This week Spotlight on  Amethyst gemstones
Search is on for Sussex womans priceless heirlooms
Sarkozy is selling off the family inheritances
Police still seeking Ringwood Manor burglars
The Re-emerging Market for rare stamps
Jewellery stolen from Tenby antiques shop
US officials uncover priceless Chinese antiques
Teens admits theft of £1.2m Stradivarius violin
US antiques dealer punished for importing sperm whale teeth
Indian the art of the tax break
Mousetrap collector
Avon glassware has collectors
Naked half ton woman stolen from garden

Faceted round giant Amethyst Royal purple 48.1ct

Faceted round giant Amethyst Royal purple 48.1ct

This week Spotlight on  Amethyst gemstones

Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek (“not intoxicated”), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness; the ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. Amethyst is composed of an irregular superposition of alternate lamellae of right-handed and left-handed quartz. It has been shown that this structure may be due to mechanical stresses.
Because it has a hardness of seven on the Mohs scale, amethyst is suitable for use in jewelry. Amethyst occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue. The ideal grade is called “Deep Siberian” and has a primary purple hue of around 75–80%, 15–20% blue and (depending on the light source) red secondary hues. Green quartz is sometimes called green amethyst. Other names for green quartz are prasiolite, vermarine or lime citrine.

AMETHYST – associated with increased nobility, spiritual awareness, meditation, balance, psychic abilities, inner peace, healing and positive transformation. This stone brings an understanding of death and rebirth and relieves stress. Amethyst is a teacher of all things spiritual, mystic and psychic. This stone is very healing of body, mind and soul. Amethyst – one of the most popular metaphysical stones. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst has the power to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence. Amethyst is a great stone to use if you are trying to increase your psychic abilities and enhance your intuition. Amethyst has been a symbol of peace, purity and unification and can aid in bringing serenity and calmness. Use amethyst to treat insomnia and promote peaceful and healing sleep. It is also commonly used to relieve headaches, sugar imbalances and general edginess, bringing an overall sense of spiritual balance.

February modern birthstone: amethyst
February ancient traditional birthstones for Hebrew: amethyst, Roman: amethyst, Arabic: amethyst, Polish: amethyst
Zodiac gemstone for Pisces: amethyst
Guardian Angel: Adnachiel and his talisman stone: amethyst
Amethyst – the stone for Episcopal rings for bishops and archbishops worn by bishops of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and other denominations.

6 March

Search is on for Sussex womans priceless heirlooms

A train passenger’s most precious heirlooms were stolen as she travelled home from a funeral. Stella Sims, of Brighton, was coming home from her grandfather’s funeral when her bag, containing jewellery which had belonged to her grandmother was stolen. She did not know at what point between the two stations her backpack, which contained a gold bangle and three rings, was snatched from the train.

Miss Sims, 31, put a bag between the seats of the train because it did not fit on the rack, and unfortunately had my back to it for the journey. It was only when she got to Brighton that she realised an opportunist thief obviously noticed this and took a bag.

Miss Sims is desperately hoping someone has seen her distinctive jewellery, which included the bangle which her grandmother was given as a 21st birthday present and was inscribed with the words “to Eileen love from Douglas. 12-5-41.”

The bag also contained a gold and silver eternity ring with diamonds around the band, a gold engagement ring with platinum setting with single diamond and a gold Art Deco style ring with a square dark green jade stone.

Anyone with any information about the incident or who knows the whereabouts of Miss Sims jewellery should call BTP on 0800 405040.

4 March

Sarkozy is selling off the family inheritances

Tell your friends: France is for sale! Since Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president almost four years ago, the French government has, rather quietly, been selling the jewels of the republic.

And the republic is very rich, or was rich.

