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The green and yellow on the Brazilian flag are references to the Houses of Bragança and Lorraine (of Francis I and II of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine), respectively. It seems that the diamond shape on the flag of the Empire of Brazil - which, like the background green and yellow, still remain in the present flag of the country - is a reference to Napoleon.
In the book Brasil: Uma Biografia (Brazil, a biography) of Lilia Schwarcz and Heloisa M. Starling, they say that the diamond shape in the flag was a 'stubborn tribute' to Napoleon made by Dom Pedro I of Brazil. The flag was made by Jean-Baptiste Debret, a French artist that worked for Napoleon and went to Brazil after the fall of Napoleon.
Even though the book says the reference was made by the Emperor, by citing the background of the creator of the flag I want to show that this reference isn't far-fetched at all. The tribute to Napoleon in the flag of the Empire was made (probably) because of the relocation of the Portuguese royal family to Brazil, which was caused because Napoleon invaded Portugal. Hence, Napoleon was the reason why Dom Pedro I of Brazil was in Brazil in the first place, having to declare independence. I can't see any other reason for a tribute.
As a curiosity, regarding the independence, Portugal wanted to undermine the political power Brazil got after it was elevated to part of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves (rather than a colony of Portugal) and Brazilians didn't accept it so they pressed Dom Pedro I to declare independence, if I'm not wrong, to avoid political instability. Actually if you think about it, it was only because of the monarchy that Brazil stayed together and didn't split into tiny republics, like it was the case with our not-so-tiny neighbours.
A question remains: in what way is a diamond shape a reference to Napoleon?
The flag design most closely associated with Napoleon would be his personal command flag. If he had one.
Pending the discovery of the design of any personal flag of Napoleon, the flag design most associated with him would be the regimental colors carried on the same staffs as the eagles of his regiments.
Depicts the French regiment colors in the 1804, 1812, and 1815 patterns.
Thus the 1804 to 1812 pattern was the one with the lozenge and was carried for about eight years, longer than any other pattern associated with Napoleon.
Previous French military colors in the revolutionary era had very different designs.
Some flags of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy also had lozenges.
As you can see, most military colors in that era did NOT use lozenge patterns and it is possible that only France and French client/puppet states used lozenges in their flags.
Thus lozenges in flag patterns did have an association with Napoleon. Perhaps Pedro I thought that as a self made and revolutionary emperor he had something in common with Napoleon.
Napoleon's lozenge military colors were probably inspired by some Revolutionary era colors. I have seen a lozenge in a picture of the color of the 106th regiment of revolutionary France.
Pictures of the fight on the Bridge of Arcola done't agree on the design of the flag. Some show a lozenge design.
The 32nd Demi brigade had a lozenge flag in 1794-1796.
If the Brazilian lozenge is based on the Napoleonic lozenge, it may be ultimately based on the design of the colors of one or more Revolutionary French regiments.
Added 11-21-2019. Here is a link to a discussion of the imperial brazilian flag.
The book A História dos Símbolos Nacionais, published by the Brazilian Senate, states that indeed,
[The flag] was conceived by Jean-Baptiste Debret, French painter and founder of our Academy of Fine Arts, inspired by some military flags used in his country at the time of the Great Revolution and the Napoleonic Era, from which he copied the ornamental model in Empire style consisting in a lozenge inscribed into a rectangle.
The regimental flag depicted is the French 1804 pattern which was the one regimental flags were based on following Napoleon's coronation as Emperor in that year.
It is interesting to note that according to the book King João VI, Pedro's father, who remained King of Portugal after the independence of Brazil, had already asked Debret to design a flag for an independent Brazil in 1820, and it already included a lozenge on a green field.
The "tribute" is probably a figure of speech, though, as I do not think the King of the Empire of Brazil Pedro I (who became King of Portugal as Pedro IV) really asked for the flag to be a tribute to Napoleon.
It is evident that the Flag of Brazil, that is, essentially, the same since independence, is an undisputable copy of the Italian Napoleonic kingdoms and republics:
The author of the Brazilian flag was a Frenchman Jean Baptiste Debret who served Napoleon, so the link is reinforced. However, the lozenge, or rhombus of the Brazil and Italian Napoleonic flags are preceded by the Napoleonic Italian Republic that used a square flag with a rhombus/lozenge that is, essentially, a 45º angle square and a copy of the Napoleonic regimental flags that were used by the army since the 1794 reform, before Napoleon (made universal for the whole army in 1803):
The elongated form of the inclined square, or rhombus/lozenge, is the result of the adaptation to a rectangular flag, instead of a square: the maritime flag of the Napoleonic Italian Republic is the first historical example of a rhombus/lozenge adapted to the rectangular flag.
