This section is from "Every Woman's Encyclopaedia". Also available from Amazon: Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
Continued font page 1837, Part 15
Some Popular Green Jewels - The Olivine Family - The Stone for a September Bride - The Quakers' Jewel - Tourmalines - Jade and Its Importance - How to Wear Artistic Jewellery
Green has always been a favourite colour with artists, and is mentioned in old poems as one of the best in dress for both men and women. Green stones have of late (1911) come much into notice. These include, beside emeralds - which have been already dealt with in Every Woman's Encyclopaedia (page 1231, Vol. 2) - olivines, tourmalines, peridots, green beryls, green topaz, green sapphires, chrysolite, chrysoprase, and chrysoberyl.
Mineralogists include chrysolite and peridot under one species - olivine. And this olivine group embraces a large number of stones of the semi-precious variety. The colours of olivine vary from light straw-yellow to yellowish green, when the gem is called chrysolite; and then to a peculiar soft hue of a deep yellowish green colour, when it receives the name of peridot.
A certain number of olivines are pure, clear, and entirely free from faults and blemishes. A perfect olivine can be a stone of great beauty and some value. It possesses a rich green colour, and a good specimen weighing 2 1/4 carats would be priced at £10. The tourmaline is a cheaper stone, and one of the same size and quality might be worth only about £2.
Fine olivines are found in Ceylon, Burma. Brazil, Upper Egypt, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Olivines and other stones of the same colour are often mistaken for one another, and in the case of good specimens are now and then passed off as emeralds. Thus, the chrysolite has been taken for an emerald, although the two stones may be easily distinguished by their weight and hardness. For instance, the supposed emerald which ornaments the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the cathedral at Cologne is in reality not an emerald but a chrysolite. The chrysoberyl is a gem that has almost the hardness of a sapphire. Some of the finer specimens show an opalescent display of light that is extremely beautiful. This stone occurs in Ceylon, Brazil, and Connecticut. The chrysoberyl of the ancients was a different gem - probably identical with the modern chrysoprase.
Among semi-precious stones the chryso-prase deserves high honour. It is a valuable kind of chalcedony, and, as a gem, is more highly prized on the Continent than in England. It is of a lovely apple-green colour, and takes a brilliant polish. It looks well set in gold or with pearls or diamonds. A chrysoprase hatpin is a precious possession. This stone is found in Silesia, and in one or two other parts of Europe. It has been used in ornate architecture. The mosaic walls of St. Wenzel's Chapel, in the cathedral of St. Beit, at Prague, contain some splendid specimens of pale green chrysoprase. In the palace at Potsdam, also, there are two tables formed of chrysoprase, three feet long by two feet broad and two inches in thickness. Chrysoprase is mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel, and, with chrysolite, in the jewel chapter of the Book of Revelations. Chrysolite, or peridot, is the stone for September. It is an ancient gem, for it is mentioned by Pliny, and in the Greek era there were fine examples of engraved chrysolite. Long before the diamond became first among precious stones, the chrysolite was held in high honour. Its beautiful colour caused the pious folk of the Middle Ages to dedicate the stone to the Apostle St. Matthew. Old tradition affirms that the chrysolite prevents fears and terrors, and disposes the heart to peace and happiness. It should certainly be presented to a September bride, as in the hunter's moon of that month its secret powers are said to be more than usually potent. The chrysolite has its home in New South Wales, South Africa, and South America.
A green sapphire and pearls. These stones are very effective, and have almost the appearance of emeralds
The peridot is the stone for September. It can be set in gold, but needs diamonds to display its beauties, as exemplified in the brooch here shown
When called peridot, this old-time stone seems to have been well-known in England. In the Wardrobe Book, in the reign of Edward I., it receives mention as having been one of the jewels of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, which, on account of its beauty, was afterwards escheated to the Crown. The peridot was the plain green gem on which the old Egyptian scarabs were engraved. It can be set in gold, but needs diamonds to display its beauties, Unlike its relation, the chrysoberyl, it has extreme softness, which makes it easy to work, but causes the stone easily to be scratched and injured. In fact, the peridot is one of the lowest in the table of hardness.
It is a curious fact that Quakers have a great liking for this gem - in fact, they did much to keep the peridot still in recollection.
