October 11, 2009

crystals and diamonds

We went to Washington, DC. To the Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History. To see the crystals and gems (diamonds!). Absolutely awesome collection! Including chunks from the space - meteorites, meteors (metal looking, shiny, strange surface...) - Very interesting!

In 1990, the world's deepest drill hole penetrated to a depth of 12.3 km (7.6 mi) beneath Russia's Kola Peninsula. More than 99 percent of the distance to Earth's center still lay beneath the drill bit. We don't really know what is down there. We know a little better what comes to us from the space...

pictures above are clickable for a larger view

Two large, pear-shaped diamonds weigh 14.25 and 20.34 carats respectively. They once were supposedly set in earrings that belonged to Marie Antoinette, the queen of France who was guillotined in 1793 during the French Revolution. The diamonds were later acquired by the Grand Duchess Tatiana Yousupoff of Russia. When jeweler Pierre Cartier puchased the diamond earrings in 1928, their authenticity was attested to in an affidavit by Russian Princess Zenaide Yousupoff and her son, Prince Felix Yousupoff, stating that they originally belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette and have never been reset in the one hundred years that they were in the family.

More pictures of the trip