Jewelry based on the gems and minerals in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s National Gem Collection is scheduled to premiere on QVC Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. This is the first time the Smithsonian has offered licensed products through a multimedia retailer.
|Ring made with Smithsonite, a mineral named after the Institution’s founder James Smithson.|
Gemologist Christine Webb (a 13-year veteran of the gems and minerals department in the museum) is scheduled to appear during the broadcast to present a range of jewelry designed exclusively for QVC. The museum’s collection of 10,000 gems and 350,000 minerals serves as the inspiration for the Smithsonian jewelry line. The pieces—including rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants; created from selected gemstones, sterling silver and 14k gold—will be priced from $65 to $950.
|Sterling sliver, turquoise and white topaz lever back earrings, inspired by the Smithsonian’s Empress Marie Louise diadem.|
The jewelry line features a ring made with Smithsonite, a mineral named after the Institution’s founder James Smithson (1754-1829); a sterling, turquoise and white topaz ring and earrings inspired by jewelry given to Empress Marie-Louise from Napoleon; and a turquoise pendant with a stone mined from Bisbee, Ariz. Also being offered is a limited-edition heart-shaped sterling blue topaz ring by jewelry designer Judith Ripka as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the cutting of the Blue Heart diamond.
|Sterling silver with pear-shaped citrines graduated in color and size, inspired by a tsavorite necklace in the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection (total gem weight, 11.15 ct.)|
“Every piece was inspired by something in the collection,” said Carol LeBlanc, director, consumer products, Smithsonian Enterprises. “Whether it was the design, style, gemstone or color. The goal is to use the treasures in the Institution as design inspiration for a modern jewelry line.”
The two-hour program, “Smithsonian Institution: National Gem Gallery,” will include behind-the-scenes footage of the museum’s gem and mineral halls, interviews with Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, and rarely seen shots from inside the vault, which houses many of the rare gems not on display.
|Packaging for the Smithsonian line of QVC jewelry.|
The next Smithsonian program on QVC is scheduled for early December and will focus on some of the more iconic pieces of jewelry found in the collection, such as Marie Antoinette’s earrings, the Napoleon necklace and the Hope diamond. This two-hour show is scheduled to be broadcast live from the Smithsonian Castle.