Friday, 29 November 2019

Demantoid Garnet

Demantoid is the green gemstone variety of andradite, a member of the garnet group. Andradite is a calcium-and iron-rich garnet with the formula Ca3Fe2(SiO4) with chromium the cause of the demantoid green color. Ferric iron is the cause of the yellow in the stone.

Demantoid garnet was first discovered in 1886 and became a favorite of Russian royalty and designer Carl Fabergé.

Russian mining of demantoid garnet was suspended after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, but resumed in the 1970s.
Demantoid gets its name from the Dutch words for “diamond-like.” The stone owes its impressive brilliance to two main factors: A high refractive index and a high dispersion.

Demantoid’s dispersion rating is the highest of all gemstones, including diamond. Known for their brilliant green color and fiery dispersion, demantoid garnets are unique because their inclusions, usually seen as flaws in other gems, are  highly coveted.
Demantoid garnet is mined in other parts of the world, including Iran, Namibia, Pakistan, Italy, Madagascar and Canada, but Russian demantoid sets the mark by which all the others are compared. Demantoid garnets are rarely found in sizes larger than 2 carats.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Van Cleef & Arpels - Bugs and Things

Van Cleef & Arpels was founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and Salomon Arpels in Paris.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

The Lost Faberge Eggs

Peter Carl Fabergé and his brother Agathon were Russian jewellers of French descent based in St. Petersburg. They became famous for the quality and beauty of their work.

In 1885 Tsar Alexander III (House of Romanov) commissioned the production of the gold and enamel 'Hen Egg' for his wife the Empress Maria.
The tsarina and the tsar enjoyed the egg so much that Alexander III ordered a new egg from Fabergé for his wife every Easter thereafter.

Fabergé was made ‘Goldsmith by Special Appointment to the Imperial Crown’ and over the next 33 years 52 eggs were made for the Russian Royal Family as well as a further 15 for other private buyers.
The 1917 Russian Revolution toppled Tsar Nicholas II who was executed along with much of the royal family in July 1918. The Fabergé eggs and many other treasures of the Royal family were confiscated and stored in the vaults of the Kremlin Armoury. Some were sold to raise funds for the new regime.

Over time eight of the original 52 Imperial eggs vanished and their whereabouts remained a mystery.

Imperial Coronation Egg

The Rosebud Egg
A $14k sale turned into millions for a man who'd been thwarted in his attempts to turn a quick profit by selling the egg to scrap metal dealers. The man overestimated what the tiny golden egg would be worth once melted down. He'd been hoping to make $500.

He typed "egg" and the name engraved on the clock,"Vacheron Constantin", into Google. His search brought up a 2011 article in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper describing a "frantic search" for the object: the Third Imperial Easter Egg, made by Faberge for the Russian royal family and estimated to be worth millions.

The Third Imperial Easter Egg is one of 50 delivered by Fabergé to Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II from 1885 to 1916, and until its recent discovery was one of eight lost eggs. Only two others of the lost eggs are thought to have survived the revolution.