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September 27, 2013 - 1:49 am

Sapphire, September’s Birthstone

“Sapphir,” [sic]“The most beautiful of things” in Hebrew, is the birthstone for September, and is associated with Taurus in the Zodiac . It is typically known as a rich blue stone, but it occurs as colorless stones as well as in a rainbow of colors: pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. (Red is missing from the list because red sapphires are known as rubies.)

Today, sapphire is known as one of the Big Three gems, along with ruby and emerald. Sapphire and ruby are varieties of corundum; emerald is a different mineral. After diamond, corundum is the hardest of the precious stones, which makes it a very practical gem to wear, as well as very romantic.

Star sapphires, stones which have “silk” [the mineral rutile] inclusions aligned in such a way that light bouncing off allows “six-rayed stars” to be seen, have been called “Stones of Destiny,” with the 3 cross-bars representing faith, hope and destiny (see Kunz, pg 107*). Rarely stars with four or 12 rays can be found.

Color-change sapphires have also been used in jewelry. The usual change is from violet or purple in incandescent light to blue in daylight. The ancients attributed mystical powers to these stones, notably as a “test of female virtue” (Kunz, pg 105*).

Although cut stones typically weigh less than 5 carats, some are over 500, such as the 563 carat Star of India (in the American Museum of Natural History). They have been synthesized in labs since 1902.

Historically, sapphires have been used extensively in ecclesiastical rings and other items, and a number of large sapphires are included in the crown jewels of England. Princess Di’s engagement ring was a sapphire; the ring now is worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. The (in)famous American Wallis Simpson, who became the Duchess of Windsor, owned some spectacular sapphires, including a 43+ ct. Ceylon stone set in a ring. Liz Taylor also had some spectacular sapphires, including one set in an antique brooch, surrounded by diamonds, and one set in an Art Deco pendant.

One of the most famous historic sources of sapphire was Kashmir, which produced stones that remain the standard of excellence for sapphire. They are saturated violetish blue to pure blue, referred to as “cornflower blue”, with tiny inclusions that give the stones a velvety, intense color. Today, sources include Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Madagascar, and Montana.

This lovely stone has had many uses and symbolic meanings over the centuries. It has been used as a poison antidote, and was used in magic, enabling necromancers to interpret oracles, and witches to work spells. Also used as talismans and wards against the Evil Eye and ill omens in general.

If the stone is not a black star sapphire, heat treated, or fracture filled, all methods of cleaning are safe.

Other sapphire-set jewels on my site are the “Platinum Synthetic Sapphire Diamond Ring” (you can search the site using my inventory number RR12170), and the “Victorian Style Pink & Blue Sapphire Ring” (my number RR08111). Please take a look at them also.


*Kunz, G.F., The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, Dover, 1971


Co-written by Jenny Andersen and Jocelyn Reynolds, Period Pieces

Draft Test
November 14, 2012 - 8:34 pm

Should not be published

second test post 0404
October 18, 2012 - 4:30 pm
Hidden : Not Viewable

Pair Arita porcelain Shi-shi decorated plates

Pair Arita porcelain Shi-shi decorated plates

Type the text here

test post 0404
April 4, 2012 - 4:06 pm

So easy, an antiques dealer can do it
October 4, 2010 - 12:23 pm
Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Porcelain

Japanese imari porcelain bowlUsing the easy "Blog About Item" feature

While developing this feature, we realized we needed to make it easy to use, Now, all you need to know to easily post a blog entry is addressed within this single blog post. You can skip the preceding blog entries (below) unless wanting to learn some other tools and actions after gaining some comfort.

We have introduced this easy means to quickly post a blog entry without any technical requirements or mastery of the interface or of HTML. When logged in to your Trocadero account, go to "Manage", select an item related to the topic you want to blog about, and hit "Blog About Item". When you do this, you will arrive at the editor - populated (no hassle) with a linked picture and title from the item.

Where you read "", replace with the title for your blog entry. Ideally, you will not be blogging just about one item in your catalog. That would be a bit redundant. Instead, blog on a topic that your visitors will find educational and useful and which relates to not just one of your items but to several items or an entire category of items. Try to use keywords and language that relates to the topic and to relevant listings in your catalog. Your blog entry will benefit you and your visitors with links to the illustrated item and also to the categories relevant to the item. And your catalog and item will link to your blog and to the associated entry where practical (we are still working on some of this integration.)

