14 March 2019

Jewels in Motion: The Siren of Serendip

The Siren of Serendip

As Crown Princess Mary wraps up her visit to Houston, I've got another sparkling bit of wonder for you from the city: a look at one of the Houston Museum of Natural Science's newest acquisitions, the Siren of Serendip.

The museum calls the astonishing blue sapphire "one of the top five" examples of the gemstone in the world. It weighs in at a whopping 422.66 carats -- just slightly smaller than the famous 478 carat sapphire once owned by the likes of Queen Marie of Romania and Queen Friederike of the Hellenes. (You can read more about that gem over here!)

This slightly-smaller sapphire (ha!) is called the Siren of Serendip. In a press release about the gem, HMNS explains the name: "The gemstone’s name refers in part to the sirens of Greek mythology, whose irresistible—yet unattainable—beauty captivated all who beheld them. Meanwhile, the second half of its name refers to the ancient Persian word for Ceylon, Serendip, and also serves as a nod to the serendipity the museum feels at having the opportunity to own this stunning piece."

HMNS also explains that "Ceylon sapphires are world renowned for their size, color and abundance. Sri Lankan mines hold the record for the largest fine quality faceted blue sapphires in the world. The country boasts the highest density of gem deposits, with gem-bearing Pre-Cambrian rock composing 90 percent of its landmass. The age of Sri Lanka’s geology contributes to the land’s richness in gem deposits."

The Siren of Serendip was discovered in Sri Lanka almost a century ago. The original rough crystal weighed an astounding 2,670 carats.

The museum commissioned jeweler Ingo Henn to create a new setting for the sapphire. We previously discussed another of Henn's creations for HMNS, his gorgeous peridot suite. (See it here!)

Henn's design nestles the Siren of Serendip made of white gold and platinum. The piece also glitters with 913 diamonds.

The total carat weight of the diamonds comes in at 36.30 carats. Note the lovely pear-shaped diamond that dangles from the clasp!

The Siren of Serendip is on display in a special exhibit in the Brown Gallery at HMNS until March 24. But never fear! If you can't make it before that exhibition closes, the sapphire will go on permanent display afterward in the museum's gem gallery.