Cursed Gemstones: Legend and History, An Illustrated Live Zoom Lecture by Master Jeweler and Art Historian Karen Bachmann
Precious gemstones have been coveted throughout history not only as means 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. 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—reputably stolen from the forehead of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita and eventually becoming part of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI’s crown jewels—is certainly the most infamous (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. Diamonds are not alone, however, in their reputation as cursed jewels. 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) to 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.
Admission: $8 – This lecture will take place virtually, via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 5 pm EDT the day of the lecture, after which a link to the conference will be emailed to ticketholders. Ticketholders may request a video recording AFTER the lecture takes place by emailing proof of purchase to [email protected].Buy tickets/get more info now