Persian turquoise talisman identification

Hello there…

I have noticed a lot of new members joining in the last year or so,
and I hope someone new, or “vintage” may be able to help me with
some Persian Turquoise I have.

I post this request every year or so, so some of you may have seen
this before.

I purchased a large gem collection a long while ago, from a gem
dealer who worked in England in the '30’s thru the early '50’s. The
stones I am looking for help with were collected during that time.
These stones were purchased in England, from refugees from Persia,
now Iran.

They are turquoise, which has been cut and polished into cabachons.
Then they were incised with inscriptions in Farsi, which shares the
Arabic alphabet. These inscriptions were then rubbed with gold leaf,
which adhered to the rough stone surface of the incisised Arabic
letters, and also to some of the pits and other imperfections of the
stones’ polished surfaces.

The polished surfaces did not accept the gold embossing, but the
incised areas did, so they were left with a polished, smooth
turquoise face with 24 K gold embossed inscriptions.

What I am wondering is if anyone has ever seen these before, or if
anyone has any clues to their original purpose or significance. I do
not want to try to market items which would offend any religious or
cultural sensitivity. But I believe that they were intended as
expressions of affection between friends and lover, and as talismans
of love and luck which were associated with certain festivals or
holidays. This is what I was told by the person from whom I
purchased them.

I have seen examples of similar work executed on a much larger scale
in museums. The British Museum of Natural History has a few examples
and the Austrian Museum has a very large piece which was presented as
a gift to Ferdinand the Great from the Shah of Persia in the early

More photos and more background is available, if you
reply offline.

I’m hoping that someone will have seen these before and will be able
to fill me in on their history and meaning.

Best Regards,
Mike Kelley

Mike: I would try contacting a museum which has a near east
department. You could try the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York. You could also try a jeweler from Iran. I know one on Long
Island. I will get his contact for you. He might do me
the favor of translating the inscriptions for you. I will pay him a
visit and see if he is willing and able. If you have no luck with a
museum, e-mail me offline and nag me. Diane

Hi Diane,

Thanks for all your help. I appreciate all the folks who have also
written. I’ll keep Orchid in the loop and will write it up on the
blog as it resolves. I saw a piece in a guidebook to the British
Museum of Nat Hist, but they never replied to any of my inquiries,
maybe I shoulda spelled it enquiry. I even offered to donate some,
but it evidently wasn’t high on their list.

They are really pretty and I’ve set a few for friends. Mostly they
have palm leaf motif carving but I think the farsi script pieces may
be religious in nature and I’d want to tread lightly there. They
might not be considered proper for Western jewelry? Who knows?
Hopefully someone here…