10 Fun Facts About 4th of July You Probably Forgot

It’s time to stock up on beer, brats, fireworks, and apparel with the American flag plastered all over it because Independence Day is nearly here! Before you fire up the grill and set off those sparklers, bone up on some interesting history with these 4th of July Read More …

Ural Mountains and the Discovery of Alexandrite

As the story goes, Alexandrite was initially discovered in the 1830s, in the emerald mines of the Ural Mountains of Russia. The bright green stone was at first mistaken for emerald, until the sun went down. In the light of candles, its greenish hue vanished Read More …

How Mikimoto Changed the Pearl Industry

A CULTURE IS BORN Kokichi Mikimoto, the son of a noodle maker, had a dream and a hard-working wife, Ume. Together they set about to do what no one else had done—entice oysters to produce round pearls on demand. Mikimoto did not know that government Read More …

Facts About Pearls

Pearls are the only gemstones made by living creatures. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells—usually not a grain of sand, as commonly believed. While any shelled mollusk can technically make a pearl, only Read More …

Emerald Mining in Colombia

There has been more activity in emerald mining in Colombia in the last few years than at any other time in the four centuries since the Spanish first discovered the deposits. The past, however, has yielded many fabulous gems, the most famous of which are Read More …

Smithsonian’s 75-Carat Hooker Emerald Was Once Mounted Into a Sultan’s Belt Buckle

One of the world’s most spectacular examples of May’s official birthstone is the 75.47-carat Hooker Emerald, an historic gem that was once mounted into the belt buckle of an Ottoman sultan. Today, it is beautifully displayed in a platinum brooch adorned with 109 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing Read More …

The Gachala Emerald

Weighing in at 858 carats and displaying a superb vivid green color, the uncut “Gachala Emerald” is one of the world’s finest examples of May’s official birthstone. The hexagonal crystal was found at the Vega de San Juan mine in Gachala, Colombia, in 1967, and Read More …

Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle’s Diamond Tiara

Meghan Markle wore a stunning diamond tiara designed for Queen Mary loaned to her by the Queen as she walked down the aisle of St George’s Chapel, but what is the Queen Mary tiara and where did Meghan get the tiara? The beautiful detailed diamond Read More …

Emerald and Gold Treasures of the Spanish Galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha

On September 4, 1622 the Tierra Firme flota of twenty-eight ships left Havana bound for Spain. With it was carried the wealth of an empire; Silver from Peru and Mexico, gold and emeralds from Colombia, pearls from Venezuela. Each ship carried its crew, soldiers, passengers, Read More …