Category Archives: Lifestyle

Dresden historic Diamond stolen

The Dresden white diamond, one of the most precious jewels in the collection of former Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong has been listed among historic artefacts stolen during the night of a spectacular heist, assessed by police experts as ‘extremely well-prepared’.

Tobias Kormind, managing director of the diamond retailer 77 Diamonds, said that it could be worth up to £8m or £9m (between nine and 10 million euro), adding that thieves would have “hit the jackpot” if they did take it.

None of the diamonds would have been in themselves extra special except for the one large Dresden white,” he said. The rare diamond of 49 carat.

The huge cushion-cut gem was made in the early 18th century and bought at great expense by Augustus the Strong, the Elector of Saxony, in 1728.

Eleven pieces were removed completely, while individual parts of a further three items were also missing.

Publishing a list of the pieces taken in Monday’s brazen raid, the Green Vault museum at Dresden’s royal palace said the items stolen included a sword whose hilt is encrusted with nine large and 770 smaller diamonds, and a shoulderpiece containing the famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond.

Dresden’s State Art Collections director, Marion Ackermann, said it was impossible to estimate the value of the items.

“We cannot give a value because it is impossible to sell,” she said, appealing to the thieves not to break the ensembles into pieces.

Venice suffers acqua alta

The gust of wind with  bad weather that has hit much of Italy saw acqua alta reach 1.27 metres in Venice on November 12, with much of the city swamped and the narthex of St Mark’s Basilica flooded.

Levels of 100-120 cm above sea level are fairly common in the lagoon city and Venice is well-equipped to cope with its rafts of pontoon walkways, ANSA writes.
But anything much above 120 cm risks swamping much of the city. In southern Italy, meanwhile, schools were closed in Matera and the nearby town of Metaponto was hit by a tornado.
Gale-force winds and torrential rain is also a big problem in Calabria, where the gusts reached 113 kmph and Puglia.

Berlin Wall fragments sales at BRAFA

The 65th edition of BRAFA art fair, which will take place from 26 January until 2 February 2020 in Brussels, Belgium, will be celebrated in a highly original manner with the exclusive exhibition and sale of five segments of the Berlin Wall.

The proceeds from the sale will be split among five beneficiaries (associations and museums) in the areas of cancer research, the social integration of people with disabilities and the preservation of art heritage. This initiative is only possible due to BRAFA’s nonprofit status which it has retained for 65 years and allows for greater investment in the arts and support of other non- profit organisations.

BRAFA’s visitors have come to expect a different guest of honour every year. These have included international museums, foundations and artists, who have all added their own unique touch to the event. In 2020, the art fair is choosing an innovative approach, launching an unusual initiative on the occasion of the 65th BRAFA in the form of a charity sale of original segments of the Berlin Wall.

These segments were already acquired in 2018, in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 2019. They were taken from the Hinterlandmauer, or the 68-km ‘inner wall’ that blocked off the border strip to East Berlin. The segments were dismantled by the armed forces of the former German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, during the demolition works following the Fall of the Berlin Wall. They were subsequently acquired and re-used by a public works company that is based in a Berlin suburb. The segments, which are 3.8 m tall and 1.2 m wide, weighing 3.6 tons each, feature graffiti on both sides by anonymous street artists from different periods.

General Franco family abundant wealth

The late General Franco grandchildren control assets that include a palace, 22 homes, 195 garage spaces, 29 country estates, five commercial premises and three rural plots, Spain’s newspaper EL PAIS reports.

The Franco family has a 17% share in Dulcinea Nutrition S. L., which has a catering contract with La Moncloa (pictured), the seat of the Spanish government. Despite earning EUR3 million from public agencies between 2016 and 2019, the company staff has not been paid regularly, resulting in strikes. The Defense Staff, the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the Labor Ministry and the city of Málaga have all contracted the services of this company, which is based in Puertollano (Ciudad Real).

The fact that Francisco Franco himself was earning a mere 50,000 pesetas (€300) per year as head of state in 1940 begs the question: where did all this money come from?

According to the Franco clan’s estate administrator, Luis Felipe Utrera-Molina, the inherited wealth had more to do with the dictator’s wife, Carmen Polo. “The Polo family was very rich,” says this lawyer who describes Francisco Franco as a moral man who could not be accused of greed.

The most powerful of Franco’s grandchildren Francis four companies are based in Hermanos Bécquer street. His net assets are worth €44.7 million and he controls 225 properties: 18 homes, one of which is a 349 square-meter house in the middle of Serrano Street, a 1,175 square-meter warehouse in Madrid and five commercial premises, including 259 square meters of office space on Ayala street in the Salamanca district, where a square meter is worth between €8,000 and €10,000. There are also two duplexes in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) measuring 80 square meters and 109 square meters, respectively.

Machiavelli portrait attribution to Leonardo

A portrait of Renaissance political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli in a French chateau may belong to Renaissance genius Leonardo Da Vinci, some art experts claim.

The director of the Chateau of Valencay, one-time seat of French diplomat Talleyrand, has asked for an expert opinion on the 55x42cm wood panel.

https://twitter.com/chateauvalencay/status/1179680438727647232?s=21

The painting, a portrait of a bald man that has been in the historic house for centuries, could be by the Renaissance master, although the evidence is far from clear.

A 145-year-old letter mentioning a portrait of the philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli by Leonardo was discovered last year in the archives of Château de Valençay in central France. The chateau once belonged to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, the French statesman, who died in 1838 after serving under several French regimes, including Napoleon’s.

The director of the historic house, Sylvie Giroux, told Agence France Presse that “it is not impossible” that Leonardo painted the Italian political theorist, the author of The Prince.

Queen Elisabeth switch to fake fur

Queen Elizabeth abandons real fur garments, from now onwards all the outfits will be decorated with fake fur only, the Buckingham Palace announced.

As new outfits are designed for the Queen, any fur used will be fake fur“, the royal spokesperson said.

However, the palace acknowledged “the Queen will continue to re-wear existing outfits in her wardrobe,” alluding that the decision does not mean the long-reigning monarch will dispose of real fur items she already owns, the Associated Press  It also means that the animal rights activists were overly enthusiastic when they presumed the monarch will go “fur-free”, nevertheless it is a huge step forward, a milestone in evolution, indicating the direction of development of cruelty free fashion industry.

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Alorsa presents 232 carats diamond

Alrosademonstrated a unique rough diamond weighing over 232 carats, the largest gem-quality specimen found in more than three years, at Udacnhaya kimberlite pipe in Yakutia on October 19, Russia’s diamond company said in a statement.

Such large gem-quality crystals are extremely rare. Of course, they are present at Alrosa‘s deposits, but we have not seen them since 2016, when two diamonds weighing over 200 carats were extracted,” Deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev was quoted by Russian TASS agency.

Udachnaya kimberlite pipe discovered in 1955 is one of the largest primary diamond deposits in Yakutia and globally. Its diamond output reached 2.385 mln carats in nine months of 2019.

An octahedron has yellowish hue and several chips, the company added. (Image: illustration)

 

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