It is evident that the French Revolutionaries adopted the Lozenge/rhombus in the beginnings for the army banners, it is also evident that the same form was widely used in Napoleonic Italy being adapted from the banner to the flag (rectangular); and it is also evident that Brazil copied the same form.
But why? It was always my conviction that the common element in all this history was Freemasonry: the founders of Brazil were Freemasons (D. Pedro and José Bonifácio); Napoleon, his older brother Joseph and Beauharnais were Freemasons and were in charge of Napoleonic Italy; the author of the flag was a Freemason; and, recently, the last Italian President approved a new presidential banner that is a copy of the Napoleonic Italian Republic, also a Freemason; is also well known the Freemasonry influence and participation in the French Revolution. Is evident the existence of some kind of connection between the banner and Freemasons; but why? what is the relation between the rhombus/lozenge and Freemasonry? It is not a common, or well-known masonic symbol; it is also well-known that Freemasonry plagiarized several existent symbols: many from Christianity and Jewish Kabbalah.
It is possible that the institution of the lozenge in army banners in 1794 was an aesthetic choice (it would be necessary to read the sessions of the approval of those banners); however, it can't be coincidental the affinity of so many Freemasons with the symbol. A lozenge/rhombus is nothing more than two triangles connected; and I can find 6 reasons for its use by Freemasons:
1st - the inner space between the square and compass, is a "diamond";
2nd - Robert Fludd's Created Universe, is a "diamond";
3rd - the Star of David are two triangles and create a "diamond";
4th - As above, so below symbolic representation, create a "diamond"; 5th - Aristotelian elements and qualities; 6th - the Diamond is the perfection of an imperfect stone after chiselling.
Is almost impossible to say, for sure, that is a symbol created by Freemasons, but something is undisputable: the connection of the symbol with Revolutionary Principles and Freemasons affinity to the geometric form of the "diamond".
I can not find any personal information, or if was Freemason or not, about the designer of the French Regimental Banners and many Napoleonic flags, but I found it was Jean-Baptiste Challiot de Prusse and designed this:
My source of Chailliot (or Chaillot, or Challiot) and states that he design many of the Republic and Empire flags (drapeaux): https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k320049v/f113.item.r=%22chailliot%20de%20prusse%22
PS: I reiterate: I can't say for sure that the design is a Freemason design, I only notice that Freemasons like the design. I mention Freemasonry because is a Guild that uses many symbols. However, despite this connection, other can be asserted, the Revolutionary Ideals dispersed throw Europe by Napoleon. And, this website is in English so, some English Freemason that read this may find it strange but, Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry is different of French Freemasonry that spread to Catholic countries. I give an example: despite the British brought Freemasonry to Portugal, and its ideals, soon the Portuguese Freemasons adhered to the French "version" of Freemasonry, that was strongly anti-Catholic, so much so, that General Beresford (British General commanding the Portuguese Army during Napoleonic Wars) condemn to death several Portuguese Freemasons when they adhere to that "French version" and turn on the British.
A new information, recently found: In 1821, in the Constituent Cortes of 1820 (one year before Brazil independance), the congressmen Manuel Gonçalves de Miranda proposed, as the new Portuguese Nacional Colours, the GREEN and YELLOW, but the proposal was dismissed on the grounds that those were masonic colours and the historical Blue and White was chosen instead. I could not find why green and yellow were considered, by the Congress, as "masonic colours", but this was the reason the proposal was dissmissed. This site didn't allow me to post the links with the information.
And after some research (unfortunatlly the site dont allow me to write the links) I found that the Lozenge is the "Jewel" used in the 16th degree, that is connected to the 15th degree of the Scottish Rite, together they form the "Council of the Prince of Jerusalem" and, althought the lozenge is more connected to the 16th degree its used to represent the "Prince of Jerusalem" degrees combined. What was very interesting is the symbolism of these degrees and the context. But the colours also were very interesting: the collar/ribon is green in the 15th and yellow in the 16th, so the aprons according to Hutchens.
Diamonds, gold, and imperialist intervention (1870–1902)
South Africa experienced a transformation between 1870, when the diamond rush to Kimberley began, and 1902, when the South African War ended. Midway between these dates, in 1886, the world’s largest goldfields were discovered on the Witwatersrand. As the predominantly agrarian societies of European South Africa began to urbanize and industrialize, the region evolved into a major supplier of precious minerals to the world economy gold especially was urgently needed to back national currencies and ensure the continued flow of expanding international trade. British colonies, Boer republics, and African kingdoms all came under British control. These dramatic changes were propelled by two linked forces: the development of a capitalist mining industry and a sequence of imperialist interventions by Britain.
Mineral Inclusions in Sapphire from Southern Vietnam: Indicator of Formation
Snowflake Inclusions in Mong Hsu Ruby
A holiday snowflake scene in a treated Mong Hsu ruby surprises and delights a gemologist in the Bangkok lab.
Engage in webinars on the most diverse and pressing issues in gemology today, including gemstone origin, laboratory-grown stones and new discoveries in field gemology.
Unusual Absorption in a Blue Flux-Grown Synthetic Sapphire
The Bangkok lab identified unexpected characteristics in a flux-grown synthetic sapphire.
A long-wave ultraviolet flashlight illuminates chalky blue fluorescence in a fracture-filled emerald.
Rare Intense Purplish Pink Montana Sapphire
A Montana sapphire of unusual size and color proves to be from the secondary deposit of Rock Creek.
Update on Inclusions in Emeralds from Davdar, China
Testing reveals interesting inclusions in Chinese emeralds to be calcite and dolomite.
TABLE CUT DIAMONDS
A table cut diamond is so named for the simple fact that the top is flat, like an ordinary table. Each of the four sides has a simple facet similar to a bevel. These diamonds, although found in the 16th century, were most often utilized from the 17th through the earlier 18th century in jewelry. Below is an example of a late 17th century cross with table cut diamonds set into silver.
Diamond Quality FactorsDiamond is available in a range of sizes and qualities to fit every consumer's tastes.
One of the first things most people learn about diamonds is that not all diamonds are created equal. In fact, every diamond is unique. Diamonds come in many sizes, shapes, colors, and with various internal characteristics.
All polished diamonds are valuable. That value is based on a combination of factors. Rarity is one of those factors. Diamonds with certain qualities are more rare&mdashand more valuable&mdashthan diamonds that lack them.
Jewelry professionals use a systematic way to evaluate and discuss these factors. Otherwise, there would be no way to compare one diamond to another. And there would be no way to evaluate and discuss the qualities of an individual diamond. Diamond professionals use the grading system developed by GIA in the 1950s, which established the use of four important factors to describe and classify diamonds: Clarity, Color, Cut, and Carat Weight.
These are known as the 4Cs. When used together, they describe the quality of a finished diamond. The value of a finished diamond is based on this combination.
A diamond&rsquos value is often affected by the rarity of one or more of the 4Cs. Colorless diamonds are scarce&mdashmost diamonds have tints of yellow or brown. So a colorless diamond rates higher on the color grading scale than a diamond that is light yellow. Value and rarity are related: In this case a colorless diamond is more rare and more valuable than one with a slight yellow color. The same relationship between rarity and value exists for clarity, cut, and carat weight.
The 4Cs describe the individual qualities of a diamond, and the value of an individual diamond is based on these qualities. The terms that people use to discuss the 4Cs have become part of an international language that jewelry professionals can use to describe and evaluate individual diamonds.
Today, the descriptions of each of the 4Cs are more precise than those applied to almost any other consumer product. And they have a long history. Three of them&mdashcolor, clarity, and carat weight&mdashwere the basis for the first diamond grading system established in India over 2,000 years ago.
Subtle differences in color can dramatically af­fect diamond value. Two diamonds of the same clarity, weight, and cut can differ in value based on color alone. Even the slightest hint of color can make a dramatic difference in value.
Diamonds come in many colors. Diamonds that range from colorless to light yellow and brown fall within the normal color range. Within that range, colorless diamonds are the most rare, so they&rsquore the most valuable. They set the standard for grading and pricing other diamonds in the normal color range.
At the GIA Laboratory, diamonds are color graded under controlled conditions by comparing them to round brilliant diamonds of known color, called masterstones.
The GIA D-to-Z scale is the industry standard for color-grading diamonds. Each letter represents a range of color based on a diamond&rsquos tone and saturation.
Many diamonds emit a visible light called fluorescence when they&rsquore exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Although invisible to the human eye, UV radiation is everywhere. Sunlight contains it. Fluorescent lights emit it, too. Under the right conditions, you can see fluorescence in about 35 percent of gem diamonds.
Blue is the most common fluorescent color in gem-quality diamonds. In rare instances, fluorescence can be white, yellow, orange, or many other colors.
