Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The National Musuem of Natural History, The National Museum of American History - and Ben's Chili Bowl!!!!

Gentle Friends, you all know by now that I love some sparklies!!  So I headed to the Museum of Natural History.... and one of the first fun things I found was...


... this great T-REX skull, I've always loved dinosaurs and have been to the collection here numerous times when I was younger... but today I had other things on my list to see...

I do love me some sparklies...... and I'll search high and low to visit and gaze at some really high-end pieces.....one of the most famous things that come to mind when talking about lovely large diamonds would have to be the Hope Diamond....

 ... it is set apart from the rest of the beautiful gems in it's own case on a revolving stand, so the picture I got was not the best, but it is a lovely piece.....

my next goal was to see the Dom Pedro, which is the largest cut aquamarine in the world....


... here's a great little video so that you can see just how big it is....

... the Dom Pedro is a spectacularly beautiful aquamarine and just glistens in the light!!  

My next goal was to prowl about ....for the Marie Louise Diadem, originally set with diamonds and emeralds, the emeralds were removed by Van Clef and Arpels in the mid 1950's and replaced with Persian turquoises....


... a little history about this lovely piece....  Napoleon gave this diadem to his second wife the Archduchess Marie Louise (great-niece to the ill-fated Marie Antoinette) on the occasion of their marriage.  Originally commissioned in 1810 from Etienne Nitot et Fils of Paris.  The diadem was part of a parure that included a necklace and earrings (Now in the Louvre) and comb (disassembled).  Marie-Louise  bequeathed the parure to her Hapsburg Aunt, Archduchess Elise.  Eventually, the jewelry was acquired from Archduke Karl Stefan Hapsburg of Sweeden (a descendant of Elise) in 1953.  After the emeralds were replaced the diamonds the diadem was acquired by Majorie Merriweather Post and eventually donated to the Smithsonian in 1971.  The diadem is an elaborate design of scrolls, palmettes and medallions it contains 79 Persian turquoise stones (totaling 540 cts) and 1006 old mine cut diamonds (totaling 700 cts) set in silver and gold.

If you remember when I was in Paris last I hunted down other Royal jewels.... you can click HERE for my pictures and about them....another piece of Napoleonic jewelry I needed to see and knew was there in the Smithsonian was.....


Napoleon I Diamond Necklace... this was also a gift from Napoleon to Marie-Louise.  It was gifted on the occasion of the birth of his son Napoleon II, the Emporer of Rome, in 1811.  The elegant silver and gold necklace was also designed and made by Etienne Nitot et fils, it consists of 234 diamonds: 28 old mine-cut diamonds, suspending a fringe of 9 pendeloques (5 pear shapes alternating with 4 ovals) and 10 briolettes.  Above each pear shape is mounted a small brilliant, while the 4 ovals are attached to motifs decorated with 23 smaller diamonds.  Each of the 10 briolette mountings is set with 12 rose cut diamonds.  The diamonds came from either India or Brazil  The necklace is estimated at about 263 carats, with the largest diamond weighing in at about 10.4 carats.  Following the fall of the Napoleon, Marie-Louise left Paris and returned to Vienna with all of her jewelry, including this necklace.  When she died in 1847, the necklace was given to her sister-in-law, Archduchess Sophie of Austria, who removed 2 stones to shorten the necklace and make earrings, the whereabouts of these earrings is unknown...In 1872 the necklace was bequeathed to the Archduchesses son, Archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria and remained in the family until 1948, when his grandson, Prince Franz Joseph of Liechtenstein, sold it to a French collector who in turn sold it to Harry Winston in 1960.  In stepped Majorie Merriweather Post again who purchased it - then  donated it to the Smithsonian in 1962.

Another super necklace in the collection is....


 ....Spanish Inquisition Necklace, made from emeralds originally mined in Columbia, the diamonds were mined in India.  The diamonds are believed to have been cut in the 17th century, the early history of this necklace has been lost.  Harry Winston, who named this necklace the "Spanish Inquisition Necklace" claimed that it had once been owned by the Spanish Royalty.  However, the first recorded owner of it was Tukoji Rao II, Maharaja of Indore, then a princely state in India, this was in the early 20th century.  Upon his abdication, the necklace was passed to his son Yashvantrao II, who took his father's throne.  In 1947, Yashvantrao sold the necklace to Harry Winston who lent it to Katherine Hepburn, who wore it to the 19th Academy Awards ceremony.  In 1955 Winston sold the necklace to Cora Hubbard Williams of Pittsburg.  Williams enjoyed the necklace until 1972 when she bequeathed it to Smithsonian.

The next stunner on my list of jewels....


...Given to the Smithsonian in 1984 as a gift from Mrs. Anna Case Mackay, the necklace was designed by Cartier.  The stunning emerald was mined in Muzo, Columbia.  The Mackay Emerald is a pendant to the Art Deco necklace given as a wedding gift in 1931 from Clarence Mackay to Anna Case.  The new Mrs. Macaky had been a prima donna of the New York Metropolitan Opera from 1909 to 1920.  The emerald weighs in at a whopping 167.97 karats and the platinum setting and necklace have an additional 35 emeralds and 2,191 colorless round brilliant and step cut diamonds - the necklace was designed by Cartier. 

... and the last but certainly not least grand piece of jewelry...


The Indian Emerald Necklace - This art deco, Indian -style necklace features 24 Columbian emerald drops of graduated sizes, each adjoined by a smaller emerald bead.  All are set in platinum with hundreds of small diamonds.  The necklace was made in 1928-29 by Cartier, and was a gift of Majorie Merriweather Post, in 1964.
____________________________

From the Natural History Museum, I went over to the National Musuem of American History...

