Friday, 24 June 2016

The Burgess Shale Formation

The Burgess Shale Formation is located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. It is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils.

At 508 million years (Middle Cambrian) old, it is one of the earliest fossil beds containing soft-part imprints.
Burgess Shale contains the best record we have of Cambrian animal fossils. It reveals creatures originating from the Cambrian explosion, an evolutionary burst of animal origins dating 545 to 525 million years ago.
During this period, life was restricted to the world's oceans. The land was barren, uninhabited, and subject to mudslides which periodically rolled into the seas and buried marine organisms.

At Burgess, sediment was deposited in a deep-water basin adjacent to an enormous algal reef with a vertical escarpment several hundred meters high.

The Burgess Shale fossils have been called the world’s most significant fossil discovery because of their great age, their diversity and the detail of their preservation.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Imperial Crown Jewels of Iran

The Imperial crown jewels of Iran include elaborate crowns and decorative thrones, thirty tiaras, a dozen bejeweled swords and shields, a vast number of unset precious gems, and numerous other objects cast in precious metals and encrusted with gems.
The Imperial crown jewels of Iran are said to be the largest set of displayed jewels in the world in state ownership in one location.

The collection is housed at The Treasury of National Jewels, known as the Jewellery Museum. It is situated inside the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran.
The majority of the items in the collection were acquired by the Safavid dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1502 to 1736 AD. Afghans invaded Iran in 1719 and sacked the capital of Isfahan and took the Iranian crown jewels as plunder.

Nader Shah Afshar successfully drove the Afghans from Iran in 1729. In 1738, the Shah launched his own campaign against the Afghan homeland.
The victorious Nader Shah returned to Iran with what remained of the plundered crown jewels as well as several other precious objects now found in the Iranian Treasury.
These included heavily jewel-encrusted thrones and numerous diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Four of the most prominent acquisitions from this conquest were the Koh-i-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds, the Peacock Throne, and the Samarian Spinel.

When the Iranian revolution toppled the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, it was feared that in the chaos the Iranian crown jewels had been stolen or sold. Although some smaller items were stolen and smuggled across Iran's borders, the bulk of the collection remained intact.

The revolutionary government under the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani re-opened the permanent exhibition of the Iranian crown jewels to the public in the 1990s. They remain on public display.

The Kiani Crown was the traditional coronation crown.

Empress Farah Coronation Crown

The imperial crown of the Pahlavi dynasty. It has 3380 diamonds (1144 carats).

Gem encrusted pitcher

The Imperial Xiran Empress Necklace

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Spider by Faberge

Faberge Spider Brooch? So you were watching Pawn Stars and couldn't believe it when a woman came in with a platinum and diamond encrusted Faberge spider brooch looking for $2,000 and ended up getting a whooping $15k? How much is an authentic Faberge spider brooch going for these days?

A black widow Faberge brooch could very easily be worth $80,000-$150,000 or more at auction, if it were real.
The Faberge company, officially "The House of Faberge", has spoken out about the possible Faberge spider brooch. In an email sent to “Time”, Tatiana Zherebkina, spokeswoman for the company, called the reports of a new Faberge spider brooch “untrue and unfounded,” claiming the eight-legged brooch does “not fit into the luxury jeweler’s creative vision.”

The Faberge company, however, does not have complete records on the company.

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