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5 posts from April 2017

The Hidden Meaning Behind Your Favorite Gemstones - Vogue

Gemstones-and-their-meaningsWhile fine jewelry is usually high in monetary value, what often makes it exceptional is that it’s steeped in significance. A piece of jewelry frequently has a particular aura that does not fade; it is with it that we mark the milestones of our lives—engagement, marriage, friendships, parenthood, birthdays, travels, traditions, and love.

Jewelry, some argue, emblematizes the sublime.

When we consider some of the materials jewelry is made with—metals derived from the earth’s crust and gemstones, which, like crystals, have significant metaphysical properties—it’s hard to deny the cosmic allure.

These materials have been honored, according to Maria Leach’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, “back beyond recorded history.” Ancient Roman texts note that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with magical diamonds. In Eastern narratives, dragons were often depicted with flaming, wish-granting pearls under their chins or in their claws. In early written accounts, people adorned themselves with feathers, bones, shells, and colored pebbles. We now, of course, refer to these arrangements of naturally occurring materials as jewelry—and now, the colored pebbles are known as gemstones.

Here, a look at the history of some favorite gemstones and their mythological meanings.

Ruby
In Sanskrit, the word for ruby is ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” In ancient Hinduism, it was believed by some that those who offered fine rubies to the god Krishna could be reborn as emperors. Rubies were divided into four castes. The Brahmin, for example, granted the advantage of perfect safety. The stone is also mentioned at least four times in the Bible, usually as a representative of beauty and wisdom. Numerous early cultures believed, because of the stone’s likeness to the color of blood, that rubies held the power of life. Among European royalty and the upper classes, rubies were thought to guarantee good health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love. They’ve became some of the most sought-after gems.

 

Lapis
Lapis lazuli has always been associated with royalty and deities, and it may be where the idea of royal blue came from. Egyptians believed that it came from the heavens and provided protection in the afterlife, so they used it in their statues of the gods, in totemic objects, in jewelry, and in burial masks. In the epic poem Gilgamesh, Sumerians spent years traveling from one end of Asia to the other in order to mine and obtain the stone. Lapis is included in numerous other myths but has served practical purposes as well: Ancient Egyptians used it to create blue cosmetics, and during the Renaissance, painters ground the

via www.vogue.com


Pink Star diamond sets new world record in Hong Kong - BBC News

Pink Star diamondA rare diamond known as the Pink Star has been sold in Hong Kong for more than $71m (£57m), setting a new world record for any gemstone at auction.

The oval-shaped 59.6 carat stone was bought after just five minutes' bidding at Sotheby's, reports said.

It is the largest polished diamond in its class to go under the hammer.

It sold for $83m in Geneva in 2013 but the buyer later defaulted. The record until now was held by the Oppenheimer Blue, which sold for $50m last May.

Bidding for the gem, which was found by De Beers at a mine in Africa in 1999 and cut over a period of two years, began at $56m.

Sotheby's said the buyer was Hong Kong jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery.

Alexander Breckner, head of diamonds at jewellers "77 Diamonds", told the BBC that the stone was exceptional.

"It's the largest pink diamond ever found in the history of humankind. It's an incredible colour to it.

"And the sheer size of the stone already makes it so rare and so beautiful."

via www.bbc.com


The journey of one of the rarest, largest diamonds - CNN.com

Cullinan Heritage rough diamondWhat do you do with one of the world's largest rough diamonds?  You chip away at it - - for some 47,000 man hours and then turn it into one lavish neckpiece, featuring 11,551 diamonds.

Follow this link to see a photo gallery that depicts a visual journey -- from the origins of where one of the world's rarest and largest diamonds was unearthed, to how it formed the core of an absurdly lavish necklace, made of 11,551 diamonds and hundreds of pieces of jade and jadeite. The piece was designed as a collaboration between jewelry designer Wallace Chan and Hong Kong's largest jewelry retailer, Chow Tai Fook.

via www.cnn.com


Two Large Rough Diamonds Found in Lesotho

New York--Two large diamonds have been uncovered in Africa in as many weeks, putting an end to the drought of big diamond finds the industry seems to have been experiencing.
Lesotho diamonds
Gem Diamonds uncovered the 114-carat D color, Type II rough diamond on the left at Letšeng while Firestone Diamonds found the 110-carat light yellow rough diamond at right at its Liqhobong project.

Mining company Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced the recovery of a 114-carat rough diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho on Friday.

The company described it as a D color, Type II diamond of “exceptional quality.”

The Letšeng mine is known for producing large, high-quality white diamonds, selling at an average price of $2,000 per carat, according to Bloomberg, which is the highest in the industry.

It is the deposit responsible for producing the 357-carat chunk of rough that was cut into the 118.78-carat “Graff Venus,” the world’s largest flawless heart-shaped diamond.

Since Gem Diamonds acquired Letšeng in 2006, the mine has produced four of the 20 largest gem-quality white diamonds ever recorded, though last year it only recovered five stones bigger than 100 carats, less than half what it found the year prior.

The news of Gem’s find came on the heels of another big diamond find from a rival miner in Lesotho, a small kingdom within a country that’s located in the southeastern portion of South Africa.

On April 5, Firestone Diamonds said it had unearthed a 110-carat diamond, its biggest discovery so far, at its new mine in Lesotho.

The light yellow stone was discovered at the Liqhobong project, confirming its beliefs that the deposit has the potential for large diamonds, the company said.

Firestone has spent $185 million to build up the mine, which just began production in October.

In addition to its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho, Firestone also owns and operates the BK11 kimberlite mine in northern Botswana.

via www.nationaljeweler.com


The Pink Star’ Sells for $71M at Sotheby’s

Hong Kong--The 59.60-carat ‘Pink Star’ diamond has, once again, become the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, and maybe this time it will stick.

Pink-Star-1The Pink Star is a 59.60-carat oval mixed-cut Type IIa pink diamond and is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond the Gemological Institute of America has ever graded. The diamond came from a 132.5-carat piece of rough mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999 and was cut and polished over a two-year period.

Chow Tai Fook paid $71.2 million for the stone on Tuesday at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based retailer and manufacturer edged out two other buyers to snag the stone, Sotheby’s said.

Sotheby’s experts had estimated before the sale that The Pink Star would sell for more than $60 million.

It set a new world record price for any jewel sold at auction, surpassing the rectangular-cut, 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue,” which sold for $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva last May.

This isn’t the first time The Pink Star has found a buyer at auction, though the first sale fell through.

The nearly 60-carat pink stone went up for auction in November 2013 at Sotheby’s Geneva, where four different bidders competed for it. New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf placed the winning bid of $83 million, which, at the time, marked a new auction record for any jewel ever sold at auction.

In February 2014, though, Wolf defaulted on the payment for the diamond he had named “The Pink Dream” and as a result, Sotheby’s had to take the stone back into its inventory because it had been sold under an auction guarantee.

Last summer, the auction house formed a partnership with Diacore and Mellen Inc. to acquire an ownership interest in the diamond, meaning that when the stone sold, proceeds would be split among the three companies per their ownership percentage.