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Rare 19thc Antique 1/3ct Russian Imperial Topaz Ancient Roman God Apollo Jupiter For Sale
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SIZE: Length: 5mm. Width: 3mm. Depth: 3mm. All measurements approximate.
WEIGHT: 0.30 carats.
NOTES: Upon request we can set your gemstones as a ring, pendant, or as earrings (click here for more information).
DETAIL: In Rome and the Early Medieval world, topaz was associated with Apollo and Jupiter (Zeus to the ancient Greeks), as Topaz was associated with the sun, and both Apollo and Jupiter were solar deities. Both Julius Caesar and his heir Octavian Augustus held Apollo in special reverence. Augustus credited Apollo with his victory of Marc Antony, and erected a magnificent temple to Apollo at Actium overlooking the site of the famous naval battle, as well as an even grander temple on the Palatine in Rome. In the Middle Ages it was believed that a topaz mounted in gold and worn around the neck would dispel enchantments and ward off death. Topaz was also used to treat medical ailments. Topaz powdered and drunk in wine was believed to cure asthma, insomnia, burns and hemorrhages.
Here's a gorgeous, richly colored honey-yellow natural "imperial" topaz from the Ural Mountains of Russia. Gorgeous, vibrant, vivid and richly hued this striking semi-precious gemstone is of exceptionally high quality and possesses breathtaking luster. Certainly flawless to the eye, even at magnification here in the accompanying photo enlargements it is extremely difficult to detect any blemishes. The gemstone was hand crafted into a sparkling faceted oval full of flashes of fiery brilliance by a 19th century Russian artisan. Czarist Russia was of course known throughout the Renaissance and Victorian worlds for its elaborate and costly jewelry. Russian Imperial Topaz, also known as "precious topaz", is a very rare naturally colored gemstone, the most costly variety of topaz. The color ranges from yellow to orange, pink and peach to purple, and occasionally even red. Most pink imperial topaz is produced by heating yellow or orange imperial topaz.<
Discovered in the 19th century in the Ural Mountains of Russia, together with alexandrite, it was mined and produced exclusively for the royal family. By imperial decree only the Czars of Russia were permitted to own or to gift this rare gemstone. With the revolution in 1917 came a total export ban on imperial topaz - it was not until post-Soviet Russia that a small amount of imperial topaz was exported from Russia in the 1990's. By the year 2000, the mines were played out and abandoned. Today imperial topaz is mined in Brazil, and some very small quantities in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Even the imperial topaz mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan is expensive - prices of $1,000 per carat are not unusual. But Russia Imperial Topaz is gone, available in limited quantities here and there, typically in the form of antique gemstones.
Though the Southern Ural Mountains of Russia have been producing topaz for centuries, this remains nonetheless a rare and uncommon gemstone. Under magnification the gemstone shows the unmistakable characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the 19th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, most serious collectors consider such gemstones more desirable, possessed of greater character and uniqueness when compared to today's cookie-cutter mass-produced machine-faceted gemstones. Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones that approach flawlessness in a perfect finish, the cut and finish of a handcrafted gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.
This gemstone possesses superb luster and sparkle, and to the eye is completely transparent, but one cannot say with absolute certainty that it is unconditionally flawless. True, the blemishes it possesses are not visible to the naked eye, and the gemstone can be characterized, to use trade jargon, as "eye clean". To the eye it is indeed flawless; however were one to examine it in a jeweler’s loupe, it’s almost certain that a few minute blemishes could be detected. Of course the same may said about almost any natural gemstone. An absolutely flawless gemstone simply is not the rule in nature. Most absolutely flawless gemstones will upon close examination be revealed to be synthetic. You might also notice under magnification occasional irregularities in the cut and finish. Naturally these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques prevalent did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so common today.
Keep in mind that two centuries ago mankind was more or less limited to surface deposits or near surface deposits of gemstones. Higher quality gemstones which today are routinely mined from beneath hundreds of meters, even kilometers beneath the earth's surface, were simply inaccessible then. For these reasons antique gemstones must be appreciated as antiques first, gemstones second. The relatively superlative quality of contemporary gemstones routinely mined from deep beneath the earth's surface today were simply not accessible two centuries ago, or at least, only rarely so. However for most, the unique nature and character of antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for minor blemishes both within the gemstone as well as cutting/faceting irregularities in the finish, which by and large of course, are (if at all) only visible under high magnification.