The French state owns 60 billion euros ($82 billion U.S.) worth of Renaissance châteaux, grand Haussmann buildings, art deco mansions, Baroque churches, 18th century convents, Middle Ages forts, Vauban barracks, fertile lands and precious woods. In fact, France actually owns the largest collection of public properties in the world: a legacy of the revolution, when all the country’s riches were appropriated by the state in the name of the people; and a heritage of a strong Jacobin tradition of public intervention.

Sarkozy, the great undoer of France, has decided it is high time France became less idealistic (riches to the people), and more pragmatic (riches to the rich). Coffers getting empty? Recession starting to bite? Let’s sell the family silver. He could have raised taxes slightly — what else are taxes for? — but the thought never occurred to him.

Instead, he put a big sign outside his office at the Elysée Palace: France for sale. The government recently announced it was hoping to do away with 1,700 properties by 2013. To make us swallow the pill, the president’s spin doctors came up with this argument: We can’t afford looking after those grand buildings anymore, why not sell them to private individuals in exchange for their reassurance to restore the place? A win-win arrangement, non?

Not quite. Take the magnificent Hôtel de la Marine, standing at the foot of the Champs-Elysées in Paris, on the famous Place de la Concorde. Built between 1757 and 1774 at the request of Louis XV, the 240,000-square-foot palace, with Piranesi-inspired decor, has housed the naval ministry since the 1790s.

Yet, today, the civil servants are being thrown out so a private entrepreneur can transform it into a luxury hotel. Citizens should sleep soundly, says the government: Four salons will be kept intact.

But will anyone be able to visit them? Well, yes, but only if they are clients at the luxury hotel. A lose-lose situation. The French people lose the ownership of their palace and cannot even visit it once restored. As the art historian Christine Favre argues: “Restoring four salons doesn’t mean you’re safeguarding the integrity of such a historical building. For 4,000 square feet preserved, more than 200,000 are destroyed to make way for bathrooms, lifts, low ceilings, air conditioning devices and God knows what.”

You don’t even need to be a billionaire to buy a gem of French architecture.

Take the Royal Hospital of Versailles, a massive 18th century architectural ensemble with a chapel and park. It was sold, far below its estimate by France Domaines, the governmental agency in charge of assessing the value of public edifices, for a mere 8 million euros ($11 million U.S.) to a French businessman who will redevelop it into luxury homes.

Who oversaw the sale?

The budget minister, Eric Woerth, who had to leave office a few months ago after getting embroiled in the Bettencourt scandal.

What scandal?

The L’Oréal heiress, Madame Liliane Bettencourt, may have benefited from tax leniency from the same budget minister.

Among the thousands of properties France owns, 100 are considered of vital significance. They are, for instance, the Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, Les Invalides in Paris, where Napoleon’s black marble coffin stands, and the Loire Châteaux. If you think those will always be safe, you may have to think again.

The latest finance law passed in parliament — Article 52 to be precise — makes it possible for local authorities to reclaim those monuments from the state. Once the state disengages itself, those historic monuments are not protected anymore. Theoretically, the Arc de Triomphe could end up being sold to a Russian oligarch, a Prussian prince or Queen Elizabeth. Imagine Napoleon’s face. He, after all, commissioned it in 1806 to celebrate France’s grandeur.

Why does Sarkozy want France and the French to look so cheap and small? That is the question.

4 March

Police still seeking Ringwood Manor burglars

An ongoing inventory at Ringwood Manor in the wake of Thursday’s early-morning break-in has revealed that thieves dealt a heavy blow to the estate by stealing firearms, clocks and silverware – all antiques – as well as replica dolls and landscape paintings from the 1800s.

Although the state has not yet put a price tag on this loot, in terms of historical value, these items were priceless. It is distressing that people would target the history of our region and our country.

The list of stolen history contains up to a dozen antique weapons including rifles and handguns all dating to the 1800s, two antique clocks, a complete antique silverware set, replica dolls, and two landscape paintings by Jasper Cropsey, a landscape artist from the 1800s. His paintings Upper Hudson (1871) and Greenwood Lake (1876) are both missing.With 30,000 items housed at Ringwood Manor – some from the Hewitt family’s residency there and some from the 1800s, Ragonese said that the inventory is taking some time and that the list of stolen history may grow as the inventory progresses.

