Alex

28 Articles

Rarest Boer War medals

Boer War medals, much sought after collectibles, have many a fascinating tale to tell!   When the Boer War erupted in 1899 between South Africa’s ex-colonial masters, the British and the Boers, the former, puffed with their military might, were …

Roman coins of the “Twelve Caesars”

Coin collectors are a passionate, devoted lot; their patience is characterised by determination and also by an abiding fascination for the many stories behind antique coin collections.   The “Twelve Caesars” – a collection of antique Roman coins …

Gemstone spotlight: Amethyst

Name: Amethyst Moh Hardness Scale: 7 Specific Gravity: 2.65 Refractive Index: 1.55 Colour(s): Purple, violet Once counted among the most precious of gemstones, the discovery of large quantities of Amethyst in Brazil during the 18th century led to a …

Rare books

  In a world full of printed books, magazines and eBooks, there are some publications that fill the imagination with their history, content – and rarity.   One such is the collection of observations made by Leonardo da Vinci, known as …

The Gurkhas and the kukri

If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha. Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw   The Gurkhas (or Gorkhali, as the call themselves) are one of the native tribes of Nepal. In the 19th century Anglo-Nepalese war they …

Gemstone spotlight: Alexandrite

Name: Alexandrite Moh Hardness Scale: 8.5 Specific Gravity: 3.7 Refractive Index: 1.76 Colour: Blue-green in daylight; pink-red in incandescent light     Alexandrite is precious gemstone with peculiar properties and a …

Gemstone spotlight: Demantoid garnet

Name: Demantoid Garnet Moh Hardness Scale: 7.5 Specific Gravity: 3.84 Refractive Index: 1.9 Colour(s): Green   The garnets are a family of gemstones, and to the uninformed are regarded as a collective of less precious stones. …

The Samurai and their swords

In Japan, the history of the sword is deeply entwined with the history of the samurai. The samurai were the warrior-elite nobility of pre-industrial Japan. Deeply versed in the arts of war, by the end of the Sengoku period (1600 AD) their attention to …

Go medieval with bidorbuy

Now you can satisfy your knightly urges by becoming the proud owner of a suite of plate armour. The item is a replica of 16th century plate armour with close helm style headpiece and a sword in the style of Charles V. It is 182 cm high and mounted on a …

Gemstone spotlight: Topaz

Name: Topaz Moh Hardness Scale: 8 Specific Gravity: 3.49 – 3.57 Refractive Index: 1.643 Colours: Yellow, Pink, Red, Blue, Brown Commonly occurring in yellow varieties, this gem has been valued since antiquity, when the ancient Egyptians …