Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia near south-east India. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest, Sri Lankas documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lankas recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively ended when the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, in addition to the majority Sinhalese, it is home to large groups of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system.
The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the capital and largest city. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of the two countries in South Asia that are rated among high human development on the Human Development Index. In antiquity, Sri Lanka was known to travellers by a variety of names, according to the Mahavamsa, the legendary Prince Vijaya named the land Tambapanni, because his followers hands were reddened by the red soil of the area. In Hindu mythology, such as the Mahabharata, the island was referred to as Lankā, in Tamil, the island is referred to as Eelam. Ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobanā or Taprobanē from the word Tambapanni, as a British crown colony, the island was known as Ceylon, it achieved independence as the Dominion of Ceylon in 1948. The country is known in Sinhalese as Śrī Laṃkā and in Tamil as Ilaṅkai, in 1972, its formal name was changed to Free and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka. Later in 1978 it was changed to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as the name Ceylon still appears in the names of a number of organisations, the Sri Lankan government announced in 2011 a plan to rename all those over which it has authority.
The pre-history of Sri Lanka goes back 125,000 years, the era spans the Palaeolithic and early Iron Ages. Among the Paleolithic human settlements discovered in Sri Lanka, Pahiyangala and it is said that Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful emperor who built a mythical flying machine named Dandu Monara. The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravanas airport, early inhabitants of Sri Lanka were probably ancestors of the Vedda people, an indigenous people numbering approximately 2,500 living in modern-day Sri Lanka. According to the Mahāvamsa, a written in Pāḷi, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the Yakshas and Nagas. Ancient cemeteries that were used before 600BC and other signs of advanced civilization has discovered in Sri Lanka
Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace
The Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace has 36 matched sapphires from Sri Lanka which total 195 carats. These sapphires are surrounded by 435 brilliant-cut diamonds that total 83.75 carats, the sapphires are cushion-cut, some of the diamonds are pear-shaped and the others are round cut. It was designed by Harry Winston, Inc and it is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D. C. alongside the Bismarck Sapphire Necklace and the Logan sapphire. It was donated to the Smithsonian by Mrs. Evelyn Annenberg Hall in 1979 and she was the sister of Walter Annenberg, publisher and philanthropist
Sapphire is a gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide. It is typically blue in color, but natural fancy sapphires occur in yellow, orange, the only color which sapphire cannot be is red - as red colored corundum is called ruby, another corundum variety. This variety in color is due to amounts of elements such as iron, chromium, copper. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewelry and they may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 45th anniversary, a sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years. Sapphire is one of the two gem-varieties of corundum, the other being ruby, although blue is the best-known sapphire color, they occur in other colors, including gray and black, and they can be colorless. A a pinkish orange variety of sapphire is called padparadscha, significant sapphire deposits are found in Eastern Australia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, East Africa, and in North America in a few locations, mostly in Montana.
Sapphire and rubies are often found in the geological setting. Every sapphire mine produces a range of quality - and origin is not a guarantee of quality. For sapphire, Kashmir receives the highest premium although Burma, Sri Lanka, the cost of natural sapphires varies depending on their color, size and overall quality. For gems of exceptional quality, an independent determination from a respected laboratory such as the GIA, gemstone color can be described in terms of hue and tone. Hue is commonly understood as the color of the gemstone, saturation refers to the vividness or brightness of the hue, and tone is the lightness to darkness of the hue. Blue sapphire exists in various mixtures of its primary and secondary hues, various tonal levels, blue sapphires are evaluated based upon the purity of their primary hue. Purple and green are the most common secondary hues found in blue sapphires and purple can contribute to the overall beauty of the color, while green is considered to be distinctly negative.
Blue sapphires with up to 15% violet or purple are generally said to be of fine quality, gray is the normal saturation modifier or mask found in blue sapphires. Gray reduces the saturation or brightness of the hue, and therefore has a negative effect. The 423-carat Logan sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, sapphires in colors other than blue are called fancy or parti colored sapphires. Fancy sapphires are found in yellow, green sapphires, purple
Washington, D. C. formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D. C. is the capital of the United States. The signing of the Residence Act on July 16,1790, Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land ceded by Virginia, in 1871. Washington had an population of 681,170 as of July 2016. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is a part, has a population of over 6 million, the centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress and Supreme Court.
Washington is home to national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups. A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973, the Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. D. C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, the District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961. Various tribes of the Algonquian-speaking Piscataway people inhabited the lands around the Potomac River when Europeans first visited the area in the early 17th century, One group known as the Nacotchtank maintained settlements around the Anacostia River within the present-day District of Columbia.
Conflicts with European colonists and neighboring tribes forced the relocation of the Piscataway people, some of whom established a new settlement in 1699 near Point of Rocks, Maryland. 43, published January 23,1788, James Madison argued that the new government would need authority over a national capital to provide for its own maintenance. Five years earlier, a band of unpaid soldiers besieged Congress while its members were meeting in Philadelphia, known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, the event emphasized the need for the national government not to rely on any state for its own security. However, the Constitution does not specify a location for the capital, on July 9,1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River. The exact location was to be selected by President George Washington, formed from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the initial shape of the federal district was a square measuring 10 miles on each side, totaling 100 square miles.
