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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
June 24, 2017, 06:58:59 am
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Opal Snuff Bottle

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Author Topic: Opal Snuff Bottle  (Read 311 times)
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« on: January 31, 2017, 07:27:21 am »

In 2008 I bought this bottle at auction. It is approximately 2 1/2 inches high and fairly well hollowed. I have a feeling that I way over-paid for this 20th century bottle, but really liked it. To my dismay,apparently someone else did too, thus driving up the price. I happen to like cicadas and have a few jade pieces that are not snuff bottles. I would appreciate any comments on hard stones such as opal and their place in the current market. Thank you.

Toni-Lee


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George
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2017, 08:21:30 am »

The nicest carved opal bottle I have ever seen Toni-Lee !

Really outstanding, and I think very early 19th.. Nice high grade opal as well...  I do not have a book open right now to confirm, but it shows what is either the symbol for cloud scrolls or silk works..

Really nice !
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 08:23:42 am by George » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 09:52:04 am »

Hi George,

  I was expecting bad news. Thank you very much for your thoughts. I have been unsettled about this purchase since I bought it. Nice to hear someone else likes it.  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2017, 10:11:46 am »

Dear Toni,

What bad news you were expecting. Wink

That is a very nice bottle, the carving is well done, I like the material as well . It might not be old since the decoration is too sophisticated compared with the old bottle.

But take my thoughts with a grain of salt, will let the experts here have more inputs.Smiley

Steven
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 10:17:45 am »

Hi Toni-Lee,

The carving work and attention to detail is of a very high standard. It's an attractive bottle, but I suspect it is not as old as George has suggested, for two reasons:
1. the carving differs stylistically from known old examples of cicada-shape bottles (which are predominantly made of nephrite jade)
2. opal was one of the 'novelty' materials introduced into China during the 1960s; it is almost unknown on older snuff bottles

My guess is that this one was made sometime after 1960.

Tom

PS: Steven, I wrote this before seeing your reply. Yes, the carving is too sophisticated. A good way of putting it. 
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2017, 03:31:26 pm »

Dear Tom and Steven,

Thank you for your information. I assumed the bottle was fairly new. I was concerned that even though it seemed to be very nice, the material was not used in China and I paid a great deal for a "unwanted bottle". I really appreciate your thoughts.

Toni-Lee
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2017, 04:21:31 pm »

Thank you for the correction Tom, and although not old, it is a real beauty Toni-Lee ..
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2017, 08:45:24 pm »

Toni-Lee,

One of my favorite materials and to have it in a snuff bottle is outstanding.  The opal quality looks very, very high to me.  I agree on Tom's and Steven's comments about overly sophisticated and stylized to be very old.  I would have suggested 1960's or after as well. 

Look at that FIRE!!!   Given the size and detail, if it is indeed well hollowed (for opal is difficult to work to avoid overheating and fracturing) I would consider this a prize bottle. 

Charll
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2017, 08:53:06 pm »

I agree, it is an absolute beauty!  You have some gorgeous bottles!   We are enjoying you sharing some of them with us!   Thanks so much. I can hardly wait to see what you share next!!!!!
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2017, 08:58:16 pm »

Thank you Charll and Jo. I'm enjoying this forum very much. It is wonderful that everyone shares information so freely. I am learning so much. A real pleasure.

Toni-Lee
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2017, 09:47:18 pm »

Hi Toni-Lee,

It was not my intention to denigrate your bottle. I'm sorry if that is how it came across. I agree with Charll's and Jo's sentiments.

You have a wonderful bottle, irrespective of age. If you are feeling you paid a little too much for it, as time passes that feeling will fade away. The quality of the carving and of the opal are both very fine.  Enjoy it!

Tom

PS: Here is one of my modern bottles in boulder opal. The stone is not nearly as beautiful as yours, but I like it all the same (and it seemed expensive at the time I bought it in 1994, but not anymore).


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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2017, 05:18:06 am »

Hi Tom,

You came across just fine! I was having the same feeling about the age. I value everyone's thoughts. Thank you for your input. That's why I am here, to share and learn.

Your bottle is very nice and quite interesting. Thank's for the post.

Toni-Lee
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2017, 06:36:24 am »

Dear Toni-Lee,

    First of all, a GORGEOUS piece of Opal! As Charll said, "The fire!!"
Beautifully carved, but obviously a bottle from ca.1965-2007, and probably ca.1990-2007.
But you knew it was modern.

    But it is really stunning. I have an 18th C. Cicada SB in white Nephrite. I don't know if it's been posted yet (Charll, did you photograph it in LA?), but if not, I will as soon as I can get it photographed.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2017, 09:58:27 am »

Hi Joey,

I can't wait to see your bottle. To be honest, I don't know much about opals. I have four in my collection, but have been told they are not worth much at all, but that was 20 years ago. I love the "fire" and differnt qualities of the stone. I look forward to seeing your bottle. Thank you for your kind comments. I'll take some pictures and post some of the others.

Best,

Toni-lee

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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2017, 10:37:43 am »

Here is a boulder-type opal snuff bottle. When it was discussed with department head of a well known auction house, I was told it was worthless. Now, that was years ago, but I hung on to it because I liked it. It has a small hole in the bottom and when the spoon is positioned just right, you can see a bit of the ivory spoon. It's 2 inches tall. I am not sure what the top is made of.

Toni-Lee


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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2017, 11:39:41 am »

Dear Toni-Lee,

Another beautiful opal bottle regardless the age. I like the material more and more after seeing your bottles.Smiley

The stopper looks like golden sand stone which is a type of glass. just my guess based on the photos.Smiley

Steven

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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2017, 03:43:57 pm »

Like Steven said, another real stunning example of opal.. Really nice !

The hole had to be a miscalculation on the carvers part that resulted in accidently getting into the interior.

I have always called the material Steven described as golden sand stone, "goldstone"..

Really enjoying your bottles Toni-Lee !
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2017, 04:23:35 pm »

Dear Toni-Lee,
 
     Yes, in English, it is called 'goldstone' or 'Aventurine Glass'.
Possibly Steven has translated from the Chinese.
By the way, you should know that Opal is actually a 'gel', not a hardstone.

    I also loved the 'Boulder Opal' bottle, but think the hole should be filled in somehow.
Do you have a jeweller who could supply and glue in a small opal plug?
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2017, 10:51:35 pm »

Dear Toni,

It is a beautiful opal Cicada you have acquired ! The carving of its back is indeed quite unusual.
Never mind of the age, the overall quality is indeed impressive.

Inn Bok
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2017, 06:55:22 am »

Hi Joey,

No, I don't have a jeweler that would be able to fill in the small hole. Would going so increase the value of the bottle? Maybe I should look into it. Thank's for the kind words.

Best,

Toni-Lee
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