Strong blue fluorescence can make a light yellow diamond look closer to colorless in sunlight. Blue and yellow are color opposites and tend to cancel each other out, so blue fluorescence masks the yellow color. If the fluorescence is too strong it can make the stone look cloudy or &ldquooily,&rdquo which can lower the value of the diamond.
Few things in nature are absolutely perfect. This is as true of diamonds as anything else. Diamonds have internal features, called inclusions, and surface irregularities, called blemishes. Together, they&rsquore called clarity characteristics. Clarity is the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes.
Among other things, blemishes include scratches and nicks on a diamond&rsquos surface. Inclusions are generally on the inside, and some might break the surface of the stone. Sometimes, tiny diamond or other mineral crystals are trapped inside a diamond when it forms. Depending on where they&rsquore located, they might remain after the stone has been cut and polished, and they can affect a diamond&rsquos appearance.
Clarity characteristics might have a negative influence on a diamond&rsquos value, but they can have positive effects as well. For one thing, they help gemologists separate diamond from imitations. (This is easier with included diamonds than with flawless ones.) And because no two diamonds have exactly the same inclusions, they can help identify individual stones. They can also provide scientists with valuable information about how diamonds form.
Like the rest of the 4Cs, clarity&rsquos influence on value is directly related to the concept of rarity. Flawless is the top grade in the GIA Clarity Grading System. Diamonds graded Flawless don&rsquot have visible inclusions or blemishes when examined under 10-power (10X) magnification by a skilled and experienced grader.
Flawless diamonds are very rare&mdashso rare, in fact, that it&rsquos possible to spend a lifetime in the jewelry industry without ever seeing one, and they command top prices.
At the other end of the scale are diamonds with inclusions that can be easily seen by the unaided eye. Between the two extremes are diamonds with inclusions visible only under 10X magnification. Stones in the middle range make up the bulk of the retail market.
There are 11 clarity grades in the GIA clarity grading system. They are Flawless, Internally Flawless, two categories of Very, Very Slightly Included, two categories of Slightly Included, and three categories of Included.
The effect of a clarity characteristic on the clarity grade is based on its size, number, position, nature, and color or relief.
Sometimes, one factor makes more difference to the clarity grade than the others. But it&rsquos not always the same one. The relative importance of each factor varies from diamond to diamond. For example, an inclusion off to the side of a stone would have less impact on clarity than the same size inclusion located directly under the table. In this case, the position is probably the determining factor.
Occasionally, if an inclusion has the potential to cause damage to a stone, it can affect the grade. But this is rare, and usually applies only to Included (&ldquoI&rdquo) diamonds.
Diamond professionals use a set of terms that originally included very very slightly imperfect, very slightly imperfect, slightly imperfect, and imperfect. In recent years, the term imperfect has been replaced with included. (GIA uses included in its clarity grading system.)
These terms were shortened to the initials VVS, VS, SI, and I. The abbreviations eventually gained acceptance throughout the international diamond community. Their use is now widespread regardless of how the words they stand for translate into various languages. Very may translate to tres in French, for instance, but in France a very slightly included diamond is still a VS. Even a country like Russia, with a completely different alphabet, uses the same abbreviations.
A beautifully finished diamond is dazzling, with every facet displaying the craftsman&rsquos skill and care. When a diamond interacts with light, every angle and every facet affects the amount of light returned to the eye. This is what gives it its face-up appearance.
A diamond&rsquos proportions determine how light performs when it enters the diamond. If light enters through the crown and goes out through the pavilion, the diamond will look dark and unattractive. Diamonds with different proportions and good polish make better use of the light, and will be bright, colorful, and scintillating.
A well-cut diamond displays the beauty consumers expect to see in a diamond.
A beautiful diamond looks the way it does because of three optical effects: white light reflections called brightness, flashes of color called fire, and areas of light and dark called scintillation. Pattern is the relative size, arrangement, and contrast of bright and dark areas that result from a diamond&rsquos internal and external reflections. There must be enough contrast between the bright and dark areas to give the pattern a crisp, sharp look.
The diamond industry has long known that some proportion combinations make light perform better than others. In recent years, however, scientists and researchers in GIA&rsquos Research Department and the GIA Laboratory have shown that there are many variations and combinations of proportions that will maximize brilliance and fire in round brilliant cut diamonds.
As a general rule, the higher the cut grade, the brighter the diamond. Under fluorescent lighting, these diamonds (left to right) display high, moderate, and low brightness.
The term &ldquocut&rdquo also can describe a fashioned diamond&rsquos shape. Shapes other than the standard round brilliant are called fancy cuts. They&rsquore sometimes called fancy shapes or fancies. Fancy shapes also have names of their own, based on their shapes. The best known are the marquise, princess, pear, oval, heart, and emerald cut.
