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Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Hortensia Diamond

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! So why ... Read More »

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Ruspoli Sapphire

The Ruspoli Sapphire, simple but beautiful.

Not every amazing gem is faceted, polished and set in beaded jewelry. We’ve already discussed the uncut Bahia Emerald, and the near-deadly, super-expensive battles surrounding its ownership. This month, let’s talk about the Ruspoli Sapphire—one of the most unique, priceless sapphires in the world. The Ruspoli Sapphire may have come from India. Instead of faceting gems at multiple angles and ... Read More »

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Orlov Diamond

The Orlov Diamond. Image from Bron: Diamonds.

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 ... Read More »

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Bahia Emerald

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 ... Read More »

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Flame Queen Opal

SW Creations - Original Handcrafted Jewelry

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. Back in the early 20th century, a miner in Lightning Ridge abandoned his claim in order to ... Read More »

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby

SW Creations - Original Handcrafted Jewelry

Do you believe that special stones and beaded jewelry can bring you good luck? Many people do. Star rubies, in particular, were often treasured by knights, who believed the jewels kept them safe on the battlefield. Some stories from India say the power of a star ruby can drain an enemy’s courage, especially if it’s worn on a crown or ... Read More »

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Star of Africa

The Star of Africa

The story of the Star of Africa starts with the largest diamond crystal ever found. It came from a South African mine in 1905. The crystal weighed about 1 1/3 pounds, and was 3,106 carats. It was dubbed “The Cullinan,” after the owner of the mine. The entire Cullinan was sold to the Transvaal government in the Republic of South ... Read More »

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: La Peregrina

SW Creations - Original Handcrafted Jewelry

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 ... Read More »

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