Saturday, 26 December 2015

Diamonds of Namibia

Namibia is world-renowned for its diamonds that occur along the Orange River as well as onshore and offshore along the coastline. Namibian diamonds were originally transported via the Orange River into the Atlantic Ocean and distributed northwards by currents.

Diamonds typically occur as placers within raised and “drowned” beach terraces, gullies in the bedrock, and alluvial deposits in wind corridors within southern Namibia.
Diamonds have been mined in Namibia since 1908, when railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a stone that would change the course of history of Africa/Namibia, and of alluvial mining.
The stone was a diamond, and shortly after he handed it to his supervisor, a frenzied diamond rush to the desert sands near Luderitz took place which resulted in the mining of seven million carats for colonial Germany until World War I in 1914.

Namibia is one of the world’s largest producers of gem quality diamonds, with about 95% of diamonds produced being gem quality.
The major diamond producing company in Namibia is Namdeb Diamond Corporation, jointly owned by the Namibian government and De Beers, which produced 1.76 million carats in 2013, up 6 percent on 2012.

Other companies mining diamonds include Sakawe Mining Corporation (Samincor) and Diamond Fields Namibia.

Marine diamond mining began in the 1960s off the coast of southern Namibia. Namibia is the world's fifth largest diamond producer by value with an average per carat value of US$276.

Namibia's marine diamond production has now surpassed traditional land based production.
Marine mining as deep as 140m has brought Namibia the distinction of being the leading marine mineral mining country in the world. Over the years, the various areas combined have produced around 95 million carats, including around 12 million from deep water marine mining.

Diamonds continue to dominate Namibia's economy. They account for more than 40 percent of export revenue and more than five percent of GDP.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Mystery of the missing Gods

A man-sized stone warrior guards the doorway, half-sunk in sand. Hundreds of bats whirl overhead, shrieking at the intrusion. Exposed beams, textured by time and mould, add to the musty smell in the air. Cobwebs on prayer lamps enhance the sense of abandonment. The altar is stripped bare, like a frame without a picture: It's a temple without a god. The 1,000-year-old guardian of the temple, Shiva Nataraja, is missing from his abode.

The statue of a Dancing Shiva was bought by the National Gallery of Australia from Subhash Kapoor in 2008 for $5.1 million.
The Lord of Cosmic Dance has travelled 9,000 km to the National Gallery of Art in Canberra, Australia. How did he get there? Ask Subhash Kapoor, 65, a New Delhi-born and New York-based antiquity dealer, considered an art connoisseur as well as one of the biggest idol smugglers in the world.

He sold the Nataraja to NGA for Rs.31 crore in 2008.
Kapoor is suspected of stealing over 150 idols worth $100 million from India. The missing god is at the centre of a curious trial that has just started in a district court in Tamil Nadu.

"Art and antiquity theft is one of the most lucrative crimes," says IPS officer Prateep V. Philip, director general, EOW, in Chennai. "It outbids drug trafficking, arms dealing, and money laundering." The odds of recovering stolen treasures are abysmal, one in ten. But in this case, authorities managed to trace the idols stolen from Sripuranthan and the nearby village of Suthamalli to various museums and galleries across the world.
Six of the 28 gods have already been identified in museums and private collections across the world: Canberra, New South Wales, Chicago, Ohio to Singapore. The Australian government has ordered NGA to remove the Nataraja from display.
The Royal Ontario Museum insists it followed strict internal guidelines when it purchased a Buddhist stupa from Subhash Kapoor, a Manhattan art dealer who has since been charged by the Indian government with trafficking in stolen artifacts.

The stupa — a small stone urn used to house the remains of monks — and the ROM have now become caught up in an international investigation by U.S. immigration and security officials, who are also investigating a large illegal antiquities operation allegedly directed by Kapoor. In 2004, Toronto's ROM paid Kapoor $125,000 for the miniature reliquary, money that came from private donations.
Since 2012, U.S. agents have seized over 2,600 artifacts valued at approximately $150 million from Kapoor's warehouses. And last month, officials with ICE-HSI reclaimed a bronze sculpture of Shiva and Parvati from the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University in Indiana.

The museum had purchased the piece from Kapoor in 2005, but ICE-HSI officials say the idol was "sourced illegally from India under the direction of Subhash Kapoor and smuggled into the United States." The Indian government alleges Kapoor has been trafficking in looted Asian antiquities for years and was part of a network of temple looters operating out of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu police issued a warrant for his arrest, and after he was extradited from Germany In 2012, Kapoor has been in jail in India awaiting trial.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

World's Top Expensive Luxury Cars

2015 Ferrari FF. $295,000.00

Rolls-Royce Ghost $319,400.00

Ferrari F12 berlinetta $319,995.00

Bentley Mulsanne $335,600.00

Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe $438,325.00

Rolls-Royce Phantom $480,175.00

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe $479,775.00

Lamborghini Aventador $548,800.00

Porsche 918 Spyder $929,000.00

Ferrari LaFerrari $1,416,362.00

Friday, 18 December 2015

‘Finest Opal Ever’ makes World Debut

Billed as the “finest opal ever,” the Virgin Rainbow made its world debut at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide in September as the centerpiece of a larger exhibition to commemorate the centenary of opal mining in Australia.
Veteran miner John Dunstan is credited with discovering the Virgin Rainbow in the desert soil of Coober Pedy in South Australia in 2003.

Dustan has mined opals for 50 years, but the internal fire of the Virgin Rainbow is unlike anything he’s ever seen.

Gibber plain near Coober Pedy
Dustan explained that the Virgin Rainbow is a Belemnite pipe, which is essentially an opal that formed in the skeleton of an extinct ancestor of the common cuttlefish. As Dustan cleaned it off, he realized he made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.

“I knew it was one of the best ever,” he said. “You’ll never see another piece like that one, it’s so special.
Coober Pedy is often called “The Opal Capital of the World.” The discovery of gem opals sparked a rush of mining activity that has generated top-quality gems for the past 100 years.

Australia produces more than 90% of the world’s precious opals.
Between 100 million and 97 million years ago, Australia’s vast inland sea began retreating. As the sea regressed, a rare episode of acidic weather was taking place, exposing pyrite minerals and releasing sulphuric acid.

As the surface of the basin dried further and cracked, silica-rich gel became trapped in the veins of the rock. Over eons, the silica solidified to form opals
Coober Pedy, an Aboriginal name meaning "White man in a hole", adequately describes the mines and miners' dwellings - burrows dug into the scarp, in order to escape soaring temperatures of the day and the freezing winds at night.