One doesn’t normally associate beautiful jewelry with the time of the Spanish Inquisition. But in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of gems, there is an exquisite necklace of diamonds and emeralds.
It is a spectacular double row of diamonds and emeralds ending in a chandelier of emeralds. There is unfortunately very little information about the provenance of this necklace. The large diamonds and Columbian emeralds were most likely cut in
Emeralds are a form of crystal known as beryls. Beryls are normally clear crystals, but when infused with chromium or vanadium, they attain various gradations of green. The purest green are the rarest emeralds and many people actually prefer an emerald that has a blue-green tint.
Before the 16th century, the only known emerald deposits were in Cleopatra’s Egyptian mines. But after emeralds were discovered in