Large Celt Made out of New Zealand Jade by Virgil Tonn

Item BR120 

This Item was Sold on 3 April 2009 for $134

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This large celt was made out of a premium piece of New Zealand Jade by Virgil Tonn in the 1990s. Ben Ruhe paid $100 for the Jade slab. It was purchased from the owner of a Jade mine in Christchurch. When Ben returned to the USA, he gave the slab to Virgil Tonn who worked on it for 3 days. Virgil injured himself and wore down his tools in the construction of this celt. When it was complete, Virgil said he would never work with Jade again. The celt is a reproduction of a Mayan Jade Celt that was found near Antigua, Guatemala. I used to find similar celts (not Jade) in my native country of Panama. This celt is highly polished and it is in excellent condition. It was labeled by Virgil Tonn as shown in the photo below.

New Zealand "greenstone" was extensively used by the native Maoris for tools and ceremonial objects. It is technically Nephrite, a kind of jade. It has a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Ohs scale, being harder than a knife blade. Its specific gravity is 3. It is a variety of amphibole: asbestos is a close relative. Nephrite has fine, fibrous crystals interlocked and twisted together into a felted mass, giving it great strength. For tool use, it will keep a sharp edge for a sustained period of time. Nephrite occurs in a wide variety of beautiful colors, ranging from intense dark green to a pale green. Sometimes it has black spotting. Near the cortex, the colors approach a yellow-green. Nephrite is found in only a few locations in New Zealand and was always highly prized by the resident Polynesians. It is also found in Alaska, California, Wyoming, British Columbia, Siberia and China.

Length = 155 mm ; Weight = 390 gm

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