The Kashmir sapphire is renowned for its opulent history and powerful symbolism throughout the world. India's notoriety as the hotspot for the most decadent gemstones prevails throughout the world of jewelry. Beryls, pearls, rubies, and rose-cut diamonds lapped in 18-karat gold swirls, embellish their jewelry markets.
Brazil, Thailand, Burma, Australia, Vietnam, Montana, Africa, and Ceylon are ripe with prized sapphire mines too.
Here it is! There it is! Who has it now?
Keeping up with the 52-carat Sancy Diamond was like playing a game of hide and seek. Probably of all the Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Sancy Diamond has passed through more hands and disappeared more often than any other gem.
In 1716, Prussia gave Peter the Great of Russia an extravagant gift honoring the peace between their nations - an entire room made of amber and encrusted with beaded jewelry. The panels were backed with gold leaf, which made the entire room glow with a topaz-like warmth.
The gorgeous Amber Room, made of real amber and beaded jewelry, glows like citrine or topaz. Image from Imaging-and-Art.com.
It was called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Historians estimate that today it would be worth $146 million.
Though it’s said to have come from India, like so many rare beaded jewelry pieces and gems, the Orlov Diamond’s story really takes place in Imperial Russia.
In the 18th century, Grigory Orlov was quite the ladies’ man. He wasn’t of noble birth, or particularly well educated, but he was strong, handsome, and rich enough to give women expensive beaded jewelry whenever he liked. There came a time, however, when his eye fell on the wrong woman.
The story of the Bahia Emerald isn’t one of women flaunting dazzling beaded jewelry, but of Las Vegas heists and near blood baths in the desert. It is the largest emerald stone ever found, and the single largest emerald crystal ever discovered in embedded in rock. It weighs 840 pounds. That’s about 1,900,000 carats. It’s worth about $400 million. Chump change, right?
After it was found in Brazil, it exchanged hands several times between gem and beaded jewelry custodians, until it wound up stored in New Orleans—at exactly the wrong time.