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Little Gems

Beetle brooch
Beetle brooch

Beetle brooch bugs US customs

The "Little Gems" bulletin board is filled with weird and wonderful snippets about the world of jewellery.
Beetle brooch bugs US customs

US customs officers have confiscated a jewel-encrusted living beetle that was worn as a brooch by a traveller crossing from Mexico to Texas.

The unusual accessory was painted gold, decorated with blue jewels and tethered by a chain attached to a safety pin.

Even though the woman declared the insect, the beetle was confiscated because she had not completed the correct paperwork to bring insects into the country.

“Officers seized the decorative clothing accessory and sent the live beetle to a Plant Inspection Station for further identification.

Because the traveller declared the insect, no monetary civil penalty was issued,” the official account declared.

Live, jewelled beetles were a popular accessory during the Victorian era in England. Today, they are still worn in parts of Mexico

Deceased star’s missing jewels

Files recently released by the American Department of Justice reveal that the late Anna Nicole Smith lost $US2.7 million in jewellery before her death.

The lost pieces included a ring with three diamonds – one of which weighed 8.45-carats – and a platinum necklace with 226 diamonds totalling nearly 74-carats.

The whereabouts of the jewels has never been determined, and it is not known whether the pieces were stolen or given away.

Smith, a former actress and Playboy Playmate, passed away from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2007.

Once in a blue moon

The renowned Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is on display at Washington’s Smithsonian Museum from January 28 to August 1, 2010.

The exhibit forms part of the National Gem Collection, housing over 7,500 individual gemstones that range from less than a half-carat to almost 23,000 carats, according to the Smithsonian Museum website.

“The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is an object of intrigue and legend, certainly one of the great gemstones of the world,” said Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem Collection.

“We are thrilled to present this icon of history and gemmology to the public for the first time since it was displayed at the Brussels World Fair in 1958.”

The deep-blue, 31.06-carat diamond was bought for $US24 million in 2008 – setting the record for the highest price paid for a diamond at auction.

Kissing a supermodel

Model and entrepreneur Cindy Crawford has launched her new fine jewellery line One Kiss, available at JC Penney stores in the US from April this year.

The collection features sterling silver and gold rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings set with diamonds and other gemstones.

“I worked closely with JC Penney’s design team to create a collection that is classic and timeless with pieces that can be worn day to night,” Crawford said.

The collection marks the department store retailer’s first foray into branded jewellery.

Cop crashes into Tiffany’s

An off-duty officer from the New York City Police Department has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and vehicular assault after his car crashed into Tiffany and Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship store.

The intoxicated officer’s car hit a garbage truck and flipped onto the sidewalk in front of the store at 3am on February 13, scratching the granite and marble façade of the famed luxury jeweller.

There were no injuries and damage to the store was negligible, with all traces of the crash removed by the time Tiffany & Co. opened its doors at 10am on Valentine’s Day.

Bijoux on the beach

The latest US Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover features a bikini-clad model wearing an array of stacked and layered jewellery.

Model Brooklyn Decker donned a ring by Isaac Prado, diamond stacking rings from Helen Ficalora, solid gold bangles with diamond bezels by Sara Weinstock, beaded bracelets by Sydney Evan, and necklaces by both Camilla Dietz Bergeron and Lana Jewelry.

The swimsuit issue is Sports Illustrated’s largest issue and remains on newsstands for a full year. According to Lana Jewelry, whose necklace was featured, the placement is akin to "winning the Oscars for a designer."

Breitling flies with Travolta

Actor and certified pilot John Travolta will be the face of watch brand Breitling’s aviation-focused advertising campaign for the sixth year in a row.

The ad features Travolta leaning against the cabin of a plane while wearing the Navitimer chronograph watch, which performs all calculations involved in airborne navigation.

Travolta has more than 5,000 flight hours under his belt since the age of 16 and is certified to fly eight different types of aircraft.

Ruby in the red

A giant ruby initially valued at 11 million pounds sterling ($AUD18.2m) and used to support an insolvent construction firm has been sold for £8,000 ($AUD13,282).

The “Star of Tanzania”, or Wrekin Ruby as it became known, was entered as an asset on doomed UK company Wrekin Construction’s balance sheet in order to allow it to continue trading.

Wrekin collapsed in March 2009 when the Royal Bank of Scotland withdrew banking facilities, and it emerged that the original valuation attached to the 2kg stone was in fact a forgery.

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