I bought these last Summer at a car-boot sale and the seller didn't know anything about them except that the original owner had spent some time in China and he believed that they originated from there...but wasn't certain. They have some wear and tear and I think they might be quite old...but again, I'm not sure exactly how old.
I fell in love with them because I used to keep fancy goldfish and recognised these as 'bubble-eyed goldfish'. Each one has been carved from some kind of stone or glass and the two smallest ones look as if they have been carved from one piece of crystal rock because of the markings. I would love to learn a little more about these fascinating items and if anyone knows anything about their origin I'd love to hear it.
Thank you both for your replies.
Breezymeadow, I'll look out for some of those books because as well as these I also bought a gorgeous little rickshaw that I think might be made from bakelite but then again it could just be common (or garden) plastic, LOL. I bought it because of the detail on the figurines and I really like it. I'll post a picture of it later.
Hap, does jade come in other shades beside the pretty green that I've seen jewellery made from? Some of these pieces almost look as if they're made from coloured glass but my son told me that he thinks they are actually all carved from different kinds of stone. One of them definitely resembles rose quartz. Good idea about the jade dealer, I'll bear that in mind, thank you.
I looked up Orientalia in a collectors book that I have and carved stones are very valuable. I didn't find fish shapes but other shapes were anywhere from $80.00, 2.5" - $16,000, 20" depending on the subject carved and the stone. My book is 16 years old so the prices should be higher in 2006. I love the pieces you found. Beautiful! :)
Hemophobic, thank you for your reply.
I have seen the netsukes but these are nothing like those. These are all cut from a different kind of stone/mineral. By the condition of a few of them they could either be quite old or they've been bashed around a bit by previous owners.
They all live in my china cabinet now and I really enjoy them.
I took a few better pictures of the original items and thought you all might like to see them. Anything that appears to be a crack in the stone is actually the stone's natural markings. It appears that the two smaller fish have been carved from the same piece of stone (going by the mark across their tails).
Here they are as a group.
Last of all is a group of 3 medium sized ones. One looks just like clear glass and the pink one could be rose quartz I think. What appears to be dust or dirt in the grooves on the lilac coloured one is it's natural colouring. They're all really lovely.
They are stunning but the quality of the cutting makes me worried they are not very old - 75 years or so maybe. I could be off but I have seen the shops that still make these to this very day in Asia and of all places Costa Rica - the low quality design leads me to think they are newer and not older - if they are the real deal old ones they can date from 100 years or more...
They still have wonderful value is not very old just my two cents.
MitchF, yes, I can see where you're coming from with those Ebay items but those look to be 'machine cut' (if there is such a method). The cutting on mine is somehow much more blunt and not ground and polished like those in the Ebay picture.
Thank you all for your comments and advice. I will certainly follow up your advice Mitch and scicciarella once things settle down a little around here (hubby is very ill following surgery and hospital visitting is occupying most of my time). I'll keep you posted once I find out more.
Terichris, they were not an expensive buy I can assure you, but I bought them because I liked them so much. I actually prefer anything made of natural materials and at one time had a collection of polished stones. I love your idea of the cake stand. A glass one would display them perfectly. Now I'm on a mission to hunt one down. Hmmmm, where's the nearest charity shop? LOL
From the close ups I see agate, jade, amethyst, rock crystal and onyx carved goldfish. Someone collected beautifully carved goldfish with the fancy tails and you either got the whole collection, or a part of it...
how beautiful they are, lucky you...
I looked again and one of them appears to be watermelon tourmaline,(the one with the "incredible colors") VERY nice indeed! And the pink one seems to be rose quartz, the twins may be smokey quartz. (aka smokey topaz). These all have "properties" associated with them, for instance the rose quartz is supposed to inspire a peaceful and loving heart, the watermelon tourmaline opens the heart chakra and assists in letting go of old issues that may be keeping us from truly experiencing life's joy's- its fun to associate the meanings with the minerals. I have a large sphere of rose quartz that I keep in my kitchen window to remind me not to get too crazy, that there is life after teenagers! LOL!
These are so beautiful, you should have them appraised. I think they would be beautiful floating on a light box...