ancient Rome Saturn (“Kronos” to the ancient Greeks) was a major god presiding over agriculture and the harvest time. His reign was depicted as a Golden Age of abundance and peace by many Roman authors, a mythical age when Saturn was said to have ruled. In remembrance and celebration of that age, a great (week-long) feast called Saturnalia was held throughout the Roman Empire during the winter months around the time of the winter solstice. During Saturnalia, roles of master and slave were reversed, moral restrictions loosened, and the rules of etiquette ignored. It is thought that the festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia were the roots of the carnival ("Mardi Gras" in the USA). Roman depictions of Saturn generally showed the god with a sickle in his left hand and a bundle of wheat in his right. In the medieval world Saturn was known as the Roman god of agriculture, justice and strength. The ancient Persians believed that the Earth was imbedded into a gigantic blue Sapphire stone, and the sky reflected its beautiful color. They referred to the sapphire as "the gem of the heavens”. In ancient Persia, ground sapphire was used as an all purpose medicine. One ancient recipe to enhance eyesight was to powder the stone and mix it with vinegar. The same recipe was used to treat nosebleeds. Sapphires were also used to treat fevers and rheumatism. When treating boils and external ulcers, they were ground and mixed with milk. The paste was then applied to the afflicted area. Ancient Hebrew legends state that the tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written were of blue sapphire, and biblical accounts record that King Solomon wore a great sapphire ring. Monarchs of the ancient world wore sapphires around their necks as a powerful talisman protecting them from harm and attracting divine favor. Archaeological finds tell us that Ceylon is more than likely to be the source for sapphire in the classical world. In ancient Ceylon it was believed that star sapphire (a semi-opalescent gemstone extremely popular Victorian-era jewelry) served as a protective amulet and a guard against witchcraft. Celanese sapphire would have reached the classical Mediterranean cultures via the ancient trading routes that crossed present day Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. Distribution within Europe was achieved using the extensive Roman road network which extended to all the corners of the Roman Empire. It is also possible that some of the sapphire traded in the classical Mediterranean originated in India. As the centuries passed European royalty came to favor sapphire believing the stone would provide protection from harm. Throughout Medieval Europe, the sapphire was thought to give the wearer strengthened vision, including visions of the future. In particular during the 11th and 12th centuries, sorcerers honored the sapphire more than any other stone as it enabled them to hear and understand the most obscure oracles. Not only did sapphire help to get in touch with astral and psychic realms, but the stone also provided protection for those who took those journeys. Sapphire was regarded as an antidote to black magic and effects of evil spirits, and provided protection against sorcery. It was believed to banish evil spirits and send negative spells back to the sender. Sapphires were also used as a talisman by medieval travelers, who believed that a sapphire would protect the wearer from poisonous creatures, kill snakes hiding nearby, and provide advance warning against hidden dangers. It was believed that if a sapphire were engraved with the figure of a man or a ram, that sapphire amulet would cure all illness and elevate the owner to a high position. Sapphire was also held to be a symbol of truth and constancy, and in the 12th century, the Bishop of Rennes and Pope Innocent III (who launched the infamous Fourth Crusade which sacked Constantinople) praised the blue of the sapphire as representing heaven, and initiated its use in ecclesiastical rings and other ecclesiastical jewelry as symbolic of the Pontific title and the Seal of Mysteries. One of the most ancient and well-known sapphires belonged to England’s Edward the Confessor. According to legend the king met a poor man begging alms. He did not have cash so he gave away his sapphire ring. Many years later, some pilgrims from Jerusalem came to him and gave him back his ring, saying that soon the King would meet the favored beggar in Heaven. It turned out to be true; Edward died soon after that meeting, and his sapphire was buried with him in his grave. Two centuries later his grave was opened, the sapphire recovered, and to everybody's astonishment, the King's body was still intact. After that, the miraculous sapphire was given a cross-shape cut and was placed in the Westminster Abbey where the miracles continued; the stone was known to cure the blind as well as paralytics and epileptics. The “Sapphire of St. Edward” now resides in the Crown of the British Empire next to another famous sapphire, the one of Charles II. Another unique sapphire can be found among the state insignia of Russia. A 200-carat stone from the Ceylon is set in the top of the orb, which is now kept in the Kremlin Treasury. The Muslim world also has its own sacred sapphire, the “Eye of Allah,” a gemstone that once belonged to the famous 18th century Persian conqueror Nader Shah. Medieval European populations believed wearing a sapphire suppressed negative thoughts, and possessed curative powers over natural ailments. Sapphires were used as medicine for treatment of eye diseases and as an antidote for poison. When touched against the eye, it was believed to remove impurities and restored sight. Ivan the Terrible, the (sixteenth century) first Tsar of all Russia and conqueror of Siberia, attributed to sapphire strength of the heart and muscles, endowing the wearer with courage. Sapphires are a member of the corundum family, and close relative to the ruby. In fact, a ruby is simply a red sapphire. The sapphire is considered one of the most valuable of precious stones. The most highly prized were the "cornflower blue" sapphires known as "Kashmir" sapphires, from Northern India. Unfortunately the deposits were exhausted in the late 1800’s. The principal contemporary sources of sapphire are Russia, Siam, Ceylon, Burma, Africa, and Australia. The Museum of Natural History in New York is home to the one of the most notorious sapphires in the world, the “Star of India,” a star sapphire of 563 carats. In the ancient world it was believed that sapphires would aid in ridding oneself of unwanted thoughts, and that they would bring joy and peace of mind, opening the mind to beauty and intuition. Medicinally sapphire was believed to promote general health, and was oftentimes ground up and consumed. Sapphire was believed to be effective in reducing fevers, protected against mental illness, and to sharpen eyesight. They were also believed to cure ulcers. Psychologically sapphire was believed to aid the maintenance of inner peace, a healthy mental state, to calm nerves, and to promote mental clarity, helping with focus and concentration. As such they were widely used as a remedy for mental and nervous disorders. On the metaphysical side, sapphires were regarded as a stone of prosperity, sustaining the gifts of life, fulfilling the dreams and desires of the wearer, and eliminating frustration. The sapphire has historically been identified with chastity, piety, and repentance, and was believed to foster wisdom and truth, and to increase perception and the understanding of justice. It was believed conducive to finding peace of mind and serenity, and to promote a life of sincerity, helping preserve one’s innocence while learning life’s truths. Sapphires were also associated with romantic love, representing fidelity, romantic devotion, truth, compatibility, commitment, and mutual understanding. Sapphire was also worn as a talisman with the belief that it would increase one’s faith, hope, and joy, and would keep thoughts pure and heavenly. Sapphires were also used as talismans for protection, to ward off diseases, and to bring peace, happiness, and intelligence. Sapphire was known as the stone of serenity, helping one to meditate by providing mental calming. As a tool for self improvement, sapphires were regarded to be a powerful and transformative gemstone which would help the wearer connect to the universe, opening the wearer’s internal and spiritual self to the powers of the universe. Sapphire was also thought to increase communication with, connection to, and awareness of spirit guides, or angels [AncientGifts]. Emerald: The name "emerald" comes indirectly from the Greek "smaragdos", a name that was given to a number of gemstones having little in common except a green color. Emeralds have been since ancient times one of the most highly valued of all gemstones. Even today gem-quality emeralds are so rare they are considered more valuable than diamonds. Emeralds were traded at the earliest known gem market in Babylon 6,000 years ago. One of the major sources for the ancient world of the classical Mediterranean’s emerald were Egyptian mines near the Red Sea, which were worked as early as 2000 B.C., perhaps even as far back as 3,000 B.C. Ancient Egyptian texts document the use of emerald during the life of Pharaoh Sesostris III in the 19th century B.C. To the ancient Egyptians, emerald's green color stood for fertility and rebirth, and emeralds were used to treat eye diseases. The earliest references to emerald in the classical world of the Mediterranean are attributable to Aristotle, fourth century B.C. philosopher, student of Plato, and teacher to Alexander the Great. Aristotle wrote that owning an emerald increased the owner’s importance in presence and speech during business, gave victory in trials, helped to settle litigation, and that ground into a fine powder and made into a lotion, emerald could also be used to comfort and sooth eyesight. He also stated an emerald worn as a talisman would prevent epilepsy, and recommended that all children be so adorned with an emerald amulet. The ancient Greeks regarded the emerald as the sacred stone of the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite (as did the Romans, who knew Aphrodite as “Venus”) and of the Earth Goddess, and believed the gemstone would protect lovers from unfaithfulness. The ancient Greeks worked the Egyptian emerald mines during the time of Alexander the Great and throughout the Ptolemaic Dynasty (that period of time when Hellenic Greeks ruled ancient Egypt). In fact Alexander himself wore a large emerald mounted onto his belt. In the first century B.C. one of the (Macedonian) Ptolemaic kings had an emerald engraved with the portrait of Lucullus, the great Roman general. He then presented it to him when Lucullus visited Egypt. These same mines later provided the last Ptolemaic monarch, Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, the wonderful emeralds she was often depicted and described as wearing. Though lost for many centuries, extensive remains of "Cleopatra's Mines" were discovered about 1817; and are located near the Red Sea coast, east of Aswan. Emeralds were also quite favored in the Roman Empire, especially by Roman Emperors, emeralds oftentimes used as Roman crown jewels. The Roman Emperor Nero reportedly watched chariot races and gladiator contests through lenses made of emeralds, as he found the color to be calming. Roman texts of the second century B.C. recorded that emerald “influences every kind of business, and if you remain chaste while you wear it, it adds substance to both the body and the speech.” Romans also considered light-colored emeralds to be “unripe”, believing that an emerald becomes darker as it matures. During the Roman era emerald was discovered in Germany near