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January 23, 2018, 07:53:27 am
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Jet ( Lignite ) Qing Dynasty 1821-1850

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Author Topic: Jet ( Lignite ) Qing Dynasty 1821-1850  (Read 2444 times)
cshapiro
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« Reply #120 on: March 22, 2017, 04:53:10 pm »

Unsure whether I should post on this thread but thought it might be best to keep all the jet bottles together.
Tom, George - beautiful bottles that you have posted here!

I've recently acquired this beauty, but am unsure of the age. Ideas?

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« Reply #121 on: March 22, 2017, 07:24:35 pm »

I can not say that I see any characteristics for Jet...

Hmmm....

How about this.. Run the base of your bottle across the surface of an unglazed porcelain surface. Jet will leave a brown streak.

Also, jet is off the charts for a light weight material.  It should almost feel like your holding nothing at all in your hand..
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« Reply #122 on: March 22, 2017, 07:42:03 pm »

George - specific gravity is 1.23 - it is a rock like material, and there are small cracks or fissures present under magnification.  I did the burn test as well. I do not have any unglazed porcelain and even if I did I doubt I would do that test, but I'm certain that it is jet and bought it as jet.  I purposefully took the pictures to try to shoot past the shiny appearance of the bottle.

It would be helpful if you could be specific about why you question it? 
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« Reply #123 on: March 22, 2017, 09:40:10 pm »



It would be helpful if you could be specific about why you question it? 

Like I said.. I just can not see any jet like appearance that stands out to me when looking at the pics.. Just an observation. Not saying it is not jet, and the seller is correct, I just can not visually see it.

I ran mine across porcelain.. It does not effect or create any kind of flat spot from running it across the porcelain..  I have not checked the specific gravity, just believe you and believe it falls within ..

If it feels like a stone material, that sort of raised a red flag, and again, it should be "feather light" in weight.

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« Reply #124 on: March 22, 2017, 09:40:59 pm »

I take back that I do not see some similarities... I do see some...  Smiley
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« Reply #125 on: March 22, 2017, 10:19:20 pm »

Yeah the thing is that I've never had anything made of jet before so I did all the tests I could when it got here. Lignite is supposed to fall between 1.1 and 1.4 in specific gravity. The bottle material is unlike anything else I've handled and hard to describe. It's not as light weight as a lacquer bottle, but not as heavy as glass - the texture is somewhere between wood and petrified coal. Under some lighting conditions it looks like glass, and when the light is right it has a grayish metallic matte finish. I was trying to show that in the pictures.

I've researched these bottles as much as I can and from looking at older auctions it appears the octagon shape might indicate an older bottle, so wanted to see if others here might have more info about dating it. 

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« Reply #126 on: March 23, 2017, 12:34:41 am »

Hi Cathy,

This octagonal form is quite a popular one for jet, so you have probably seen a few while researching lignite bottles. When handled they are comparatively warm to the touch, and definitely feel lighter than glass or mineral bottles, but not as super light as a good Fuzhou lacquer bottle, especially if not well hollowed. So, from how you have described your bottle, it fits within the right range.

They are different grades of jet. I have one which is not at all shiny, and another which shines like the surface of a concert piano. Despite what people think, lignite is not an expensive material - perfectly easy to make a modern bottle cheaply, and sell at a much higher price as old. So not easy to tell the age, other than look at the quality of the carving.

A recessed foot with a neatly formed foot rim would be one indicator of an older bottle. A faceted form is easier to create than a rounded one, so if modern, this would be the obvious choice of shape. Looking inside, the bottle should be well hollowed, and have a smoothly finished interior to prevent the snuff powder from sticking to the sides. If the interior is rough, or simply core drilled, then it is most probably modern.

I see what looks like a seam line running down the center of right hand facet on the second photo. Is that just a scratch?

Tom
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Tom
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« Reply #127 on: March 23, 2017, 04:12:59 am »

Hi Cathy,

If it has the density you recorded of 1.23 - surely it is very light? Anyway, really nice bottle! Interested to hear how well hollowed it is and the finish of the hollowing Wink
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« Reply #128 on: March 23, 2017, 08:45:52 am »

Hey Tom and Luke,

The line you see running down the side is a very fine uneven scratch or fissure - it has these tiny fissures or scratches all over the bottle - so it appears to either have been handled a great deal and been scratched, or the material itself has formed tiny fissures over time. There are also a few tiny bumps in the material that appear to have formed from the inside out - like a pimple. They are tiny but definitely coming from the inside out - scratching my head about this so if you have heard of this please let me know.

The bottle is well hollowed and the inside appears to be smooth (can only assume this from running a q-tip inside cause I sure can't see anything)

It does appear to be closer to room temperature, so must absorb heat I imagine. The surface is surprisingly shiny when you take into consideration the surface damage I see under by 10x loupe. Wink
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« Reply #129 on: March 23, 2017, 09:11:19 am »

Cathy,

Jet is a very soft material and easily scratched by wear and tear over time. I have not come across natural fissures personally, but I'm sure they exist since this is a natural material of organic origins. Minute pitting on the surface is not uncommon, but the pimples are a puzzle to me.

Tom
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« Reply #130 on: March 23, 2017, 11:10:51 am »

Thanks Tom,

I wish I had a macro on my camera, but unfortunately do not. I took a picture of the side with the fissure in stronger light, and the tiny white dots are the raised bumps. The best view of a bump is the one at the bottom of the middle panel with the long fissure.  I think I definitely have the softer version. Wink

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« Reply #131 on: March 23, 2017, 03:10:42 pm »

Quote
There are also a few tiny bumps in the material that appear to have formed from the inside out - like a pimple.

