News / Arts & Entertainment

    New Gem Upstages Smithsonian's Hope Diamond

    Susan Logue
    The Hope Diamond has long been the undisputed star of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, but it's being upstaged by a new gem.

    Visitors vied with media to capture the historic moment as museum director Kirk Johnson unveiled the latest addition to its mineral collection, the Dom Pedro Aquamarine.

    “It’s 10,363 carats, which is what they call bling, serious bling,” Johnson said.

    The blue-green crystal, a relative of the emerald, is carved into an obelisk that stands more than 35 centimeters high and weighs 2 kilograms. It is the largest cut and polished gem aquamarine in the world, says Jeffrey Post, curator of the museum’s mineral collection.
    The obelisk-shaped Dom Pedro gem, the world's largest cut aquamarine gem, will go on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The crystal was mined in Brazil in the late 1980s and is named for Brazil's first two emperThe obelisk-shaped Dom Pedro gem, the world's largest cut aquamarine gem, will go on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The crystal was mined in Brazil in the late 1980s and is named for Brazil's first two emper
    x
    The obelisk-shaped Dom Pedro gem, the world's largest cut aquamarine gem, will go on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The crystal was mined in Brazil in the late 1980s and is named for Brazil's first two emper
    The obelisk-shaped Dom Pedro gem, the world's largest cut aquamarine gem, will go on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The crystal was mined in Brazil in the late 1980s and is named for Brazil's first two emper

    “It is very rare, very unusual for any mineral to produce a crystal the size and the quality that can result in cutting the Dom Pedro.”

    And most would be cut into wearable gems, like the popular Hope Diamond.

    But German gem artist Bernd Munsteiner, who carved the obelisk, told Post he didn’t want to do that.

    “I said, 'Why did you cut something big, why not just cut it into gemstones?'” Post recalls his answer was, “‘What nature makes large, man should not make small.’”

    Munsteiner created the Dom Pedro from a crystal that weighed 27 kilograms. He used a technique that he pioneered, called the fantasy cut. Channels are carved into the stone, instead of the usual facets on the outside. The result is a gem that appears to glow from within.  

    “And that gem traveled around,” Post says. “In fact, it represented the German government for some period of time at gem shows in Europe.  And then, one of the owners was considering having it cut up to get his money out of it right away.”

    “When I heard it was going to be cut up for jewelry stones, I thought that would be such a loss,” says American gem collector Jane Mitchell.

    She and her husband, Jeffrey Bland, stepped forward and purchased the stone. “We had no desire to hold on to it privately. We felt it should strike awe in as many people as could be.”

    That’s why they donated the Dom Pedro to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. With 7.4 million visitors last year, it is the most popular museum in the United States, due - in large part - to the Hope Diamond.

    Now visitors have another breathtaking reason to come here.

    You May Like

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Walter Johnson
    December 11, 2012 5:49 AM
    Having seen the Hope Diamond once, I believe this gem is more spectacular because of the channeling to bring in light. Maybe the Smithsonian's next addition should be a man metamaterial built object of intricate and nana scale design. Every museum must periodically add something of value to maintain a steady stream of visitors.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.