present-day Salzburg, and production continued through the Middle Ages before the deposit played out. To the early Christians, the emerald was a symbol for immortality and faith, and also was generally regarded as a symbol of kindness. These beliefs, though held by both preceding Greek and Roman culture, probably originated with Egyptian and Sumerian culture. In the ancient Near East, the ancient Babylonians believed that each emerald stone contained a goddess. The Sumerians believed that an emerald worn on the little finger of the left hand would cure inflammation of the eyes. In ancient Islam (both in the Near East as well as in Mogul India), green was a holy color symbolizing the unity of Islam, and an amulet of emerald was often engraved with a verse from the Koran. And in both ancient India as well as ancient China, emerald was worn as a talisman thought to bring good luck. During the Middle Ages an emerald amulet was believed to keep a woman chaste. Medieval shamans and magicians believed that emeralds enabled them to foretell future events if put on the tongue or worn on the left side of the body. Emeralds were also believed to reveal what was true or false, and to give eloquence in speech and make people more intelligent and honest. Worn as a talisman, emerald was regarded as a sure antidote for enchantments and spells, was believed to repel evil spirits, and it was believed that a high quality emerald would change hues to alert the wearer to impending danger. In many legends of King Arthur, the Holy Grail (the cup used to catch Christ’s blood at the crucifixion) is described as being fashioned from a large emerald. Charlemagne the Great (ruler of a vast eighth century Frankish Kingdom) had a large and famous collection of emeralds, and Henry II, when he was made King of Ireland in 1171, was given a large emerald ring. In the Renaissance medical practitioners ground up emerald with laudanum, an opium derivative, as a medicine for certain fevers and ailments. “Cleopatra’s Mines” in Upper Egypt provided Europe with emeralds all the way through the 16th century A.D. Though by today's standards the ancient Egyptian mines produced relatively small and poor quality gemstones, in the days of the Russian Czars, emeralds were the most prized of the Russian Crown Jewels. The famous 16th century Italian Goldsmith Benvenutto Cellini commented in his writings that emeralds fetched four times the price of diamond. Renaissance era astrologers and mystics recommended wearing a gold ring set with emerald on the little finger to protect the wearer from mental distress, frequent injuries, or loss of wealth. In the 18th century, Colombian emeralds started reaching Europe as a result of the Spanish plunder of South American Indians. In fact treasure hunters seeking wrecks of Spanish galleons are occasionally rewarded by the discovery of emeralds lost by the conquistadors long ago. Prior to the coming of the Spanish Conquistadors, South American natives had been working emerald mines for at least several centuries, and also held the gemstone in high regard. In fact, emeralds were worshiped by the Incas who had an emerald goddess to which they sacrificed their children. Though the world’s best emeralds are generally regarded as being Colombian, emeralds are also produced in Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, India, and throughout Africa. Very large specimens are found in Siberia (though of a lighter hue than Colombian emerald) and in India (though of generally very low quality), and in the United States emeralds have been found in North Carolina. Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl (as are aquamarine, morganite, goshenite, heliodore, and bixbite). Although beautiful in color emerald tends to be very "dirty" in that it typically contains a lot of internal blemishes known as "jardin," French for "garden". Seen under magnification, emerald reveals internal blemishes that resemble the foliage in a garden, or moss. Emerald gemstones were amongst the dearest treasures of the gem markets of Babylon, and today - nearly six thousand years later - this lovely stone remains one of the most valuable objects in the world. Even today flawless specimens of good color and size are exceedingly rare and command higher prices than diamonds of equal weight. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In the ancient world emerald was loved and worshipped for thousands of years as a symbol of the eternal cycle of life. Emerald was believed to possess magical regenerative properties, and was widely used for medicinal purposes in the ancient world. It was believed to prevent infection and diseases and was used by expectant mothers to keep unborn children safe from complications during childbirth. It was even used to treat cholera, dysentery, and malaria. There were many ailments that were believed to be cured by emeralds. Disorders that emeralds have been used for include colic, burns, ulcers, headaches, tension, influenza, epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart disorders, neuralgia, cancer, skin disorders, dysentery, syphilis, fevers, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, asthma and anemia. It was believed to strengthen the heart and circulatory system, as well as the bladder and kidney functions. Emerald was also used to treat forgetfulness, epilepsy, stammering and even insanity. The emerald was also once prized as an antidote in cases of poisoning. Even today, the powder of poorer quality emeralds is used in folk medicines in China. On the metaphysical plane, emerald was used by shamans and magicians to enhance clairvoyance, thus helping to predict future events. Emerald was believed to detoxify negativity and transform it into positive emotional energy; to stabilize, soothe, and create a sense of security, harmony, faith, hope, and closeness to God. Emerald was believed to keep the mind in excellent condition and promote a healthy memory and enhance intelligence, enabling one to think clearly about past, present, and future. Emeralds were often used by politicians and public speakers with the belief that they would promote creativity and eloquence, and to improve the wearer’s intuition, thereby enhancing perceptive abilities. Emeralds were also believed to bring good fortune (particularly in ancient China), and to foster kindness, sympathy, and truthfulness. There have even been times in history when the emerald was believed to be able to control one’s passions and lusts. They were also believed to help one express love, devotion, and adoration, and throughout the ancient world, wearing an emerald talisman was believed to drive away evil spirits. [AncientGifts]. Spinel: The name “spinel” is probably derived from the Latin word “spinella”, itself derived from the Greek word meaning “spark”, probably in reference to the bright red or orange color of some crystals. One early known use of spinel was from about 100 B.C., spinel discovered by archaeologists in a Buddhist tomb in Afghanistan. There are also references to spinel in ancient Sanskrit (India’s ancient language) texts, which referred to spinel as “the daughter of ruby”. Spinel was also extensively was used in jewelry by the Romans. Mariners as early as the 11th century knew spinel as “lodestone”, which literally means “way stone”. Due to the unique magnetic properties of spinel, it literally “found the way” for ancient mariners as it was used to magnetize the compasses which they used to guide their ship's course at sea. This also saw the beginning of the art of cartography, as seaman began to plot the courses of their voyages and create the earliest maps of the world. Spinel comes in a wide variety of beautiful colors and is especially prized for its red, blue, pink, and purple varieties. The red variety has oftentimes been mistaken for ruby, and many of the so-called “rubies” in Europe’s crown jewels are actually spinel. The most famous example is the Black Prince's “Ruby”, a magnificent 170-carat red spinel that currently adorns the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels. Long believed to be a ruby, this gem was once owned by the Arabian Emirs, who were the rulers of Granada (present-day Spain). In the 14th century, Pedro the Cruel, the king of Castile, under the pretext of negotiations, drew into ambush the Emir Abu Said and ruthlessly murdered him and took the gemstone. The gemstone was given to England’s Edward the Black Prince, heir to the British throne, in return for military service putting down an insurrection raised against Pedro the Cruel. King Henry V then wore the gemstone on his battle helmet during the Battle of Azincourt in 1415 A.D. King Richard III of England, the last of the Plantagenet dynasty, wore the same helmet during the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 A.D., where he was killed. Another very famous spinel is the “Timur Ruby”, a 352-carat red spinel named after Tamerlain, the Tartar conqueror who came to possess the gemstone as a result of his plunder of Delhi, and ordered that his name be carved upon it. The gemstone eventually returned to India, where it was incorporated into the famous “Peacock Throne”, which was subsequently brought back to Persia in 1739 by the conqueror Nader Shah. When Nader Shah was assassinated in 1747, the Peacock Throne itself disappeared from historical records (presumably disassembled), though the magnificent spinel which was its centerpiece survived. Now owned by Queen Elizabeth, the gemstone has the names of some of the Mughal emperors who previously owned it engraved on its face. Yet another noteworthy faceted red spinel of more than 400 carats belonged to Empress Catherine II of Russia, and is now part of the Russian Treasure in the Kremlin. Nicholas Spafary, the Russian envoy to China, bought this gemstone for Tsar Alexis I of Russia. He purchased it from a high-ranking Chinese official and secretly took it out, as in China it was forbidden to sell “rubies” to the foreigners, as they must only belong to the Emperor. The Samarian Spinel is the world’s largest spinel weighing 500 carats, and is part of the Iranian Crown Jewels, displayed at the Museum of the Treasury of National Iranian Jewels. According to legend the gemstone once adorned the Biblical Golden Calf, mentioned in Exodus 32. The Hebrews escaping from Egypt in the 13th century B.C. asked Aaron, the brother of Moses to fashion a golden calf, an idol that was then worshipped by the ancient Hebrews. Moses later came down from the Sinai carrying with him the tablets containing the ten commandments, and upon seeing his people worshipping the golden calf, ordered its destruction. However, the worship of the Golden Calf continued up to the 10th century B.C. till the age of Jeroboam I, King of Israel. In the ancient world red spinel was also known as a “Balas Ruby”, and was mined in Northwest Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and traded throughout China and Europe. Although history does not document the mining of spinel in Afghanistan until about 750 A.D., it is likely the source for the spinel of the Romans and the rest of the classical Mediterranean. Marco Polo mentioned the famous “Badakhshan” mine which produced this gemstone, describing the gemstone as “Balas Ruby”. The name for Badakhshan in the ancient world was “Balascia”, from which the name “Balas Ruby” was born. Though spinel is presently less expensive than ruby, it is many times more rare. And despite all of the confusion in Europe over what was spinel and what was ruby, in Burma where both gemstones have been mined for many centuries, spinel was recognized as a separate gem species as early as 1587 A.D. However in Europe, confusion lasted for many centuries after that, red spinel still referred to as “Balas Ruby” or “Oriental Ruby” for several more centuries. As well, blue, pink, and purple spinel was oftentimes mistaken for sapphire. In Chelyabinsk, Russia, the origin of this gemstone, spinel has been produced continuously from a nearby deposit since 1843 A.D. Now treasured for its own sake, spinel is a favorite of gem dealers and gem collectors due to its brilliance, hardness and wide range of spectacular colors. Red and orange spinel owes its color to chromium, violet to manganese, and to iron or cobalt for the very rare blue variety of spinel. In addition to Burma and Russia, spinel has historically also been produced in Ceylon, and has recently been discovered in Tanzania (home of tanzanite). Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness and providing protection. Spinel was associated with love, was worn as a protective talisman, and was said to help the wearer resolve contentious issues, to put their ego aside, and become devoted to another person. Spinel also was believed to encourage passion and is said to increase the duration of the wearer’s life, and was also said effective in relieving sadness. [AncientGifts]. Diamond: In the ancient world there was only one source of diamonds…India. Bombay remains today one of the world’s great diamond cutting centers (along with New York, Tel Aviv, and Antwerp). Over 800,000 cutters are employed in the city of Bombay alone; cutting 90% of the world’s diamonds. The best Indian diamonds originated from the Majhgawan pipe, near Panna, India, which was discovered in 1827. However India is no longer a big producer of mined diamonds, producing only about 20,000 carats a year. Australia produces 2,000 times more diamonds each year – about 40 million carats a year; followed by 20 million carats a year for the Congolese Republic, 15 million carats a year for Botswana, and 10 million carats a year each for Russia and South Africa. However this region of India did produce some of the world’s greatest diamonds, including the Great Mogul (793 carats), the Regent (410 carats), the Nizam (340 carats), the Orloff (194 carats), the Kohinoor (132 carats), and the Hope or Blue Tavernier (112 carats). The traditional Indian supplies of diamonds which had fed the appetites of the ancient world for thousands of years were almost exhausted when enormous new alluvial deposits of diamonds were discovered in 1725 in Brazil, followed by the staggering discoveries of 1870 in South Africa. Perhaps the earliest symbolic use of diamonds was as the eyes of Hindu devotional statues. The diamonds themselves were thought to be endowments from the gods and were therefore cherished. The point at which diamonds assumed their divine status is not known, but early texts indicate they were recognized in India since at least 400 B.C. The word most generally used for diamond in Sanskrit was vajra, or "thunderbolt," and the possession of diamond was according to ancient Hindu texts thought to bring, “happiness, prosperity, children, riches, grain, cows and meat. (As well) he who wears a diamond will see dangers recede from him whether he (is) threatened by serpents, fire, poison, sickness, thieves, flood or evil spirits." The ancient Greeks believed diamonds were tears of the gods; and it is from the Greek word adamas, "untameable" or "unconquerable", referring to its hardness, that the word “diamond” is derived. The ancient Romans believed that diamonds were splinters of fallen stars. The presence of diamond in Rome is established by the writings of Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.). Unfortunately according to Pliny, “these stones are tested upon the anvil, and will resist the blow to such an extent as to make the iron rebound and the very anvil split asunder." One can only imagine the numbers of genuine diamonds smashed into splinters by this ill-advised test. However even diamond splinters were valued by the Romans who used diamond points set into iron scribes to engrave sapphires, cameos, and intaglios. Even early Chinese references to diamond cite its coming from Rome in iron scribes. Chinese interest in diamond was strictly as an engraving or carving tool, primarily for jade, or as a drill for beads and pearls. In western culture, diamonds have been the traditional emblem of fearlessness and virtue. Though most of the world’s diamonds are cut in Bombay, over 90% of the world’s rough diamonds are traded in Antwerp, Belgium. Between the 13th and 15th centuries the world’s diamond center had been Bruges; then Antwerp until the city’s capture by the Spanish in 1585 A.D.; then Amsterdam through the early 19th century, then back to Antwerp. The Portuguese colony of Goa was the point of origin for diamonds from India, the trade route developing from Goa to Lisbon to Antwerp and thus cutting out the traditional Arabic middle men. Small numbers of diamonds begin appearing in European regalia and jewelry in the 13th century, set as accent points among pearls in splendidly wrought gold. Louis IX of France (1214-70 A.D.) decreed that diamonds were to be reserved for royalty alone, an indication of the rarity of diamonds and the value conferred on them at that time. The history of diamond cutting can be traced to the late Middle Ages, before which time diamonds were enjoyed in their natural octahedral state. At the time, diamond was valued chiefly for its brilliant luster and superlative hardness. The most common (“table”) cut diamond would appear black to the eye, as they do in paintings of the era. Diamond cutting is believed to have originated in Venice about 1330 A.D. By 1375 A.D. there was a guild of diamond polishers in Nordberg. About a hundred years later absolute symmetry in the disposition of faceting was introduced and the most common cuts were known as pendulous or briolette. About the middle of the 16th century, the rose cut was introduced. The first “brilliant cut” was introduced in the middle of the 17th century. By the 16th century as diamonds became larger and more prominent, their popularity had spread from royalty to the noble classes. This was in part a response to the development of diamond faceting, which enhanced their brilliance and fire. By the 17th century diamonds were becoming popular with the wealthy merchant class. Diamonds occur in a variety of colors - steel, white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink, brown and black. The most common diamonds, and arguably the most sought after (though not the rarest) are pure and colorless. The most common impurity is nitrogen, which if dispersed will give the stone a yellowish tint (but if clustered does not affect the diamond’s color). Diamonds without nitrogen impurities are often colored pink, red, or brown – the color arising from molecular structural anomalies. Blue diamonds are colored by boron impurities. A form of carbon, diamonds are not “forever”, even the Romans demonstrated that they will burn (or decay with heat). However a diamond is likely the oldest thing you will ever own, probably 3 billion years in age, fully two thirds the age of the Earth. Diamonds are carbon crystals that form deep within the Earth under high temperatures and extreme pressures. For instance when as part of “plate tectonics” an ocean floor slides beneath the earth’s crust and into the mantle, entrapped organic carbon may eventually become diamond. They are created at depths generally more than 150 kilometers down into the mantle. Diamonds are brought back to the surface in a rare form of molten rock (or magma), that originates at great depths, which rises and erupts in small but violent volcanoes. When cooled, just beneath such volcanoes is a carrot-shaped "pipe" filled with volcanic rock, mantle fragments, and embedded diamonds. Diamonds also form as a result of the immense pressures created by meteor impacts. Meteorites also experience impacts themselves and can contain diamonds. And the most ancient meteorite material contains star dust, the remnants of the death of stars. Some of this star dust are very small diamonds and are older than the solar system itself. New studies indicate that they formed more than 5 billion years ago in flashes of radiation from dying red-giant stars into surrounding clouds of methane-rich gas [AncientGifts]. Russian Diamonds: It is believed that the first Russian diamonds were found by a boy on June 22, 1829, at the Biszer Gold Washings, of the Countess Porlier, about 160 miles to the west of the town of Perm, Russia. Just at that time Humboldt was exploring the Urals, and his companions are said to have found diamonds at the above mentioned locality. The Krestovosdvigensk gold workings acquired some reputation for its diamonds, and a portion was at one time worked exclusively for these stones. However diamond finds in Russia remained very rare. However at the conclusion of World War Two, for Russia (which had evolved into the Soviet Union), diamonds in the postwar years were a strategic objective of the highest priority, critical for many industrial applications. When the Cold War began in 1947, the Soviet Union had no secure source of industrial diamonds. It was entirely dependent on the De Beers cartel for the diamond drilling stones it needed in order to explore for oil and gas, the diamond die stones it needed to produce precision parts and draw out fine wire, and the diamond abrasives it needed to grind machine tools and armaments. Without a continuous supply of these industrial diamonds, it would be impossible for it to rebuild its war-wrecked economy-or to effectively rearm its military machine. Stalin, fully realizing that his crucial supply of diamonds could be cut off at any moment by an embargo, demanded that Russian geologists and scientists develop a more dependable source of diamonds. The best hope to achieve this ambition was a vast program involved the systematic prospecting of the vast unexplored regions of Soviet Siberia, to seek out the type of volcanic vent pipes which had produced the rich supplies of diamonds in South Africa. The search for diamonds focused on the Siberian plateau in Yakutia Province that lay between the Lena and Yenisei rivers, which Russian geologists concluded resembled geologically the "shield" of South Africa. Both formations had remained stable for cons of geological time, and neither had been deformed or "folded" by convolutions of the earth. Since kimberlite pipes had been found on the South African shield, Russian geologists theorized that they might also exist in this Yakutian shield. It took eight years of massive efforts to finally realize this goal, in 1955. More pipes were later discovered on the very edge of the Arctic Circle. To service these mines in the "pole of cold," as this region is called by the Russians, the Russians erected an entirely new city, Aikhal. In early 1962, the Soviet Union agreed to sell virtually all of its uncut gem-grade diamonds to the De Beers Cartel. Within a few years, diamond production was nearly ten million carats a year, and the Soviet Union exported some two million carats as gems. By 1976 production soared to 16 million carats. Today, most commercially viable diamond deposits in the world are located in Russia (mostly in Sakha Republic, for example Mir pipe and Udachnaya pipe); as well as in Botswana, Australia (Northern and Western Australia) and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2005, Russia produced almost one-fifth of the global diamond output [AncientGifts]. Alexandrite: Alexandrite is known as a "color change" gemstone. It is emerald green in daylight or under fluorescent lighting, and a purplish red or blue under incandescent lighting, candlelight, or twilight. It belongs to the chrysoberyl family of gems, and one of the most extraordinary types is a cats-eye variety of alexandrite, possessing a remarkably prominent "cat's eye". Most sources credit the discovery of this very unique gemstone to the year 1830 on the