Saturday 27 June 2015

Gems of Luc Yen, Vietnam

In 1987, gems were discovered in the Luc Yen area of Vietnam’s Yen Bai province. Ruby, sapphire, and spinel from primary and secondary deposits are the most valuable. Tourmaline, gem-quality feldspar, pargasite, and humite are also mined there.

As a result of this discovery, the Luc Yen district has become Vietnam’s most important gemstone-trading center over the past 30 years. The Luc Yen district mainly consists of jungle-covered karsts separated by several narrow valleys where paddy fields and traditional villages are located.
It is bordered on the west, south, and east by Thac Ba Lake. The lake was created in 1970 by the construction of a dam for Vietnam’s first hydroelectric power plant. Thac Ba Lake is 80 km long and contains more than a thousand islands.
Covering the area between Tan Huong and the Luc Yen peninsula, it submerged a gem-rich area.

Cluster of red spinel octahedrons on the marble-host from Luc Yen, Vietnam
Vietnamese spinel was initially found at Luc Yen but today, Yen Bai is the only active source. The newest deposit, found in February 2010, is Lang Chap, notable for its orange-red padparadscha-like stones. The most productive spinel deposit remains the old Cong Troi mine in An Phu, which yields a wide range of colours.
A local gem market is held in the town of Luc Yen every morning at 8 o'clock, where local production of gems and minerals is available for sale.

Friday 19 June 2015

Tipu Sultan - the Tiger of Mysore

A gem-set sword bearing the head of a tiger that originates from the armoury of legendary Indian ruler Tipu Sultan headlined a sale at Bonhams.

The lot made £2.1m ($3.1m) when it crossed the block in London on April 21.
Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), also known as the Tiger of Mysore, ruled a vast swathe of southern India during the 18th century.

He fought ferociously against the encroachments of the British East India Company, but was ultimately defeated at the Siege of Seringapatam in 1799.
A 3-pounder bronze cannon was another highlight, selling for £1.4m ($2.1m).

A flintlock pistol with left-hand lock, the barrel and mechanism made for Tipu Sultan by craftsman Asad-e Amin at the Royal Workshop at Seringapatam, dated AD 1797-98.

Inscription on the barrel reads: 'Tofang-e binazir-e khusraw-e hind ke bashad barq-e suzan thani-ye u tavanad sar-nevesht-e khasm bar-dasht hadaf gardad agar pishani-ye u, (The peerless rifle of the Khusraw of India to which the forked lightning is second can seal the enemy's fate if his forehead is made the target.)
A magnificent two shot superimposed-load silver-mounted Flintlock Sporting Gun from the personal armoury of Tipu Sultan, by craftsman Asad Khan-e Muhammad at Seringapatam, dated AD 1793-94.

A pair of silver-mounted Flintlock pistols with left and right-hand locks, made for Tipu Sultan by craftsman Asad-e Amin at the royal workshop at Seringapatam, Mysore, dated AD 1794-95. Sold For: 134,500 £

A Tipu Sultan sword fitted with a captured English blade.




Wednesday 17 June 2015

Corpses the latest thing in Diamonds?

Rinaldo Willy transforms dead people into precious stones. Willy is the founder and CEO of Algordanza, a funeral home based in western Switzerland.

Algordanza is one of the leaders in the production of “memorial diamonds.” If your eternal wish is sleep in a diamond, Algordanza is at your service to convert your ashes into a synthetic diamond.
The price ranges between 4,500 and 20,000 Swiss francs ($5,000-$22,000), depending on how big a diamond you want to become. That includes the packaging of your carbon into a “noble wooden box.”

After that it will then be up to your heirs whether to leave you in your noble box or put you on a ring or pendant.
Every year, 850 bodies enter Algordanza’s laboratory to emerge later as a diamond.
"We treat the ashes with particular chemical agents to extract all the carbon from them. Next, carbon is heated to high temperatures and converted into graphite. Finally, we place the graphite in a machine that essentially reproduces the conditions that are given in the depths of the Earth, where natural diamonds form over thousands of years: extremely high pressure and temperatures around 1500 degrees Celsius."
We prefer the word “unzerbrechlich,” which in German means “indestructible.” Our diamonds are indestructible remembrance, but, at the end of the day, it depends on a person’s loved ones to keep their memory alive. "
Most stones are four carats rough and 1 carat after cutting. There have been some diamonds as big as 1.6 or 1.8 carats, but they are the exception.

In general, the dimension of the diamond depends on how long you keep the graphite in the machine: the longer the process, the bigger the diamond. But it also depends on the quality of the ashes. If a person used to wear dentures, or a prosthesis, or they used to take certain medicines, their ashes would be less pure and the quality of the diamond would be inferior.
Some things influence the colour of the stone. People who have been treated with chemotherapy usually wind up being diamonds of lighter colours. Most diamonds are blue because of the traces of boron in the human body, but every person changes into a different and unique diamond, ranging from crystal-clear to almost black.
"When a man of 80 kilos is cremated, he becomes 2.5 kilos of ashes,” Rinaldo Willy explained. “With these ashes, we make a diamond of 0.2 grams, smaller than a button on your shirt.

How heavy is the soul—if we have a soul?”

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