Timeless Treasures


Home
Gem Settings
Search All
For Pearls
Browse All
Gemstones
*Agate
*Alexandrite
*Amber
*Amethyst
*Ametrine
*Apatite
*Aquamarine
*Beryl
*Cameo
*Carnelian
*Chalcedony
*Chrysoberyl
*Citrine
*Demantoid
*Diamond
*Quality Emerald
*Huge Emerald
*Fluorite
*Garnet
*Iolite
*Jade
*Jasper
*Kunzite
*Lapis Lazuli
*Malachite
*Moldavite
*Opal
*Pearls
*Peridot
*Smoky Quartz
*Rose Quartz
*Tanzanite
*Ruby
*Star Ruby
*Sapphire
*Star Sapphire
*Sapphire Cabachon
*Spinel
*Tiger's Eye
*Topaz
*Tourmaline
*Tsavorite
*Turquoise
*Zircon
*Gemstone Plaque
Custom Jewelry

Earrings Styles (Dangles)

Rings (without gemstones)
14kt Gold
10kt Gold
Sterling Silver
Chain
14kt Gold
Gold Fill
Sterling Silver
Custom Bails
Custom Bails for Pendants and Chain

Hand Carved Scrimshaw Pendants

Pearl Settings

Tie Tacks

Contact us

Visit Our Colleagues

Interesting Facts

For Customers outside of USA

Antique Genuine Natural Russian Four Carat Handcrafted Violet-Blue Iolite Semi-Precious Gemstone.

CLASSIFICATION: Hand Polished Blue-Violet Iolite Oval Cabochon.

ORIGIN: 18th Century Chelyabinsk, Russia.

SIZE: Length: 11mm. Width: 9mm. Thickness: 5mm.

WEIGHT: Approximately 3.94 carats.

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

DETAIL: Known as the gemstone of the Vikings, Iolite was used by Norse and Viking explorers as a navigational aid. Here's an absolutely gorgeous, richly colored violet-blue iolite gemstone from Chelyabinsk, Russia. The gemstone was hand cut and polished by an 18th 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. 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 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. We only have a handful of these gemstones, and they are truly fascinating - and much nicer in appearance than the images here would suggest.

There is a fairly liberal sprinkling of particles which appear to be (rutile) mica schist, and so from certain angles, one can see a little iridescence, known in the trade as "schiller", which is more often than not caused by generally microscopic mica particles within the gemstone. Although it is only visible from certain angles, and you have to "play" with the gemstone to see it, it almost looks like the iridescence one sees when an oil sheen is floating atop still water. The most common form of this schiller or iridescence is found in opal. Depending upon the angle of view, this schiller, is visible to the unaided eye. The minute rutile mica schist particles which can be seen in these photo enlargements are by and large not readily distinguished by the unaided eye. There are a couple of them which to the naked eye, if the gemstone is examined closely, can be distinguished as pin-point little specks. However they are generally detectable with the naked eye only if you scrutinize the gemstone very intently from a distance of an inch or two from the eye. Then, if you have relatively sharp vision, you can just distinguish them. However to the casual viewer, the gemstone is clean, excepting that from certain angles one will see a little schiller, or iridescence.

This is a nice quality iolite by 18th century standards. It is more or less transparent, though as one can easily discern, by no means flawless. By today's standards it is not a high quality iolite - though of course it is generous in size, remarkable in color, and historically significant. But judged by 18th century standards, this was a nice, large, sumptuous, and not inexpensive gemstone. Under magnification the gemstone shows the unmistakable characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the 18th century finish is considered appealing to most gemstone collectors, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. But these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, most serious collectors consider such gemstones more desirable, possessed of greater character and uniqueness when compared to today's cookie-cutter mass-produced machine-tumbled gemstones. Unlike today's computer controlled machine produced gemstones, the cut and finish of a gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.

This gemstone has great luster, wonderful color and texture, and to the eye is more or less transparent; but it is not flawless. It could not even be characterized as high quality. In fact, it is quite typical of an 18th century gemstone both in quality and finish. True, the blemishes it possesses are near invisible to the naked eye under casual scrutiny, and the gemstone could almost be characterized, to use trade jargon, as "near eye clean". However magnified 500%, as it is here, you can see quite a number of minor blemishes, composed mostly of colorless crystalline material within the gemstone, as well as occasional irregularities in the cut and finish. But 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.

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. So 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 the blemishes and cutting/finishing irregularities 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".