birthday of Prince (and ultimately Czar) Alexander II in the Ural Mountains of Russia, near the city of Yekaterinburg. In celebration of Prince Alexander's coming-of-age, this remarkable gemstone was named after him. Alexandrite was popular in Imperial Russia both with the royal family and the wealthy elite, both because of its association with the Czar, and because red and green were the colors of the Russian Empire (and its flag). However this most rare stone did not bring to Alexander the good fortune it is now generally associated with. Upon ascending to the throne of Russia, Alexander II began long-awaited reforms, including abolishing serfdom, a deed that earned him the name of “The Liberator”. But a terrorist’s bomb ended his life. In memoriam of the monarch who passed away so prematurely, many people in Russia started to wear alexandrite jewelry. It was considered to be the symbol of loyalty to the throne and compassion towards the victims of the revolutionary terror, but at the same time, it said a lot about the owner’s fortune and social position. Even in those times, it was quite difficult to buy an alexandrite ring. According to Leskov, “there were people who made quite an effort to find an alexandrite, and more often, they failed than succeeded.” Alexandrite is well known to be an extremely scarce and very costly gem. The quality of color change with different illumination is the primary basis for its quality and price. According to the Gemstone Institute of America (“GIA”), no more than one person out of 100,000 has ever seen a natural alexandrite gemstone, although synthetic alexandrite is common and widely available. It is likely that if you read the fine print of 99% of the Alexandrite offered at retail jewelers, you will find it to be "laboratory produced" - synthetic. If there is a huge color change from a very intense green to a very intense red/purple, you can be 99.9% sure that both the color change and the gemstone itself is synthetic. The shift in color of natural gemstones is generally much more subtle. Kind of like the difference in taste between fruit juice and Kool-Aide. One is subtle and natural, the other brassy and synthetic. However even as an artificially grown stone, alexandrite often commands a retail price of $300.00 to $500.00 per carat. Of course, alexandrite can be found in Russian jewelry of the imperial era, as it was well loved by the Russian master jewelers. Master gemologist George Kunz of Tiffany was a fan of alexandrite, and the company produced many rings featuring fine alexandrite in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including some set in platinum from the twenties. Some Victorian jewelry from England featured sets of small alexandrite. However the original source in Russia's Ural Mountains has long since closed after producing for only a few decades, and only a few stones can be found on the Russian market today. In the past few decades some very small deposits of alexandrite have been discovered in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, India, and Mozambique. However the Brazilian gemstones tend to have washed out colors when cut, and the African and Celanese sources produce very dark, not brightly colored gemstones. The alexandrite from India tends to be very low quality, with limited color change. The cut alexandrite originating from Russia is usually "harvested" from vintage jewelry. For over a century this source of "recycled" gemstones from Russia was the only source of Alexandrite, and for many years, alexandrite was almost impossible to find because there was so little available. Russian Alexandrite remains elusive. A few specimens are still found from time-to-time in the Ural Mountains of Russia, and are sometimes available as an unset stone, but it is extremely rare in fine qualities. Stones over 5 carats are almost unknown, though the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., owns a 66 carat specimen, which is believed to be the largest cut alexandrite in existence. The colors within alexandrite are due to trace amounts of the mineral impurities iron, titanium, and chromium (and rarely vanadium is also present). As is the case with emerald, the chromium element both giveth and taketh away. While chromium is responsible both for the green color as well as the color change characteristics of alexandrite, chromium also causes alexandrite (like emerald and ruby) to be characterized by fissures and fractures within the gemstone. Just as emerald is treated under high pressure with oil, in recent years newly-mined alexandrite has oftentimes similarly treated under high pressure with a fluxing agent such as resin, wax, or borax. The tiny crevasses and fractures are then filled with this material under high pressure, and the treatment is generally very difficult to detect outside of the laboratory. However whereas emerald (and ruby) are routinely treated, alexandrite is only occasionally (and only recently) afforded such treatment. The treatment is a recent development, and was not used on gemstones produced in the nineteenth century. In Russia alexandrite is thought to bring luck, good fortune and love, and also to allow the wearer to foresee danger. It is also believed to encourage romance, and to strengthen intuition, creativity, and imagination. Alexandrite is also believed to be beneficial in the treatment of leukemia. On the metaphysical plane, alexandrite is believed useful in reinforcing one's self esteem and balancing positive and negative energy [AncientGifts]. Diopside: Gemstone quality diopside is generally found in two varieties, black star diopside and chrome diopside (called “chrome” because trace amounts of the element chromium give chrome diopside its characteristic, rich green color). Star diopside is black or brown in color and is so named because it contains needle-like inclusions that reflects back light and produces a four-ray star on the surface known as an “asterism”, such as that found in star sapphire or star ruby. The gemstone is very abundant in India. Chrome diopside is the only transparent variety of diopside, and the only variety of diopside commonly considered “gemstone grade”. It is most often simply referred to as “diopside” in the trade, rather than “chrome diopside”. Chrome diopside gemstones are very brilliant, with a lot of sparkle, due to very high refractive index, which is double that of the precious gemstone emerald. There are two other types of diopside which though generally not used in jewelry (as they are opaque) are considered “collectible” stones. There’s a purple type of diopside known as “violane” which is typically found in Italy. Then here is a light, yellow-green stone known as “tashmarine diopside” which is found in Uzbekistan. Diopside derives its name from the Greek “dis”, meaning "two kinds"; and opsis, meaning “faces”, or “appearances” (or “opinions”). Taken together it literally means that diopside has “two kinds of vision” or “two opinions”, or a “double appearance”. It is so named because when viewed from one side it exhibits one color, while from another side it appears differently. This phenomenon is known as “pleochroism”. Chrome diopside is a very beautiful, sparkling gemstone, but due to the limited quantities in which it is produced has been overlooked for many years by the mainstream jewelry industry. There’s simply not enough supply to make it a worthwhile promotional project, and it is quite difficult to procure this stone. The area of Northern Siberia it is mined from is so rugged, and the winters so long and bitter, that it only can be produced a few months of each year. Gemstones with an attractive pure green color are generally rare and very costly. Emerald is of course the most valuable and popular green gemstone. Tsavorite garnet and chrome tourmaline also have a rich green color but they are increasingly difficult to find and have become relatively expensive as a result. Chrome diopside, every bit as beautiful as chrome tourmaline or tsavorite garnet, is found in commercially viable quantities only in the Russian Ural Mountains of Siberia. Given the significance and prominence of this source, it is not surprising perhaps to learn that a chrome diopside gemstone may be found on the ceremonial, official “mace”, emblematic of the authority of the Ukrainian President. Other minor sources of chrome diopside include Australia (including Tasmania), Austria, Antarctica, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Greece (Macedonia), Outokumpu in Finland, Japan, Norway, Poland, North Korea, Switzerland’s and Italy’s Alps, Slovakia, France, Germany, Finland, Italy (Mount Vesuvius), Madagascar, South Africa, Kenya, and the United States. Diopside gemstones were certainly used in the ancient world, and have on occasion been uncovered by archaeologists, however few records exist as diopside was not identified as such, and was likely confused with other gemstones such as emerald. There was a tendency for all green gemstones in the ancient world to be identified as “emerald”. This tendency even persisted through the Renaissance. When “chrome tourmaline”, a similarly colored green gemstone was discovered in the seventeenth century by German miners in Brazil, it was enthusiastically received in Europe as “Brazilian Emerald”. Many years passed before it was realized that the “emerald” from Brazil was not, in fact, emerald. You can imagine with so many sources within what was the classical world (Italy’s Mount Vesuvius, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Macedonian Greece, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, etc.), chrome diopside must have been known in the ancient world, even if not widely. So it is almost certain that chrome diopside, though known in the ancient world, must have been misidentified with emerald. Most sources record that the first (“ever”) discovery of chrome diopside was in Siberia, Russia in 1988. Actually, those commonly perceived “facts” are wrong on both accounts. Chrome diopside was not first discovered in Siberia, Russia; and when it was discovered in Siberia, it was actually much earlier than 1988. First, even Russian sources acknowledge that when chrome diopside was discovered in Siberia, it had already been discovered centuries earlier. Even according to (other) Russian sources, chrome diopside was first found in Italy at the River Ala in the Mussa Valley. The gemstone was known to the Italians as “alalit” (referring to the “Ala” River), or “mussit” (referring to the Mussa Valley or the Italian “Mussa” Alps). There are published references to both mussit and alalit in European sources dating at least as far back as the 1700’s. There are also references to the same gemstone, chrome diopside, as “baikalit”, so named for another source known hundreds of years ago, also in Siberia, Russia, near Lake Baikal (and thus the gemstone was named “baikalit”). And there’s yet another source referred to in European literature of the 1700’s known as “malacolit”, which was found in Finland. So chrome diopside was not new even to Russians when the deposits presently the source of the majority of the world’s gemstone quality material was discovered in the twentieth century. It had been known centuries before from deposits around Lake Baikal. And even when the present production source was discovered, it was actually discovered well before 1988. It was actually discovered in 1968 by one “Anatoli Mihalovich Korchagin”, who analyzed the gemstone and published his findings as part of his doctoral dissertation within Russia. Mining of the gemstone actually started in 1972, however descriptions of the discovery were not published internationally until 1988, and it was in 1988 that chrome diopside was “discovered” by sources in Western Europe and America. However it was in 1968 when the gemstone was