Where you read "Type the text here", replace with the narrative of your blog entry (as you see we have.) Note that the name of the selected item appears as a link (which goes to the item.) You can highlight and drag that linked item name to any position within the body of your blog entry once you are finished typing. So don't worry too much about how it positions as you add your narrative. You can also edit how the linked item name reads. (It is not so easy to position it as a caption to the picture, so try to satisfy yourself with a position somewhere within the text. You will be able to edit around it to give it appropriate space.)

We are introducing this feature within a changing world on the Internet where listing your merchandise for sale may no longer be quite enough. With others blogging, networking and "tweeting", you may find yourself a bit thin if not rising to the occasion. While all three of these areas may not fit everyone's style or comfort, your visitors and prospective clients may certainly appreciate some mentoring along with the merchandising. Additional to the benefit with search engines, those who find you may favor your knowledge and generosity when deciding on a purchase.

Just as with adding items to your catalog, try to contribute to your blog content regularly - monthly if not weekly. Blog about topics of interest to collectors and buyers, whether relating to a decorative arts specialty, your perspective on a trade event, or perhaps a tour of a museum or historical site. Perspective and places can be particularly interesting to those with shared interest but little opportunity to experience or visit.

We will continue over time to try and at once simplify and add robustness to this blogging feature. Your persistent use and patient feedback can help.

Posting an entry containing a bordered table
August 4, 2010 - 9:48 pm

Using the "Text and Table" template

Some Activity Over Time
 Before 1850    
 After 1850    
Variable By Year Some Variable Another Variable

We have used a table before (with the two column post.) The difference here is the table floats within the body of the post and displays borders around the table cells. This may come in handy when trying to demonstrate something visually - perhaps showing data for periods and makers. You can add to (or subtract from) columns and rows by right clicking on the table and selecting "Table Properties".

We notice that our text at first appears to run up on the table's borders. This later appears to resolve when we continue to add text below the table. Before the table is populated, it appears to have way to much margin to the right. We thought this was to reserve space for expansion of the table. But we had to edit "Table Properties" to expand width from  150 pixels to 400 pixels (odd.) We also found it useful to set horizontal alignment to "center" for some of the table's cell properties. There will, of course, be some limitations within the WYSIWYG template environment.

One useful "trick" we did stumble upon is the ability to click and drag an image once placed. If configured to align left or right, that will remain in force. But you are able to click and drag an image up and down within the document. This helps to resolve issues like when an image awkwardly continues after the end of your text message. You can drag such an image to a slightly higher position so the text "wraps" around the image more attractively.

Other useful features within the WYSIWYG menu include font sizes (headers are often not as easy to work with and are probably not as important as they used to be with search engines), text and background colors (being careful to harmonize with your site colors), creation of div areas (useful if you are skilled with CSS, bold and italics options, and other things we addressed earlier.

A couple useful editor tools include "Spell Check" (as you type or after you type), "Find" (seems to highlight one term at a time rather than all in the document, and you must click and drag the pop-up in order to see the work areasurprise), and "Replace" (paired with the "Find" tool and, this time, able to replace all terms at once within the documentlaugh.) You might find others that work for your style

A Two Column blog entry
August 4, 2010 - 9:48 pm

Posting a two column entry to your blog


Menu heading

venue iconIf your objective is to post a two column entry, you can start with one of the available templates. Following the same initial steps from our earlier post, again click on the "Templates" icon but this time select "Strange Template". A two row, two column table will appear in the editor's work space. You may then edit "Title 1" and "Text 1" with part of your message. This template also provides for additional area of text, below, that spans both columns. It can be used or removed (by delete or backspace from your keyboard) as you wish.

venue iconThis is actually quite a versatile template option. While it starts with two columns of equal width, you can manipulate them to arrive at a column menu (right or left as you prefer) to one side of a larger content area. To accomplish this, right click at the very top within the column you wish to make the main content area and click "Cell" and then "Cell Properties" from the available options. Why the very top cell? Because that is where width is defined (it is not specified in lower cells within the column as the value is "inherited".) Change the width from 50% to, say, 80%. You will promptly notice that the template reflects the menu and main content format you were looking for.

Similarly edit "Title 2" and "Text 2" within the column to the right. Note that there is actually a third column providing a little space between the two main columns. It can be ignored and will adjust in size automatically. Or you might want to go for a three column layout. Its up to your imagination.


While this column now appears to be 20% of the work area's width, you should really repeat the "Cell Properties" step to specify that (as it will continue to say 50% until you do, and that is not good HTML.) Then you can add to your message. Maybe a numbered or bullet list using icons available from the WYSIWYG menu...

