6 Fantastic Gems with a Violent Past

They are some of the world’s finest gemstones but with a sordid and often gruesome history. Tales of violent death and destruction have a way of following these legendary gemstones. Their size and lustre seemingly dwarfed by pools of blood and bad luck that seem to follow all those who came to own them.

Here’s a closer look at six of these priceless gems that have gained notoriety throughout history and the cursed legends that surround them.

Hope Diamond

The first owner of this brilliant 45.52-carat blue diamond of Indian origin, French merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was said to have met an untimely end after being ripped apart by wild dogs. The gem was then bought by the French monarchy wherein it gained its moniker – The French Blue, only to be looted during the French revolution in September 1792.

Renamed the Hope diamond by London collector and banker Henry Phillip Hope, the tragedies linked to this fabulous gem only grew stronger. The stone is supposed to have heaped personal ruin and bankruptcy on Washington DC heiress Evelyn McLean who bought the gem from Pierre Cartier.

McLean is said to have died alone and penniless following the death of her daughter from a drug overdose. Her entire jewellery collection was then sold to Harry Winston to pay off her debts who in turn donated it to the Smithsonian Institute.

The Hope Diamond, is valued at a staggering USD 200-250mn today and is one of the most popular exhibits at the Smithsonian drawing crowds of approx 7mn visitors around the year.

Delhi Purple Sapphire

To begin with, it’s not a sapphire but an amethyst set on a ring which was donated with an accompanying letter to London’s Natural History Museum in 1944 by the daughter of writer and Persian scholar Edwards Heron-Allen.

The letter claims the gem was ‘looted’ from a Hindu temple in India and bought to the UK by a British colonel only to begin a series of unfortunate events that culminated in his death.

The gem then passed onto to his son and later to Heron-Allen who quickly gave it to his friends. They in turn faced the brunt of the gem’s bad luck, plagued by a series of suicides, unexplained disasters and failed careers.

Scared out of his wits, Heron-Allen imprisoned the stone inside seven boxes and deposited it in his bank with the instructions that it should not be opened for 33 years post his death. His daughter however waited for barely 12 months before doing just that and donated it to the museum with a note that advised throwing the gem into the sea.

The museum chose instead to showcase the gem as part of its Vault Collections – and so far none of the visitors have reported suffering from any untoward incidents.

Star of India

This 563.35-carat stone is famed as the world’s largest known gem-quality blue star sapphire found in Sri Lanka about three centuries ago. This greyish-blue, golf ball sized gem made headlines on October 29, 1964, when it was part of a USD 410,000 jewel heist at the American Museum of Natural History at New York.

Curiously enough, the museum’s alarms were found to be not working (the batteries had been dead for months), hall windows unlocked (apparently for ventilation purposes) and there was no security guard on duty.  What’s more the gems had not been insured either to save on expensive premiums.

Fortunately for the authorities concerned, the gems were soon recovered from a locker at a local bus terminal. But stories of a jinx associated with the gem have continued to gain currency since then.

Black Prince’s Ruby     

It’s the king-sized, deep-red stone set at the center of England’s royal crown. Often mistaken for a giant ruby, this 170-carat gem is infact one of the world’s largest uncut spinel with a history of disease, battles and death attached to it.

It was said to have been discovered near the corpse of the Sultan of Granada by soldiers of Pedro the Cruel – the man who had murdered him. Soon after it was Pedro’s turn to be attacked and he appealed to a knight – Edward the Black Prince – for help.

Upon their victory the gem was gifted to Edward as a token of gratitude by Pedro. Unfortunately he did not live long enough to treasure it – falling prey to a mysterious disease barely a decade later. More deaths have since followed in its footsteps.

The ruby was said to have been worn by Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 – which nearly cost him his life. It was found on the corpse of Richard III after he was slain during the Battle of Bosworth.

Sancy Diamond

Mined in India’s famed Golconda mines, this pale yellow 55.23-carat shield-shaped stone is said to be a harbinger of a violent death for its owners – atleast those who have acquired it using unfair means. Making its way to Europe in the 14th century, this diamond has been a part of several French and English crowns.

Curiously enough many of the kings who possessed it like – Burgundy’s Charles the Bold, England’s Charles I, and France’s Louis XVI – suffered rather sudden, violent deaths not long after.