discovered near the city of Aldan, on the Inagli River, and so the gemstone is oftentimes referred to in Russian Literature as “inaglit”. In Russia it is more frequently referred to as “Siberian Emerald” or “Yakutsk Emerald” (oftentimes incompletely spelled as “Yakut Emerald” in English-language publications). Recently some Russian producers are trying to use a more marketable name for chrome diopside, now calling it “vertelite”, after the Greek “vert” (for green) and “lite” (for stone). Nonetheless chrome diopside is most commonly referred to as “Yakutsk Emerald” in Russia, so named as the city of Yakutsk is the nearest major city in relation to the source of the gemstone, and it is into that city that the rough crystals are transported after being mined. Yakutsk is the capital city of the Sakha Republic of Russia, located about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Yakutsk is a major port on the Lena River. It is actually best known as being a major supplier of Siberian diamonds. Yakutsk was founded as a fort in 1632, and in 1639 it became the center of the province. Yakutsk is one of the destinations of the Siberian Lena Highway. The city's connection to the highway is only accessible by ferry in the summer, or in the dead of winter, directly over the frozen Lena River, as Yakutsk lies entirely on its western bank, and there is no bridge anywhere in the Sakha Republic that crosses the Lena. The river is impassable for long periods of the year when it is full of loose ice, or when the ice cover is not sufficiently thick to support traffic, or when the water level is high and the river turbulent with spring flooding. Under what name chrome diopside was known in the ancient world is indeterminable. It was likely misidentified as emerald. It is almost certain that chrome diopside was known in the ancient world, particularly considering that the sources of the gemstone include Mount Vesuvius, the famous volcano which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. Found also in Macedonian Greece, nonetheless chrome diopside was not identified in ancient literature, at least by a name which we would recognize as referring specifically to chrome diopside. So history is silent as to how transparent chrome diopside crystals may have been used for healing or for mystic or shamanic purposes. However it is possible that the beliefs which modern practitioners hold pertaining to diopside crystals may reflect more ancient beliefs. It is common for such beliefs to be carried forward in folklore. It’s perhaps of particular relevance to examine Russian folklore pertaining to the gemstone’s attributes and history. According to Russian folklore, “once upon a time”, a long time ago, a god was flying above Yakutsk (the North Ural Mountains) during a blizzard. The blizzard was so cold that the god’s hands became frozen, causing him to drop a bag of gemstones which fell over the Siberian mountains and tundra. The gemstones of course were chrome diopside. In Russian folk medicine, wearing chrome diopside as an amulet is believed to prepare the body for heavy medications, predisposing the body to absorb the medications more completely and without side effects. It is also believed that worn near the heart as a pendant, chrome diopside is very good for relieving stress, but it is cautioned that if worn too frequently, it will relieve stress to the point where the opposite occurs, the wearer is so relaxed they slip into listlessness and then emotional depression. In Russia chrome diopside is also credited with bringing overall good health to the wearer, and is regarded as useful for relieving tired eyes. Metaphysically it is said to bestow the wearer with a feeling of freedom and hopefulness. There are even specific prescriptions for the wearing of chrome diopside in the folklore of Russia. Worn on the left hand, set into silver, it is said to be an aid to preventing or recovering from diseases involving the lungs and respiratory system. Worn on the right hand and set in gold, it is said to have a beneficial effect on stomach and digestive disorders. Finally, when worn on the left hand, it is said to engender a more appealing personality for the wearer, and is so recommended to wear on dates and on job interviews. Though there is not a great deal of literature in American sources pertaining to the medicinal and metaphysical uses for “crystal healing” using chrome diopside, there are some contemporary sources suggest that chrome diopside will aid in the development of the intellectual and analytical skills of the wearer, and to enhance mental clarity. It also said to provide protection from evil and bad memories. Meditation with diopside is said to unlock the secrets of the wearers mind and to help them better understand their innermost self. It is also said to be a helpful stone for magicians and spiritual seekers, revealing the mysterious magic and sacred power of everyday people, places and things that might otherwise be overlooked. It is also said to benefit some sufferers of chronic diseases of respiratory and circulatory systems, and is also said to benefit wearers of the gemstone by cleansing their organs [AncientGifts]. Fluorite: The ancient Egyptians were probably the first to use fluorite as a gemstone, both in the carving of statues as well as in the production of scarab amulets. The ancient Chinese also employed fluorite for gemstone carvings. There are many mentions of fluorite in ancient Roman texts. Pliny the Elder, the ancient first century Roman naturalist and historian, wrote of fluorite in 77 A.D. in his encyclopedia of natural history. Pliny describes fluorite as one of the world’s most precious gemstones, and describes its healing and magical properties. Pliny also relates an account of a particularly fine fluorite gemstone which was purchased by the Roman Emperor Nero (for the equivalent of about $250,000 in today’s dollars). Ancient Roman sources also relate other mentions of fluorite, including six valuable vases taken by the Roman Emperor Augustus from the pharaoh’s palace in Alexandria, Egypt. Roman sources also tell of an even earlier incident where Julius Caesar’s predecessor “Pompey the Great” took six fluorite vases from Mithridates' treasure and installed them in the temple of Jupiter. There are also descriptions in Roman literature attesting to the “fact” that drinking alcoholic beverages from vessels carved of fluorite kept the drinker from becoming intoxicated. Recent archaeological excavations in the ruins of Pompeii have uncovered artifacts of carved fluorite. In America archeologists discovered a figurine carved of fluorite from the Mississippi Mound builders era, dating between 900 and 1650 A.D. The name fluorite is derived from the Latin “fluo” or “fluere”, meaning “to flow”, in reference to its industrial use as flux in the smelting of metallic ores (written records describing such use date back to 1530 A.D.). Some of the more significant sources of fluorite in the ancient world included mines in Bavaria (and elsewhere in Germany), Bohemia, Austria, Italy, Norway, Spain, Hungary, Switzerland, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Canada, Mexico, and some very popular and valuable multi-colored banded deposits in Castledon, Derbyshire, England. These deposits yielded fluorite known as “Derbyshire Blue John”, beautiful purple-blue and yellow fluorite which was used for ornamental purposes. The deposits of “Blue John” fluorite were mined by the Romans after the conquest of Britain, and then continued to be extensively mined up until the nineteenth century when the deposits were exhausted (though a few hundred pounds a year are still produced). The name “Blue John” derives from French "bleu et jaune" (blue and yellow) characterizing its color. It is now scarce, and only a few hundred kilograms are mined each year for use in jewelry production. In previous centuries miners in Saxony called this gemstone “ertsblaume”, or "ore flower", because its presence often indicated the proximity of more valuable gemstones. Green fluorite was also known in centuries past as "Transvaal" or "South African" emerald. Fluorite (also called “fluorspar”) is a mineral with a veritable bouquet of brilliant colors ranging from purple and blue through green, yellow, pink and reddish orange, deservedly reputed as “the most colorful mineral in the world”. It is also prized for its glassy luster. Most specimens of fluorite have a single color, but a significant percentage of fluorite gemstones have multiple colors, and the colors are arranged in bands or zones that correspond to the shapes of fluorite's crystals. To top it all off, fluorite is frequently fluorescent, phosphorescent, and even luminescent (will change color when warmed, sometimes even merely by being held). In fact the term “fluorescent” as in fluorescent light tubes is derived from the name “fluorite”. Fluorite lenses are also used in telescopes, microscopes, and cameras. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In the ancient world it was believed that fluorite was crystallized light, and as such, could bring light into the brain (enlightenment). Ancient peoples also believed that fluorite would provide protection to the wearer traveling dangerous paths or roads. Some ancient cultures believed that fluorite deposits were the “home” of rainbows when they were not found in the sky; that (given their brilliant color banding), rainbows sprang from the ground (or terminated in the ground) wherever fluorite deposits were found. In the eighteenth century, fluorite was powdered in water to relieve the symptoms of kidney disease. In the contemporary world, fluorite is used medicinally in the treatment of bones, teeth (the source of fluoridation in drinking water), and is utilized in the human body’s cell structure. It also has been used to assist in the prevention and repair of RNA and DNA damage, and is also believed by some homeopaths to be effective in the treatment of stomach ulcers, “heartburn”, acid reflux, liver disorders, high cholesterol, colds, headaches, flu, viral infections, spinal injuries, arthritis, ear, nose and throat disorders, and respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, emphysema, pleurisy, and pneumonia. It is also said to rekindle sexual appetite, and is also said to enhance the immune system, and laid upon flesh, it is claimed that it will absorb pain from the region upon which it is laid. Spiritualists purport that fluorite can be used as a scrying (viewing the future) tool by viewing a candle flame through the stone, and also can aid in visions of past lives and astral travel. It is also said to eliminate the discord that causes infection and disease. This mineral's energy is purported to help the evolution of harmonious, peaceful and organized spiritual growth, as well as to aid in balancing hormones in women. Fluorite is also believed to not only balance and focus positive energies but to absorb, alter, and release negative energies. It has been said to help clear the mind and heighten mental achievement while increasing the ability to concentrate and enhancing meditation. Also, that it helps one to see the truth behind illusion, enable dispassionate decisions and considerations, and enhance the wearer’s intuition. Fluorite is also believed to strengthen the wearer’s analytical and creative abilities, as well as enhance their ability to concentrate, enabling the wearer and grasp higher, more abstract concepts. Some sources say that Fluorite lessens the wearer’s fear of failure while also boosting self confidence and belief in their abilities. Fluorite is also believed to foster objectivity, truth, harmony, and attract wealth and abundance. Last it is believed effective in treating emotional disorders such as substance abuse (detoxification), anxiety, insomnia, disorganization, disruptive