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Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: Wallis Simpson's Cartier Panther

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: Wallis Simpson's Cartier Panther

Wallis Simpson's famous panther bracelet is a gem among beaded jewelry! It was commissioned from the famous Parisian jeweler Cartier by the Duchess in 1952; she also helped co-design it. She wanted a life-like great cat that would stalk its way around her wrist. Cartier's head jeweler Jeanne Toussaint created an exquisite cat of pave diamonds and black onyx set in fully articulated platinum with blazing emerald eyes.
Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Black Prince's Ruby

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Black Prince's Ruby

Of all the famous gems and beaded jewelry in history, the Black Prince's Ruby is one of the most exciting and intriguing. In fact, this "ruby" isn't even a ruby - it's actually a red spinel! The red and blue forms of spinel have been misidentified as rubies and sapphires for at least a millennia. It's very similar in color, found in similar places, and is even rarer than its counterpoints. Like the Black Prince's ruby, many of the rubies and sapphires in the crown jewels of Europe are actually spinel!
sapphires

The History of the Kashmir Sapphire

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.

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Sancy Diamond

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Sancy Diamond

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.

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: Koh-i-Noor Diamond

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: Koh-i-Noor Diamond

In the history of famous gems and beaded jewelry, the Koh-i-Noor Diamond stands out for its dark tales of tragedy, torture, and murder, of thrones, lost and gained. The legend is that whoever holds the diamond will be invincible, and men who believed the legend was willing to slaughter thousands for it. Even now, the gem is at the center of a dispute.
April 30, 2015 by Stephanie White
Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Amber Room

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Amber Room

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.

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Hope Diamond

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Hope Diamond

You’ve probably heard of the Hope Diamond—the 45.52-carat megalith of a gemstone colored a deep ocean blue with hints of violet. Legend says the Hope Diamond was stolen from its setting in the eye, or the third eye, of a sacred Indian statue, adorned with priceless gems and beaded jewelry.
July 05, 2013 by Leslie Hedrick
the flame queen opal

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Flame Queen Opal

Australia’s Lightning Ridge region is known as the black opal capital of the world and has produced thousands of opals for beaded jewelry, as well as loose stones. But the most famous opal it ever produced has to be the Flame Queen Opal.
July 05, 2013 by Leslie Hedrick
Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Hortensia Diamond

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Hortensia Diamond

How do famous gems and beaded jewelry pieces get their names? Many are named after their owners, or after a famous place or incident. The Hortensia Diamond was named after Hortense de Beauharnais, a French woman who led an adventurous and illustrious life… but she never owned the Hortensia Diamond. There’s no record of her having even worn it!
April 13, 2013 by Leslie Hedrick
Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Orlov Diamond

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Orlov Diamond

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.

November 16, 2012 by Leslie Hedrick
Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Bahia Emerald

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Bahia Emerald

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.

 

October 16, 2012 by Leslie Hedrick
Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: La Peregrina

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: La Peregrina

In the mid-1500s, an African slave working in the Gulf of Panama found the largest, most lustrous pearl ever discovered. The administrator of the Spanish colony in Panama took the pearl, but rewarded the slave with freedom.The pearl was given to Philip II of Spain, who gave it to his fiancé Mary Tudor of England. Mary wore the pearl as beaded jewelry, in a brooch. We still have a painting of her looking stern and royal, but well decked out in her gowns and beaded jewelry.Mary died in 1558, and the pearl went back to Spain.