HISTORY OF TOPAZ: It is believed that topaz was known during the early Bronze Age, as the mining of topaz is strongly associated with tin mining, a mineral needed to create bronze (an alloy of copper and tin). Archaeologists are certain that the people in the Middle-Eastern Bronze Age would have known about this gemstone. However the first historical descriptions of topaz were from the classical Mediterranean. The origin of topaz in the ancient Mediterranean was a small island in the Red Sea known as “Topazion”, a Greek term meaning “to guess”. In Arabic the same term means “"the subject of the search". This reflects the fact that the island was typically obscured by fog, making it difficult for early navigators to find. Typically yellow, topaz in the ancient world was held as a talisman to protect against evil and was used to treat many different physical ailments including asthma.
The Greeks and Romans greatly valued topaz as a gemstone, even believing that the gemstone would improve the wearer’s eyesight. Ancient Romans also credited topaz with preventing sickness of the chest and it was also used to treat abdominal pain. The ancient Greeks believed topaz would give great strength to whomsoever wore the stone, and was also worn as an amulet to ward off enchantment (“spells” or “curses”). The ancient Greeks also believed that wearing topaz would dispel sadness and strengthen the wearer’s intellect. There are also frequent references from ancient Greek sources which claim that wearing topaz rendered the wearer invisible.
In Rome and the Early Medieval world, topaz was associated with Apollo and/or Jupiter, as Topaz was associated with the sun, and both Jupiter and Apollo were solar deities. Both Julius Caesar and his heir Octavian Augustus held Apollo in special reverence. Augustus credited Apollo with his victory over Marc Antony, and erected a magnificent temple to Apollo at Actium overlooking the site of the famous naval battle, as well as an even grander temple on the Palatine in Rome. The gemstone was also described by the first century Roman historian and naturalist “Pliny the Elder”.
There are also many biblical references to "topaz". Topaz was one of the twelve stones selected by Aaron for his priestly breastplate, representing the twelve tribes of ancient Israel. He placed it there as the second stone in the first row of stones. Topaz is also found as one of the stones in the book of Revelations as one of the stones of the apocalypse (one of the gemstones which form the foundations of the twelve gates to the Holy City of the New Jerusalem). To ancient Christians topaz was regarded as a symbol of uprightness and virtue. In ancient Egypt the golden glow of yellow topaz symbolized "Ra", their sun god. This made topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. In ancient India topaz was regarded as a sacred gemstone. Ancient Hindus believe that worn as a pendant above the heart topaz assured long life, beauty and intelligence (and would also alleviate thirst).
In the latter Middle Ages small wine-yellow Saxonian Topaz were mined at Schneckenstein in the Erzgebirge Mountains in Saxony, Germany, and several rulers wore these specimens in jewelry. The Germans believed that the yellow topaz prevented bad dreams, calmed passions, ensured faithfulness and, when taken in wine, cured asthma and insomnia. It was also believed that the figure of a falcon engraved upon a topaz talisman would bring the wearer the goodwill and kindness of the gods. Wearing topaz in a ring was believed to lengthen one’s life and forestall death (or alternatively to prevent sudden death). Worn around the neck, topaz was also thought to cure madness. If also mounted in gold and worn around the neck, it was believed to dispel enchantments and calm nocturnal fears.
Worn as a protective talisman topaz was said to instantly lose its color to indicate that poisoned food or drink was present, thus protecting its owner. It was also believed to be an effective talisman against accidents. Topaz was also regarded as a talisman for travelers, protecting them from homesickness and danger. In the Medieval World, it was believed that wearing a topaz talisman conferred to the wearer special powers over animals. Topaz was also used by shamans and seers who believed that topaz and encouraged clairvoyance and psychic skills, and enabled the wearer to perceive the intentions and motives of the people around them. It was also believed to make men handsome and intelligent and sterile women fertile and happy. There were as well medicinal uses for topaz in the Middle Ages. Topaz was believed to be able to actually absorb the heat of a fever. Topaz was also believed to ease the inflammations, discomfort and pain associated with arthritis. However the curative powers of topaz were believed to weaken and strengthen in response to changing phases of the moon.
