Wholesale Semi Precious Gemstone Beads

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History Semi Precious GemStone Beads

The history of gemstones is rich with stories of adventures, of legends, of tales of good fortune or curses resulting in financial ruin, ill health, or even death. Throughout antiquity, gemstones have been worn as a talisman, valued for their healing properties and endowed with spiritual values. The magical and mystical properties that are ascribed to gemstones have much to do with their rarity, beauty, feel, and colour.
Gems have long been seen as exotic, rare and valuable. Many were carried long distances along perilous trade routes from distant and unknown lands, which added to their wonder and their value. As different gemstones have become available, fashions have changed and preferences have varied worldwide. Nowadays, a DIAMOND is thought of as the ultimate gem, worn in engagement rings and given as a token of love, but this has not always been the case.
At various times in the past, TURQUOISE, AMETHYST, LAPIS LAZULI, JASPER, and CARNELIAN have all been regarded as the ultimate gem. JADE was a favourite in China and Mexico. The ancient Egyptians and the civilizations of Central and South America valued EMERALDS. Emeralds, SAPPHIRES, AMETHYST, jasper and carnelian were the Romans' preferred choice, while diamonds were used to engrave cameos rather than be worn as jewellery.
Many of the stories associated with gemstones have been handed down by word of mouth. Others are gleaned from the diaries and letters of travellers or collectors or as entries in the inventories of Drivate collections, museums or royalty. In the 13th century, Marco Polo (c.1254-1324), a trader from Venice, travelled to Asia and wrote in his journal, The Book of Marvels, that he carried sapphires as calling cards when he visited the court of Kublai Khan, the Mongol Emperor. The sapphires were from southwest Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), from the area around Ratnapura ('City of Gems' in Sinhalese). In the 17th century, the French merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-89) made his fortune by trading in gemstones. Tavernier made six trips to India 3rd Persia (now Iran) between 1631 and 1668, described many large diamonds and acquired a number of gems, some of which were sold :o King Louis XIV of France.
Most of the famous, named gemstones are diamonds. Renaming and recutting as ownership changes may complicate their history and the secrecy surrounding some gems and their whereabouts makes confirmation of size, shape and weight difficult if not impossible. Museum specimens can be researched and some famous diamonds can be recognized from paintings or photographs, but those that are bought at auction by an 'unknown private buyer', or those that are lost or are the victims of theft, simply 'disappear', sometimes for many years. The azure' Nassak' (now 43 carats but originally 9Ocarats), also known as The Eye of the Idol', was placed in the forehead of a statue of Shiva at a temple in Nassak, India, but disappeared when British troops looted the temple in 1818. In 1927 it resurfaced and was recut in New York.
The oldest diamonds with the longest histories largely originate from the alluvial deposits of the Golconda region of south-central India. They include the Koh-i-Noor, Orlov, Regent (Pitt), and Hope diamonds. Some of the largest and most famous diamonds are from the Premier Mine in South Africa, including the Cullinan and the Taylor-Burton (cut 69.42 carats). The largest diamonds in the world, the Golden Jubilee or Unnamed Brown (545.67 carats) and the De Beers Millennium Star (203 carats, which took ten people two years to cut) are both African. In 1988 the Centenary diamond (599 carats uncut, 273.85 carats cut) was cut by the company De Beers to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its De Beers Consolidated mining operations.
Famous coloured diamonds include the blue Hope diamond, the Dresden Green, and the golden-yellow Tiffany diamond (cut 128.54 carats). Other blue diamonds include the Townshend Blue (in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London), and the aforementioned pale blue Nassak. The Dresden Green is the world's largest pear-shaped green diamond (41 carats) and, apart from occasional loans, it has been kept in the vaults at Dresden Palace since its purchase by Frederick Augustus 11 of Saxony for US$1 50,000 at a Leipzig fair in 1743.
Today, pink diamonds from the Argyle mines in Western Australia are particularly prized. In 1986, a huge diamond referred to as the 'Unnamed Brown' was used by De Beers to test their new laser cutting technology. The diamond weighed 755.50 carats when rough and 545.7 carats once cut. It was renamed the 'Golden Jubilee' after its presentation to King Rama IX of Thailand in celebration of 50 years on the throne Another brown diamond is the 'Incomparable' (407 carats) found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in 1980. Black diamonds have been cut weighing more than 115 carats. The Black Orlov or 'Eye of Brahma' cushion-cut black diamond (67.50 carats, not to be confused with the Orlov, see P. 36) is said to have been stolen from a shrine in Pondicherry southern India, and to have weighed 195 carats in the rough.
Other famous gemstones include the red spinels known as the Black Prince's ruby (in the British crown jewels) and the Kuwait ruby (formerly the Timur ruby), Saint Edward's sapphire and the Stuart sapphire (both in the British crown jewels), the Devonshire emerald, the Edwardes ruby, and the Rosser Reeves Reeves and Appalachian Star rubies.

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