behavior, desperation, depressions, and anger. Purple fluorite in particular is said to increase psychic awareness, green fluorite to aid in spiritual healing, blue fluorite to empower the wearer with clear, concise communicative skills, and yellow fluorite to enhance creativity and intellect [AncientGifts]. Aquamarine: Aquamarine is a variety of the mineral beryl, as is emerald. It can be found in blue, blue-green, and green; though the blue color is by far the most valuable. The origin of the name "aquamarine" is Latin; "aqua", for water; "mare", for sea. Ancient Greeks believed Aquamarine held the essence and spirit of the sea. Wearing this stone as a talisman was believed to protect from adversities at sea, prevent sea sickness, and promote courage and a strong will, and to quicken the intellect. Ancient Greek jewelers made extensive use of aquamarine, which came to them via Arabian camel caravan and ocean-going Mediterranean galleys. The Romans also made extensive use of aquamarine in their jewelry. The ancient Romans believed aquamarine would bring victory in battles and legal disputes, and could render soldiers invincible. Roman bridegrooms gave the aquamarine as a wedding gift to their brides the morning after the consummation of the marriage, believing that the stone absorbed the atmosphere of young love, and that it was also effective in reawakening the love of married couples, and that wearing aquamarine would bring a happy marriage, bringing the woman joy and wealth. According to Roman literature of the time, “when blessed and worn, aquamarine joins in love, and does great things.” The ancient (first century A.D.) Roman Naturalist and Historian Pliny wrote of aquamarine, “the lovely aquamarine, which seems to have come from some mermaid’s treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied.” In addition ancient Romans believed that if the figure of a frog was carved onto an aquamarine it would help to reconcile enemies and make them friends. The ancient Romans regarded aquamarine as sacred to Neptune, the god of the sea (“Poseidon” to the ancient Greeks), having fallen from the jewel boxes of sirens (mermaids) and washed onto shore (and of course aquamarine was also associated with the planet Neptune as well). So in addition to jewelry presented by bridegroom to bride, Roman mariners, fishermen, and those traveling over the sea wore aquamarine talismans, engraved with the likeness of Neptune on his chariot (or with trident in hand or in the company of a dolphin), as protection against dangers at sea such as storms, sea monsters, etc. Greek mariners of course did the same, but Neptune was known to them as “Poseidon”. Ancient Egyptian Mariners shared similar beliefs. Ancient fishermen believed that in addition to protecting them from the perils of sea, an aquamarine talisman would also increase the size of their catch. The ancient Romans believed aquamarine also had medicinal uses as well, regarded as useful in curing illnesses of the stomach, liver, jaws and throat (including coughing, hiccups, and toothaches). The association with water led to the belief that aquamarine was particularly powerful when immersed. In fact, immersing the aquamarine gemstone in water and then allowing it to soak up sunshine was believed to greatly magnify the strength of the gemstone. The medicinal attributes of aquamarine were first recorded by the Latin Historian Damigeron in the second century B.C. “This stone is good besides for damage to the eyes, and for all sickness, if it is put in water and given as a drink.” Pliny also listed the stone in his treatise “Natural History” as an excellent cure for eye diseases. The eye was supposed to be washed in water in which an aquamarine was immersed. To cure serious eye ailments, it was recommended to place the powder of the gem in the eyes each morning. Ancient Roman accounts recorded that the Emperor Nero used aquamarine as an eyeglass. Far-fetched as that may seem, in Germany at one time aquamarine was used to produce eyeglasses to correct shortsightedness. In fact, the German name for eyeglasses, “brille”, is derived from the German name for the mineral, beryl (aquamarine is a variety of beryl). Water in which aquamarine had been submerged was used in throughout the ancient world to heal a variety of illnesses of the heart, liver, stomach, kidneys, and mouth. The gem was also credited with curing belching and yawning and was considered especially effective for curing ailments of the jaws including toothaches. When worn as an amulet, it was believed to bring relief of pain and to make the wearer friendlier, quicken the intellect and cure laziness. The ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, and Hebrews all also valued aquamarine greatly. It was a regarded as a symbol of happiness and everlasting youth. Aquamarine was also used in ceremonies in the belief that it would bring rain when needed, or visit drought upon enemies. The first written descriptions of aquamarine date back to the fourth century B.C., and aquamarine amulets have been unearthed by archaeologists dating back to 500 B.C. There was also mention of aquamarine in the Bible as one of the foundations of the post-apocalyptic New Jerusalem, as well as being described as one of the twelve stones in the breastplate of Aaron, the High Priest, representing the twelve tribes of ancient Israel. To Christians from the earliest times through the Medieval era aquamarine was identified with the Apostle St. Thomas, and symbolized harmony, happiness, innocence, youthfulness, purity, moderation and control of the passion. Ancient Christians also wore aquamarine for its amuletic properties, believed to help protect against evil and conquer wickedness, and also to ward off Satan. In the Middle Ages aquamarine was also believed to give the wearer insight and foresight. And if a person held an aquamarine in his mouth, it was said that he could call a devil from hell and receive answers to any questions he might ask. During the Middle Ages the use of aquamarine as an antidote for poison was widespread throughout Europe. William Langland’s “The Vision Concerning Piers and the Plowman,” written in 1377 A.D., mentions the aquamarine as an antidote for poison. Because royal successions were so often hastened and brought forward by the poisoning of the reigning monarch, aquamarine was in great demand and fetched enormous prices. As an antidote to poisoning it was not necessary to pulverize the stone, as it was with other gemstones. Simply wearing the stone as a pendant or in a ring was believed just as effective. Wearing the gemstone as a talisman was also believed to protect against evil spirits. Writers of the Middle Ages also claimed aquamarine was the most popular and effective of the “oracle” crystals. When cut as a crystal ball, it was thought to be a superior stone for fortune telling. Many methods of using the stone as a divining tool were described in ancient literature. Aquamarine’s powers of revelation were also said to help one in search for lost or hidden things. It was also believed that an aquamarine gemstone’s powers could be “recharged” and the color deepened by allowing it to sit in the light of a full moon for one night, but only one night. Byzantine and medieval soldiers also carried aquamarine as a talisman, believing that as did the Romans before them, it rendered them invincible. In the Middle Ages aquamarine was still considered an effective remedy for problems involving visions, coughing, or toothaches; but it was also believed to relieve insomnia, melancholy, and act as a digestive aid and remedy for hearing problems. It was also believed helpful in attracting a compatible spouse, and was thought to reveal true friends versus false, by changing color. In the ancient world aquamarine was believed to provide emotional and intellectual stability and enhance the connection to higher self. It was believed to enhance one’s ability to think quickly, and to always be prepared. It was also believed to help judgmental people to be more tolerant, to help bring order to those who were overwhelmed with responsibility, and to help individuals take responsibility for their actions. Aquamarine was also believed to have a soothing influence on married couples, helping husbands and wives work out their differences and ensuring a long and happy marriage. Aquamarine was also believed to be beneficial in connection with emotional ailments such as disorientation and fear, providing a calming effect for those suffering from both spiritual and psychological disturbances, as well as those suffering from grief. Intellectually it was believed to enhance communication and mental clarity, and was also regarded conducive for meditation as it was believed to quiet the mind and facilitate communication from higher planes. Wearing aquamarine as a talisman was believed to improve the wearer’s overall sense of well-being, and to aid those for whom procrastination was problematic. As a talisman, it was also reputed to bring to the wearer courage, and provide motivation and reassurance in times of intense physical and emotional stress. It was also believed to promote the wearer’s spiritual and psychic awareness, and to bring visions of the future. Medicinally aquamarine was believed to assist in "cleansing" internal organs, to aid in digestion, and to cure sore throats, tooth aches, pain in the neck or jaw, headaches, glandular disorders (including lymph nodes), and was used to treat illnesses involving the lungs and eyes. Aquamarine was also used to treat arthritis and varicose veins. Reflecting the association between water and aquamarine, the gemstone was also believed to be an aid to fluid retention. Contemporary practitioners and astrologists hold that since aquamarine symbolizes the natural element of water, aquamarine possesses the quality and energy of cleansing and purification, and strengthens the immune system. It is also held that it is useful for treating eating disorders because of its ability to help heal the emotional problems that lie behind bulimia and anorexia. It is also claimed as useful in the treatment of post traumatic stress syndrome [AncientGifts]. Iolite: Known as the gemstone of the Vikings, Iolite is a blue-violet colored gemstone often mistaken for sapphire or tanzanite. Unknown to classical ancient Mediterranean cultures, it was used by Norse and Viking explorers to navigate. Mined from deposits in Norway and Greenland, this exceptional gemstone changes colors depending up the direction it is oriented, thus allowing crude navigator even without a fix on the sun or stars, vital in the fog-enshrouded northern Atlantic waters where the direction of the sun was otherwise impossible to discern. Iolite is usually a very richly textured purplish blue when cut properly. Called “water sapphire” by some as it is clear from one direction, light blue from another, and from the third direction, light yellow or gray. Its darkest blue-violet shade is seen when held 90 degrees from the sun. It is also believed that the Vikings would use thin slices of iolite as polarizing filters, allowing them to look directly at the sun and determine its exact location in the sky. During the Middle Ages there exist accounts that Iolite was used by shamans to help achieve a deep trance state, stimulate visions, and stimulate astral travel. In some Medieval cultures Iolite was held sacred to the Mother Goddess, and in other Medieval cultures it was held to be sacred to the Father God or King of Gods (especially the Roman deity Jupiter). The name iolite comes from the Greek ios, which means violet. In the 19th century it was known as "cordierite", after a French geologist, Pierre L. Cordier, who had “(re)discovered” the gemstone for the benefit of Western Europe. It was very popular during that century, but