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Interesting Facts

For Customers outside of USA

Antique Genuine Natural Handcrafted Siberian One Carat Violet-Blue Iolite Semi-Precious Gemstone.

CLASSIFICATION: Faceted Blue-Violet Emerald (Octagon) Cut Iolite.

ORIGIN: Chelyabinsk Russia. 19th Century.

SIZE: Length: 8mm. Width: 6mm. Thickness: 3mm.

WEIGHT: Approximately 1.06 carats.

NOTES: Upon request we can set your gemstone as a ring, pendant, or into earrings (click here for more information).

DETAIL: An absolutely gorgeous, richly colored iolite gemstone from Chelyabinsk, Russia. The gemstone was hand crafted and faceted by a 19th century Russian artisan, part of an heritage renown for the production of the elaborate gemstones and jewelry of the Czars of Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian Russia. High quality, deeply hued, and transparent, this lustrous semi-precious gemstone possesses a rich, velvety violet-blue hue. It is an extremely attractive gemstone, of very special character and remarkable color and texture. Highly favored by the royal houses of Europe in the 19th century, Iolite has recently become very "hot". Ignored for centuries by Europe and America, it is now suddenly recognized as a truly stunning and beautiful gemstone, possessing rich, exceptional blue to violet hues which made iolite one of the most valuable possessions in the ancient Viking world.

The gemstone, as you can see in the accompanying images, is not flawless. To the most cursory inspection of the casual admirer it seems at first glance to be simply a richly colored gemstone of exceptional color. But if you examine it more closely (holding it right up to your nose), it is possible to discern a fuzzy seam of colorless crystalline material running along the extreme edge of one side of the gemstone (long axis). The seam is not even easily discerned from all angles, at some angles of view it virtually disappears. Even in these 500% photo enlargements it is difficult to pick up in most of the images. But at certain angles of view it is relatively easy to see. However to the causal admirer, it is simply a beautiful, richly colored gemstone. Under magnification the gemstone also 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, the cut and finish of a gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.

This gemstone has great luster and sparkle, and to the eye is completely transparent, but it is not absolutely flawless. True, the blemishes it possesses are not easily discerned except upon close inspection scrutiny, and the gemstone could be characterized, to use trade jargon, either as lightly included (if you're feel stingy) or more charitably, "near eye clean". To the view of the casual admirer the blemishes the gemstone possesses are not starkly apparent or immediately evident. However magnified five times over as it is here, you can generally discern a few blemishes, as well as the seam of colorless crystalline material. 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. Of course absolutely unblemished, perfect gemstones are the realm of laboratory-produced synthetics, not Mother Nature.

Furthermore these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques even possible then, let alone in practice, did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so commonplace today. Keep in mind 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 miniscule blemishes and cutting imperfections which by and large, are only visible under high magnification.

HISTORY: 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 – this allowing crude navigator even without a fix on the sun or stars. Called “water sapphire” by some as it is clear from one direction, its darkest blue shade is seen when held 90 degrees from the sun. 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 “discovered” the gemstone for the benefit of Western Europe. Iolite is usually a very richly textured purplish blue when cut properly.

SHIPPING OPTIONS: All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price. Most of these antique gemstones were originally part of two collections, one originating in India principally composed of gemstones originally mined in India, Burma, Ceylon, and Siam, and then hand faceted in India. The addition of a second accumulation of antique gemstones originally mined in the Urals in the mid to late 19th century (including alexandrite) completed the collection. These gemstones as well were hand finished. The Urals have been one of the world's major sources of precious and semi-precious gemstones for many centuries. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers in Eastern Europe and Asia. These antique gemstones are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery.

We ship inventory from the USA order fulfillment center near Seattle, Washington. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipping within 48 hours of payment. A certificate of authenticity is available upon request. We prefer your personal check or money order over any other form of payment - and we will ship immediately upon receipt of your check (no "holds"). We will accept PayPal payments. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE".