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Monday, May 22, 2017

The son of the Turkish Sultan Bajazet (1447-1513) was said to have murdered his father pouring a large quantity of powdered diamond in his father's food. In l532, Pope Clement VII’s doctors dosed him with fourteen spoonfuls of pulverized gems, including diamond, which resulted in death for the patient. In the same century, Catherine de Medici was famous for dealing out death by diamond powder, and Benvenuto Cellini, the famous Italian goldsmith, described an attempt on his life by an enemy who ordered diamond powder to be mixed in his salad.

Diamond powder

Monday motivation

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Early Victorian jewelers fancied gems like topaz, amethyst, citrine and garnets. Diamonds were considered to be matronly while young women often preferred turquoise which was popular throughout the era.

Victorian 19th century turquoise and gold snake necklace. Fully articulated snake with hundreds of bezel set cabochon turquoise beads mounted in 18 karat gold. Finely detailed snake head completely encrusted with turquoise beads crowned with larger cabochon turquoise stone. Cabochon ruby eyes crown the head, which is accented with diamonds around the eyes and the mouth. From the original Fred Leighton

Nature's gems

Golden Selenite

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Under the normal pressures and temperatures we experience on the Earth’s surface, diamonds are actually thermodynamically unstable, slowly transforming into graphite. Yes, you read that correctly, diamonds are indeed turning into graphite, but thankfully for all those diamond owners out there it’s a process that is far too slow for humans to notice.

Diamond graphite phase diagram

Craft day

WHat I knitted while taking a break from blogging...

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Pyrite enjoyed brief popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries as a source of ignition in early firearms.

The 16th century marked the first time a plan such as Balthazar’s had become technologically feasible. Until then, the only firearms were matchlocks – heavy, unwieldy affairs which could neither be concealed from view nor fired without a smoldering fuse, a fuse which burned at the mercy of the elements and which gave off a tell-tale whiff of smoke to any nearby sentient target. [source]

Jewellery masterpieces

Cf. Petit, Marc, Van Cleef & Arpels, Reflections of Eternity, Editions Cercle D'Art, 2006
Sold for US$ 161,000

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Well-crafted obsidian blades, as with any glass knife, can have a cutting edge many times sharper than high-quality steel surgical scalpels, the cutting edge of the blade being only about 3 nanometers thick. Even the sharpest metal knife has a jagged, irregular blade when viewed under a strong enough microscope; when examined even under an electron microscope an obsidian blade is still smooth and even.

Left: Obsidian tip under and electron microscope. Right: Steel point under an electron microscope.

Jewellery photography

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