Van Moppes Diamond

The Van Moppes diamond, which has 58 facets (traditional number), is a very small diamond. It was created in 1949 and took four months to finish. It was lost 16 times, and recovered each time by burning all the dust collected from the floor with gasoline, leaving the diamond. Since it is too small to see with the unaided eye unless conditions are just right, it comes with a microscope to see it, which has a magnification of 630 times. It was once sent to America to be seen on television, but customs held it for two months, until after the show was to be filmed, because they could not manage to assign a value to it.

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is the most valuable painting in the world, with an estimated value of over 100 million. You’d probably be surprised at the size of the Mona Lisa. It is only 30 by 21 inches (76 x 53 cm), only about the size of an average suitcase.

King Francis I paid Leonardo $50,000 for the Mona Lisa and had it displayed in the Louvre. It has been there ever since except for two years that it was stolen. (1911-1913) During the time it was missing, six different Americans paid $300,000 each for fakes they thought were the stolen painting.

X-ray examination of the Mona Lisa painting shows that the painting is three layers deep. Leonardo da Vinci repainted her three times to get it just right.

Mona Lisa, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

War Horses

Next time you see a statue of a war hero on a horse, notice how many feet the horse has on the ground. If the horse has only three legs on the ground, the rider died of wounds suffered in war. If the horse has two legs in the air, the rider died during the battle. If the rider is not on the horse, but standing next to it, the horse died too. And, if the horse has all four feet on the ground and the rider is on the horse, the man is a hero who did not die during the war. These are international rules that sculptors follow.