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Archive for February, 2013

Explore Rare Chinese Silver at M.S. Rau Antiques

February 22nd, 2013 | posted by Deborah Choate
Chinese Silver Tea Set

Chinese Silver Tea Set

Collecting silver is a passionate dedication for many, and with sets like this rare Chinese export service, it is easy to see why. Chinese silver is considered a “hidden treasure” among silver collectors – more difficult to find and with one-of-a-kind patterns made bespoke for original owners. Our three-piece Chinese tea set features an exceptional flora motif, with stylized bamboo handles and gilt interior on the creamer and sugar vessels. A set like this would have been an exotic acquisition to the 19th century collector, possessing all the desired qualities a European tourist would have preferred.

Chinese silver production has a fascinating history, born out of the boon of wealthy visitors to China starting in the 18th century. Rather than emulate the staid designs of European silver houses, Chinese silver makers relied on the popularity of exoticized patterns that captured only certain elements of the Chinese aesthetic. Designs with dragons, flowers and birds appealed to Western tastes and the resulting pieces were hand crafted by highly skilled artisans.

Later, in the 20th century, silver makers in China began to mass produce their pieces. The aesthetic preferred by the Western tourists had long been established, so the demand for hand crafted, specialized pieces was lost. Our set was created in the 19th century, making the chrysanthemums, irises, plums, and unmistakable Chinese shape particularly special.

Beautiful, ornate, and exceptional, this Chinese silver tea set will be treasured for many generations to come. Click here to visit our website and to view more of our spectacular silver collection.

A Jewel of Perfection: The Rare Golconda Diamond

February 11th, 2013 | posted by Bill Rau
This amazing 8.03 Golconda Diamond is Internally Flawless and cut in a luxurious marquise shape

This amazing 8.03 Golconda Diamond is Internally Flawless and cut in a luxurious marquise shape

There once was a time when India was the only place in the world where diamonds could be found. Beginning more than 2,000 years ago, in the current state of Hyderabad, diamonds were first excavated in the heavily fortified kingdom of Golconda. It is from these mines that the most famous diamonds, including the Hope and Koh-I-Noor, originated. Today, the exceptionally rare handful of jewels determined to be Golcondas are the most coveted diamonds in the world.

But why? What makes Golconda diamonds so special that they command a premium of 50% or more than that of a D-color diamond from any other locale? It all has to do with color. More accurately, their value lies in their amazing lack of color.

Golconda diamonds are graded as Type IIa, which means that the stone is totally void of nitrogen. Nitrogen is the element that gives diamonds a yellowish tinge. Without it, the stone is able to transmit UV and visible light that other diamonds block, making Golcondas so incredibly pure and transparent that they actually appear to be two to three shades whiter than any other D-color diamonds.

This Internally Flawless, pear-shaped Golconda Diamond weighs 3.02 carats.

This Internally Flawless, pear-shaped Golconda Diamond weighs 3.02 carats.

Today, it is estimated that fewer than 2% of all the diamonds mined throughout the world can be graded as Golcondas. They are so rare, in fact, that most jewelers and gemologists can go their entire careers without even seeing one in person.

In India, Golconda diamonds were enveloped in magic and mysticism. The gems were believed to embody the powers of the gods, granting the owner limitless wealth, prosperity and power, so much so that only kings and high priests were allowed to possess them. Though we know that a Golconda diamond won’t grant your every desire, there is no denying their breathtaking beauty.  Elusive, exotic and captivating in every way, there’s no question why Golcondas are accurately referred to as the ultimate diamond.

Visit our online gallery to view our selection of Goldonda Diamonds and other diamond rarities, including incredible Colored Diamonds.