One story goes that the gem was recovered from the stomach of a courier who had swallowed it for safekeeping after he was attacked and killed by thieves. The stone was also said to have been stolen during the French revolution.  It’s now on display at the Louvre in Paris.

Black Orlov

This 67.50 carat black diamond was said to have been stolen by a priest from a Hindu temple dedicated to Brahma, the creator. And so began its cursed voyage. Its many victims include two Russian princesses who inexplicably leapt off a building soon after acquiring the gem.

JW Paris, a diamond dealer credited with having brought the gem to the US, is also said to have jumped off the tallest building in New York soon after.

The stone is now the star of a 108-diamond brooch, suspended from a spectacular 124-diamond necklace that has since been owned by a string of wealthy, private individuals and has also made an appearance at the Oscars.

6 Fantastic Gems with a Violent Past

Top 10 Global Jewellery Brands to Die For

They are the undisputable crème de la crème of the jewellery world. Exclusive brands that are coveted by the world but affordable only by a select few. What sets these brands apart is not just their use of the finest quality gems, precious metals or the outstanding workmanship – but also the fact that every creation has its own distinct personality, which makes it one of a kind.

Here’s the list of the world’s top uber-luxurious jewellery brands that rule the roost when it comes to some of the most beautiful, super-expensive and sought-after branded jewellery in the world.

Harry Winston

From being the owners of some of the world’s most precious gemstones including the Jonker, The Blue Heart, The Vargas diamond, Hope and Winston Legacy diamonds, to adorning some of the most famous people in the world – from Hollywood A-listers, to heads of state and royalty for over eight decades, this New York-based jeweller’s name is synonymous with the best of the best.  A tradition that continues till date across its many retail salons spread around the world.


A brand that needs no introduction, Cartier was founded by the French brothers – Louis-Francois and Jaccques Cartier. Interestingly, the early Cartier collections offer a unique East-West fusion inspired mainly by figurative Indian motifs and designs, courtesy Jaccques Cartier’s visit to India in 1911. Often referred to as “the Jeweller to Kings”, Cartier has designed for several royal families including the Maharaja of Patiala and the Duchess of Windsor.


Founded by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, this Swiss luxury brand is admired as much for the elegance of its jewellery as for the beauty and precision of its famous timepieces. Success requires a fine balance between a determination to promote company growth and the ability to take calculated risks. Each model, each variation or each one-of-a-kind Chopard creation has its own story.


Named after its founder Mikimoto Kokichi, this Japanese luxury brand came into existence in 1893 after its owner successfully created the world’s first cultured pearl. The brand is known for the use of rare Titian, white and South Sea pearls in most of their classic and elegant creations that have now become a symbol for Japanese culture globally.


Founded by Sotirio Bulgari in 1884, this Italian luxury jewellery brand is among the most expensive in the world.  Featuring a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary designs, Bvlgari is known for the understated wearability of rare, precious gemstones – sapphires in particular and the use of transparent and opaque gems of every kind.


Starting of as a luxury timepiece brand in 1874, Piaget later ventured into making luxury jewellery pieces that made owner Georges Piaget famous across the globe.  In 2008, The Luxury Institute jewellery brand study ranked Piaget as the 6th most prestigious jewellery brand. Today their elegant and intricate jewellery and timepieces enjoy huge success with an elite global clientele.


A name synonymous with high-end diamond jewellery and timepieces, Graff Diamonds was founded in 1960 in London, by Lawrence Graff. The brand is known for getting deeply involved in every stage of the jewellery making process – from sourcing each rough stone to the final setting of every polished jewel. Graff is also famous for its exclusive and elegant jewellery creations designed by top designers.

Tiffany & Co.

Already a popular American brand, it got even more famous after the 1961 Hollywood blockbuster – Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn.  It’s known for the high quality of its jewellery creations that cater to men, women and even children. Tiffany & Co also has a very successful line of jewellery accessories that include motifs, brooches, pendants and earrings among others.