then drifted in obscurity. It is presently mined in Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and Brazil. The largest iolite ever discovered is a 1714 carat nodule discovered at Palmer Canyon, Wyoming, and is known as the “Palmer Canyon Blue Star”. However typically pieces of rough over 8 carats are quite uncommon, and gemstone quality faceted gemstones over 1 carat are likewise fairly uncommon. In the ancient world it was believed that iolite would help balance the various aspects of the personality, especially those characteristics within an individual considered "female" and "male". As well iolite was believed to bring harmony to interpersonal relationships, to help determine the truth, and as well to energize athletes. Iolite was also held to help purify the body of wastes. Iolite was also been used by mystics as an aid in bringing visions. In the Victorian era it was believed that wearing iolite would enhance one’s ability to manage money and avoid debt. Iolite was also used to relieve headaches, and it was believed to enhance liver function, eliminating systemic toxicity. Modern practitioners believe that iolite gives its wearers a better understanding of themselves and their special purpose, helping them find direction that has been missing in their lives. It’s also believed to help wearers "let go" of feelings of helplessness and victimization related to circumstances, gently nurturing growth and maturity. Iolite is also reputed to increase spiritual insight and help in seeing both sides of an issue more clearly. On a more practical level, iolite is presently used in the manufacture of catalytic converters [AncientGifts]. Peridot: The name “peridot” was coined by the French, but the root is from the Arabic word "faridat" meaning "gem". Due to its yellow green color it was known in the ancient world as the "gem of the sun". Peridot was mined on St. John's Island (also called “Zebirget” or “Zabargad”) in the Red Sea, 45 shark-infested miles off the coast of Aswan, Egypt, as early as 3,000 B.C. Many pieces of ancient Egyptian jewelry (some as much as 4,000 years old) featuring peridot have been uncovered by archaeologists. The first century Roman Historian and Naturalist “Pliny the Elder”, in his "Natural History" (circa 70 A.D.) mentions both the island as well as its gemstones, referring to the Red Sea Island as "Chitis". Legend has it that ancient pirates discovered peridot on Zebirget, but the island was often hidden by heavy fog and its location was lost for centuries. Another ancient legend pertaining to the island is that for thousands of years the thick fog typically enveloping the island protected the peridot from potential poachers, as if unsuspecting sailors approached, their ship would either be wrecked on a reef or captured and, either way, the crew enslaved to work in the mines so no one could go back and tell others. This barren little mound of land was one of the most heavily guarded locations of the ancient world. It is documented that the ancient Egyptians valued peridot so highly that guards stationed on the island were given orders to kill anyone approaching the shore without permission. When originally discovered, the island was known as the ‘Isle of Serpents’. Supposedly, the island was so infested with pit vipers and mining so potentially deadly that the ancient Egyptian military was given the job of eliminating the viper population. According to ancient Egyptian legend miners searched for peridot crystals at night (when their glow gave away their location; ancient Egyptians believed the "jewel of the sun" became invisible under the sun’s rays), marked the spot, then returned to dig them up in daylight. Thousands of years later during the Middle Ages, this legend had evolved into the belief that peridot only showed its true beauty after nightfall. To the ancient Egyptians, the glow of Peridot symbolized "Ra", their sun god. According to some accounts, peridot gemstones were a traditional “gift” given by the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt to their High Priests, ensuring according to one source, that the priests might "keep their minds free from envious thoughts and jealousies" concerning the pharaoh's powers and wealth. According to some ancient accounts, peridot was Cleopatra's favorite gemstone. Throughout the ancient Mediterranean peridot was believed to afford protection against the “evil eye”, that ancient belief that some evil sorcerers or witches had the ability to transmit evil with just a glance. The ancient Romans referred to peridot as “emerald of the evening”, and wore it for protection against enchantments, melancholy and illusion. There are as well Old Testament references to peridot, though the gemstone was referred to as "pitdah", typically translated as ‘chrysolite’. According to biblical accounts, a peridot was one of the twelve stones adorning the breastplate of the high priest, Aaron, the twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of ancient Israel. During the Crusades it is believed that at some point the island came under Crusader control, and the island became known as “Saint John's Island” (its previous name, “Zabargad”, is the name for peridot in the Egyptian language). Although it's not known how long the Crusaders remained in control of the island, it is clear that they did engage in mining operations, stockpiling peridot. At the end of the Crusades (after the final defeat of Crusaders forces and the capture of Acre by the Muslim Mameluks in 1291 A.D.), the Crusaders brought back to Europe large quantities of peridot. However true to form, the exact whereabouts of the island was then again lost to history, and it was not until the early twentieth century that Zebirget and the peridot mines were rediscovered. The mines were worked up until the outbreak of World War II. Mining resumed again after the conclusion of World War II, but the mines were abandoned several decades ago. In Medieval Europe many powers were ascribed to this gem, and it was worn by many as a talisman so as to gain foresight and divine inspiration. It was believed that peridot would dissolve as well as protect against the effects of enchantments and spells. To develop its full strength as a talisman, so as to enhance its potential to ward off evil spirits, peridot was set in gold or strung on donkey hair and tied around the left arm. One Medieval source (dated to about 1502 A.D.) cited the belief that using a piece of peridot upon which was carved an ass would enhance a sorcerer’s powers of prophecy, and that the engraving of a vulture onto the stone allowed control over various demonic spirits as well as the winds. Peridot brought into Europe as Crusader “booty” was also used in Medieval through Baroque Europe as an adornment for ecclesiastical treasures. A particularly significant example of such ecclesiastical treasure would be that of one of the shrines in the Cologne Cathedral (the “Treasury of the Three Magi”). Acknowledged to be the largest and most valuable piece of medieval goldsmithing in existence, the reliquary was designed by Nicholas of Verdun (actively producing from about 1150-1210 A.D.), reputed to be the greatest goldsmith of his day. The reliquary is six feet long, four and one-half feet high, and three and one-half feet wide. Containing more than one thousand precious stones and an uncounted number of pearls, among the gems are three large peridots, each more than 200 carats in size. The precious stone and jewelry collection in the Tower of London also contains large peridot gems, as does the collection at the Vatican in Rome and the Diamond Treasury in Moscow. Today peridot, also referred to not only as chrysolite, but also as “evening emerald” and olivine, is found in Norway, Germany, Russia, the Canary Islands, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Ceylon, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Australia, the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. Peridot gemstones have also been found within meteorites. The world's largest cut peridot, 319 carats, was found on Zagbargad Island. It now resides in the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C. Peridot was also found on Oahu in Hawaii. Native Hawaiians at one time believed peridot to be the tears of Pele, the Polynesian goddess of fire. Given the ancient legends that the glow from peridot only “showed” to miners at night, and that peridot gemstones only showed their true beauty at night, peridot has always been magically linked to dreams and the astral realms, and the subconscious mind. In the ancient world peridot was used by ancient shamans and sorcerers for dream magic, for undertaking mystical journeys, and encouraging astral travel. Ancient physicians prescribed powdered peridot for asthma. The stone was also believed to lessen thirst in fever when held under the tongue (particularly effective for fever victims), and was also used as a cure for liver disease and dropsy. It was also believed that medicines taken from a goblet containing peridot enhanced the medicinal value and quickened the treatment. In the medieval world physicians used peridot to treat stomach ulcers, and to facilitate the birthing process wherein it was believed to stimulate contractions and dilation. It was also believed that peridot should be worn at night (or kept under your pillow) to protect against nightmares, night hags and vampires. Wearing peridot is also said to help you keep your wits about you, especially in challenging situations, and protect you from foolishness, tactlessness and madness. Contemporary practitioners believe that peridot amulets possess magical powers which include the ability to improve the wearer’s intuition and the confidence to trust their intuitive insights (“gut feelings”). Peridot is believed to be a powerful crystal for emotional healing, able to help restore the missing or damaged fragments of a person's soul so that they can enjoy inner peace and contentment. Contemporary accounts also claim that peridot may be used to bring inspiration to poets and artists, along with the confidence and self-belief needed to realize creative dreams. Peridot is also said to be able to guide the wearer toward a happy marriage or true, loving friendships with like-minded people. Peridot has also traditionally been used to heal bruised egos, lessen anger, and prevent jealousy, and is recommend by contemporary natural healers for those who feel hurt or angry. Wearing a peridot talisman is also believed to help speech by increasing one’s eloquence, as well as to remove impediments such as stutters and other speech-related handicaps. Natural Healers believe that peridot provides a protective shield around the entire body, and is useful in treating a damaged heart or lungs, pancreas, spleen, liver, and adrenal glands. Peridot is also believed to be effective in slowing the aging process, both physically and mentally. It is also believed to help alleviate stress, and has the power to enable the wearer to understand their destiny and spiritual purpose, helping the wearer to attain their full potential [AncientGifts]. Beryl: There are many members to the beryl family, including emerald (green beryl), aquamarine (blue-green beryl), heliodore (yellow beryl), morganite (pink beryl), red beryl (bixbite), and goshenite (colorless beryl). There’s also a very rare red-pink variety of Beryl found in Russia’s Ural Mountains known as “vorobyevite”, and there are several other very uncommon beryls. Two of those varieties are darker blue colored and known as “true blue” beryl (from Canada) and Maxixe beryl (from Brazil). Yet another uncommon variety is known as riesling beryl (from Germany), best described as pale green colored with a warm, golden yellow flash. Most forms of beryl have to varying degrees been known throughout the history