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  • Jet (gemstone)


  • Snuff bottle


    Snuff bottles in the American Museum of Natural History collectionSnuff bottles were used by the Chinese, Mongolians during the Qing Dynasty to contain powdered tobacco. Smoking tobacco was illegal during the Qing Dynasty, but the use of snuff was allowed because the Chinese considered snuff to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds, headaches and stomach disorders. Therefore, snuff was carried in a small bottle like other medicines. The snuff bottle replaced the snuff box used by Europeans.

  • Greenstone (archaeology)


    Greenstone staff, 1550 - 1600 AD, from the Tairona culture of present-day Colombia.Greenstone is a common generic term for valuable, green-hued minerals and metamorphosed igneous rocks and stones which early cultures used in the fashioning of hardstone carvings such as jewelry, statuettes, ritual tools, and various other artifacts. Greenstone artefacts may be made of greenschist, chlorastrolite, serpentine, omphacite, chrysoprase, olivine, nephrite, chloromelanite among other green-hued minerals. The term also includes jade and jadeite, although these are perhaps more frequently identified by these latter terms. The greenish hue of these rocks generally derives from the presence of minerals such as chlorite, hornblende, or epidote. Greenstone minerals were presumably selected for their color rather than their chemical composition. In archaeology therefore, having a loosely applied general term is at least partially influenced by the observation that ancient cultures often used and considered these various green-hued materials as interchangeable. Greenstone objects are often found very considerable distances from the source of the rock, indicating early travel or trading networks.

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