Since the revival in popular esteem of the so-called semi-precious stones, this green gem has had a marked rise in favour. Some years ago a fine collection of peridots from the mines of the Khedive of Egypt were exhibited at a jeweller's shop in London. Two of the stones weighed over 74 1/4 and 63 1/4 carats respectively; and these displayed great depth and purity of colour, and were said to be the best specimens in existence.
Peridots are more costly than tourmalines, and a fine stone may fetch £150. Peridots harmonise well with diamonds and with pink and white topazes, and can be used with metal such as dull silver, or even copper. Like opals, turquoises, and other soft stones, they are at their best cut en cabochon. Fine olivines and peridots may be described as the poor woman's emeralds.
The tourmaline is a gem that enjoys a wide range of colour, although it rarely displays any hues of special brilliance. Its tints consist of various shades of green, grey, red, blue, and yellow. The green tourmaline resembles an aquamarine, and is found in the river beds of Ceylon and Brazil. Like others of its species, it can be easily mistaken for green stones of greater value. Few minerals present a wider complexity in their chemical construction than the tourmaline; and it is to a student of gems a stone of immense interest on account of its curious optical and electrical characteristics.
The Dutch are said to have introduced the tourmaline into Europe from Ceylon in the eighteenth century, and since it was discovered in Maine, in 1820, it has grown rapidly into popular favour. On account of its rather dim tints, it combines well with other stones, and is much used in artistic ornaments.
Red tourmaline is called rubellite by jewellers; blue, the Brazilian sapphire; black is known as schorl, and the colourless stone is described as anchorite. These varieties occur in the Ural Mountains, in Ceylon, Brazil, and the United States of America.
Black tourmaline is by no means uncommon in this country, especially in the tin-bearing districts of Cornwall. Red tour-maline is of importance, and the darker specimens are stones of great beauty and some value. These may be found in the Ural Mountains, near a village called Mursinka, where they are mined with beryl and other precious minerals. There is also an important occurrence of fine rose-red tourmaline in Maine, in the United States. In fact, this latter is probably the finest in existence. As regards value, it may be said that a red stone of great purity might be worth about £20, and such a gem as this has been passed off as a ruby by unscrupulous dealers.
A green tourmaline and small diamonds. Tourmalines combine well with other stones and are much used in artistic ornaments
Green tourmaline comes next in value, but some of the other shades would be sold for only a few shillings. A splendid specimen of red tourmaline is exhibited in the minera-logical section of the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington. This was presented by Colonel Symes, and has been valued at £1,000.
Jade can also be included in the category of green minerals. Jade is the name applied to a hundred varieties of green stones which are found in China, Siberia, New Zealand, and some islands of the South Pacific. Jade has a certain hardness, and, oddly enough, is less hard when freshly broken than after exposure.
Nowhere is jade so plentiful or so highly prized as in China, and the Chinese carve it in a most elaborate manner. It occurs chiefly in the Kuen-lun Mountains, in the south of the Khotan province, and jade from that district has been known to the Chinese for over 2,000 years. These mines are, so far as one can tell, the only ones regularly worked.
At Canton there is a great jade market, where the mineral itself is on sale, as well as jade ornaments. These are mostly bangles brooches, and hairpins, and are worn for luck by Chinese ladies. Good jade is costly. A necklace of the best green jade beads will cost £1,000; two buttons will fetch £30, while £500 and £600 may be given for a piece of jade of a vivid green colour. A pair of rough bangles often cost £30 or £40. Jade has of late come much into favour in London, and is worn for luck by many smart women.
Artistic trinkets must have the correct accessories. Neck-chains are a question that needs careful consideration. An artistic pendant should have a neck-chain different from one made in what is known as the Cartier style - a fairy-like thing in diamonds, rubies, or emeralds. Artistic pendants are of a heavier build, and are often set with blister pearls and enamel. Hence the chains worn with these must have thicker links, and should be made of gold of another quality. This last may seem a curious expression, but an expert informed the writer that the various colours in gold depended upon the alloy that is always mixed with the precious metal. A mixture of copper means a dark, brownish-looking gold, while one of silver produces a light, pale-coloured gold that can be more easily worked with the hand than the former. Chains that are made of darker gold look best with pendants formed of jade or of dull gold set with garnets, olivines, tourmalines, topazes, or zircons. Artistic ornaments, too, should be worn alone, and not in combination with jewels of another description.