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The Three Brethren Jewel

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station description In this podcast we connect the dots from jewelry and gemstones to history, geology,... read more
Gem Connection
Duration: 15:24
The Three Brethren jewel (seen on James VI and I hat) was one of the most important jewels of the Middle Ages. Designed as a men's shoulder clasp, the jewel was named for 3 perfectly matched balas rubies, a term that predates gemology meaning red gemstones. In fact these gemstones were red spinels.
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The Three Brethren jewel (seen on James VI and I hat) was one of the most important jewels of the Middle Ages. Designed as a men's shoulder clasp, the jewel was named for 3 perfectly matched balas rubies, a term that predates gemology meaning red gemstones. In fact these gemstones were red spinels. Ruby and red spinel weren't gemologically differentiated until the 1800's.
The red spinels weighed about 70 carats each. Indeed, The Three Brethren jewel was a spectacle of large gemstones and also included 4 large pearls, and a 30 carat pyramid-cut blue diamond from India known as the Heart of the Three Brethren.
The jewel was owned by dukes, kings, queens, and one of the richest men who ever lived, Jacob Fugger. Then in the 1640’s the jewel disappeared without a trace.
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