The problem is the unknown nature of these thieves.Police still seeking Ringwood Manor burglars Though the investigation headed by State Park Police Detective Steve Franzone is continuing, he said it has already been determined that the manor’s alarm system was working that night but was disabled during the burglary. The Ringwood Manor, though on an isolated section of Sloatsburg Road, is minutes from the Ringwood Police Station so an active alarm would have given the thieves little time to work. In addition, both Park Police and Ringwood Police regularly patrol the manor property and had patrolled the property the day of the crime.

Investigators put the crime at between midnight and 7 a.m. March 3 when Ringwood Manor staff discovered the break-in as they arrived at work and found an open door and signs of intrusion into the former home of iron-maker Abram S. Hewitt. As a result of the crime, the manor house, part of the state park system, has been closed to the public – its entrances taped off – until a complete inventory of the site’s artifacts can be performed.

Ringwood Manor was designated as a national historic landmark in 1966. As Ringwood was the hub of the iron industry, Martin J. Ryerson bought the historic iron works and began building Ringwood Manor in 1807 while still operating the iron mines and forges on the property.

After industrialist Peter Cooper and his son-in-law Abram S. Hewitt purchased the manor and the surrounding property, Hewitt and his wife converted it into their summer home. Hewitt expanded the manor in the 1860s and ’70s. The completed house contains 51 rooms built in a wide range of styles that reflect the Victorian Period. The manor is 226.5 feet long and features 24 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, 28 bedrooms and more than 250 windows.

Because Ringwood was a huge iron manufacturer, a collection of iron products and artifacts adorn the manor grounds. The next generation of the Hewitt family distanced itself from politics and the iron and steel industry, thus having little use for the manor. The family gave the manor to the State of New Jersey in 1936.

3 March

The re-emerging market for rare stamps

The wave of Chinese money that has crashed through the markets for fine wine, art and antiques is now flooding into the altogether sleepier world of stamp collecting. At an auction in Hong Kong this week, a rare block of four stamps from  the cultural Revolution sold for HK$8,970,000 (US$1.1m) — an all-time record for a Chinese stamp or multiple. Including a 15 per cent buyer’s fee, the anonymous buyer paid over US$1.3m for the stamps.

3 March

Jewellery stolen from Tenby antiques shop

Dyfed-Powys Police are appealing for witnesses after a quantity of items were stolen from Audrey Bull Antiques in Tenby on Tuesday (March 1st). Gold bracelets and necklaces are alleged to have been stolen sometime around 11.30am. Police are seeking the public’s help to trace a man and a woman who were in the shop in Upper Frog Street at around the time of the suspected thefts.

The pair, who are aged in their mid-forties to early 50s, are believed to be of Eastern European origin and both had distinctive gold teeth. The male is described as 5ft 4 inches tall, of stocky build, with dark hair, and was wearing a black duffel coat. The woman is described as 5ft 2inches tall, and was wearing a black head scarf, a cream or beige coloured cardigan, a long black and silver skirt, and was carrying a black handbag with brass fittings.

Police are appealing for any witnesses or to anyone who saw anyone matching the descriptions, particularly if anyone saw these individuals getting in or out of a vehicle, to contact them immediately at Tenby police station on 101.

3 March

US officials uncover priceless Chinese antiques

NEWARK, N.J. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Homeland Security investigators uncovered two priceless Chinese antiques in shipping containers at Port Newark. Officials say the Tang Dynasty horse and rider and a prehistoric Chinese pot are estimated to be from 1,500 to 5,000 years old. There is no word about who had shipped the antiquities and no arrests have been made.

The discovery was made on Feb. 23 and announced Thursday. The U.S. has been working with the Chinese government to intercept the illegal trade of archaeological materials and return them to China since 2009.

