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19thC Antique 80ct Nubia Jasper Ancient Egypt Amulet Pendant #59623

Cost: $ 89.99

Antique Nineteenth Century Genuine Natural Eighty Carat Hand Crafted/Polished Nubian “Picasso” Jasper Semi-Precious Gemstone.  Contemporary Sterling Silver Bail.  Handcrafted Greek Leather Cord with Sterling Silver Ends.

CLASSIFICATION: Polished Jasper Cabochon Semi-Precious Gemstone. Bail and cord are contemporary. 

ORIGIN: Nubia; 19th Century; Handcrafted in Siberian Southern Urals near Yekaterinburg.

SIZE: Length:  44mm.  Width:  41mm.  Depth (Thickness):  5mm.  Measurements approximate.

WEIGHT: 79.88 carats.

Cord: Contemporary 18 inch (45cm) handcrafted genuine Greek leather cord with sterling silver ends (clasps) and sterling silver bail is included at no additional cost. 

A very nice quality 19th century antique hand crafted/shaped/polished jasper semi-precious gemstone from the Nubian region of Southern Egypt/Sudan.  Though this particular variety of Jasper, known contemporarily as “Picasso Jasper” did not figure specifically in the production of religious amulets in ancient Egypt, nonetheless the fabled land of  ancient Nubia was the source of the red jasper held so precious by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.  Carved into jewelry and religious amulets, red jasper was obtained from the Nubian Upper Nile, typically in the form of annual tributes to the Pharaoh.  As well ancient Egypt received annual tribute of their treasured red jasper from “the land of Punt”.  But there exact whereabouts of Punt (and the pygmy black tribesmen of legend) remains a mystery today.  A religiously significant amulet known as an “Isis Tit” was carved from red jasper and placed at the throat of the mummified remains of Egyptian Pharaohs and Royalty.

This 19th century “Picasso” jasper gemstone originated from the same Nubian region which presently is part of both Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. The gemstone was handcrafted by a 19th century Russian artisan (in or near Yekaterinburg, Siberia, Russia) into this beautiful polished cabochon. Yes! This is a natural gemstone, colored only by mother nature, it is not dyed. It was intended for use in the domestic jewelry production that Renaissance and Victorian Russia was so famous for. Jasper, as well as other forms of agate, were extremely popular throughout the ancient Mediterranean, and maintained its immense popularity through Renaissance and into Victorian Europe. This is a jewelry quality gemstone, and the coloration is absolutely exquisite. It takes no imagination to comprehend why it is referred to as “Picasso” jasper in the modern world. 

Jasper and other various varieties of agate have been popularly used through recorded history for the production of jewelry, beads, and amulets due to the vibrant rainbow of colors agate naturally occurs in. Agate amulets produced by Stone Age man in France has been discovered, dating the known use of agate back to approximately 20,000 B.C. Handcrafted by a nineteenth century Russian artisan into this beautiful polished cabochon, it was intended for use in the domestic jewelry production. This is a jewelry quality gemstone, and was colored entirely by nature! The gemstone has not been dyed or altered in any respect, except to be cut and polished. However close examination of the gemstone reveals that the gemstone has been hand shaped and hand finished. The slight irregularities which are the hallmark of a handcrafted gemstone are generally regarded as appealing to most gemstone collectors, and are not considered detrimental. Unlike today’s computer controlled machine finished gemstones, the cut and finish of a gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago. 

Such antique hand-crafted gemstones possess much greater character and appeal than today's mass-produced machine-produced gemstones. However for most, the unique nature and character of antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for miniscule blemishes and cutting imperfections which by and large, are only visible under high magnification. The bail is of high-quality, solid sterling silver construction, as are the clasps; high quality pieces made in the USA; not merely silver-plated pot metal which will break the second time you use them. The cord is genuine handcrafted Greek black leather cord. Cord, sterling clasps, and this gorgeous handcrafted agate pendant come together to make a class piece of jewelry echoing an ancient heritage thousands of years old.

HISTORY: Jasper is a form of agate, and belongs to the chalcedony family of gemstones, a type of quartz. Jasper is very similar to citrine and amethyst in make up, but is so heavily included with elements such as iron and sulphur (which provide the colors) that they are opaque rather than transparent. The biggest difference between a Red Jasper and a Citrine is that there is probably 20 to 30% more Iron in the Jasper. The crystals in Jasper gemstones are so dense and so tightly compacted that they are invisible to the naked eye. It often contains organic material and mineral oxides which give it interesting patterns, bands and colors. Many of these patterns resemble landscapes with mountains and valleys.