of mankind, but generally been identified as separate gemstones (such as emerald and aquamarine for example), and thus have unique histories. When the term “beryl” is used to describe a specific gemstone (and not a family of gemstones), it is generally meant to denote a gemstone quality beryl which is not one of the afore-mentioned named species (e.g., aquamarine, emerald, etc.), and usually in reference to green beryl, although sometimes the term “precious beryl” is used, and it is not uncommon to find some jewelers who use the simple term “beryl” to refer to heliodore (also known as “golden beryl”). Beryl's name is derived from the Greek word “beryllus” (and the Persian “belur”), the term originally used in the ancient world to describe any green stone, and only later assigned to the beryl family as we know it today. The name “beryllus” in turn was derived from the Sanskrit word veruliyam. The name “heliodore” is Greek for “gift of the sun”. Beryl was actually used as far back as the Upper Paleolithic (Late Stone Age) period (about 40,000 to 100,000 years ago) to produce cutting tools. Ancient legends state that beryl was used to ward off demons and evil spirits, to protect against psychic manipulation or “spells” cast by magicians or shamans, and that it was used as a ceremonial stone in the rites of magic, as well as (when worn as an amulet or in a ring) to protect travelers and pilgrims from danger during their journeys. Pliny the Elder, first century Roman Historian and Naturalist, recorded that powdered beryl was used by the ancient Romans to cure eye injuries and to treat disorders of the heart and spine. Beryl was also described by the fourth century B.C. Greek naturalist, physicist, and philosopher “Theophrastus” (who was a student of Plato and Socrates). An elixir of water in which beryl was dipped was used by the ancient Greeks to cure bladder infections and kidney stones. A medieval cure for asthma also involved the use of beryl, and the physicians of the Middle Ages regarded beryl as a remedy for liver disease and jaundice. The Bible even mentions beryl in the Song of Solomon, where it is said, "O daughters of Jerusalem, this is my beloved and this is my friend; his hands are as gold rings set with the beryl." Other ancient legends pertaining to beryl indicate that beryl was used in the ancient world to promote cheerfulness and marital love, to retard laziness, and maintain youthfulness. Heliodore in particular was also believed to make one sympathetic and increase sincerity. Goshenite (colorless beryl) is believed to have been the first material used in the ancient world to produce eye spectacles (and accounts for the German name for glasses, “brille”). For well over a thousand years in the ancient and medieval world colorless beryl was used as a “crystal ball”, or “scrying stone”. Beryl was renowned for its (perceived) ability to induce magical visions in the minds of receptive people. One technique used by seers was to place a beryl gemstone in a bowl of water. When sunlight was reflected from the water, the reflections were believed to produce visions. Beryl spheres were particularly popular with seers during the Middle Ages, particularly in early medieval Ireland. The mystical powers of beryl and its transparency made it a medium for seeing and predicting the future throughout much of mankind’s recorded history. Ancient populations also believed that a beryl engraved with a frog glyptograph magically possessed the power to turn opponents into friends, and when carved with a bird (according to a book published in 1685), the spirit of a deceased person could be invoked. Beryl was also used by ancient populations to bring rain during conditions of drought. Beryl is found worldwide, most notably in Argentina, Afghanistan, Russia (both in Siberia and the Urals), the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, India, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Greenland, and Brazil. The largest faceted golden beryl, 2,054 carats, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Australia and Russia both produce very high-quality light green beryl, not to be confused with emerald, although in Australia the light green beryl produced there is in fact often referred to as “Australian Emerald” (though it is not actually emerald). In the ancient world it was believed that beryl could bring the wearer eternal youthfulness, and it was also used as a remedy for nausea, obesity, ulcers and seasickness. It was also believed to strengthen the wearer’s memory, and to stimulate innovative ideas. In the ancient East beryl was conduct life-giving energy into the body, and was also known as the “composure” stone, believed to help wearers maintain good spirits. Present-day practitioners of alternative medicine believe that beryl helps strengthen the circulatory and pulmonary systems, making them more resistant to toxins and pollutants, and that beryl is also helpful to the eyes, throat, for curing gynecological disorders, and useful in easing a stressed mental state, and can even be used as a sedative. It is also believed to enhance the function of the kidney and liver. Present-day mystics believe, as did the magi of the ancient world, that beryl remains the best stone available for crystal gazing. A mirror of polished beryl is said to be able to reveal other people's secrets, no matter how well hidden or private they are. Beryl is also believed by present-day practitioners to make the idle industrious, to increase the wearer’s energy levels, determination and motivation, particularly when the wearer is required to tackle boring, repetitive, or time-consuming work. The stone is also reputed to quicken the wit and sharpen intellectual skills. It is believed that wearing beryl while reading or studying will ensure that the information is understood and remembered [AncientGifts]. Bixbite: Bixbite is the orange-red to purple-red variety of beryl. The most valuable bixbite is that with a deep "raspberry" red color. Bixbite's color is permanent and impervious to heat or light. The red color of Bixbite is thought to be due to the element manganese substituting for aluminum in the beryl structure. Bixbite crystal are generally very small, and as a result the average faceted bixbite gemstone is only about 0.15 carat. Rarely are stones cut larger than 1 carat. Maynard Bixby discovered the original red beryl deposit in 1897 in the Thomas Mountain range of Juab County in western Utah. Since then only two other locations have been confirmed to possess red beryl deposits; the Wah Wah Mountains of Beaver County, Utah, and the Black Mountain range in New Mexico [AncientGifts]. Heliodor: The term “heliodor” is used to describe a golden, yellow, or yellow-green beryl, though there is some debate regarding whether “heliodor” and “golden beryl” are terms which can be used interchangeably to describe the same gemstone, or if they are different gemstones; and if so, how they differ. Iron and uranium together are also responsible for the fresh, stimulating yellow, golden, and yellow-green color of heliodor. The name “heliodore” is Greek for “gift of the sun”. The ancient Greeks believed the sun to be a fiery chariot driven by the God Helios, and drawn by four fiery horses across the sky each day. At night Helios joined his sisters Selena (the Goddess of Night) and Eos (Goddess f the Dawn). Heliodor is mined in Brazil, Namibia, Madagascar, the USA, Russia (in the Ural Mountains), and the Ukraine. The largest faceted golden beryl, 2,054 carats, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. [AncientGifts]. Morganite: Pink beryl is known in Russia as pink emerald – which is an apt description as emerald is beryl – as the only difference between them is that pink beryl is colored by manganese impurities; whereas other varieties of beryl are colored blue to green by impurities of iron (aquamarine), chromium (emerald), and vanadium (green beryl). For those few Americans who have never heard of pink beryl, they might know it better as “Morganite”, so named for the gemstone collector and capitalist J. P. Morgan. Just when exactly pink beryl (or if you prefer, “pink emerald” or “Morganite”) was first discovered is a source of contention. An American gemologist by the name of George Kunz is officially credited with the first “discovery” of pink beryl in California, and subsequently named it “Morganite” in 1911 for the financier and gemstone collector extraordinaire J.P. Morgan. Pink beryl was also discovered “for the first time” (probably about the fifth time, actually) in Madagascar in 1908. Even the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is confused, claiming that pink beryl was “first” discovered in the early 1900’s nearby (in California)…while at the same time displaying a large pink beryl which was donated to the museum in 1888. In Europe, pink beryl has been produced from Elba Island, Italy, since the 1880’s. Pink beryl was also produced from deposits in Siberia since the 1800’s as well, though it is not certain when it is first claimed to have been discovered or produced. In any event there are no ancient beliefs pertaining to the medicinal or metaphysical uses of the stone. But in the past century practitioners have postulated that pink beryl, like its cousin aquamarine, provides relief from stress, helping wearers to maintain a positive attitude during times of crisis. It is also believed to enhance attributes such as patience, diligence, and communication skills. It is also believed to strengthen the bond between lovers and spouses. Like aquamarine, morganite is also believed to assist the cure of respiratory system ailments. Modern astrologers promote wearing morganite as an antidote to the chaos of modern life, suggesting that it provides peace at mind, body and soul and enhances the clarity of thoughts [AncientGifts]. SHIPPING & RETURNS/REFUNDS: We always ship books domestically (within the USA) via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). Most international orders cost an additional $17.99 to $48.99 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+). Rates vary a bit from country to country, and not all books will fit into a USPS global priority mail flat rate envelope. This book does barely fit into a flat rate envelope, but with NO padding, it will be highly susceptible to damage. We strongly recommend first class airmail, which although more expensive, would allow us to properly protect the book. 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. Please note for international purchasers we will do everything we can to minimize your liability for VAT and/or duties. But we cannot assume any responsibility or liability for whatever taxes or duties may be levied on your purchase by the country of your residence. If you don’t like the tax and duty schemes your government imposes, please complain to them. We have no ability to influence or moderate your country’s tax/duty schemes. 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 eBay payment processing fees. Please note that eBay does NOT refund payment processing fees. Even if you “accidentally” purchase something and then cancel the purchase before it is shipped, eBay will not refund their processing fees. So all refunds for any reason, without exception, do not include eBay payment processing fees (typically between 5% and 15%) and shipping/insurance costs (if any). If you’re unhappy with eBay’s “no fee refund” policy, and we are EXTREMELY unhappy, please voice your displeasure by contacting eBay. We have no ability to influence, modify or waive 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. Condition: New, Format: Oversized Hardcover with dustjacket, Length: 360 pages, Dimensions: 11 x 9 x 1 inches, 3½ pounds, Publisher: DK Smithsonian (2007)

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