This Italian luxury jewellery maker has impeccable taste when it comes to designing high-end jewellery with a Roman twist. In 2015, Buccellati opened its flagship store in New York in Madison Avenue and also launched its special Art Collection showcasing five one-of-a-kind pieces inspired by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artworks. The brand is famous for its distinctive yet subtle style that invokes the glamour of the past with the contemporary feel of today.

Van Cleef & Arpels

The first Van Cleef & Arpels boutique opened at Paris’s 22 Place Vendôme in 1906 and remains at that address till date. For over a century this jewellery brand has been combining unparalleled craftsmanship, technical prowess and innovation in all its creations.  The brand is coveted for the flawless setting of coloured stones including aquamarine, carnelian, malachite and emeralds across its high-end jewellery and bridal collections.

Top 10 Global Jewellery Brands to Die For


Garnet: The gem of good fortune

It’s the beginning of yet another New Year. And we at GemAtlas thought it apt to begin a new series on another fascinating aspect of gemstones – their astrological significance and benefits for people born during that particular month.

We begin this journey by telling you about the various aspects associated with GARNETS – the birthstone for people born in the month of January. We do hope you find the information helpful in improving all aspects of your life.

PEOPLE BORN IN JANUARY: Ruled by Saturn in the sign of Capricorn, they are among the most practical and ambitious people around. Bestowed with abundant organisational skills and self-confidence, they make for great leaders in all walks of life.

Patience, perseverance and self-motivation are the strengths of individuals born in this month. On the flip side, they can be moody and sensitive and have issues sharing their innermost thoughts with people around them.

ABOUT GARNETS:  The name is derived from the Latin word – Garanatus – which means seed like. Garnets refer to a group of silicate minerals (almandine, pyrope, spessartine, grossular, andradite, mozambique and uvarovite).

Best known for the deep red variety, garnets are in fact found in a variety of colours – from red to orange, yellow, brown, pink, violet, green and even in black. A green garnet of over five carats is said to be rarer than an emerald of the same size.

WHAT THEY SIGNIFY:  Garnets are said to possess strong healing and protective energies and also signify eternal friendship and trust. They are also said to dissipate all feelings of negativity and depression from the mind.

For those in business, garnets are said to attract people to the wearer and enhance their positivity. They also strengthen a person’s survival instincts in times of crisis, protect him/her from negative influences and are ideal for frequent travellers. It is also recommended to keep a few of these gemstones in one’s cash box – to increase prosperity and bring good luck.

FAMOUS PERSONALITIES BORN IN JANUARY: Actors Hrithik Roshan (Jan 10), Deepika Padukone (Jan 5), AR Rehman (Jan 06), Elvis Presley (Jan 8), Swami Vivekananda (Jan 12), Al Capone (Jan 17), novelist A A Milne (Jan 18) and media baron Subhash Chandra Bose (Jan 23) among others.

(Disclaimer: The information provided here is purely for entertainment and reference purposes only.)


5 Must-visit Traditional Markets for Gems & Jewellery

At a time when online shopping and air-conditioned shopping malls have become the norm for the new generation of jewellery buyers, several traditional markets for gems and jewellery are fighting hard to stay relevant.

Here’s a look at five famous G&J markets pan-India, which are known for combining the best of India’s age-old jewellery-making traditions with a slew of contemporary options.

Johari Bazaar (Jaipur)

Located in close proximity to one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions – Hawa Mahal – this ancient market specialises in all kinds of traditional jewellery. From Thewa to Polki, Kundan to Meenakari, Johari Bazaar is crowded with hundreds of shops that sell all this and more. And if jewellery is not the only item on your shopping list, you can also shop for artefacts, sarees and handlooms here.

Mahidharpura Diamond Market (Surat)

It’s probably the only place in the city where you will find people rushing about carrying small bags – filled with diamonds – as if they were ferrying groceries. Welcome to Mahidharpura diamond market, one of the city’s main hubs for checking, cutting and polishing diamonds from all over the world. Not surprisingly, it’s also a meeting point for buyers and sellers who converge here and transact deals often worth a king’s ransom.

Laad Bazaar (Hyderabad – Telangana)

Located near the iconic Charminar, this beautiful old market is known for its large variety of intricately-designed bangles encrusted with coloured stones. Laad actually means lacquer which is used to make bangles. It also houses many shops that sell jewellery adorned with semi-precious stones and the famous Hyderabadi pearls. Useful Tip: It’s a great place to test your bargaining skills since prices can get unrealistically high here.

