January 2011 Archives

Chanelling the Orient

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Chanel has announced some new jewelry pieces for their Spring 2011 collection, the Secrets of the Orient.  Like everything they seem to produce, this comes "from the universe of Madmoiselle Chanel", in this case from her collection of Oriental folding screens.  In total 28 pieces in 7 themes represent "the Oriental civilizations of Persia and Russia via Venice and Isfahan"

First we have a pair of Persian pieces, a bracelet and a pair of earrings. Though unmarked on the press release, I believe these pieces are tourmaline (pink and green) as well as emeralds and diamonds set in 18kt yellow gold.


Another matched pair are these Mosaic pieces, a necklace, and an interestinly assymetric pair of earrings. The pieces are white gold, set with rubies, pearls, emeralds and either pink sapphires or tourmalines.


Finally a pair in white gold and diamonds (white and fancy). The broach is named Camélia Dentelle (Camelia lace), and set with a single large pearl, while the necklace is simply named Venetian. I can't help but see the broach as "the worlds most expensive pasty"


( all pictures from Paris Joaillerie )


The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (that's the full name, don't wear it out) is hosting an exhibition of Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry, watches and other objects d'art from February 18 through June 5, 2011. 

Amoung the pieces on display are displays of dazzling technique, such as this gold box in semi-precious and precious stones from 1926(Left) and a Camargo broach, in platinum set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds from 1942 (Right).  For the simply dazzling, it's hard to beat a platinum and gold diadem, set with diamonds for Princess Grace, from 1976 (Below)



My favorite piece from the promotional pictures is this bell-push, set with an enameled gold and silver boat(1908). The body is ebony while the massive wave is carved from a single piece of jasper.

An interesting pair of broaches are also on display. One is recent, from 2004, a Japanese-inspired butterfly (Right). The wings are wood with Maki-e laquer, a Japanese technique for layering lacquer with gold dust, and the body is gold set with diamonds. The other is from 1971, a bird-shaped broach in gold carrying a 95ct briolette-cut fancy yellow diamond and set with sapphires and more diamonds. It was once owned by Ganna Walska


There are plenty more pieces in the exhibit that I may post later on
(Pictures from Paris Joaillerie, except the bird broach from the CH website)

Hagia Sophia

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The Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul, has been under renovation for the last 17 years, since being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.  The main bulk of the renovations, both structural and artistic are now complete, and the newly cleaned interior is once again open to the public.

One interesting discovery during the renovations is that the large calligraphic roundels, added when the church was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest, were too large to fit through the door assembled.  They, therefore, must have been brought in apart, assembled and painted in the church proper.



Ice, old and new

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Since it is the season...

Ruins of Equitable Life Assurance Society building in New York City, Jan 11, 1912, by Irving Underhill.  The building, originally at Broadway & Cedar St. in NYC burned, leaving nothing but the facade, covered in ice from the firetrucks.
(from the Library of Congress)

A more recent shot, this from the summit of Brocken, the highest peak of the Harz range in Germany.  To the left side is the 53M tower, home to the oldest TV transmitter, and the right is a spruce tree that caught windblown snow.
(from Le Figaro)


Two on Herod

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King Herod the Great gets somewhat of a bad rap, not helped by the portrayal of him in the Gospels as a murderous maniac, with a creepy dancing step-daughter.  A recent article by Geza Vermes, perhaps the living authority on the late Second Temple period tries to put some actual history around the name.

Also out recently is the last article by Ehud Netzer, the leader of the excavations at Herodium, on the hunt for the tomb of Herod.

This window, originally in the Schaffhausen mint, gives a good bit of insight into the process of minting coins in 16th C Switzerland.  The related article gives a complete explaination of each pane, which covers minting from making and weighing the planchets through post-strike cleaning and treatments.  The window is currently held by the Berlin Münzkabinetts.


X-Ray the Lightning

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With an enormous camera and artifically triggered lightning, researchers in Florida managed to track the generation of x-rays caused by a lightning bolt.  The article is worth a quick read.
(picture of the generated bolt in the visible spectrum)


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I haven't been able to express myself in snowglobe before:

Buy one today!


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This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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