... I was interested in seeing the presidential things they had, starting with the White House china....


... it is displayed by in order by Administration, most of the earlier sets and pieces are from France....

.... as I stood there I thought to myself if I could have any china here what would I like.....  most of the pieces were either too plain or just so god-awful I wouldn't give house room too.... but the State China that Julia Dent Grant used - 1869-1877 - I thought was really the prettiest.  Purchased in 1869 through the Washington dealer J.W. Botler and Bros, located 12 blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Whitehouse.  They had been supplying china to the RExecutive Mansion for several years, Botler and Bros. ordered it from Haviland and Company in France.  The original set consisted of 587 pieces with flower and a top logo waith a modified version of the US "Coat of Arms"
U.S. Grant White House China

The pieces are hand decorated with 24 different flowers.  The china was delivered in February 1870 and cost about $3,000.   Lots of the china pieces in the exhibition are on loan from the White House - these pieces of the Grant's were.

There was also lots of clothes from the First Ladies including many Inaugural gowns...
I took some snaps ....

... this purple velvet ensemble belonged to Mary Todd Lincoln and is believed to have been made by African American dressmaker Elizabeth Keckly.  It was worn by the first lady during the winter social season of 1861-62.  All three pieces are piped with white satin.  The daytime bodice is trimmed with mother-of-pearl buttons.  Its lace collar is of the period but not original to the bodice
______________________


This lovely gown was worn by Pat Nixon to the Inaugural Ball in 1969.  Mimosa silk satin gown embroidered in gold and silver and encrusted with Austrian crystals.  The designer was Karen Stark for Harvey Berin.  Pat Nixon carried a purse by Morris Moskowitz and wore shoes by Herbert Levine.  The ensemble was a gift from Mrs. Richard M. Nixon
_________________

Lucy Webb Haye's Reception Gown - Gold damask and cream satin gown worn in 1880 to the White House New Year's reception and later to the February reception for diplomats and members of Congress.  It was made by Mrs. M. A. Connelly, a New York dressmaker.  Lucy Hayes had a distinct and unfaltering personal style.  While following current fashion, she favored modest clothing that covered her throat and arms.  She received both praise and criticism for her restrained wardrobe.
______________________

Caroline Scott Harrison's Evening Gown - Burgandy velvet and gray satin evening gown embroidered in a floral design with gray pearls and steel beads.  The dress was later altered by a family member.  Caroline Harrison was praised for her modest wardrobe.  The Philadelphia Times called the incoming first lady "a sensible exemplar for the American Women."  Following the president's America First economic policy, her inaugural gown and the rest of her wardrobe were made in the united Staes.
 _________________ 

From the Presidential things, I moved on  things from the world of Entertainemt....
Archie's and Edith Bunker's chairs and table and Archie's hat about 1970.  I love the show "All in the Family" and watch the reruns all the time on the weekend.

.. I also ran up again these lovely outfits from  En Vogue -  they were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1990's and the 9th most successful Girl Group of all time - the quartet singing sensation started in Oakland, California, in the late 1980's.  These ensembles were worn by the original members - Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson, and Terry Ellis - for the 1992 music video "My Love (Never gonna get it)" and here's the video....


_________________ 

From the world of Film, I found these stunners.....

... a pair of movie worn "Dorthy's Ruby Slippers " - 1938 from the Film "The WQizard of Oz."
__________________________


For dinner, I headed to a Washington Institution.....  Ben's Chili Bowl...

... my Hostess had recommended this place, and I had read about it before I came so I thought, why not... so onto t he Mero and out to U Street... the "Bowl" was located directly across the street from the Metro exit so it was super easy to find....  I didn't know how it worked there to place an order so I headed up to the counter and dumb luck was with me as it was exactly what I should have done...,


... busy, busy, busy folks behind the counter - they were hopping the whole time I was there...


... the girl behind the counter was really nice and suggested I try the "Classic Chili Dog"...



... I had that and a Coke, let me tell you it was probably the best meal I had in Washington!!  

... the dog was big and covered in a really great chili - it comes with chips, but you can get fries.  I decided against the fries since I wanted to concentrate on the chili dog  - If ever you get to Washington run, don't walk to the nearest Chili Bowl for your own chili-covered hot dog!!!  They have a few locations,but the U Street restaurant is the original location.
__________________________

I think that will wrap upi the post for today, thanks again for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,
edgar

6 comments:

Summer said...

So beautiful ♥

Shelly said...

What a great post! Thanks for the En Vogue video. They were a favorite group of mine back in the day! The jewelry is Wow! The dresses of the First Ladies I enjoyed, especially the Mary Todd Lincoln dress. That chili dog looks soo good!

Linda said...

What an interesting post Edgar. Now I want a chili dog.

Linda

needlenurse said...

Another great day. I'm not a jewelry person but wow indeed! The necklaces were stunning....it was very interesting reading about them. My favorite dress belonged to Caroline Harrison. All In The Family was one of my favorites as well. I didn't comment yesterday on your stitching (was away from home) but it is looking good! Out of curiosity (and you may have posted it before) do you use q-snaps, scroll rods or do you stitch in hand? Thank you Edgar for all your posts. I look forward to them each day.

Barb said...

This was another wonderful post. I also liked that china. I found the gowns very interesting. That chili dog looked great! It helps that I'm hungry right now. I can almost taste it.

Ariadne said...

The Dom Pedro was one of my favourite exhibits too, unfortunately I didn't go to the American History Museum. AriadnefromGreece!