Many goods are sold by weight&mdashby the kilogram, ounce, pound, or ton. Even people who have never bought a diamond are used to the idea that weight and price are related. They understand that a larger diamond is probably more valuable than a smaller one. But there are two things that often surprise people when they start learning about diamonds and carat weight.
The first is the precision with which diamonds are weighed. Diamond weights are stated in metric carats, abbreviated &ldquoct.&rdquo One metric carat is two-tenths (0.2) of a gram&mdashjust over seven thousandths (0.007) of an ounce. One ounce contains almost 142 carats. A small paper clip weighs about a carat.
The metric carat is divided into 100 points. A point is one hundredth of a carat.
Diamonds are weighed to a thousandth (0.001) of a carat and then rounded to the nearest hundredth, or point. Fractions of a carat can mean price differences of hundreds&mdasheven thousands&mdashof dollars, depending on diamond quality.
Over a carat, diamond weights are usually expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.03-carat stone, for example, would be described as &ldquoone point oh three carats,&rdquo or &ldquoone oh three.&rdquo Weights for diamonds that weigh under a carat are usually stated in points. A diamond that weighs 0.83 carat is said to weigh &ldquoeighty-three points,&rdquo or called an &ldquoeighty-three pointer.&rdquo
The relationship between rarity, weight, and value can be surprising. People know that a pound of sugar costs twice as much as a half-pound of sugar. But diamonds aren&rsquot a commodity like sugar. Their price depends on a number of variables&mdashweight is just one of them. So it&rsquos not always easy to understand, or explain, why a 1-carat diamond is worth, say, $6,000, while a 2-carat diamond of similar quality might be worth $15,000.
It&rsquos really a simple concept: Large diamonds are more rare than small diamonds. The more scarce something is, the more it is worth. So a larger stone doesn&rsquot just cost more. It also costs more per carat. A 1-carat diamond weighs the same as four 0.25-carat diamonds. But even if all the other quality factors are equal, the larger diamond is worth much more than the sum of the four smaller diamonds.
Carat weight can also be symbolic. While the visual difference between a 0.98-carat diamond and a 1.01-carat diamond is negligible, many people will opt for the larger stone&mdasheven at a much higher price. Some weights are considered &ldquomagic sizes&rdquo: half carat, three-quarter carat, one carat, etc. There&rsquos not much difference in their weights, but if both are D-color round brilliants with identical clarity and cut, the size makes all the difference. They really don&rsquot look much different, but if a consumer&rsquos heart is set on the one-carat size, the difference is enormous. The fact that the second stone is slightly over the &ldquomagic&rdquo one-carat size can give it as much as a 20 percent difference in price with only a 6-point difference in weight.
Don&rsquot confuse the term carat with karat. Karat is a unit of measure used to describe how much pure gold there is in an alloy.
Wedgwood Identification and Dating
Unlike most old English potters, Josiah Wedgwood marked the majority of his products and Wedgwood Identification and Dating marks are something for which the collector should always look. These trademarks, which always contain the work Wedgwood, have differed for various reasons throughout the company’s history.
By becoming familiar with the dozen or so main variations of the Wedgwood mark and by knowing when each was in use, a collector can determine an approximate period of production of an object. A guide to trademarks is listed here and by careful study most collectors can acquire a reasonably sound knowledge.
Determining the specific year of production of an item is somewhat more complicated, and this calls for close examination of a variety of other marks, such as three-letter date marks, registration marks, artists signatures or monograms and other devices. In addition to these, the style and method of production should be kept in mind as giving clues to dating.
Dating Wedgwood can sometime be very difficult as apart from the Trademark there are also in some cases letters that accompany the marks to give a more accurate manufacture date and most old pieces have this second mark. To better date a particular piece collectors will often also refer to this marking.
If you are looking to find the value of Wedgwood pieces, we have expert appraisers on hand. Simply click on Ask an Appraiser box and you will be directed to an appraiser who can help.
