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Details about  19thC Antique 5 1/3ct Scotland Cairngorm Sacred Druid Gem Sterling Pendant

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19thC Antique 5 1/3ct Scotland Cairngorm Sacred Druid Gem Sterling Pendant
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Item condition:
--not specified
Dec 05, 2013
US $99.99
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Item location:
Lummi Island, Washington, United States

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Last updated on  Sep 23, 2013 02:26:49 PDT  View all revisions
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Colossal Antique Genuine Natural Smoky Quartz Crystal Faceted Oval from Mount Cairngorm, Scotland. Mounted into high quality solid sterling silver pendant (not cheap silver plated).

  CLASSIFICATION: Smoky Quartz Faceted Oval.

ORIGIN: Mount Cairngorm, Scotland. 19th Century. Chain and pendant setting contemporary.

SIZE: Length: 14mm. Width: 9mm. Depth: 7mm. All measurements approximate.

WEIGHT: 5.33 carats.

NOTE:  Default chain is silver electroplate 16, 18, 20 or 24 inch (provided free).  Sterling silver chains are also available in lengths from 16 to 24 inches.  14kt solid gold pendant setting together with 14kt gold fill and solid 14kt gold chains in lengths from 18 to 24 inches are available upon request.


NOTE:  If you would like only the gemstone, and not the setting, we can dismount the gemstone and offer you the gemstone without the setting.  Just let us know, and yes, we’ll discount the price by the cost of the setting.

  DETAIL: Cairngorm, or “Smoky Quartz” is the national gemstone of Scotland and has been considered a sacred stone for millennia, a belief dating back to the Druids.  Ancient cultures attributed many mystical properties to quartz crystals.  They were particularly used in sorcery, magic, and witchcraft in part due to the "secret magical powers" evidenced by the weak electrical charge quartz crystals carry.  For centuries Smoky Quartz has also been commonly set into the pommel of the Scottish dirk, or “black dagger”, a long dagger with a straight blade that is a prerequisite of Highland costume. The setting is of contemporary origin.  It is a high quality setting manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers.  It is constructed of solid sterling silver, and can be reset into 14kt gold if requested.  The default chain is silver electroplated 24 inch.  However we do have solid sterling silver (as well as 14kt gold and gold fill) chains available in lengths between 16 and 24 inches available upon request.


Here's a very uncommon semi-precious gemstone from Victorian-era Scotland, specifically Mount Cairngorm. Very popular in 18th and 19th century Victorian Scotland, this gemstone is known either as “Smoky” or “Cairngorm” Quartz. Generally “crystal” clear, the smoky tone is caused by the natural radiation emanating from granite stone the quartz is exposed to while buried in the earth. This is a very handsome, very large oval cut smoky quartz crystal gemstone. This particular specimen is completely transparent, with beautiful sparkle and luster. It is exceptionally clean, water clear, and very bright. It is gorgeous smoky brown color. 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 has great luster and sparkle, and to the eye is completely transparent, but one cannot say with absolute certainty that it is absolutely flawless.  True, any blemishes it possesses are not visible to the naked eye, and even at 600% as in these photo enlargements here (or under a 5x jeweler’s loupe) there are no discernible flaws.  However we hesitate to use the word “flawless”, as sooner or later blemishes will show up at higher levels of magnification with almost every natural gemstone.  The setting is of contemporary origin.  It is a high quality setting manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers.  It is constructed of solid sterling silver, and can be reset into 14kt gold if requested.  The default chain is silver electroplated 24 inch.  However we do have solid sterling silver (as well as 14kt gold and gold fill) chains available in lengths between 16 and 24 inches available upon request.

  An absolutely flawless gemstone is very rare in nature (and usually turns out to be synthetic).  However the gemstone can be characterized at a minimum, to use trade jargon, as "eye clean".  To the eye it is indeed flawless; even to a 5x jeweler’s loupe it is clean.  However close examination with a jeweler’s loupe will however reveal occasional slight irregularities in the faceting and finish.  Naturally these characteristics are expected of hand-finished antique gemstones.  However for most, the unique nature and character of antique gemstones such as this more than makes up for imperfect finishes which by and large, are only noticed under high magnification


HISTORY OF SMOKY QUARTZ:  Smoky quartz from Mount Cairngorm, Scotland, known as "cairngorm", and since ancient times has been a favorite ornamental gemstone.  It is national gemstone of Scotland and has been considered a sacred stone there for millennia, a belief dating back to the Druids.  Smoky quartz was popular for making snuff bottles in China, and was also popular in ancient times with the Romans, who used the stone for carving intaglio seals.  The Celtic population of the British called smoky quartz they mined in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish highlands “morion”, and the yellow-brown to gray-brown crystals mined there “cairngorm”  Beginning in the seventeenth century, craftsmen of Scottish weapons began to incorporate smoky quartz or citrines from the Cairngorm Mountains into shoulder brooches, kilt pins and dirk pommels.  Smoky quartz was and is a favorite ornamental stone set into the pommel of the Scottish dirk, or “black dagger”, a long dagger with a straight blade that is a prerequisite of Highland costume.