This is a concerning statement to me.  I have seen this with red, brown, and black lacquer on a wood body.  I suspect it is caused by an exposure of the lacquer piece to a wide range of temperature changes when there is a moisture content differential between the wood body and the lacquer coating.   

Charll
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« Reply #132 on: March 23, 2017, 05:20:46 pm »

I have not come across natural fissures personally, but I'm sure they exist since this is a natural material of organic origins. Minute pitting on the surface is not uncommon, but the pimples are a puzzle to me.

Tom

Looking at the attached pic, I do not think this is jet. I do not know what the pimples can be, but they should not be there if jet. What ever the fissures or inclusions are it is not correct for how jet is structured..
 http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,1367.msg39705.html#msg39705
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« Reply #133 on: March 23, 2017, 05:47:42 pm »

Have a scroll through these pictures here at this wiki link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_(lignite)#/media/File:Pendeloque_en_lignite_Marsoulas_MHNT.PRE.2012.0.6.95.jpg

So hard to say. There's a woodiness to Cathy's bottle imo, but then some of the above pics have perhaps a wood like feel to them. I've never handled jet though like the members here, but have always admired the look of jet snuff bottles. If it was mine I'd definitely try rubbing the jet on some porcelain as a simple test... I'd also take it back if possible if I suspected it was not as sold.
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« Reply #134 on: March 23, 2017, 06:40:06 pm »

Charll, George and Luke,

I've read that jet is very porous and expands and contracts with temperature and moisture changes. That could very well explain the pin head sized surface bumps.

I have several lacquer bottles - including one that is plain black lacquer. This bottle doesn't even compare - everything is different from specific gravity to texture to weight.  I have yet to find a lacquer bottle that doesn't float. Their specific gravity is closer to 1.0 and you can only perform a specific gravity test if you force water into them. The jet one sunk right away.
Lacquer bottles don't have a grain. This bottle has a grain just like in the pictures Luke shared - you can see the fissures and grain are part of the surface, not beneath it. And also I did a hot needle test on the inside of the bottle - it smelled like coal.

I have read about efforts to pass off black lacquer as jet and as I mentioned I have one of those bottles to compare it with so the differences are easy for me to see. The black lacquer floats and it has no grain.

I searched the house and found some unglazed porcelain, and very much regret it. I did the scratch test and it left a brown streak but it also scratched the bottom of the bottle. Only after I did the test I read that unglazed porcelain is 7 on the Mohs scale, while Jet is a 3-4. So I'm regretting that very much - however, just polishing it with my eyeglass cloth has already improved the scratches I made.
 
Unless there is some other material that could explain these things, I'm considering it the genuine article.
I think I have the "soft" version of Jet that was formed in freshwater.

Update: since I had already scratched the bottom I went ahead and did a mohs hardness test. Fingernail - no scratch, Penny - no scratch, Florite - faint scratch - could still rub it out,  I don't have apatite to test for 4 but a steel knife leaves a very defined scratch. So I can definitely say that the Mohs falls between 3 and 5. Wink





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« Reply #135 on: March 24, 2017, 01:03:42 am »

Well Cathy... I must be mistaken.. I am still very perplexed and not convinced by the appearance. It just does not seem correct. Yet, I think the brown streak left on the porcelain is suppose to be a pretty good way to positively ID jet. So it must be correct..

The best I gathered after researching mine, is yes, jet can be ever so slightly porous. Porous jet material is the result of being less compacted and or fresh water as you pointed out.. However, lower grade or quality..

So sorry about the scratches left after I suggested the test.. I did not have that problem, but I did run it across the porcelain very lightly.. 
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« Reply #136 on: March 24, 2017, 01:21:41 am »


 And also I did a hot needle test on the inside of the bottle - it smelled like coal.


Cathy,

The hot needle test pretty much confirms that it's lignite, even without the porcelain streak test.

Sorry to read about the scratches left by the streak test. But this works both ways. As the material scratches so easily, it is also relatively easy to remove light scratches. Using a very clean, soft and dry chamois leather, polish the bottle in a circular motion. Be patient, it takes several hours, but gradually the smaller surface scratches will ease out. Work at it slowly and methodically in short spells, while watching TV maybe, over a number of days. Then finish off by applying a light coating of silicone oil (gun oil), rubbing it into the bottle with a clean, dry soft cloth.

Another forum member gave me this advice, and it worked wonders.  Wink

Tom
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« Reply #137 on: March 24, 2017, 08:31:56 am »

darn - really hope you manage to smooth those scratches away. Sorry for making the suggestion I thought it should be OK if done very gently. Tom's advice seems really good... well it's jet for sure then...

I wonder if small callipers could be used to determine how well hollowed the bottle is. I remember reading somewhere that a doctor's otoscope is a great way to see inside a snuff bottle. I did look around for a camera on a wire with a light, but none seemed small enough to get inside most snuff bottles!

Luke
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« Reply #138 on: March 24, 2017, 08:53:48 am »

Hi Luke,

There is a device which looks like a pen-light, except that the end where the light should be has instead a 10cm long bendy cable with a tiny bulb on the end. This can pass through the mouth opening of almost all snuff bottles and light up the inside.

You can also determine how well a bottle is hollowed with a Q-tip, as Cathy mentioned using. OK, so you cannot reach all the way into the shoulders, but by feeling your way around you can get a pretty good idea of the extent of hollowing, as well as whether the surface is smooth or rough.

Tom 
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« Reply #139 on: March 24, 2017, 10:11:02 am »

Thanks for all of the suggestions - Tom, I do think I can buff out the scratches - I spent just about 30 minutes polishing it last night and already had seen significant improvement.  The only unglazed porcelain I could find around the house was an old school project piece that my son did and it was a rough piece so I imagine the damage would have been less if I had something smooth.  Wink

Polishing does make it as shiny as piano keys (liked that description!)



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