Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gems of the Smithsonian

The Bismarck Sapphire Necklace is a sapphire necklace designed by Cartier in 1935.

It is named after Countess Mona von Bismarck, who donated the piece to the Smithsonian in 1967. The sapphire itself was purchased by the Countess in Sri Lanka in 1926. The necklace consists of a single chain of platinum links connected by pairs of round brilliant cut diamonds. The 98.6 carat table cut Bismarck Sapphire is mounted in a pendant at the front of the necklace, surrounded by baguette-cut diamonds.
The Carmen Lúcia Ruby is a 23.1-carat Burmese ruby set in a platinum ring with diamonds. It was donated by Peter Buck in memory of his wife Carmen Lúcia. The stone was mined from the Mogok region of Burma in the 1930s.
The Blue Heart Diamond was found at the Premier Mine, South Africa in 1908. This 30.62 carat heart-shaped, brilliant cut blue diamond was faceted by French jeweler Atanik Eknayan of Paris in 1909-1910 from a 100.5 carat piece of rough.

Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post gifted the Blue Heart Diamond to the National Gem Collection in 1964.
The DeYoung Red Diamond is one of the largest known natural fancy dark red diamonds. It is a modified round brilliant cut VS-2 diamond of 5.03 carats. The diamond was acquired by S. Sydney DeYoung, a Boston jeweler, as part of a collection of estate jewelry and identified, incorrectly, as a garnet. It was gifted to the National Gem Collection by Mr. DeYoung in 1987.
The Hooker Emerald is 75.47 carats and surrounded by 109 round brilliant and 20 baguette cut diamonds, totaling approximately 13 carats. It was once the property of Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1876-1909) who wore it in his belt buckle. Tiffany & Co. purchased the emerald at auction in 1911.

The stone originated from Colombia and was probably shipped to Europe by Spanish conquistadores in the 16th or 17th century. Mrs. Janet Annenberg Hooker purchased the brooch from Tiffany in 1955, and in 1977 she donated it to the Smithsonian.
The 58.19-carat Maharani Cat’s Eye from Sri Lanka. The optical phenomenon of chatoyancy can be displayed by many gemstones, but the most popular and highly prized is that of the mineral chrysoberyl.

The “eye” that the stone displays when it is cut cabochon is caused by the reflection of light off numerous parallel inclusions of fine, needle-like crystals, commonly of the mineral rutile.
The Petersen Tanzanite Brooch. Pair of matched tanzanite gems about 30 carats. The floral platinum brooch, designed by Harry Winston in 1991, has 24 carats of diamonds. The tanzanite “flowers” can be detached and worn as earrings. The Petersen Tanzanite Brooch was gifted to the National Gem Collection in 2002.

The Sherman Diamond is one of five pendants from a diamond necklace. The necklace was a gift from the khedive of Egypt to Civil War General William Sherman for his daughter’s wedding in 1874. The necklace was divided among his three daughters. The pendant has an 8.52-carat pear shaped diamond surrounded by 17 round diamonds.