|Wedgwood Marks||Wedgwood Date Marks Information|
|Probably the first mark. Supposed to have been used by Josiah Wedgwood at Burslem 1759 to 1769.|
|This is a very rare Wedgwood mark, used at the Bell Works 1764 to 1769.|
|Used in varying sizes from 1759 to 1769.|
|The circular stamp, without out the inner and outer rings, and with the word Etruria is doubtless the earliest form of the Wedgwood and Bentley stamp, 1769.|
|This mark, with the word Etruria, was fixed in the corner, inside the plinth of old basalt vases. It is sometimes found on the pedestal of a bust of large figure, 1769 to 1780.|
|This circular stamp, with an inner and outer line, was always placed around the screw of the basalt, granite and Etruscan vases, but is never found on Jasper vases, 1769 -1780.|
|Unique script mark, Wedgwood & Bentley, 1769 to 1780.|
|Mark used on Wedgwood & Bentley intaglios, with the catalogue number varying in size, 1769 to 1780.|
|Very small intaglios were sometimes marked W&B with the catalogue number, or simply with the number only, 1769 to 1780.|
|Rare Wedgwood and Bentley mark found only on chocolate and white seal intaglios, usually portraits made of two layers of clay with the edges polished for mounting, 1769 – 1780.|
|These marks, varying in size are found upon busts, granite and basalt vases, figures, plaques, medallions and cameos, from the largest tablet to the smallest cameo, 1769 to 1780.|
|Varying in size, these marks are attributed to the period after Bentley’s death (1780) and probably used for a time after Josiah’s death 1795.|
|Very rare Wedgwood and Sons mark used for a short period in 1790.|
|Mark of Josiah Wedgwood II. Supposedly a new partnership or change in the firm. It may be the date when the design was first registered, 1805. Sometimes 2 nd Feby appears instead of Feb 2|
|The mark upon Wedgwood bone china or porcelain, made 1812 to 1828, always printed either in red, blue or in gold.|
|From 1769 to the present day this mark has been impressed in the clay on Queens Ware, or printed in colour. In recent times the words Etruria and Barlaston and the name of the pattern have in many cases been printed in addition to the trade mark. From 1780, ornamental Jasper, Black Basalt, cane, terra cotta and Queens Ware are always marked with this stamp. The word England was added in 1891.|
|These Wedgwood Etruria marks are rarely found on pieces of a very high character. Adopted about 1840 but used for only a short period.|
|This mark, used on Wedgwood bone china, was adopted in 1878 when the manufacture of bone china was revived. It is printed in various colors.|
|England was added to the mark Wedgwood in 1891 to comply with the American Customs Regulation known as the McKinley Tariff Act.|
|Mark used today on bone china, developed from mark of 1878. In 1974 the circled R was added to back stamps to indicate that the name Wedgwood is a registered trade mark.|
|This mark, printed in color, is being used today on Queens Ware, starting in 1940. In 1974 the circled R was added to back stamps to indicate that the name Wedgwood is a registered trade mark.|
|This mark is printed on oven-to-tableware ranges. The circled R was added to back stamps to indicate that the name Wedgwood is a registered trade mark.|
Answers to: How old? Authentic? Who made it?
Makers’ marks & backstamps to help you identify:
China & Dinnerware
Chinese & Japanese Porcelain
Pottery or Porcelain Vases
English Bone China
Collectible Porcelain Tiles
Ironstone & Stoneware
Studio & Art Pottery
Tea or Chocolate Sets
Cups & Saucers
Steins & Tankards
Viking Runes Guide | Runic Alphabet Meanings | Norse / Nordic Letters
In Norse lore, the god, Odin, impaled his heart with his own spear and hung on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nights all to perceive the meaning of the runes. The runes were symbols that sprang from the Well of Urd – the source of fate – and the Norns used these runes to carry that fate up the trunk and branches of Yggdrasil to the nine worlds amidst its boughs.
Odin made his sacrifice at great anguish and risk to himself because he knew that the runes conveyed deep meaning, and if he could understand their meaning he would gain profound wisdom and power.
So we see from this story how the Vikings thought of runes not merely as letters but as having potent virtues within themselves of a metaphysical or even magical nature. The Norse and other Germanic peoples wrote with runes since at least the first century. However, they did not use this writing the way we do now, or even the way Mediterranean and other neighboring cultures did then. Instead, runes were for inscriptions of great importance. They could be carved into rune stones to commemorate ancestors and mark the graves of heroes. Because they had inherent meaning, they could be used as a means of communication between the natural and supernatural, and could thus be used as spells for protection or success. It is obvious to see how many of these runes were an influence on our English letters used today, such as the T, O, F and S seen in these pendants.
Carved on sticks or other objects, they could be cast and deciphered to discern the present or predict the future. Rather than being penned on vellum or parchment, runes were usually carved on wood, bone, or stone, hence their angular appearance. While evidence suggests that most Vikings could read the runes on at least a basic level, for them the true study and understanding of these symbols was a pursuit fit for the gods.
