One of the most extraordinary gem collections in the world is at the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian has recently unveiled their new jewelry line inspired by their gem collections produced in an exclusive partnership with QVC, the TV shopping channel. The lovely gemstone pieces are mounted in sterling silver and gold and range from $65- $950.

Blue topaz and diamond ring inspired by the Smithsonian's Blue Heart Diamond

The purpose behind this endeavor? According to Carol LeBlanc, the director of the Smithsonian Enterprises business unit, "We will create jewelry that is not only fashionable, but also serves to educate the public about the Smithsonian and the jewelry, gems and minerals found in its collections''. Imagine, history on the shopping channel! And not the sort taught in schools either!

Two rings, similar design with different gemstones 
(1) Heliodor (yellow beryl) and yellow sapphires
(2) morganite (pink beryl) and pink sapphires

Two special programs will appear on the shopping channel. The inaugural one, Smithsonian Institution: National Gem Gallery will air this Tuesday, September 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. (EDT). The footage will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian as well as rarely seen gems from the Smithsonian vault.

Aquamarine and pearl ring ; Alexandrite and diamonds ring

Turquoise and white topaz ring ; Garnet crown ring inspired by a garnet hairpin

The program planned for December will showcase some of their most famous pieces - Marie Antoinette’s earrings, the Napoleon necklace (given to Napoleon's second wife after he ditched Josephine, see story below) and naturally, the Hope Diamond, their star attraction. The Hope Diamond has had many owners including Louis XV of France and Harry Winston, the flamboyant jeweler who donated the Hope to the Smithsonian and sent it via USP!

Citrine necklace; Rhodonite and onyx cuff

More bejeweled biographies: 
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The Beading Gem's Journal