2 March

Teens admits theft of £1.2m Stradivarius violin

Two Tottenham teenagers have admitted swiping an antique violin worth £1.2m from a musician as she stopped for a sandwich. The two boys, aged 14 and 16, acted as decoys for John Michael Maughan who took the 1696 Antonio Stradivarius violin outside a Pret a Manger at Euston Station.

The owner of the violin, Min-Jin Kym, had stopped to buy a sandwich on November 29 when she fell prey to the trio. The violin is one of only 450 in the world and is valued at approximately £1.2m. Ms Kym also had two bows worth £67,000 in the violin case but none of the items have since been recovered.

Maughan, 30, of no fixed address, and the teenagers who cannot be named for legal reasons, all admitted one count of theft at Blackfriars Crown Court today.

The boys have been freed on bail while Maughan was remanded in custody, and the trio will face sentencing at a date yet to be set.

British Transport Police, who investigated the opportunistic theft, continue to appeal for help finding the valuable items, and have warned they may still turn up at antiques fairs or arts sales.

Insurers have offered a £15,000 reward for their safe return, and Detective Inspector Andy Rose warned the sell-on value was practically nil as any antique dealer would recognise them as stolen property.

1 March

US antiques dealer punished for importing sperm whale teeth

A Massachusetts antiques dealer convicted of illegally importing and trafficking in sperm whale teeth and narwhal whale tusks worth up to $400,000 has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison. Authorities say David Place was sentenced Tuesday after a federal jury in Boston convicted him of eight counts including conspiracy and violating a law against trading in illegally captured wildlife.

Place owned Manor House Antiques Cooperative in Nantucket. Prosecutors say he committed the violations from 2001 to 2004.  A co-conspirator from Odessa, Ukraine, served a nine-month sentence in the U.S. and was deported.

Sperm whales are classified as endangered.

1 March

Indian the art of the tax break

Tucked away in the Indian budget alongside tax relief for nappies and 13-seater ambulance imports lies some welcome news for the country’s art collectors. Pranab Mukherjee, the finance minister, has made art works and antiquities exempt from customs duties when imported for public display. Private art galleries and collections can benefit from this concession, provided that the painting or sculpture gets a public viewing. That’s a big change. Curators and collectors complain that getting works of art in and out of the country involves the equivalent in red-tape of an Egyptian mummy’s wrappings.

Surprisingly for a nation with rich artistic traditions and celebrated contemporary artists, bringing art and antiques into India is as difficult as taking them out. Museum curators – close to the lowest rung in the state bureaucracy, just as the finance ministry is the top – have put up with this for decades. Mr Mukherjee is expert at pleasing the mass of voters with extra public spending. But the move on art shows he can pander to more singular tastes.

One of the Congress party’s most senior politicians, he has a trained eye for courting favour. Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress party, has a declared interest in art and art restoration. So do collectors among the country’s biggest business families like Nita Ambani, wife of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, and Kiran Nadar, wife of HCL’s Shiv Nadar.

A sop to the powerful matrons of the arts is a deft a touch. Moreover, espousing art nationalism, shared by China, Brazil and Russia, is only to be expected from a rising power and growing personal fortunes. In his budget speech on Monday, Mukherjee praised Indian collectors for “locating heritage works of Indian art and antiquities in foreign countries and bringing them back home.”

One of the most high profile of these has been Vijay Mallya (Chairman of UB Group, India’s biggest liquor empire), who has snapped up items at auction belonging to Tipu Sultan, a famed Mysorean ruler who took up arms against the British East India Company in the 18th century. After its purchase, Tipu’s sword encountered some complications about how easily it could return to India. Mallya had to write to the then finance minister PC Chidambaram asking for an ‘ad hoc’ exemption from customs duties.

More than five years on, a stroke of the pen has just given India’s art collectors a little more cut and thrust to bring home their treasures and trophies.