Two pre-existing settlements were included in the territory, the port of Georgetown, founded in 1751, many of the stones are still standing
The Smithsonian Institution, established in 1846 for the increase and diffusion of knowledge, is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. Originally organized as the United States National Museum, that ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967. Additional facilities are located in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York City, Virginia, more than 200 institutions and museums in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and Panama are Smithsonian Affiliates. The Institutions thirty million annual visitors are admitted without charge and its annual budget is around $1.2 billion with 2/3 coming from annual federal appropriations. Other funding comes from the Institutions endowment and corporate contributions, membership dues, and earned retail, Institution publications include Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines. The British scientist James Smithson left most of his wealth to his nephew Henry James Hungerford, Congress officially accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation, and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust on July 1,1836.
The American diplomat Richard Rush was dispatched to England by President Andrew Jackson to collect the bequest, Rush returned in August 1838 with 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns. Once the money was in hand, eight years of Congressional haggling ensued over how to interpret Smithsons rather vague mandate for the increase, the money was invested by the US Treasury in bonds issued by the state of Arkansas which soon defaulted. The United States Exploring Expedition by the U. S. Navy circumnavigated the globe between 1838 and 1842, in 1846, the regents developed a plan for weather observation, in 1847, money was appropriated for meteorological research. The Institution became a magnet for young scientists from 1857 to 1866, the Smithsonian played a critical role as the U. S. partner institution in early bilateral scientific exchanges with the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. The Smithsonian Institution Building began construction in 1849, designed by architect James Renwick Jr. its interiors were completed by general contract Gilbert Cameron and the building opened in 1855.
The Smithsonians first expansion came with construction of the Arts and Industries Building in 1881, Congress had promised to build a new structure for the museum if the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition generated enough income. It did, and the building was designed by architects Adolf Cluss and Paul Schulze, meigs of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The National Zoological Park opened in 1889 to accommodate the Smithsonians Department of Living Animals and this structure was designed by the D. C. architectural firm of Hornblower & Marshall. More than 40 years would pass before the museum, the Museum of History. It was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White. That same year, the Smithsonian signed an agreement to take over the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum opened in the Old Patent Office Building on October 7,1968. The first new building to open since the National Museum of Natural History was the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D. C. Opened in 1910, the museum on the National Mall was one of the first Smithsonian buildings constructed exclusively to hold the national collections and research facilities. The main building has an area of 1,500,000 square feet with 325,000 square feet of exhibition and public space. The museums collections contain over 126 million specimens of plants, fossils, rocks, human remains, the United States National Museum was founded in 1846 as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum was housed in the Smithsonian Institution Building, which is better known today as the Smithsonian Castle. A formal exhibit hall opened in 1858, the growing collection led to the construction of a new building, the National Museum Building. Covering a then-enormous 2.25 acres, it was built in just 15 months at a cost of $310,000, congress authorized construction of a new building on June 28,1902.
The regents began considering sites for the new building in March, the D. C. architectural firm of Hornblower & Marshall was chosen to design the structure. Testing of the soil for the foundations was set for July 1903, the Natural History Building opened its doors to the public on March 17,1910, in order to provide the Smithsonian Institution with more space for collections and research. The building was not fully completed until June 1911, the structure cost $3.5 million dollars. The Neoclassical style building was the first structure constructed on the side of the National Mall as part of the 1901 McMillan Commission plan. In addition to the Smithsonians natural history collection, it housed the American history, art. Between 1981 and 2003, the National Museum of Natural History had 11 permanent, there were six directors alone between 1990 and 2002. Turnover was high as the directors were disenchanted by low levels of funding. Robert W. Fri was named the director in 1996. One of the largest donations in Smithsonian history was made during Fris tenure, kenneth E.
Behring donated $20 million in 1997 to modernize the museum. Fri resigned in 2001 after disagreeing with Smithsonian leadership over the reorganization of the scientific research programs. J. Dennis OConnor, Provost of the Smithsonian Institution was named acting director of the museum on July 25,2001, eight months later, OConner resigned to become the vice president of research and dean of the graduate school at the University of Maryland
Diamond is a metastable allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at standard conditions. Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the covalent bonding between its atoms. In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material and those properties determine the major industrial application of diamond in cutting and polishing tools and the scientific applications in diamond knives and diamond anvil cells. Because of its extremely rigid lattice, it can be contaminated by very few types of impurities, such as boron, small amounts of defects or impurities color diamond blue, brown, purple, orange or red. Diamond has relatively high optical dispersion, most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometers in the Earths mantle.
