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How to find jewelry stories on The Beading Gem's Journal

Yesterday's post on Madame du Barry's Missing Jewelry was popular judging from the comments- one reader (Diana) wanted to know if I could list all the stories I've written say, in a Squidoo website. The good news is I already have. Twice over and in different ways.

My present Squidoo website called Gemstone Place Names not only gives you lists of places worldwide named after gemstones but also groups my past posts by gemstone colour. Making these post hubs was my primary goal when I designed the Squidoo site.

The second way is found on my blog. You can search through the archives or in the tag lists but on the right side bar are my convenient post hubs under categories like biographical, archaelogical, historical, cultural and so forth. Both the Squidoo and my blog's post hubs are not comprehensive so please do check both sites. The historical posts about non-gemstone beads will not be in Squidoo.

Jewelry is very old indeed - the oldest beads found are pierced shells dating back perhaps 80,000 years. Over the centuries four gemstones vied for top spot. Jewels and jewelry have always been sought after as symbols of wealth and power.

The Black Prince's Ruby is a well known tale of a misnamed gemstone acquired by said Prince for his mercenary services. Royal collections include Queen Mary's bygone jewelry piece, the diamond stomacher. Empress Eugenie loved diamonds so much she even had a copy of the Hope diamond made - many of her pieces are now owned by wealth Americans. One Chinese Empress owned more than 3000 jewelry boxes! In the gilded age of the late 19th century, scores of rich American heiresses crossed the Atlantic in search of titled European husbands. Consuela Vanderbilt was one who landed an English Duke and a historic pearl choker.

Many gemstones in the past have been so hard to get, they were extremely costly. The ancient Romans were mad about pearls so much so Julius Caesar, a pearl enthusiast invaded Britain for its once plentiful river pearls. Cleopatra managed pull off the world's most expensive dinner to impress Mark Antony.

In the post hubs, you will find many stories like that of the Irishman with the gift of the gab who actually stole the British Crown Jewels - and lived. Or Robert Dudley, the Elizabethan metrosexual who tried to woo his Queen (Elizabeth I) even though his wife died in rather mysterious circumstances (was she pushed?). Or learn about the Indian Mughal Emperors like Akbar the Great and Shah Jahan who owned truly spectacular jewelry. The gold pendant adorned with a diamond cabochon in this picture was once Jahangir's (son of Akbar). The bird's wing tips are emeralds and the rest are rubies. It is now in the British Museum.

Jewels and jewelry also played a role in discovery and conquest. You can read about the Chinese Emperor who was so obsessed with jade he went to great lengths to secure the source of the then newly discovered imperial jade. The Spanish were after gold and precious gemstones in the New World. Some of the most spectacular archaeological finds have been found in Spanish shipwrecks. Throughout history, in times of war, people used to bury their jewelry and gold coins hoping to recover them later but never did - the Hoxne Hoard is one example. Beads too featured prominently in the European exploration of Africa - the story is about Richard Francis Burton and African trade beads.

But the stories I write are not always about the high and mighty. Gold chain links were once used like currency when travelling before credit cards came along. Surely some of the world's dirtiest jobs in history were pearl diving and fishing for amber? And yet, it is astonishing to learn women pearl divers (the Ama) in Japan have been diving successfully for 2000 years.

Some contemporary articles to bring us jewelry artisans up to date include the plight of the long-necked women of the Padaung tribe, Burma's Blood Rubies, and where our freshwater pearls come from. If you simply wish to travel the jewelry world from your computer, then check out the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Turkish Evil Eye beads.

There is so much more to jewelry and its history than we think. So this blog will continue to explore all aspects of jewelry making, jewels and beads and the fascinating people from the past who shared our love for beautiful gemstones and gorgeous adornment.

Picture source
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The Beading Gem's Journal

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