28 February

Mousetrap collector

Mary Putsch’s hobby is a trap. Lots of them, actually. Along with extensive collections of frogs, kaleidoscopes, spinning wheels and Winnebago Indian baskets, Putsch particularly enjoys collecting children’s books. Surprisingly, that drew her into one of her strangest collectibles – mousetraps.

While browsing an antique shop one day, Putsch noticed a bird cage-like device hanging from the ceiling. The tag on the item read “rat trap,” and Putsch instantly understood what the story and illustration in her Cinderella book was about. Later, Putsch found the same trap – only smaller and designed to catch mice. A 20-year obsession was born.

Putsch is so fascinated with mousetraps she weaves historical facts and stories about them into her conversations.

There are 4,400-some patents on mousetraps. That’s more than any other single item. Although Putsch has never counted her traps, she estimates she has at least 100 dating back to the 1800s. She’s found her treasures in antique shops and flea markets, had them given as gifts, bought them on trips abroad and even had a few made by her husband.

She’s also bought more modern mousetraps, amused by advertisements promoting them as everything from disposable to reusable, depending on economic conditions. Made mostly of metal, plastic or wood, the traps cost Putsch anywhere from $1 to $35. Her favorite and most unusual item is “the world’s best trap,” which was made in Germany and given to her by her husband, Joseph, as an anniversary gift.

28 February

Avon glassware has collectors
Vintage 1973 Avon Amethyst glass bottle jug

Vintage 1973 Avon Amethyst glass bottle jug

It’s hard to find an antique shop or a flea market that doesn’t offer ruby red glassware issued by Avon. This dinnerware has attracted many collectors and is one of the most beautiful of their product pattern pieces. The design is based on an old, sandwich glass pattern and inspired by the lacy delicacy of the classic Roman rosette pattern, introduced in 1975 by Wheaton Glass for Avon. They were commissioned to do the pieces, since they were already making decorative decanters for them.

Avon chose to call their new dinnerware the 1876 Cape Cod Collection because it recalled the beauty of this quality glass and the spirit of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the area where sandwich glass originated. This was Avon’s first venture into a dinnerware line and, because it was well received, Avon continued to make more items until the pattern was discontinued in 1993. In all, 37 different pieces were produced.

In July of 1976, Marlene Werden of Goodview became an Avon representative and immediately fell in love with the Cape Cod set and started her own personal collection. The first pieces were cruets filled with Skin-So-Soft bath oil and candlesticks that contained Charisma, Patchwork or Bird of Paradise cologne. They sold for around $8 a piece. Wine goblets that included a votive candle were introduced in 1976.

In 1978, dessert bowls filled with guest soap were introduced, along with salt shakers that were introduced in 1984. After many campaigns, more pieces were added and became good sellers from the quantity on today’s market.

Nice pieces can also be found at garage sales. These pieces are not difficult to find, however, it will be unusual to find numerous pieces at any one time. The people that purchase these have a variety of reasons: Some are adding to their collections, but I believe most are drawn in by the beauty of the glassware and the affordability of it.

27 February

Naked half ton woman stolen from garden

Police are looking for a naked woman weighing half a ton after she went missing from a garden. The six-foot lady holding a dove and a bunch of flowers disappeared in the dead of night.

Antiques lover David James, of Springfield Cottages in Lingfield Road, East Grinstead, was keeping the statue in his front garden so one day he could use her for his headstone. The 70-year-old estimates it would have taken three men to lift her. She was stolen from his garden at around 11.30pm on February 6.

She’s only worth about £500. Police said that anyone who saw the statue being removed from the area or who may have been offered it for sale is asked to call Sussex Police 0845 6070999.

  1. Beautiful stone, it is similar in color to the pitcher, he is also of Amethyst gemstones :)
    Good afternoon all – Glory to Ukraine!
    Антиквариат Киев

  2. […] more: The Antique Trade March News « The Antique Trade Blog ← UKauctionnews: Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers To Sell Contents Of […]

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