Sunday, 30 January 2022

High Jewel Lizards

A gecko is always considered a lizard, while a lizard may not always be a gecko as lizards refer to four other groups of similar species. Lizards are found all over the world. They populate every continent except for Antarctica and are also found on most island chains within the world’s oceans. Geckos have the unique ability to climb vertical surfaces due to specialized pads on their toes, which is something that lizards are unable to do.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Jewels of the Romanovs

In 1719, Tsar Peter the Great founded the earliest version of what is now known as the Russian Federation's State Diamond Fund.
He placed all of the regalia in this fund and declared that the state holdings were inviolate, and could not be altered, sold, or given away.
The Romanovs had one of the most impressive jewellery collections ever assembled. None can match the former splendor of the Romanov Court. The House of Romanov was the second imperial dynasty, after the Rurik dynasty, to rule over Russia, reigning from 1613 until the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, as a result of the Revolution. Emperor Nicholas II and many members of his extended family were executed by Bolsheviks in 1918. It is believed that no family member survived, ending the main line definitively.
1913 poster proclaiming the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty
The Soviets looted the Romanov collections of art, jewelry, furniture and books. In the 1920s and ’30s foreigners could browse and buy the treasures from the Communist government. Much of the Romanov legacy (including Faberge eggs and other treasures) were broken up, melted down and sold for scrap – with the proceeds disappearing.

Photograph of the Romanov treasures taken by the Bolsheviks.

The Empress Maria Feodorovna
The family’s former possessions regularly turn up on the auction market.

In November 2013 at a sale of Romanov books and memorabilia in London, a batch of 1910s postcards that Nicholas and Alexandra’s four daughters sent to a friend brought $30,000.
A pearl-and-diamond earring from the room where Nicholas Romanov and his family were murdered. It belonged to Czarina Alexandra and was found at the Russian Orthodox Church in New York.

Monday, 24 January 2022

Famous Diamonds

The Blue Empress is a spectacular 14 carat, symmetrical pear-shaped, fancy vivid blue diamond. The stone was mined at the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa and was purchased from De Beers by the Steinmetz Group. It was first offered for sale by London’s Harrods in 2003 for £10 million.
The 67.50-carat, cushion-cut Black Orlov is named black but is the colour of gun metal. Like the story behind the famous Hope diamond, legend has it that the Black Orlov was an uncut black stone of 195 carats, pried out of the eye (forehead) of the statute of the sacred Hindu God Brahma from a temple in Southern India. The diamond turned up in Russia, where it was bought by Princess Nadia Vyegin Orlov. It was purchased in 1947 by Charles F Winson who sold it to an unknown buyer in 1969 for $300,000.
The Paragon Diamond is one of the more unusually shaped diamonds. It is a 7 sided diamond that measures 137.82 carts and is rated a flawless D in color. The necklace currently belongs to the Graff Company and is set in combination necklace - bracelet setting.

The gem was mined in Brazil.
The Donnersmarck Diamonds are two yellow diamonds, named after their one time owner Henckel von Donnersmarc. One, a baguette-shaped diamond weighing 102.54 carats, was sold for $3.246 million.

The second, tear drop in shape and weighing 82.48 carats, was sold for $4.666 million.
The Sun-Drop Diamond at 110 carats is the world’s largest yellow diamond. It sold at auction for $10.91m in 2011.

It was found in South Africa in 2010. The stone was cut as a Pear Brilliant, also called Drop Cut.
The Kazanjian Red Diamond is an extraordinary 5.05-carat red gem on temporary display in the Museum's Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems. Red diamonds are the rarest among colored diamonds. Only three 5-carat red diamonds are known to exist: the Kazanjian Red diamond, the trilliant-cut 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red, and the 5.03-carat De Young Red.

The original 35-carat piece of rough was discovered in Lichtenburg, South Africa
The Spoonmaker's Diamond is a 86 carat pear-shaped diamond, pride of the Imperial Treasury exhibitions at the Topkapi Palace Museum, Tehran.