NewslettersRuby Lane's newsletters are designed to celebrate the antiques and art, vintage collectibles and jewelry communities around the world. Our Past Times newsletter focuses on antiques and collectibles. Our Creative Hands newsletter celebrates fine art and handcrafted jewelry on Ruby Lane. Our shop owners are frequent article contributors, sharing their expertise and their passions for the items they collect and create. Enjoy!
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Ruby Lane's Past Times Newsletter for August 2007
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Ruby Lane Has A New Look!
- Survey: Tell Us About Yourself!
- Thoughts on Collecting Victorian Scrap by Jenifer Warner of Bellacasa
- August's Birthstone: The Peridot
- August Editor's Pick: Happy Trails
- Link To Take Our Survey
RUBY LANE HAS A NEW LOOK!
Ruby Lane has just completed an update to our Home, Lane and Shop pages. If you haven't stopped by yet to see them, we cordially invite you to visit us to check them out! The updates include a cleaner look with a new Shop Showcase, and dynamic new shop home and item pages for a more exciting shopping experience. We have also streamlined and added some new tools.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
SURVEY: TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
We at Ruby Lane would like to know more about you. We invite you to take our Demographic Survey at the end of this newsletter so that we can better understand your online shopping needs. This survey is optional and confidential.
THOUGHTS ON COLLECTING VICTORIAN SCRAP BY JENIFER WARNER OF BELLACASA
Many years ago, I purchased a box of Victorian era paper at an estate sale. Upon opening the box, I found a Victorian scrap album dating to the 1870's. It had a most elaborate cover with an embossed bird motif. It was overflowing with hand written notes, calling cards and an array of the most fascinating ephemera. I was immediately smitten with my new discovery of a past, lovingly captured and preserved by a young Victorian, 110 years ago at that time. There were also die cut lacy Valentines, trade cards and beautifully colored lithographed scraps of animals, flowers and people. To this day I am still delighted to gaze upon this beautiful paper bounty, and to add new finds to my collection.
The Victorian scrap book was a repository of knowledge and information. Scrap can be anything from greeting cards, lithographed die cuts, advertising trade cards, seed catalog pages, Calendars or any paper collected from a source and then pasted in the scrapbook. It was obtained from personal correspondence, articles in publications, advertising give aways, and of course the beautiful paper goods sold in stationary shops. Some people choose to collect in a certain area, such as Valentines, or Calendars.
Some collect certain subject matters such as angels, animals, or fairies. There are different areas of scrap collecting which have historical significance, such as war related scrap or historical figures such as presidents. Many people choose to collect in the advertising field. The advertising field is a huge area divided into different types of companies such as Hires Root Beer, farm equipment companies, soap companies and sewing machine and thread companies. One of the beautiful things about collecting scrap is the variety of types which are available. Many of us just collect what ever appeals to us without keeping to a certain field.
The Victorian scrap book was kept in a place of honor, sometimes next to the family Bible. Young Victorian women were proud of their books and worked on them sometimes daily, adding new published information they had read and also adding beautiful scraps they were given by companies or scraps they had purchased from staionary shops. The colorful embossed reliefs we find in scrap books, originated in the German bakery shops where they were used to decorate cakes. They were later used to adorn Christmas cards and Valentines. Large collections of them were used to decorate folding screens seen in many a Victorian parlor.
The production of these scraps was a printing method involving several steps. Scraps, reliefs, chromolithographs and die cuts are paper images printed by the Chromo-lithography printing method. The sheets they were printed on were coated with a gelatine and gum mixture, giving them their beautiful glossy finish. The next step was embossing, which gave them their dimensional quality.
Should you wish to collect Victorian scrap, it is readily available, and best of all, it is one of the most affordable collectibles for any budget. It is available on the Internet, in antique shops, at antique shows, auctions and estate sales. Modern day scrap book stores offer beautiful books and paper which can be used to house your collection. They also offer acid free mounting squares which peel off and are repositionable, allowing you to mount your scrap on paper without damaging anything. If you wish to invest in the best of the Victorian era scrap, look for paper published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, Louis Prang, H. Roth, Charles Goodall & Son, Augustine Thierry and many more. Avoid heavily damaged scrap, and be sure to learn how to remove scrap properly from the paper it is mounted on before you start such a project. The revelations of a beautiful past can be yours when you collect and preserve Victorian scrap.
We invite you to visit Bellacasa.
AUGUST'S BIRTHSTONE: THE PERIDOT
Considering its rather distinctive color, it is amazing that this widely recognized August birthstone has caused so much confusion. Known in some ancient and European texts as chrysolite, the texts often confuse chrysoberyl and topaz with peridot. Chrysolite actually means "golden-stone", indicating a yellow or golden colored stone, but the term has been an accepted identification of peridot for hundreds of years now. To further confuse the issue, the ancients apparently used the term "topazius" to describe peridot, rather than topaz. The name peridot is traced, by various sources, to Greek, Arabic, or French origins.
No matter what name has been used referring to the stone, it has withstood the test of time as a popular gemstone.
