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Bilgore Star Ruby "Star of Katandru"
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Image by cliff1066™
Some of the most interesting members of the gem kingdom are those reflecting bright bands of light that form stars. This optical phenomenon, called chatoyancy, is caused by light reflecting off of parallel bundles of tiny hollow tubes or fibrous crystals of another mineral inside the gemstone. When a properly oriented stone is cut en cabochon, round or oval shape with a domed top and flat bottom, the star is visible. This exceptional 16.21 carat Sri Lankan star ruby, the "Star of Katandru," has a well-centered star with straight arms of sharp intensity, and a uniform and beautiful body color. The Star of Katandru, named in honor of the donor’s children, was generously gifted by Jeffrey Bilgore in 2004.

www.mnh.si.edu/earth/text/dynamicearth/6_0_0_GeoGallery/g...


Spanish Inquisition Necklace
celebrity names
Image by cliff1066™
The Spanish Inquisition Necklace consists of two strands of antique-cut diamonds and emeralds to which a lower pendant and upper chain containing modern, brilliant-cut diamonds were added. The necklace contains 374 diamonds and 15 emeralds. The emeralds undoubtedly came from Colombia, while the diamonds were obtained from India, the only source of diamonds until 1723. The large, central, barrel-shaped emerald weighs approximately 45 carats. Due to its rich color and exceptional clarity, it is one of the world's finest emeralds. The stones were probably cut in India in the seventeenth century, making them the earliest cut gems in the National Gem Collection. Although the origin of the necklace's name is unknown, it was probably created this century in reference to its similarity to other jewelry of the period. However, according to legend, at least a portion or a variation of the necklace belonged to Spanish royalty and was later worn by ladies of the French court. The necklace was purchased by the Maharaja of Idore in the early twentieth century. In 1948, Harry Winston purchased the necklace from the Maharaja's son. The necklace then became part of Winston's "Court of Jewels" traveling exhibition. Cora Hubbard Williams of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bought the necklace from Winston in 1955 and donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1972.

www.mnh.si.edu/earth/text/dynamicearth/6_0_0_GeoGallery/g...

 
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