Ravishing Rubies

Although the word ‘ruby’ simply means ‘red’ in Latin, this precious stone can be found in a range of shades from pale pink to a deep red known as ‘pigeon’s blood’. Pigeons might be surprised to hear it, but pigeon’s blood rubies are in fact the most valuable!

Rubies have been mined in Southeast Asia, particularly Myanmar, for thousands of years, and were traded to Europe along the Silk Road. They were highly desired wherever they went. In ancient India, rubies were known as the “king of gems,” and often paired with sapphires in local jewelry. Rubies were so precious in the ancient world that the writers of the Old Testament often compare its value to that of wisdom itself.

Two of the world’s most valuable rubies are shrouded in mystery. The Liberty Bell Ruby was the largest ruby ever to be mined. Discovered in Africa in the 1950s, it was carved into the shape of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to honor the Bicentennial of the American Revolution in 1976. Sadly, the jewel was stolen in 2011.

No less mysterious is the Sunrise Ruby, the most expensive ruby in the world, named for a poem written in the thirteenth century by the Sufi poet Rumi. This gem fetched over thirty million dollars at auction. It was purchased by an anonymous bidder. At this time the whereabouts of the Liberty Bell and Sunrise Rubies are unknown.

But at least lovers of rubies can always turn to the poet Rumi whose verse gave the Sunrise Ruby its name. In a poem of love and devotion, Rumi compares the purity of his feelings for his beloved to the intense, all-encompassing red of a ruby:

He says, There is nothing left of me.

I am like a ruby held up to the sunrise.

Is it still a stone, or a world

made of redness? It has no resistance

to sunlight. The ruby and the sunrise are one.

It has been over eight hundred years since Rumi wrote this poem yet rubies continue to inspire us with their ravishing beauty!

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Angelababy’s Fabulous Wedding Jewelry

Angelababy wed Huang Xiaoming in May 2015, in one of the world’s most lavish wedding ceremonies ever. The wedding banquet cost a whopping $31 million US, pushing the Kardashians into the pauper category. Angelababy wore some exceptional jewelry at the wedding, along with her lavish Dior gown, featuring yards and yards of organza and tulle.

Angelababy is a highly successful Chinese model, actress, and singer. She’s most recently known for her voice in the Cantonese version of the Disney movie Tangled, and Independence Day: Resurgence, Kill Time and The Ferryman are being released in 2016.

With all this movie star activity comes an income to match. The beautiful jewelry at her wedding was lent to her by the prestigious jewelry house Chaumet, that has been around since 1780. It was originally founded by Marie Etienne Nitot and is now owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton).

Prior to the wedding, the couple visited the Chaumet headquarters at Place Vendome in France to select the exquisite pieces. It’s not known whether Angelababy got to see her fabulous wedding band in advance though.

The Chaumet jewelry made the wedding truly majestic. From their collection was a diamond and pearl brooch, a necklace, and an antique tiara called the Chaumet Curvilinear, made with white gold, diamonds, and natural baroque pearls. These items are usually housed in their Paris museum. They were designed and crafted during the 1930s and complemented Angelababy’s youthfulness and elegance.

The Chaumet bow brooch is fit for royalty and features large oval shaped pearls and pave set diamonds. It was commissioned in the 11th century by the French noble family La Rochefoucauld. It was a perfect and auspicious choice for the wedding gown, as the bow-knot is a symbol of happiness in China.

During the ceremony she received an elaborate wedding band from the groom, with a design echoing that of the tiara. It was crafted out of platinum and features an exceptional five carat, pear shaped, diamond center stone. It has been aptly named the Josephone Aigrette Imperiale ring and proudly bears the Chaumet trademark.

Angelababy had the distinction of wearing jewelry fit for royalty at her magical wedding. Even though she had to return most of the pieces to Chaumet, she did get to take home her stunning wedding band, and the groom too!


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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