Peridot has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, with sources in the Middle East and Far East producing the stones. Today the United States is the world's major producer of peridot. However, the United States does not produce many large stones. New production from Pakistan and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan, has also entered the market over the last 20 years. Some beautiful deep colors are available from this area, and the material occurs in larger crystals then many areas produce. This has allowed the production of some one-of-a-kind stones exceeding 100 carats in weight. It is sometimes sold as "Kashmir" peridot, a name capitalizing on the fame of Kashmir Sapphires. Many stones do come from Jammu, Kashmir, and the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
While peridot is a gem that is only known in one color, green, the shades can vary quite a bit, from pale yellowy greens to the intense dark colors that once caused it to be mistaken for emerald. A large peridot adorning a shrine in Cologne was thought to be an emerald for centuries, before its true nature was discovered.
The ancient source for this darker peridot was probably the island of Zagbargad , or Zebirget, located in the Red Sea. This may have been the source of the peridot used by the Egyptians around 3500 years ago. The island has been known by a few names, including St. John's Island. You will sometime see the St. John's name associated with these fine color peridots. Myanmar (Burma) also produces this color range of material, but supplies from this area were unavailable for almost 40 years, and are still sporadic today.
It should be pointed out here that world politics and tensions can have an effect on gemstone supplies. The supply of peridot from Myanmar (Burma), along with much fine ruby and jadeite, was interrupted for years by the policies of the Burmese government. When peridot became available from this region again, dealers dealt with sticker shock, finding the prices of fine material to be 100 times what they had been when available before.
In the early 1980's, material from Afghanistan started to surface on the world market, including peridot and lapis. Stories were told in the jewelry trade at that time that some of the finds were related to the Soviet bombing of Afghanistan, and that the mujahedin of Afghanistan were funding many of their efforts with the money from gemstone sales. These two sources of peridot, along with Pakistan, also a major producer, are totally unpredictable today.
Peridot is a magnesium silicate, colored by iron. Several other trace elements may affect the color. It is considered a gem variety of olivine, and you will occasionally hear it referred to by that name as well. Olivine is a "family" group of magnesium and silica based materials.
Despite the confusion of names, the appearance of peridot is pretty distinctive. The resemblance to emerald, which caused it to be called "Evening Emerald" by some, is fairly vague. Most emeralds will reveal inclusions not normally found in peridot. Optical characteristics, such as pleochroism and birefringence, can be used to separate it from moldavite, green tourmaline, green garnet, glass, and sinhalite, sometimes with the naked eye. It may require more serious testing to separate some peridot from apatite and green zircon.
Peridot is one of the few gem materials that is totally natural, with no known enhancements of color. It is slightly soft, 6.5-7 on the Moh's scale. You should avoid thermal shocks and acids with peridot, as both may have a negative effect on the stone.
While the ancients loved peridot, its popularity has waxed and waned since those times. It had resurgence during the Baroque era, then again in late Victorian and Edwardian times. Then it fell in popularity until the 1990s, when it made a spectacular comeback. Between being a fashionable color again, and the presence of all that new material from the Middle East on the market, peridot is going strong.
One of the interesting uses of peridot, along with some other green gems, was in Suffragette jewelry. Green, white, and violet colors were often used in these pieces, which showed support for Women's Suffrage, the great movement for the vote for women. The Green, White, and Violet colors were said to be a visual acronym for Give Women the Vote and were favored by suffragettes and suffragists. The colors were also associated with hope, purity, and human dignity. When you see these colors in a jewelry piece, especially those from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, look carefully. That amethyst, pearl, and peridot pin may be more then just another pretty face! These treasured pieces were made up through the 1920's.
While the fine jewelers of the world ignored peridot for a long time, the makers of fashion and costume jewelry did not. The 1950's and 1960's saw a great deal of peridot colored glass used in these pieces, often in combination with other vibrant colors. If you are looking for something larger and peridot colored, as a fashion statement, these pieces can offer you a great look!
You will find a great selection of peridot in the shops on Ruby Lane, with some fine antique pieces offered, along with new artisan creations. Peridot is the most widely recognized birthstone for the month of August, and is also strongly associated with the zodiac sign Leo. Onyx and Sardonyx have also been used historically, both for August birthdays and Leo sunsigns.
AUGUST EDITOR'S PICK: HAPPY TRAILS
There have been many famous trails traveled in the past and equally famous travelers sometimes helped to blaze them. Some could make each turn in the path or exotic scenes seem almost familiar to readers who might later endeavor to follow in their footsteps. Famous tourists of the past who educated as well as entertained many by writing tales of their travels included Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Washington Irving and Teddy Roosevelt.
Whether in the form of a sketchbook, travelogue or just a long letter home, the well written account of an intrepid traveler can be almost as thrilling as actually being there and feeling the wind of a distant land on one's face. For folks lacking the time, money or physical ability to leave home, records of the experiences of others in climes far from their own locale have always been a welcome diversion.
Had adventurous souls not been willing to suffer the indignities of travel throughout history, much information of historical importance would have been lost before it could ever be recorded. And many travel-related goods eagerly collected today would not exist. Souvenirs were intended to physically remind a traveler of the stops along the way from here to there, and back again. But a century later, just as surely as any book that recounts a grand adventure story, souvenirs can recount tales of their own to a new generation.
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