Friday, June 21, 2013

Russian Malachite, Baltic Amber, and the World's Biggest Colorless Diamond... What a trip it's been.

Well, it's good to be back home, but the summer's over and the work season has begun again. June brings in a lot of rainy weather as usual, so the storms are probably going to last for a while. I wonder if anyone here felt the earthquake that happened just recently... at first I thought I was just imagining the shaking, but then it sunk in around 15 seconds into the rumble.

Just for fun, I've been experimenting a bit with the look of my social networking hubs. I can't get over the vibrant allure of malachite as an artistic natural texture. I've had the chance to see massive examples of this semi-precious gemstone during my trip to Russia.

Large vase-like decor and pillars as tall as trees were just some of the magnificent examples of Russian craftsmanship through history. They made use of gold-gilded walls and statues quite a lot as well. Even the tops of many cathedrals had a large amount of gold covering them. I found out that the gold gilding process back then made use of a mercury-gold mixture poured as a hot coating over the object. The mercury would later on be separated, leaving the object to shine brightly because of the gold cover. -That's what our guide mentioned anyway.

During my month-long trip, I also took a tour through the famous amber room, witnessed first-hand diamond polishing at the Gassan diamond factory, explored the "vault" at the London national museum, and finally saw the world's largest type IIa, D color diamond- the Cullinan I, a.k.a. the "Star of Africa" in the tower of London. Too bad a lot of these places didn't allow any pictures, I would have taken a bunch of them.

In any case, I feel like Europe's old world charm is still pretty much there, despite the modernization of our times. Amsterdam has a "unique" way of looking at "tourism". London's architecture never ceases to amaze. Russia's palaces are as huge as people say they are. Estonia apparently does not serve stone soup, as I was stupidly tricked to believe. Sweden has the cleanest air in the continent, and Finland has Nokia. Yes, I saw a lot of Nokia phones there, despite the Apple and Samsung craze of the whole entire universe. Well till' the next trip, at least I have a lot of fond memories to keep busy with. Though I might have dreams of living in the amber room... I'm betting the sunrise would be quite bright in there (like the ambiance in this picture from nbc news).


  1. Sounds like you had a great trip! I would have loved to be able to see the Star of Africa in person, such a beauty.

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  3. Europe seems to have a vast array of treasure filled palaces I need to put on my list of places to visit. Thanks for the tour.

  4. Magnificent colorless diamond! Love reading your blog. What about imitating this diamond into a glass sculpture? I'm sure it would be a nice interior.