Our word alphabet comes from the Greek letters alpha and beta. Similarly, modern experts have termed runic alphabets futharks (or futhorks), based on the first six letters of Elder Futhark which roughly correspond to our F, U, Th, A, R, and K. Elder Futhark earns its designation because it is the oldest-discovered complete runic system, appearing in order on the Kylver Stone from Gotland, Sweden, dated from the dawn of the Migration Era (around the year 400).
Roughly 50 runestones have been found. Runestones were often raised next to grave sites within the Viking era of 950-1100AD. Some of the raised runestones first appear in the fourth and fifth century in Norway and Sweden. And in Denmark as early as the eighth and ninth century. However, most of them were found in Sweden. The Kingittorsuaq Runestone below was found in Greenland and is currently located at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.
Elder Futhark has 24 runes, and over the next few centuries became widely used amongst the many Germanic tribes that vied for survival throughout Europe. By the Viking Age (roughly, 793-1066) the Elder Futhark gradually gave way to the Younger Futhark. The Younger Futhark has only 16 runes, not because the language was becoming simpler but because it was becoming more complicated. Phonetically, the runes of the Younger Futhark were working double-duty to cover the changes that were differentiating the Norse tongues from that of other Germanic peoples.
Younger Futhark can be further divided into styles, including the 'long branch' (Danish) and the 'short twig' (Swedish and Norwegian) runes:
Forces behind codification
The demand for codification and, indeed, codification itself preceded the Napoleonic era (1799–1815). Diversity of laws was the dominant characteristic of the prerevolutionary legal order. Roman law governed in the south of France, whereas in the northern provinces, including Paris, a customary law had developed, based largely on feudal Frankish and Germanic institutions. Marriage and family life were almost exclusively within the control of the Roman Catholic Church and governed by canon law. In addition, starting in the 16th century, a growing number of matters were governed by royal decrees and ordinances as well as by a case law developed by the parlements. The situation inspired Voltaire to observe that a traveler in France “changes his law almost as often as he changes his horses.” Each area had its own collection of customs, and, despite efforts in the 16th and 17th centuries to organize and codify each of those local customary laws, there had been little success at national unification. Vested interests blocked efforts at codification, because reform would encroach upon their privileges.
After the French Revolution, codification became not only possible but almost necessary. Powerful groups such as the manors and the guilds had been destroyed the secular power of the church had been suppressed and the provinces had been transformed into subdivisions of the new national state. Political unification was paired with a growing national consciousness, which, in turn, demanded a new body of law that would be uniform for the entire state. The Napoleonic Code, therefore, was founded on the premise that, for the first time in history, a purely rational law should be created, free from all past prejudices and deriving its content from “sublimated common sense” its moral justification was to be found not in ancient custom or monarchical paternalism but in its conformity to the dictates of reason.
Giving expression to those beliefs and to the needs of the revolutionary government, the National Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution on September 4, 1791, providing that “there shall be a code of civil laws common for the entire realm.” Further steps toward the actual drafting of a civil code, however, were first taken by the National Convention in 1793, which established a special commission headed by Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, duke de Parme, and charged it with the task of completing the project within a month. That commission prepared within six weeks of its creation a draft code consisting of 719 articles. Though truly revolutionary in both intent and content, the draft was rejected by the convention on the grounds that it was too technical and detailed to be easily understood by all citizens. A second, much-shorter, draft of 297 articles was offered in 1794, but it was little debated and had no success. Cambacérès’s persistent efforts produced a third draft (1796), containing 500 articles, but it was equally ill-fated. Another commission, established in 1799, presented a fourth scheme prepared in part by Jean-Ignace Jacqueminot.
Finally, the consulate, with Napoleon Bonaparte as first consul, resumed the legislative work, and a new commission was nominated. A final draft was submitted first to the legislative section and then to the plenary assembly of the newly reorganized Conseil d’État (“Council of State”). There it was extensively discussed, and with the steadfast participation and vigorous support of Napoleon as chairman, it was enacted into law piecemeal, in the form of 36 statutes passed between 1801 and 1803. On March 21, 1804, those statutes were consolidated in a single body of law—the Code Civil des Français. That title was changed to Code Napoléon in 1807 to honour the emperor who, as first consul of the republic, had brought to completion the monumental legislative undertaking. With the fall of the Napoleonic regime, the original title was restored in 1816. Reference to Napoleon was reinstated in the title of the code in 1852 by a decree of Louis-Napoléon (later Napoleon III), then president of the Second Republic. Since September 4, 1870, however, statutes have referred to it simply as the “civil code.”
The Complete List of Diamond Inclusion Types
When it comes to buying a diamond ring, clarity is an aspect that many consumers find confusing. In this write up, I’ve compiled a list of the different types of inclusions in diamonds to show you what they mean and how they look like.
