Welcome, February, and your birthstone, the amethyst!
Amethysts were once amongst the most precious of "cardinal" gemstones—accompanying diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Their deep and regal purple coloration sat perfectly alongside the rich jewel tones of the other precious gems. In the Eighteenth Century, however, large deposits of amethysts were discovered in Brazil which reduced their rarity (and value), allowing wider distribution of the beautiful stone at more affordable prices.
Amethysts were believed to protect a wearer from drunkenness. In fact, Ancient Greeks would carve drinking vessels from amethyst, an attempt to counteract tipsiness. Tibetans believed that amethyst was precious to the Buddha, thus prayer beads were sometimes made of the gemstone. And in Europe, amethysts were considered "royal"—no doubt due to the color purple's association with the monarchy.
The candlesticks, shown above, were not made of amethyst stone—rather amethyst (and white) "slag glass." Slag glass is the name given to glass of two (or more) colors melted and swirled together. Sometimes the glass colors were intentionally selected and blended; other times, random glass from the workshop "slag heap" (remnants and scrap) would be melted to create a more random coloration. In the case of these slag glass candlesticks, made at the Turn-of-the-Century, I believe that they were deliberately blended in these chosen colors. Click on the photo above to learn more about these handsome candlesticks.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248