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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Topaz Earrings

Topaz Earrings (NMNH G8843-00) from the National Gem Collection.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G8843-00
Locality Minas Gerais, Brazil
Weight 23.17 ct

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald T. Hill in 1981.

The topaz and diamond earrings were given to the Smithsonian in 1981 by Mr. and Mrs. Ronald T. Hill. The topaz is a beautiful sherry color, known as “Imperial” topaz and is from the famous mining region in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil, where the finest topaz is found. Today it is very difficult to find high-quality sherry-colored topaz, and it is very costly when found. The yellow gold mountings are very feminine, with an open filigree design and scalloped prongs holding the topaz in place. The accent diamonds surrounding the central topaz gems are old mine cut. The date of the earrings is not known, as they were purchased by Mr. Hill in 1979 from an estate; however, it could be early 1900s as the diamonds are old mine cut and the style of the mountings is reminiscent of the Victorian era. Most likely the topaz gems were faceted at a later date and are not contemporary with the mountings.


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