Friday, July 10, 2015
Hope Diamond, Etc.
In Washington D.C. for eight days I got an eyeful of famous paintings, statuary, architecture, furniture, landmarks, rarities, historic monumental everything, and went everywhere, even to Mount Vernon an hour outside of D.C., and to a sweet getaway town in West Virginia, whose anti-slavery residents seceded from pro-slavery Virginia in 1863. Favorite places: The National Portrait Gallery's gallery of paintings of our Presidents, all looking alive and keen -- great paintings! -- and the Library of Congress because of its fancy turn-of-the-century decor, but of course I made a beeline for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, one of eight Smithsonian museums there. On display is the famous blue Hope Diamond. Put your thumb and forefinger together and that's about the size of it; it's surrounded by pure white diamonds on a necklace of pure white diamonds, and rotates on a platform in a glass case (see photo) surrounded by cellphones. I had to elbow my way in to glimpse it -- and fyi, it belongs to YOU and ME -- the people of the U.S. Over the weekend of the Fourth, tourism was crazy. To see Marie Antoinette's diamond earrings I had to wait my turn. The people-watching was awesome. We all got along.