A man’s “sgian dubh” (“black dagger”) was invariably carried in a place of concealment, very often under his armpit. However when calling on another household, Highland protocol called for men to deposit their weapons (claymore or broadsword, dirk, pistols, etc.) at the front door.  However, even when visiting friends it was not safe top be entirely unarmed, and so Highlanders kept their dirk close at hand.  However out of courtesy to his host the proper Highland gentleman would remove it from under his armpit and put it somewhere where his host could see it, usually in his stocking, which incidentally also made it even quicker to access if needed.  The Scottish royal scepter is made of silver gilt and topped by a sphere of Scottish smoky quartz and a Scottish pearl.  It was a gift in 1494 A.D. from Pope Alexander VI to King James IV in 1494, as a symbol of papal support for Scotland, a 'special daughter of the Holy See. 

  HISTORY OF QUARTZ:  Quartz (“rock crystal") caught the eye of various ancient cultures with its brilliant transparency and gorgeous tones.  To the ancient Greeks it was "krystallos", from which the name "crystal" is derived.  To the ancient Slavic cultures it was, "kwardy", from which eventually the name “quartz” was derived.  The clearest form of quartz is rock crystal, used since ancient times to manufacture “crystal balls”.  Colorless quartz crystals have always been popular in jewelry since even ancient pre-recorded history due to mystical legends concerning the "power" of quartz crystals.  Quartz was also ground by ancient cultures to produce primitive forms of glass and ceramics.  Faience jewelry and amulets were mass produced in ancient Egypt fashioned from ground quartz and various minerals added to produce color (such as copper ore for blue-green; iron ore for red and orange, etc.).  Similar ceramic jewelry and amulets were also produced by the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian cultures.

  According to one ancient legend, the sun and universe were contained within an enormous crystal.  Quartz was also long thought by ancients to be solidified water or ice.  Five thousand years ago the Sumerians cut and engraved various quartz stones as cylinder seals and used them later as ring seals. As the Sumerians invented writing, quartz is probably one of the first gem stone materials to be written on, and also to be used as a stamp to make a written impression in clay. There are many examples in various museums throughout the world of carved quartz stones that were popular in Greece and Rome. These sometimes show the upper half of the body of a man with a hand upraised, pronouncing judgment. Sometimes just the head and shoulders of the man are shown, but always with the hand raised. These pieces are said to have been especially good to have around at the time, during a lawsuit. In the ancient world quartz was also utilized in the Eleusinian mysteries, initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece, to produce the sacred fire by concentrating the heat of the Sun to ignite wood chips.   In the 14th century, it was common for the quartz crystal to be engraved with the image of a man in armor holding a bow and arrow. The stone supposedly guarded the wearer and the place where it was situated.  Quartz crystal has been used in religious and shamanistic systems for thousands of years.


Quartz is very popular in the production of jewelry due to the fact it is very hard and durable.  Some of the most popular varieties of quartz include amethyst (purple quartz), citrine (yellow quartz), and aventurine (green quartz).  Other popular varieties include “tigerseye”, the relatively rare rose quartz, onyx, and various forms of agate.  Quartz crystals produce an electric voltage, a property known as piezoelectric.  Unable to understand the characteristic, ancient cultures attributed many mystical properties to quartz crystals.  For thousands of years various European cultures believed that the mind of a medium became receptive to the spirit world via the influence of quartz when it was fashioned into a sphere or crystal ball.  Quartz was believed to act as a psychic purifier, tuning one into their inner "vibrations”.  It was believed that clear crystals possessed the ability to amplify emotions, enhance concentration and intuition, and neutralize "negative energies".

  Throughout the history of "Eastern Cultures", 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.  For instance, quartz had "medicinal" value as it was believed that when applied to an inflamed area, it would act as an "ice pack".  These cultures regarded also quartz, especially rose quartz which was held in highest regard, as a cure for stress, heart, and circulatory related health problems.  It was believed to enhance intuition, confidence, creativity, love, and romance; and was also believed to increase fertility.  Even today many people believe that wearing quartz crystals benefits a person's health and spiritual well being.


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."

On May-11-13 at 01:10:01 PDT, seller added the following information:

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