Numerous gemstones proven fake in Prague museum

PREPARATIONS — The Czech National Museum tries to
make good of a situation surrounded by bad news. (The Times)


The Czech National Museum will be sorting out fake gems over the next two years.

After thousands of years of  trickery, frauds, fakes and supposed acts of magic getting the  better of people’s discernment, humanity is well aware that  sometimes something only has to look real for people to think it’s real. In this vein, a gem is no different.

In Prague, Czech Republic, curators at the Czech National Museum had been going through the collection while readying to reopen after renovating for the last six years.

Included in this overview was  the gem collection of some 5,000 stones, including more than a few diamonds considered some of the museum’s most notable possessions.

Unfortunately, close analysis has shown multiple gems to be  not only fakes made in laboratories, but some even made of glass  with a diamond cut, including their long admired five carat  diamond acquired by the museum in 1964.

Another prized possession of  theirs, a 19 carat sapphire originally estimated to have been  worth over one million British pounds (~1,385,000 USD), has been found to have originated  not in a great mountain or cavern but rather a not-so-naturally  occurring laboratory.

The value of these gems is  mostly defined by how much society values them and the quality  of their cut. A gem with multiple refined, polished cuts is more expensive than one with fewer, duller cuts.

Gemologists and gemstone appraisers analyze gems on their quality and overall value based  on characteristics like size, color and cut. Many of them have  also been trained to look out for fakes.  Since the curators at the museum were able to determine the  gems as fakes upon close analysis, there is speculation in the  museum that the gems had either been sold as fakes from the  beginning or had been slowly stolen over time.

It’s also possible that someone at the museum was either aiding  a perpetrator or stealing them themselves.

While the museum is insured on their possession, some  of their items, including their prized gems, were over thirty to fifty years old.

The museum had planned to reopen during the centennial anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s formation and independence. However, only 400 of the 5,000 gems in their collection have  been audited so far. Museum officials are saying that due to the  sudden discovery of the fakes, auditing the remaining gems will probably take them until at least 2020.

Means of certifying the authenticity of the gems will need  reworking, and more investigations are to be done on the  whereabouts of the once genuine  gems. In the mean time, the museum’s security measures have  been tightened while they still  prepare to reopen for the anniversary.

The number of fake gems found in their archives now presents the opportunity for the museum to intentionally exhibit  something a little different: fantastically convincing fakes.


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