Antiques Roadshow expert set to give talk at Newcastle museum

ANTIQUES Roadshow expert Susan Rumfitt will reveal to a Tyneside audience tonight exactly why diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Susan Rumfitt

ANTIQUES Roadshow expert Susan Rumfitt will reveal to a Tyneside audience tonight exactly why diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Susan has joined Newcastle auctioneers Anderson & Garland as a jewellery consultant and tonight she will give a free public talk as part of the current Diamonds Are Forever exhibition at the Great North Museum in Newcastle.

She worked for auctioneers Christie’s and Phillip’s after graduating in the history of art and architecture, and taking an M.Phil in the decorative arts. Tonight she will examine the history and enduring appeal of diamonds and how they, and other jewellery, have been portrayed in paintings over the centuries.

She will also look at how diamonds have come to be so strongly associated with love and passion.

Susan said: “The brightness of diamonds can’t be achieved by any other stones.

“People, especially women, adore diamonds for their brilliance and brightness.

“It is the stone that every woman wants in her engagement ring.

“Diamonds are also a statement stone, showing power and wealth.”

Susan said that diamonds are increasing in value, posting an 18% rise in the last three months.

This reflected unease about investing in stocks and shares and the switching of money into reliables like gold and gems.

“There is a diamond for every pocket. from a few hundred to millions of pounds,” she said.

Costume and art jewellery from the 1920s-60s was also going up in value, especially art deco pieces, she said.

“But diamonds exert a constant appeal for so many people. They love them,” said Susan.

Her talk begins at 6pm tonight and seats should be reserved on 0191 222 6765.

The Diamonds Are Forever exhibition runs until September 11 when it will move to South Shields Museum & Art Gallery from September 17 to February 4.

The display includes 18th and 19th Century glass replicas of famous diamonds that were used by jewellers as display items.

The exhibition covers the way in which diamonds are classified – colour, clarity, cut and carat.

The carat rating originates from antiquity when carob seeds were used as a unit of weight for diamonds.

Inventor who aspired to create his own

TURBINE inventor Sir Charles Parsons spent many years and £20,000 trying to manufacture artificial diamonds.

Sixteen diamonds from a safe at the Parsons factory in Newcastle were donated to Newcastle Discovery Museum.

They were thought to be a form of artificial diamond produced as a result of Parsons’s experiments.

But when Tyne Wear Archives and Museums assistant keeper of geology Sylvia Humphrey examined the stones, she identified them as natural diamonds. It is now thought that Parsons kept the diamonds to compare them with his artificial attempts.

“As well as their monetary value they have historic value because of their links to Parsons,” said Ms Humphrey.

Parsons, who is buried at Kirkwhelpington in Northumberland, doggedly experimented with pressure and high temperatures in his bid to make diamonds.

His pressure experiments included using a duck gun to fire bullets into lumps of steel.

He became interested in the possibility of creating artificial diamonds while working with carbon arc lamps.

Parsons began his experiments in 1887 but by the 1920s he conceded that it had not been possible to realise his dream of being a diamond maker.


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