Jewelry and Gemstone Myths and Mysteries

Louise Coulson
 


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Everyone knows that the Hope diamond is the biggest diamond ever found, or is it? No, it is the most expensive. Well, it's not that either. The mystery, beauty, value and stories that follow certain famous gems add a legendary quality to their existence. Here are a few commonly understood “facts" that are actually myths, or are they?

  1. As probably the best-known gemstone in the world, the Hope Diamond is followed by a number of myths and legends. After passing through many hands, it was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1962. It has been known as the largest diamond in the world, the most valuable diamond in the world and as a flawless stone. None of this is true. It is listed as a fancy blue gray diamond in color and a VS1 in clarity. A number of diamonds are larger, worth more and more flawless.
  2. Some say that color is far more important than clarity, especially in the fancy colored diamonds. Color, cut, clarity and carat are all important no matter what the color is.
  3. The Cullinan diamond is the world’s largest cut diamond. The Golden Jubilee diamond at 545.67 carats is larger than the Cullinan's 530.2 carats.
  4. Diamonds are the most valuable stones in the world. This is definitely a highly debated point. Some say Emeralds are the most expensive and others say it is Alexandrite. The .95-carat Hancock Red diamond holds the record at $926,000.
  5. Pearls come only from pearl oysters. The Smithsonian has the Christopher Walling pearl, which weighs 187.5 carats. It is an abalone pearl. Mussels also make pearls.
  6. Diamonds are the most rare stones in the world. Many stones, such as Alexandrite, are more rare. De Beers controls the release of diamonds to keep them expensive.
  7. Birthstones are just something members of the jewelry industry concocted to create a market for their wares. Actually several systems of stones have been developed over many centuries. The American National Association of jewelers created the current most commonly used list in 1912. It lists faceted stones exclusively, and is said to have been created to make Mother's Rings look better. The Mystical list of stones was created in Tibet in the first millennium and the Traditional birthstone list was created in the sixteenth century.
  8. Pearls dissolve in vinegar. Legend has it that Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in vinegar to impress Marc Anthony with consuming the most expensive meal. This appears to be a matter of debate. The US Department of Energy Newton website for science teachers says that it is theoretically possible for this to happen because of the composition of pearls and the acidic properties of vinegar, but the size of the stone and acidity of the vinegar would affect the time it would take.
  9. Diamonds are indestructible. Diamonds are the 10 on the Mohs scale. Only a diamond can scratch a diamond, but they can be brittle and chip if mistreated.

Kingfisher Designs http://www.wireweavers.com

Louise Coulson along with her husband Don designs and creates jewelry from sterling silver and gold filled wire. Their jewelry shows the wire used almost as if it were a fiber. The fiber arts approach comes from Louise's long background as a weaver and the meticulous craftsmanship is due to Don's background in engineering. The pieces are one-of-a-kind or limited edition.

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