Zaveri Bazaar (Mumbai)     

As the name suggests, this bazaar is a jewellery souk that hosts a slew of small-to-big jewellery shops selling everything from gold, silver, precious stones, platinum jewellery and more. Situated just north of the sprawling Crawford market, the myriad lanes and roads of this bazaar also host some of the biggest jewellery retailers (TBZ, Tanishq) and is said to be the venue for over 60% of bullion deals in the city.

Manek Chowk – Ahmedabad

This market has a distinct dual personality. During the day, it functions as one of the city’s noisiest and most popular markets for a host of items including – spices, fruits, fabrics and jewellery. The central plaza of this market which is located in the city’s oldest district – The Pols – includes an array of gold and silver merchants with a huge of selection of jewellery on offer. No wonder it’s the preferred destination for pre-wedding shopping. Come night however, the whole area gets converted into a huge food court packed with fast-food stalls and hungry Ahmedabadis.

5 Must-visit Traditional Markets for Gems & Jewellery

Men’s Jewellery – What Women Like

People always think that jewelry is something that is designed for women and worn by women. This opinion is changing slowly with the times. These days, we can see more and more men wearing jewelry pieces apart from a wedding band or engagement ring. The good news is men’s jewelry is in vogue. Men’s jewelry should be as simple as possible unlike heavy women’s jewelry. Buying jewellery is one of the most difficult things for men. We often see that women guide their husband or significant other in selecting the right kind of jewelry. And they advise men on what kind of jewelry is suitable for them to wear and how to wear it.

Tips for wearing men’s jewelry:

The key to accessorizing is keeping things simple. Experimenting with jewelry is good but it is advised not to experiment before knowing what suits you. Bracelets, chain, necklace, rings are some of the accessories for men. Ideally, not too many different pieces should be worn together.

Men’s Bracelets: Metal rope chains tend to lose its glamour when scaled up. Heavy metal bracelets or clunky bangles can be worn as a statement piece but make sure you are not going overboard.  Leather bracelets, link bracelets, cuff bracelets and rope bracelets can be worn as they are in vogue.

Men’s Rings: Men should not go for the sparking diamond and attractive sapphire, as these stones are mostly worn by women. Rings can be mixed and match to suit the get-ups. Men can opt for metals such as oxidized silver, zinc and brushed brass. Gold, rose gold and silver that are engraved or have plaited inserts as this will not like a wedding band.

One thing that women love is promise bands. These are matching rings worn by one’s lady love and her man. They are similar to wedding bands, but usually incorporate some slight design. Platinum Guild made these quite popular their “platinum day of love” campaign.

Men’s Chains / Necklaces: Chains and necklace for men are slightly thicker than for the women. Larger links and thick bands will look appropriate on men with a thick neck. A beaded necklace is another good option. Most jewelry designers would agree that men’s jewelry is meant to compliment and not to overwhelm. Wearing a pendant-style necklace is popular and common among men.

Gent’s Watches: Watches are something that can be worn all the time and accepted in all circumstances. Metal watches go well with suits and sports jacket while plastic watches and cloth bands are for casual wear.

Apart from above, other common men’s accessories are cufflinks and tie clips.

Women like men with jewelry but it should be simple and clean. Pierced ears and belly-buttons are not corporate friendly and are not liked too much by women either.

Men’s Jewellery – What Women Like

Keeping Updated About Hand-made Jewellery Making Through Reading

Whether the intent is to start up a new business or enhancing one’s present business, knowledge and skills about any kind of jewellery making can be gained through books on jewellery making or by reading blogs. You can get new ideas about jewellery making with different kind of materials, technologies, trends, etc. Reading popular books can improve your skills and you may also gain access to information required to enhance your skills and overall business.

While traditional jewellery making is considered to be the purest form of the art, it cannot cater to all types of demand. Additionally, not all designs can be made using traditional skills.

