Tuesday, September 29, 2009

507-Carat Rough Diamond Found

507-Carat Rough Diamond Found
by Deidre Woollard (RSS feed) Sep 29th 2009 at 10:02PM

It looks like a chunk of clouded ice but the stone shown at right is a 507-carat rough diamond found at the Petra Diamonds Cullinan Mine in South Africa. The 507.55 carat stone is believed to be of exceptional color and clarity, and is most likely a Type II diamond. The rough was found as part of a run that also included a 168-carat piece of rough and two other stones of 58.5 and 53.3 carats. A lucky day indeed, the stone is one of the top 20 largest high-quality rough diamonds ever found making it incredibly rare.

The Cullinan Mine has yielded some of the world's great diamonds including the largest "gem-quality" stone ever recovered, the "Cullinan," 3,106 carats rough, and was the source for the Golden Jubilee, at 755 carats rough, and the Centenary, at 599 carats rough. Cullinan also produced the piece of rough that became the Taylor-Burton diamond, a stone that is 69 carats polished. The diamonds will be analyzed by a team of experts and then the long process of determining how to best cut them can begin.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary Queen Of Scots' Last Letter.

When I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, I visited the Edinburgh Castle and saw Mary Queen Of Scots' bed. Several years later, I read "Mary Queen Of Scots" (1969) by Lady Antonia Fraser and it took me back to the Edinburgh's trip and feeling of absolute awe, of wonder, of humility.

FILE - In this June 2006 file photo, visitors, some with audio guide headsets, learn all about Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.
(AP Photo/Jeannette Goldstein, file)

Here is another story reminding me of the cold summer days in Edinburgh in 1965.

Last letter of Mary Queen of Scots appears briefly
Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:17am ED

By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters Life!) - At 2 a.m. on a frigid February morning in 1587, Mary Queen of Scots sat at her table and penned a last letter before her execution in the great hall of Fotheringhay Castle in the English midlands.

"Tonight, after dinner, I have been advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning," she wrote to her brother-in-law, the king of France.

Fragile with age but in remarkably good condition, the letter by one of the great tragic figures of Scottish history is making a rare appearance until Sept 21 at the National Library of Scotland.

Library spokesman Bruce Blacklaw said the library wanted to promote a new visitors' center and bring to public view treasures tucked away in the library's vaults.

"What we wanted to do is bring people in...There's no better way than to get one of the real iconic treasures from Scottish history out to be seen," he said.

He added Mary's last letter was unlikely to emerge again from its dark air-conditioned safe for "a long time."

In 1603, Mary's son James VI of Scotland acceded to the English throne as James I on the death of Elizabeth I, thus uniting England and Scotland under one monarch.

Mary's remains lie in London's Westminster Abbey, conveyed there by her son. Continued...