Carved Montana Agate Perfume Bottle by Thomas Harth Ames--"Essence of the Wind"

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Lot 74
Carved Montana Agate Perfume Bottle by Thomas Harth Ames--"Essence of the Wind"

Sold for US$ 828 inc. premium
Carved Montana Agate Perfume Bottle by Thomas Harth Ames--"Essence of the Wind"
Arvada, Colorado
Agate is one of the most varied and desired forms of chalcedony, which is one of the many varieties of quartz. Scientifically classified as a crypto-cystalline or microcrystalline quartz, it has a hardness of 7—making it extremely desirable for carving and polishing. Montana agate is an alluvial agate found in gravel deposits on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Volcanic activity produced the original conditions necessary for the formation of agate, spanning an area of hundreds of miles and a period of millions of years. The volcanoes entombed parts of the swampy sequoia forests there in lava and ash. Finally, when the rains came, mineral-rich silica-water flowed into the cavities and pockets left by the dying trees and bubbling lava—filling the gaps with liquefied silica which, under great pressure, formed agate.

Probably the hardest agate known, Montana agate is prized for its wonderful translucency and ability to accept a very high polish which produces a reflective shine. It was employed as far back as the 18th century by Swiss clock and watchmakers for creating bearings—giving them a reputation for making the most accurate, durable and long-lasting timepieces in the world.

The lapidary artistry of Ames is brought to life in this functional sculpture made entirely of Montana Agate. Selecting an unusual piece of rough for the stopper with bands of dendritic inclusions and a splash of crimson-caramel carnelian coloring—while still a rough slice, its basic shape suggested wind-blown hair to Ames—and formed the theme for the actual carving. The result is a unique object of beauty which cannot be duplicated. Height 5 1/2in (14cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Purchased from Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles, Natural History, December 2, 2007, Sale 15418, Lot 1314.

    Thomas Harth Ames
    Part of the vanguard of the new, creative gem carvers Thomas
    Harth Ames is a completely self-taught sculptor who creates images in gemstones, glass, lead crystal and other transparent media.

    A former tool and die maker for NASA, Ames is noted for his precision workmanship, his successful use of new techniques, his originality, and his artistic use of light, shadow, hue and intensity in transparent materials. He builds his own machines for his lapidary work, and introduced sandblasting as a lapidary tool. Most of his work is now done on commission and clients usually rely upon Ames to select the material. Articles about Ames's work have appeared in the Lapidary Journal, Jewelers Circular Keystone, Colored Stone, Modern Jeweler, and Professional Jeweler. He has completed commissions for the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and prominent individuals such as actor/director Kevin Costner, Colorado Governor Roy Romer, Senator Ben Knighthorse-Campbell, Congressional Representative Patricia Shroeder, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

    Ames has won the prestigious American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Cutting Edge Competition, winning First Place in Carving and Best of Show in 2000, First Place in the Objects of Art category in 1999, First Place in the Objects of Art category and Best of Show in 1998, and Third Place in Objects of Art in 1996. Thomas has been juried into several prominent local, national and international fine art shows and has been the featured artist at many one-man shows. He is a member of the National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame.

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