Here are some popular books which can be read to enhance your knowledge and skill in different types of hand-made jewellery making:

  • ‘Bead on a Wire: Making Handcrafted Wire and Beaded Jewellery’

    By Sharilyn Miller

  • ‘Basic Jewellery Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started’

    By Sandy Allison

  • ‘Jewllery Making’: Make Your Passions into Profits

   By Janice love

  • ‘Jewellery Making (Crush it in the Jewellery Making Business)’

   By Susie Quinn

  • ‘Making Metal Jewellery: Projects, Techniques, Inspiration’

   By Joanna Goldberg

  • ‘Making Metal Jewellery: projects, techniques, inspiration’

   By Joanna Goldberg

  • Teach Yourself Visually: Jewellery Making and Beading’

   By Chris Franchetti Michaels

  • ‘Stamped Metal Jewellery: Techniques and Designs for Making Custom Jewellery’

  By Lisa Niven Kelly

  • ‘Fabulous Jewellery from Found Objects: Creative Projects, Simple Techniques’

  By Marthe Le Van

  • ‘Sherri Haab Jewellery Inspirations: Techniques and Designs from the Artist’s Studio’

  By Sherri Haab

  • ‘Create Jewellery: Glass (Create Jewellery series)’

  By Marlene Blessing

Although there are not too many blogs dedicated solely to the art of jewellery making, there are a many blogs one can follow to enhance ones knowledge of trends and techniques.

Some jewellery blogs that are useful to follow to understand trends and concepts include:

Apart from reading books and blogs, if you are beginner, you can enhance your jewellery making skills by buying a bead jewellery kit and you can learn simple beading techniques and jewellery making. You can buy one online or from any craft store or from jewellery designers.

Take a Jewellery Making Course: You could sign up for jewellery making courses where you can learn about different styles and designs. Jewellery making courses are offered by many colleges and universities under their arts program. You can attend classes and enrol in an informal course as well.

You can perfect your skills of jewellery making by implementing different creative ideas and with a lot of practice. Most successful jewellery designers and creators became perfect by practicing.

Keeping Updated About Hand-made Jewellery Making Through Reading

Jewellery Collection as a Hobby

Most of us have some or the other hobby depending on our individual nature, interests and habits. Some people have hobbies like singing, writing, cooking, exercising and others have hobbies that entail collecting items. It could be anything from coin collection to stamps, toys or Jewellery.

Jewellery Collection is a fascinating hobby. The pieces are generally very attractive and can be used. Jewellery collection as a hobby enhances one’s knowledge about different jewels, especially if one is collecting real diamonds or precious or semi-precious stones, etc. One can collect different coloured diamonds and unique shapes. To many, and especially to collectors – coloured diamonds are more attractive and appealing than colourless ones. In fact, a collection of different coloured stones and diamonds should also include rare stones, although this is a very costly hobby.

A Red diamond is considered to be the rarest of diamonds and that is why it is expensive too. Common shapes of colourless diamond are round whereas fancy coloured diamonds are mostly cut to get fancy shapes like oval, emerald, radiant, etc.

There are some unusual and rare shapes of diamond which can make it a unique piece for the collector and can be considered to be a treasure to be cherished. Also, colours like blue, purple and pink which are rarely found can be collected making the collection rare and beautiful. Other precious stones apart from diamond are sapphire, ruby and emerald. These can make good collection when combined with each other.

Semi-precious stones are considered to be less expensive than precious stones but this is not necessary as some semi-precious stones can even be more expensive. Semi-precious stones are also used along with precious stones for making beautiful and stunning jewellery. Some semi-precious stones are also believed to have mystical powers such as healing properties and are believed to be able to change luck and create positive and negative impacts to the wearer.

Some of the semi-precious stones that should be in a collection of jewellery lovers are garnet, jade, lapis lazuli, opal, quartz, topaz and pearl. Apart from adding tonnes of oomph to the collection, these semi-precious stones add dynamism and beauty to the jewellery collection rather than just collecting metal jewellery like gold, platinum and silver. Collecting vintage jewellery which contains these precious and semiprecious stones can make your collections even more valuable.

Collecting jewellery is an expensive but passionate hobby, especially if you are collecting real diamonds and semi-precious stones.

This hobby of collecting jewellery can also help you to enhance your knowledge about different jewellery and types of stones and materials that are used.

Jewellery Collection as a Hobby