Jasper was a favorite gem in ancient times and is referenced in Greek, Hebrew, Assyrian and Latin literature. The name Jasper comes to us from the Greek language. Jaspis or the ancient spelling Iaspis was the name of a mythical stone found in the head of the adder snake. Greek warriors carried one to give them courage in battle. Early Mediterranean shamans or wizards believed that jasper was a very sacred stone. Blue colored Jaspers were used to travel safely back and forth to the Spirit World. Red Jasper represented the blood of the Great Mother and was used to connect with the Earth in healing ceremonies. Green Jaspers were used to call the rain. Medieval authors of the 11th and 12th centuries wrote volumes about the protective powers of the Jasper. It was written that the gemstone could drive away evil spirits and protect the wearer from the bites of poisonous snakes and spiders.

However mankind’s relationship with Jasper, especially red jasper, is much more ancient than merely the Greeks, or medieval Europe. It dates back as early as (20,000 B.C.) in France where it was found to be used for ornamental objects, to the Babylonians times (1000 B.C.) where it was used in seals which have been found in ancient ruins. The Harrappa culture of India (4th millennia B.C.) also used this stone in their jewelry. The Egyptians used red jaspers to represent the blood of their goddess Isis. Amulets of the gem were said to have the same virtues as the goddess' blood and when worn helped prepare one for the judgment of Osiris upon death. Thus Chapter 156 of the Book of the Dead required the amulet in the form of the Girdle Tie of Isis, placed at the throat of the mummy, to be made of red jasper, whose blood-like coloring would enhance the words of the spell: ‘You have your blood, Isis; you have your power.’

The ancient Egyptian word for red jasper, khenmet (hnmt), was derived from the verb “hnm”, and meant “to delight”. Red jasper was extremely popular in Ancient Egypt, expensive, and especially favored for use in earrings here to see red jasper earrings of ancient Egyptian/Nubian origin). Red jasper came to ancient Egypt from Nubia (a region laying between present-day Southern Egypt and Sudan) and from Punt (somewhere as yet unknown in Africa) in the form of regular tributes to the Pharaoh. In fact an ancient papyrus detailing the tribute from Nubia survives to present time (see here). Red jasper tributes from both Nubia and Punt were discovered in the Thebes tomb of Rekhmire and the tomb of Iamunedjeh; both were high officials of King Tuthmosis III (1450 BC). 

Agate itself (of which Jasper is a “family member”) is named after its ancient source, the Achates River in Sicily, now known as the Drillo River, which remains a major source of this gemstone (though some ancient historians believe that the word agate is derived from the Greek word "Agate??" – meaning happy). Agate was used by Stone Age man in France 20,000-16,000 B.C. The ancient Egyptians used it prior to 3000 B.C., and in the Ptolemaic Period carved agate scarabs. Agate was also extremely popular for us in jewelry in ancient Sumeria. Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in many other ancient cultures. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers. Persian magicians were believed to possess the power to divert storms through the use of agate talismans. A famous collection of four thousand agate bowls was accumulated by Mithradates, king of Pontus, is illustrative of the high value the ancient world had for agate. Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire. Collecting agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance and many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have spectacular examples.

The agate-working industry grew up centuries ago in the Idar-Oberstein district of Germany, where agates were abundant. From the 16th century onwards cameos were cut from agate where different colors occur in layers. The background material is cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief. At the same time in Torre del Greco (Italy), a similar technique was used to cut cameos from sea shells. Agate is a common semiprecious silica mineral, colorful microscopic crystals of quartz, a variety of chalcedony occurs in bands of varying color and transparency. Most agates occur in gas bubble cavities in eruptive rocks or ancient lava. Silica laded water is deposited within the bubbles, and coagulates to a silica gel, eventually crystallizing as quartz. One common form of such quartz is onyx. Agate is found in a wide variety of patterns and beautiful colors, and can be transparent to opaque. The primary sources of agate today are Brazil, Uruguay, China, India, Madagascar, Mexico, and the USA.

There are many varieties of quartz (including various agates and jaspers) which are not generally recognized as quartz. Purple quartz is known as amethyst; yellow quartz as "citrine", green quartz as "adventurine"; and ametrine is a variegated gemstone possessing a color somewhere between amethyst and citrine. More readily recognized varieties of quartz include smoky quartz, rose quartz, onyx, agates, chrysoprase, and rutilated quartz. Rock crystal is the clearest form of quartz. According to ancient history, the sun and universe were contained within an enormous crystal. Rock crystal was used in ancient times to make crystal balls and bowls. Since ancient times colorless quartz crystals have always been popular in jewelry due to mystical legends concerning the "power" of quartz crystals. Even today many people believe that wearing quartz crystals benefits a person's health and spiritual well being. Besides use as gemstones and decorative accoutrements, quartz was also ground by ancient cultures to produce primitive forms of glass and ceramics. For instance, the ancient Egyptians used ground quartz to produce turquoise colored "faience" beads and amulets. Ceramic "glass-like" beads were also produced by the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian cultures.


2/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
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