Selection of postcards

We collect old postcards of gemmological interest. Here are some. If you wish to share some similar documents you own, please contact us!

Poulain chocolate image

OpPoulainI-smallAdvertising card for Poulain chocolate, showing play-of-color opals. The deposit shown is the "Hungarian" one, now in Slovakia.








OpPoulainII-smallReverse side of the advertising card for Poulain chocolate, giving a gemological description of opal.
"Opal is amorphous hydrated silica. This substance never crystallises. It contains from 2 to 13% water. Noble opal is the most valued variety. The body is generally milky, with varied, iridescent reflections which may change or disappear, this coloration being the result of fractures containing air bubbles. It is used in jewelry, and known as oriental opal."
Note that the explanation of the play-of-color is not up-to-date!

Royat lapidary center

CPRoyat-smallAnonymous Society of Gems from Auvergne, Royat les Bains, the most interesting curiosity in town (dated July 23, 1902) Excerpt from the hand-written text "We have lots of work but it is not here that we will become rich, the place is beautiful but locals are not ready to part easily with their money"

Geneva rubies

RubisGeneve-smallGeneva rubies. "Oriental ruby is the most sought after gem and, as a consequence the most expensive, its price being far more elevated than that of the brilliant (i.e. diamond: Note of the translator). We have discovered the means to agglomerate small pieces of natural oriental rubies by melting them at 2000°C. Therefore, we offer to the public the reconstituted oriental ruby. It has all the qualities of natural oriental ruby since the material is the same, as well as the density, hardness and refringence. Our production and cutting workshops are equiped with all the improvements of modern mechanics, which make it possible for us to solve this problem: make available to all budgets a precious stone which, until now, was accessible only to millionaires".
So, the reconstituted gem fashion already started in the early 20th century (card printed in 1904)

Sarcelles ruby

Sarcelles-smallSynthetic ruby production workshop in Sarcelles, France. Extremely rare document. From the look of the torches, this looks like "Geneva ruby" production. Any idea of the name of the manufacturer? This card traveled in 1905...

"Chemist for false gemstones"

Lapidaire-smallPhotograph of a painting showing a "chemist for fake stones", as called by Théodore Christen (1868). It was painted in 1810-1830. It may come from Switzerland (according to the style of the chair in the background), possibly Geneva (a town famous at this time for its gems market, including fake gems). The painting is 55 x 43.3 cm. The signature is hard to read: Esther Brees? Either Blees? something like that.  Note in the corner large colored glass fragments. More importantly, the bead (pearls?) necklace on the table. The adjacent white stone may be borax (?).  For any comments on this painting, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Additional information