Marie Antoinette was known for her dazzling jewelry collection and love of bling. Sadly, as her countrymen starved, she could be seen wearing some of the world's most priceless treasures in the royal court, and that pretty much sealed her fate. A year before her death, the queen gave a collection of pearls to a friend who took them to Britain for safekeeping, fully expecting to be reunited with the jewels. Today, those pearls can be seen as part of an extraordinary necklace, combining rubies and diamonds. The necklace is valued by Christie's of London at between $350,000 to $400,000. It came on auction at Christie's in 2007 but failed to sell.
In April 2008, Sotheby's Hong Kong attempted to auction off a 72.22-carat pear-shaped diamond that was cut from an original rough diamond weighing 188.11 carats. What sets this particular diamond apart from larger diamonds of its kind is the perfect pear shape. The rare flawless D-color gem is prized for its GIA-graded excellent polish and symmetry. The stone was the third largest of its kind auctioned in history. Unfortunately, it attracted a bid of only $73 Hong Kong dollars (approximately 9.24 million US dollars) and fell short of the reserve price. It was later sold to a buyer for an undisclosed sum.
Perhaps one of the most curious uses of diamonds is the platinum cast of a human skull covered with 8,601 diamonds, created by British artist Damien Hirst. The piece was cast from the skull of male who lived three centuries ago. Covered in platinum and diamonds, the skull also features the man's set of teeth. The piece, entitled "For the Love of God" came from the artist's mother who asked her son, "For the love of God, what are you going to do next?" The single large diamond in the center of the forehead is reportedly worth $4.2 million alone. At a 2008 art auction, the total diamond skull was purchased for $100 million.
We're known for being a pet-obsessed society and then there are those who figure nothing's too good for Fido. Take for instance Stephen Webster's $1.03 million diamond and gold dog collar. The collar includes Dali web cut two-carat diamonds and a center stone weighing approximately 14.46 carats along with an attached 24-carat gold bone. The collar was designed for the Pet-A-Porter canine fashion show, hosted at London's Harrods department store in 2007. The luxury dog gear can be purchased at the store's specialty pet's department.
The most comprehensive collection of naturally colored diamonds in the world, the Aurora Diamond Collection, or Aurora Pyramid of Hope presents multifarious colors in which diamonds exist in nature. Blue, pink, red, green, orange, purple, yellow, and brown are just a few of the colors that are represented. The 296-item collection weighs a total of 267.45 carats and was assembled over 25 years by New York diamond collectors Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman. On display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York from 1989 to 2005, it served as the centerpiece for the 1998 exhibition "The Nature of Diamonds" organized by the museum which was seen in Canada, Japan and the U.S. In 2005, the collection premiered in the "Diamonds" exhibition organized by the Natural History Museum of London. It is currently on display at London's Gallery Vault.
Measuring 104.5 carats, the Great Chrysanthemum Diamond is a distinctive pear-shaped diamond rated a I1 in clarity by the Gemological Institute of America. The Fancy Orange-Brown stone was named the Great Chrysanthemum because of its color similarities to the brown flower. It has appeared in numerous U.S. exhibits and was named a winner of one of the Diamonds International Awards. Originating in South Africa, it was cut from a 198.28-carat rough in 1963. Purchased by Garrards of London in 2003 for an undisclosed amount, it was displayed at the jeweler's flagship store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Thought to be the fifth largest faceted brown diamond in the world, the Great Chrysanthemum is the second largest pear-shaped brown diamond in the world.
Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of Pandora Jewelry. Pandora bracelets, Pandora charms, and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, Lewis Jewelers, 2000 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103, 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.