One of the rarest gemstones in the world, very few samples of Taaffeite are known, although there are probably more specimens out there that have been mistaken for spinel. It was discovered in 1945 by Richard Taaffe, an Irish gemmologist and son of Viscount Henry Taaffe.  In October of 1945, he was examining a parcel […]

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Although I find myself saying this a lot, the Beau Sancy must surely be one of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, a perfect combination of technical skill, artistic beauty, impeccable provenance and documented history. A modified pear shape double rose cut diamond, with the facets centred on an eight sided star, it weighs […]

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19th century England was very much the centre of the diamond world, primarily due to the extent of the British Empire. Queen Victoria was Empress of India, where most of the world’s most famous diamonds originated, and South Africa was to become of of the major sources of rough diamonds from the 1860s onwards. The […]

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An important Russian Imperial jewel is to be offered for sale by Christies Geneva this week, where it is expected to fetch 3 to 5 million dollars, twelve years after it was last publicly sold. Probably commissioned by Catherine the Great, the pieces offer a glimpse at the splendour and elegance of the Russian Royal […]

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The Alnatt is a 102 carat cushion cut diamond, named after its first known owner, Major Alfred Alnatt. It probably originated from South Africa, as most of the important yellow diamonds in the world come from there. Major Alnatt was a soldier, benefactor, sportsman and patron of the arts. He paid what was then a world […]

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Reposing in the same gallery of the Louvre as the Regent Diamond, the Hortensia diamond is a wonderful stone which goes to show that even a flawed diamond can be breathtakingly beautiful. Weighing 20 carats, it is a lovely orangey-pink colour, cut into a five sided shape. It has a large crack extending from the […]

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The Hope diamond is a 45 carat cushion cut diamond of deep greyish-blue colour, almost metallic blue, which for almost 60 years has been the star attraction in the Smithsonian Institute’s gem collection. It measures 1 inch by 7/8 inches by almost 1/2 inch. When exposed to short wave UV light, the Hope glows red […]

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John Campbell, the Fifth Duke of Argyll, and his wife, Elizabeth Gunning, Baroness Hamilton of Hamildon, hated how gravy would sometimes arrive cold to the dining table. This would particularly be a problem in the cold winters at their castle in Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne, some fifty miles north west of Glasgow. […]

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One of the most beautiful Royal tiaras in Europe, and certainly the one with the most interesting provenance, is the Vladimir Tiara, originally from Russia, and now the property of Queen Elizabeth II. Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna was the aunt of Tzar Nicholas II, and wife of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich. Her most spectacular […]

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One of the most fascinating effects that you can come across in a sapphire is Asterism, the effect where you can see a six pointed star in the stone, especially under a direct light source. The star will move as the light source moves. Although they come in many colours, the finest and most desirable […]

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