Carbon-containing minerals provide the source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years. Diamonds are brought close to the Earths surface through deep volcanic eruptions by magma, Diamonds can be produced synthetically in a HPHT method which approximately simulates the conditions in the Earths mantle. An alternative, and completely different growth technique is chemical vapor deposition, several non-diamond materials, which include cubic zirconia and silicon carbide and are often called diamond simulants, resemble diamond in appearance and many properties. Special gemological techniques have developed to distinguish natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds. The word is from the ancient Greek ἀδάμας – adámas unbreakable, the name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek αδάμας, unalterable, untamed, from ἀ-, un- + δαμάω, I overpower, I tame. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years, Diamonds have been treasured as gemstones since their use as religious icons in ancient India.
Their usage in engraving tools dates to early human history, in 1797, the English chemist Smithson Tennant repeated and expanded that experiment. By demonstrating that burning diamond and graphite releases the same amount of gas, the most familiar uses of diamonds today are as gemstones used for adornment, a use which dates back into antiquity, and as industrial abrasives for cutting hard materials. The dispersion of light into spectral colors is the primary gemological characteristic of gem diamonds. In the 20th century, experts in gemology developed methods of grading diamonds, four characteristics, known informally as the four Cs, are now commonly used as the basic descriptors of diamonds, these are carat, cut and clarity. A large, flawless diamond is known as a paragon and these conditions are met in two places on Earth, in the lithospheric mantle below relatively stable continental plates, and at the site of a meteorite strike. The conditions for diamond formation to happen in the mantle occur at considerable depth corresponding to the requirements of temperature and pressure
Star of Artaban
The Star of Artaban is a 287–carat cabochon-cut star sapphire currently located at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Its origin is obscure but it is believed to come from Sri Lanka. Unlike some other sapphires, it is not transparent and is of a blue colour. It was donated by an member of the Georgia Mineral Society in the 1941–1943 time period. The name of the gem is based on the tale of The Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke, the storys hero, was a wise man from Persia who set out to join the Biblical Magi in their journey to see the newborn Jesus. He purchased three great gems, one of which was a sapphire, to present as a gift to the newborn king and he never achieved his goal, and gave his gems to the needy instead. Star of Asia Star of Bombay Star of India
Star of Bombay
The Star of Bombay is a 182-carat cabochon-cut star sapphire originating from Sri Lanka. The violet-blue gem was given to silent film actress Mary Pickford by her husband and she bequeathed it to the Smithsonian Institution. It is the namesake of the alcoholic beverage Bombay Sapphire. The Star of Bombay is a 182 carat cabochon-cut star sapphire, according to Southern Jewelry News, The Star of Bombay sapphire belongs to the mineral species corundum. Pure corundum is colorless, but trace amounts of elements like vanadium or chromium result in different colors in the crystal. The Star of Bombay’s violet-blue color is caused by the presence of titanium and iron giving the blue tint, the Star of Bombay originates from Sri Lanka and is one of the largest star sapphires which have names unrelated to their origin, the other being the Star of India. It is the namesake of the alcoholic beverage Bombay Sapphire. The gem was first acquired by Trabert & Hoeffer Inc. of Park Avenue in New York City and was set in a platinum ring.
It is believed that the ring was purchased by Douglas Fairbanks, a silent film movie star. A1935 advertisement for the Star of Bombay had it listed at 60 carats and did not include information on its origins, in 1979, Mary Pickford died and bequeathed the Star of Bombay, to the Smithsonian Museum. Edward Stotsenberg of the Mary Pickford Foundation called the Smithsonian and a representative was sent out to examine the stone. According to Stotsenberg, the stated that the Star of Bombay was much brighter than other stones and pried it from the clasps. The gem is currently displayed in the Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History, in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Star of India Star of Artaban Star of Asia
Star of India (gem)
The Star of India is a 563. 35-carat star sapphire, one of the largest such gems in the world. It is almost flawless and is unusual in that it has stars on both sides of the stone, the greyish blue gem was mined in Sri Lanka and is housed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The milky quality of the stone is caused by the traces of the mineral rutile, the tiny fibers of the mineral, aligned in a three-fold pattern within the gem, reflect incoming light into the star pattern. After the Exposition, Morgan donated the Star of India along with the rest of the collection to the American Museum of Natural History, apart from its Sri Lankan origin, the gems history prior to its acquisition for this collection is unknown. Kunz wrote in 1913 that the Star of India has a more or less indefinite historic record of three centuries. On October 29,1964, the famous golf-ball-sized stone was stolen, along several other gems of note, including the Midnight Star, the DeLong Star Ruby. The stones stolen were valued at more than $400,000, within two days the culprits were arrested, Jack Murphy, Allen Kuhn and Roger Clark, the gems had already been handed off.
In January 1965, in a bid for leniency, Kuhn led authorities to a bus locker in Miami where the uninsured Star of India and some of the other stolen stones were recovered
Star of Asia
The Star of Asia is a large,330 carat cabochon-cut star sapphire currently located at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The stone originates from the Mogok mines of Burma, the gem is noted for its significant size and is considered to be one of the largest of its type. It is noted for its colour and clear star. It is said to once have belonged to the Maharaja of Jodhpur and it was acquired by the museum in 1961. Koh-i-Noor diamond Star of Artaban Star of Bombay Star of India