With the use of images and videos (photography credits – James Allen), I hope you get a better idea of identifying diamond flaws and understanding the visual impact an inclusion may have on the diamond’s appearance.
Bearding – Hair-like inclusions that form at the girdle area due to improper bruting processes. A heavily bearded girdle with a grey fuzzy appearance should be avoided.
Graining – Caused by irregular crystal growth. Internal graining can appear like whitish, colored or reflective lines. Depending on the severity, they can also look like creases or give the diamond a hazy appearance.
Image credits: Vincent Cracco, © GIA
Cavity – This usually takes the form of a large or deep opening in the diamond’s surface. Cavities can be created during the polishing process when an internal inclusion like a crystal falls out of its pocket and leaves behind a void. Read this article for more insights.
Crystals – Included minerals that exist within the body of the diamond. Depending on the type of minerals they are, crystals can be colorless (possibly an embedded diamond!), black (carbon), reddish (garnets), greenish (peridots) and etc…
Crystals can exist in different kinds of shapes and colors.
Colored crystal inclusions are much more obvious to the naked eye and they are generally undesirable. Vice versa, a colorless or transparent crystal inclusion would have less impact on the diamond’s appearance.
Cloud – A cloud inclusion is a very broad term used to classify a cluster of pinpoints/crystals found very close to each other. Depending on the nature of the cloud inclusion, it can sometimes pose an issue to the diamond’s transparency.
For example, when clouds get too big in size and density, they can cause the diamond to take up a hazy appearance and negatively affect its light transmission properties. If they are small and diffused, it generally isn’t a cause for concern.
This dense and visible white cloud sets the clarity grade in this SI1 emerald cut.
Varying intensities and coloration of cloud inclusions.
Without close up videos or photographs, there’s no way to determine how the diamond’s inclusions will look like. That’s why I recommend vendors like James Allen and Blue Nile where you can use interactive HD videos to make educated shopping decisions.
Feather – A small crack or fracture within the diamond. Depending on your viewing angle, a feather can look transparent and almost invisible or it can catch on light and display an opaque appearance.
Severe feathers can cause durability issues (especially if they are surface reaching or near the girdle area) or have unsightly coloration to them both of which should be avoided.
In both the examples above, the size and location of the massive feather near the girdle poses additional risks of the diamond being chipped. The feathers also have a grey and brownish coloration respectively and they are very obvious to the naked eye.
Needle – A long thin needle-shaped (tiny-rod) inclusion that is usually white or transparent in color. If they appear in clusters, it might affect cause a detrimental effect on the diamond’s clarity.
Super obvious needle that runs across the middle of the stone.
Small, transparent and elongated needle under the pear’s table facet.
Pinpoints – These are tiny white or black crystals that are embedded inside a diamond. Out of all the different kinds of inclusions found in a diamond, pinpoints can be considered the most benign .
Can you see the faint white pinpoint?
Twinning Wisps – This inclusion is a result of growth defects (distortion) in a diamond’s crystal structure. In essence, twinning wisps are a mish-mash of different inclusions such as pinpoints, crystals, feathers and clouds.
They often resemble a twirly looking plane and appear ribbon-like. In rare cases, they can show a slight yellow or brown coloration which makes them look like thin reflecting surfaces inside the stone.
Faint twinning wisp that can hardly be made out to the unaided eyes.
This video shows a heavily twinned heart cut with an I1 clarity.
Understanding clarity and a diamond’s inclusions are only a start towards learning how to buy diamonds. If you want to learn how to select the most beautiful diamond for your budget, you need to check out this proven step-by-step method that 1000s of other readers had successfully used.
Chip – A small opening on the surface of a diamond often found near the edges or facet junctions. This inclusion is typically man-made and due to damage caused by accidental knocks or during the setting process.
Indented Natural – A “flaw” which dips below the polished diamond’s surface. An indented natural is a part of the rough diamond that was left untouched during the polishing process and is usually found at the girdle.
Indented natural indicated by red arrows. Source: GIA
So far, what I had shown you is a list of common inclusions that are found in diamonds. However, there are several clarity characteristics like etched channels or manufacturing remnants that are seldom seen and I have included the links here for the sake of completeness.
Moving on, did you know many shoppers actually make critical mistakes by selecting diamonds based solely on information from a grading report? The fact is, there are many hidden clarity related details that lab reports NEVER reveal to you.
On the next page, I’ll show you why this can be a costly mistake and how you can overcome the pitfalls of buying blind…