  • bullet one
  • link two
  • some other point

The following area of text is that which spans the two columns above. Note that it doesn't have the same margins right and left. We will review later to see how that might be corrected using the WYSIWYG editor. But we suspect one would be better off adding a row to the table properties and inputting text within the new row (rather than altogether below the table.) In fact, we have just done that, cut this paragraph from below, and pasted it into the new row (notice how the margines are consistent for this paragraph and are not below.) We also had to edit properties for the first cell of the new row to span 3 columns. And we then deleted the second and third cells from the new row.

There is no reason why you cannot add pictures to this template (or any of the templates) even though it did not start with image icons. We added logos from two of our supported specialty venues. Just position your cursor where you would like the image to appear and click on the "Image" icon within the WYSIWYG menu (next to the f in red circle for inserting "Flash") and paste the image address where requested (as you did for the image in our earlier post.) Be sure to use the "Alternative Text" field there wisely as well. It does make at least a small difference with search engines. Finally, don't forget to set the "Align" preference there. It may be a little frustrating as to where you should position your images and how to align them. But you are typically safe if positioning an image at the beginning of a long stream of text (with "Align" set to "Left"). And you are usually OK positioning an image in the midst of an abundance of text (perhaps with "Align" set to "Right". ) It gets a little tricky toward the end of a paragraph.yes

We're going to come back to this later to see if we can better define, visually, the menu and main content areas. For now, we will leave the menu with a light gray background. The "Cell Properties" options only included as light as #cccccc which we chose for the header. But we can type our own in there as we did for the rest of the menu: #eeeeee. We then added "Cell Padding" of 10 pixels to the "Table Properties" (as things were a bit crowded on the edges otherwise.) We didn't add anything to "Cell Spacing" as that would separate table cells such as the menu header and the menu area. crying

Blog post using the Image and Title template
August 1, 2010 - 2:24 pm

alternative textBlog post using the Image and Title template

This blog post used the simple "Image and Title" template without any modifications. First, the "Templates" icon, fifth from top-left of the above WYSIWYG menu, was used. To diverge a moment, WYSIWYG is an acronym for "what you see is what you get" (applied to editors that code behind the scene while enabling the user to manipulate how it will appear without, say, needing to learn HTML.) The "Templates" icon (which stands by itself and appears to be symbolize by a sheet of paper with red and black print) stands between the "Preview" icon (symbolized by a magnifying glass and paper) and the "Cut" icon (symbolized by a pair of scissors.)

After clicking on the "Templates" icon, the "Image and Title" template may be selected (also by clicking.) The template outline then appears in the work area of the WYSIWYG editor. At that point, you can begin to type over the text that reads "" and "Type the text here" with your own message. Your blog and posts will automatically assume the look and feel of your site so you may want to skip manipulation of colors and background when starting off. You may want to save your inputs once in a while just to be certain your work is not lost. Once saved (or Submitted) you can find your post again from "View/Edit Blogs" in your "Manage" screen after login with Trocadero. At any point while working with your message, you may populate the broken image icon that appears as a place holder within the work area.

You may want to have an image address ready before populating the image icon (we used the address of our logo.) You can do this by going to one of your catalog listings and retrieving the address of the picture. This is easy in FireFox (right click on the image and select "Copy Image Location".) It is a bit more tedious in Explorer (right click and select "Properties" to copy the address.) When ready to insert the picture address, right click on the image icon appearing with your message and click on "Image Properties". Paste or type the web address of your image to the  URL field and type a brief comment describing the image in the "Alternative Text" field. If "Width" and "Height" did not automatically acquire from the image, they may be adjusted by repeating these steps and editing the fields for "Width" and "Height".

The image icon is, by template default, configured to align left - supporting wrapping of text along the right side and below the image. You could change this to align right, supporting wrapping of text along the left side of the image, by repeating the previous steps and changing the "Align" selection. Selecting "not set" will allow the header to appear alongside the image but the body of your post will no longer wrap along the side of the image. You can experiment with different align settings freely. But please be certain to save any text before you do (just in case you get bumped out of the editor or your login session.)

When finished your post, again Submit (or "Save" from the disk icon in the WYSIWYG menu). Your post is finished but may be edited again later if need be. Some of the WYSIWYG menu items you don't need to play with include those relating to "Forms" as well as those relating to colors and background (as mentioned earlier). Some of the copy and past functions are limited in your secure login environment. But the editor provides some intuitive work arounds.

The "Source" icon (top, left of the WYSIWYG menu) may be useful to those who are fluent with HTML. For those who want to access a user guide, one is available at (this link was added by one of the icons in the middle row of the WYSIWYG menu symbolized by a few chain links and a globe.) The horizontal line, below, was inserted using the WYSIWYG menu icon next to the smiley moticon icon. smiley