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Rare and Unusual Gemstones

Jewlery and Jewelers

There are many stories about rare and unusual gemstones. Some of them involve stones that are unusually large or have been found in strange places. Other rare and unusual gemstones stories involve stones that are believed to be cursed. Here are some of the best known gemstone tales.

Famous Star Ruby

The midnight star ruby is the most famous of the star rubies. It resides in the New York Museum of Natural History. It is a deep purple-red ruby and weighs 116.75 carats.

Famous Pink Topaz

One exceptional pink topaz is a 150-carat specimen that was found at Minas Gerais, Brazil. The stone is currently displayed in the Mineralogical Institute in Florence, Italy.

Famous Spinels

  • Black Prince’s Ruby – an oval spinel in the British Crown Jewels.
  • The Timur Ruby – a 361-carat gem engraved with the names of all the previous owners.
  • Wittelsbacher’s Crown – the jewels in this crown dating back to 1830 were all thought to be rubies until recently.

The Hope Diamond

The Hope Diamond is probably one of the most famous gems in the world. Dating back to 1642, the diamond is renowned for its size, color, clarity and history. The deep-blue diamond weighs over 45 carats and is set in a pendent encircled by sixteen white diamonds. Throughout history the Hope Diamond has been owned by several kings, among them King Louis XIV who decided to re-cut the diamond to accentuate its brilliance, he also renamed the gem the “blue diamond of the crown.” He often wore the stone on a ribbon abound his neck. He later had a slow and painful death. Other victims of the curse include Princess de Lamballe, a member of the king’s court, she wore the diamond only once and was later torn to pieces by the revolting hoards, the Dutch jeweler Wilhelm Fals who re-cut the diamond and was robbed and murdered by his own son, Henry Philip Hope, a wealthy London banker who suffered a series of misfortunes while owning the diamond, including the death of his young son and in more modern times Evalyn Walsh who wore it throughout her life and suffered numerous tragedies.

The Delhi Purple Sapphire

The Delhi Purple Sapphire is a gemstone that is believed by many to be cursed. The stone was first looted from the Temple of Indra, located at in Kanpur in India in 1857 and brought to the UK by Bengal cavalryman Colonel W. Ferris. While in possession of the gem stone the soldier and his family lost all their wealth and suffered constant bad health. A close friend who kept it for a short while committed suicide shortly afterwards. The last person to own the purple sapphire was Edward Heron-Allen, a close friend of the writer Oscar Wilde. The stone was passed on to him in 1890 and trouble befell him almost immediately. On two occasions he gave the stone to friends who had begged him for it. One of them, a singer, immediately lost her voice, which never returned. The other is said to have suffered numerous personal disasters. Heron-Allen even claimed to have cast the cursed stone into a canal only to have it returned to him several months later by a dealer who had purchased it from a dredger. Fearing for the life of his newborn daughter, in 1904 Heron-Allen had the stone locked away in a bank vault with instructions that his bankers keep it there until after his death.

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