The stones that were used in the past are much higher quality than the paste that is used in costume jewelry today. Discover my journey in an old jewelry store.
It is fascinating to look at the histories of some of the world's most famous diamonds and the people who owned them. For example, Koh-I-Noor (Mountain of Light) was first mentioned in 1304, it weighed 186 carats and was an oval cut stone. The Hope Diamond which is violet, is a colored diamond. Some diamonds were even said to have magical properties stopping the effects of plague.
Around the world there are many diamonds that have been talked about or written about in various stories and official documents. Famous diamonds are part of our world's history, and have been found in various parts of the world, by all types of people. From royalty to the gods, famous diamonds are often as well known as the people who owned them.
Diamond history varies greatly depending on your source of documentation, as diamond history is as rich in myths and folklore as it is in physical facts and records. It is filled with mythical stories, such as one where snakes guarded a land full of diamonds, and the diamond history has fascinated people with the romance and beauty that surrounds our most precious gemstones.
Known as the "Jewel Box of the Indian Ocean," Sri Lanka, like possibly no other locality on earth, has yielded precious stones and fine gems in a great profusion of gem species and varieties. The crown jewels of royalty all over the world contain extraordinary spinels, sapphires, and zircons mined from Sri Lanka streams.
Rubies are a type of corundum, a rare mineral made up of densely packed aluminum and oxygen atoms, which are normally colorless. When other atoms are substituted for a few of the aluminum ones, bright hues emerge.
Topaz is renowned for its ability to grow huge gem-quality crystals. Shown here are two of the world's finest large topaz crystals weighing 31.8 kg (70 lb) and 50.4 kg (111 lb) respectively. These crystals were originally slated to be cut up for scientific instruments, however a more suitable material was discovered. What look like. The "American Golden" has 172 facets and measures 17.53 x 14.94 x9.34 cm (6.9 x 5.9 x 3.7 in).
The Victoria-Transvaal is a 67.89-carat, brownish-yellow pear shaped stone. It was cut from a 240-carat crystal that was found in the Transvaal, South Africa.
The diamond has been featured in several Hollywood films, including a Tarzan episode from 1952 titled Tarzan's Savage Fury, and in leading exhibitions in the United States and Canada.
There's something so exciting about these incredibly large and perfect stones. Sometimes they have well-documented histories and we know where they came from and who owned them and when. But others have a past that's not as well-known, and that only adds to the romance and mystique surrounding them.
One doesn't normally associate beautiful jewelry with the time of the Spanish Inquisition. But in the Smithsonian Institution's collection of gems, there is an exquisite necklace of diamonds and emeralds. It is a spectacular double row of diamonds and emeralds ending in a chandelier of emeralds.
There's no more fascinating subject in history than the doomed French Queen Marie Antoinette. Much maligned by history (she never said "Let them eat cake," in response to the people's need for bread), she was an unwilling part of the one of the greatest revolutions in history.
There were a few benefits to marrying the Emperor Napoleon, if you loved jewelry, that is! The Marie-Louise diadem, now part of the Smithsonian Collection, was a wedding gift from Napoleon I to his second wife, Empress Marie-Louise in 1810.
There is a spectacular diamond in the Smithsonian Collection called the Blue Heart Diamond. It is a heart-shaped diamond weighing almost 31 carats, and it is surprisingly set in a ring, not a bracelet or necklace..
One of the most spectacular all-diamond pieces of jewelry in the Smithsonian Insitution is the Napoleon necklace. Thought to have originally been owned by Catherine the Great of Russia, it was presented by the Emperor Napoleon of France to his second wife, Marie-Louise of Austria on the birth of their son in 1811.
Is there anyone who hasn't at least heard of the famous Hope Diamond? Many people are surprised when they first learn that this famous stone isn't a clear diamond, but instead is a brilliant blue stone, surrounded by white diamonds and suspended from a diamond necklace. It first appears in history in the mid 1600s when it was purchased by a merchant named Jean Baptiste Tavernier, who sold the stone to Louis XIV of France.
Some of the world's most spectacular diamonds and other gems are located in the National Gem Collection in the Museum of Natural History in Smithsonian Collection in Washington, D.C. In the collection are diamonds known to almost everyone, such as the Hope Diamond, as well as other large diamonds and other precious gems and jewelry.
Jewels had magic, the charm of beauty and the charm against evil.
In addition to its esthetics, jewelry, especially rings and amulets,
fulfilled the role of repelling evil spirits and injury. So treasured and revered
in the society was jewelry, and strong the belief in its powers, that it remained
with the owner throughout antiquity, the tombs of nobility laden with some
of the world's most precious gems
When did diamonds first become recognized as precious stones and used for jewelry? The earliest reference to them has been found in a Sanskrit document dated around 300 BCE. They were associated with the gods and were used to decorate religious icons and statues.
From the earliest days, stories and myths about diamonds have been filled with tales of mystical power, beauty and love. Some of the legends associated with diamonds include a city of diamonds protected by snakes, and diamonds that were impervious to the hottest fires.