Tantalizing Topaz

Topaz, the primary birthstone of November, is a mineral made of hard silicate. Pure topaz is colorless and transparent but gets tinted by impurities. This often valuable and popular gem has regularly been misidentified and is sometimes confused with, the other birthstone of the month, citrine.

Topaz has been found around the Mediterranean since ancient times. It comes in several different colors such as yellow, gold, orange, blue, violet, green, pink and red. Natural pink hues are the rarest. Imperial topaz, also known as precious topaz, is the most sought after. It gets its names from the 17th century Tsars, who claimed exlusive rights to the pink topaz gemstones mined in Russia.

Blue topaz can rarely be found in nature. However, today, thanks to advancements in technology, blue topaz has become regularly available and highly fashionable. Blue topaz is usually colorless at first, and later treated with radiation to get its stable ‘sky blue’ or ‘London blue’ color.

Topaz is one of the hardest gemstones found in nature. Its stunning colors and brilliance make it understandably a very attractive and fairly afforable choice for jewelry. Fine topaz pieces can easily be washed by using warm water and mild soap.

It is believed that topaz has certain healing characteristics. It has a reputation for being a cold prevenative, encourages relaxation, restores energy and boosts creativity. It is often associated with virtues such as wisdom and courage. The ancient Greeks used it to give them strength before battle, to restore sanity and to cool down a temper.

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Faberge Egg Reborn

Fabergé, the world’s most iconic artist jeweler, has after 99 years revived its revered tradition of creating the most precious and coveted of objets d’art, the “imperial egg”.

Founded in 1842, by Peter Carl Faberge, the company won worldwide acclaim for its artistry in creating objets d’art, jewelry and timepieces. The imperial Easter eggs, which were commissioned by The Russian royal family, are universally recognized as some of the greatest masterpieces of the jeweler’s art.

The story began, in 1885, when Tsar Alexander III decided to give a jeweled Easter egg to his wife the Empress Marie Fedorovna, possibly to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their betrothal. It is believed that the Tsar, who had first become acquainted with Fabergé’s virtuoso work at the Moscow Pan-Russian Exhibition in 1882, was inspired by an 18th century egg owned by the Empress’s aunt, Princess Wilhelmine Marie of Denmark. The object was said to have captivated the imagination of the young Maria during her childhood. The Tsar was, apparently, personally involved in the design and execution of the egg, making suggestions to Fabergé as the project went along.

Easter was the most important occasion of the year in the Russian Orthodox Church. A centuries old tradition of bringing hand-colored eggs to church to be blessed and then presented to friends and family, had evolved through the years and, among the highest echelons of St Petersburg society, the custom developed of presenting valuable bejeweled Easter gifts.

So it was that Tsar had the idea of commissioning Fabergé to create a precious Easter egg as a surprise for the Empress. Thus the first Imperial Easter egg, The Hen Egg, was born and with it a 32 year annual tradition that continued all the way up until the Russian Revolution.

This year in collaboration with the Al-Fardan family, one of the world’s most renowned collectors of pearls, Fabergé has crafted the extraordinary Pearl Egg.

Pearls have been coveted and treasured for centuries, linked inextricably with royalty, style and status. The Pearl Egg draws inspiration from the formation of a pearl within an oyster.

Harnessing twenty highly skilled workmasters, the egg has been crafted from 139 white pearls, 3305 diamonds, carved rock crystal and mother-of-pearl set on white and yellow gold. An ingenious mechanism enables the entire outer shell to rotate on its base, simultaneously opening in six sections to unveil its treasure, a unique grey pearl of 12.17 carats, sourced from the Arabian Gulf and exhibiting exceptional purity.

The company revealed that Hussain Al-Fardan paid an undisclosed seven figure price for this masterpiece!

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Dylan of The Gryphon’s Nest