Cursed Gemstones: Legend and History, an Illustrated lecture with Karen Bachmann
Date: Wednesday, September 2nd
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY
Tickets Here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2111916
Precious gemstones have been coveted throughout history as means not only of personal adornment, but also as status symbols. Some of these rare and beautiful minerals have taken on iconic eminence, perhaps for historic value, or for their singular properties as gems. And some have become notorious for bringing personal disaster to their owners. These gems are considered cursed.
Tonight’s lecture will examine the history and folklore surrounding some of the most infamous of these stones. The Hope diamond which was reputably stolen from the forehead of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita and eventually wound up as part of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI’s crown jewels, is certainly the most ill-famed (today it resides at the Smithsonian). We will examine the tainted paths of not only the Hope, but also the Cullinan I, Black Orlov, Koh-i-Noor, and Great Star of Africa diamonds as well. Diamonds are not alone, however, in reputably being cursed. La Peregrina pearl (worn by both “Bloody Mary’ Tudor and Elizabeth Taylor), the Black Prince’s Ruby, and the Delhi Purple Sapphire all come with cautions.
From vandalized idols to ill-fated royalty (Bourbons to Romanovs) and wealthy socialites, gemstones considered cursed have a certain fascination that goes along with their ill-repute. Join us this evening as we investigate their history.
Karen Bachmann is a professor of jewelry design and art history at both Pratt Institute and Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a master jeweler with over 25 years of experience and has worked at Tiffany &Co., as well as other fine jewelry ateliers. She is the Victorian hairwork scholar in residence at Morbid Anatomy . Her MA thesis Hairy Secrets: Human Relic as Memory Object has been the basis for several lectures at Morbid Anatomy.