Topaz is found in yellow, orange, green, blue, red, and white (colorless) hues. The highest grade topaz comes from Sri Lanka and India, the Ural Mountains in Russia, Brazil, and in the U.S.; from Maine, Colorado, California, and Utah. The most popular color for topaz gemstones is light blue, and the most costly is a rich orange-yellow, resembling the color of sherry wine, known as “imperial” topaz (sometimes referred to as “precious topaz”). Sherry-colored topaz is called “imperial” topaz in honor of the Russian Tsar who owned the mining fields of topaz in the Urals Mountain range (in Siberia, Russia), and the best quality topaz were reserved for the emperor and his family. Topaz is one of the hardest minerals in nature, and for that reason, highly valued as a gemstone.
Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness and providing protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. In the ancient world topaz was thought to heal both physical and mental disorders, and to prevent death. Topaz was also believed to assure beauty, fidelity and long life. Topaz was also used to treat medical ailments. Topaz powdered and drunk in wine, cured asthma, tuberculosis, insomnia, burns and hemorrhages. The twelfth century German Prophetess/Visionary Mystic/Catholic Saint "Hildegard" had an unusual prescription for improving failing vision which involved soaking a topaz in wine, then rubbing the eyes with the gemstone and drinking the wine.
Topaz was also regarded effective against bleeding and heart disease, as well as a cure for rheumatism, gout, and soreness in the joints. Wearing topaz was believed to aid the spinal column and help steady and regulate the action of the heart. It was used to treat bleeding and believed helpful to promote health in the glandular systems of the body. It was also believed to improve eyesight. Topaz was also used in treating infections, deafness, goiter, hemorrhage, circulatory problems, digestive problems, combating anorexia, restoring the sense of taste, stimulating metabolism and more. I was regarded as especially effective in treating hemorrhoids if it were worn on the left arm. Last (but certainly not least), men were believed to become more virile when wearing topaz! On the metaphysical plane, the ancient world regarded topaz as a stone of true love and capable of attracting success in all endeavors. Topaz was believed to promote creativity and individuality, and was thought excellent for promoting concentration. It was also attributed with the power to replace negativity with love and joy, stimulating a brighter outlook on life.
Topaz was also known as the “lover of gold,” as it is used to bring wealth and money. It is traditionally known as a stone of love and good fortune, bringing successful attainment of goals. It was said to be especially effective when set in gold and bound to the left arm. When worn as an amulet, topaz drove away sadness, added intelligence and gave courage. On the emotional plane, topaz was believed to be useful for treating depression. It was believed to help people alleviate their fears, and was used to treat psychosomatic illnesses. It was regarded as useful in balancing emotions, helping those who go from one extreme to another. Topaz was also highly recommended for healing a person who was suffering from shock or trauma, and was regarded as a panacea for those whose lives contained abnormal amounts of stress or tension. In particular, blue topaz was believed extremely helpful to those who were angry. Blue topaz was regarded as possessing the power of the moon and elemental water. Blue topaz was believed effective in helping the wearer to release their anger, and to bring one’s emotional pain to the surface. Modern practitioners believe that topaz assists in general tissue regeneration and in the treatment of hemorrhages. It also believed to stimulate poor appetite and aid in the treatment of blood disorders. In India topaz is still used to treat tonsillitis, whooping cough, and mumps.
Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $7.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $7.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers.
We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs).
We travel to Russia each year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings – the gold reused – the gemstones recut and reset.
Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state – most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times. Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees – fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today.
Our interest in the fabulous history of Russian gemstones and the fabulous jewelry of the Czar’s led to further education and contacts in India, Ceylon, and Siam, other ancient centers of gemstone production and finishing. We have a number of “helpers” (family members, friends, and colleagues) in Russia and in India who act as eyes and ears for us year-round, and in reciprocity we donate a portion of our revenues to support educational institutions in Russia and India. Occasionally while in Russia, India, Siam, and Ceylon we will also find such good buys on unique contemporary gemstones and jewelry that we will purchase a few pieces to offer to our customers here in America. These are always offered clearly labeled as contemporary, and not antiques – just to avoid confusion. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging. We would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."
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Rare 19thc Antique 1/3ct Russian Imperial Topaz Ancient Roman God Apollo Jupiter: $70