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The Story of the Hope Diamond Presented by Berkshire Author Richard W. Wise at the Clark

For Immediate Release

October 20, 2010

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—Berkshire author and jeweler Richard W. Wise will present a free lecture based on his new historical novel, The French Blue, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, November 7 at 3:00 pm. The French Blue is “fascinating trip back through time” (Berkshire Living) that follows the legendary Hope Diamond’s mysterious odyssey from India to France to the Smithsonian. A book signing will follow the lecture.

The French Blue follows seventeenth-century French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier across two continents, from the seraglios of Persia to the empire of Shah Jahan, from the lands of the Great Mogul of India to the court of the Sun King of France. During his journeys, Tavernier did business with powerful princes, romanced the world’s most beautiful women, and acquired precious gems, including a magnificent 116-carat blue diamond, which he sold to Louis XIV for 147 kilos of pure gold. The diamond disappeared during the French Revolution, only to resurface decades later under mysterious circumstances. Today, this gem—now known as the world-famous Hope Diamond—is on display at The Smithsonian.

“The fascinating back story of the Hope Diamond…is both a delightful read and a treasure trove of insights into the world of the seventeenth-century gem trade,” said John S. White, Former Curator, National Gem Collection, The Smithsonian. In this fascinating illustrated talk, Wise will recount the captivating odyssey of this legendary diamond.

In addition to his work as an author, Wise is the proprietor and craftsman of R. W. Wise Goldsmiths Inc., in Lenox, Massachusetts. He began his career in the jewelry industry as a goldsmith, and his early interest in gemstone connoisseurship led him to travel extensively. His search for rare and beautiful gemstones has taken him to the world’s most important gem-producing areas, and as a respected journalist, he has been admitted to many important private collections. Wise’s articles on gemstones have appeared in Gems & Gemology, Jeweler's Quarterly, and Colored Stone, and his column “Gem-Wise” was a popular feature of National Jeweler. Wise has been a Contributing Editor with Gemkey Magazine and Gem Market News, and he is also the author of the book Secrets of the Gem Trade: The Connoisseur’s Guide to Precious Gemstones.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31. Admission is free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

Calendar Listing

November 7: Berkshire author and jeweler Richard W. Wise will present a free lecture based on his new historical novel, The French Blue, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, November 7 at 3:00 pm. The French Blue is “fascinating trip back through time” (Berkshire Living) that follows the legendary Hope Diamond’s mysterious odyssey from India to France to the Smithsonian. A book signing will follow the lecture. The Clark, 225 South Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 413 458 2303, clarkart.edu.

Contact:
pr@clarkart.edu

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