Lubbock Avalanche-Journal from Lubbock, Texas on April 6, 1975 · Page 31
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Lubbock Avalanche-Journal from Lubbock, Texas · Page 31

Lubbock, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 6, 1975
Page 31
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Page 31 article text (OCR)

12-E—LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAl—Sunday Morning, April 6,1975 Expert Hunts Gem Treasures For Smithsonian By DORIS DEAKIN NEW YORK (WNS) ~ A Hong Kong dude made an offer on a diamond-and-ruby bracelet. "I'll pay a million dollars for it," he said. "I'll send a certified check." Paul Desautels smiled. A cereal heiress took off an emerald ring worth a quarter of a million. Desautels handed over a 30-carat diamond ring. She put it on her finger, smiled and walked out. Desautels smiled that time, too. A new York television producer asked Desautels to okay a script on one of Paul's babies, the Hope Diamond. "One dark night, Evalyn Walsh McLean, bearing her diamond with its famous curse, slipped into a Catholic church in Washington to have it exorcized .. .," the script read. This time Desautels frowned. "Witchcraft," he said. "And the occult, and God knows what. It grates on my nerves." He balked at "exorcized." He does things like that. Paul Ernest Desaultels is the Clark Kent of curators. He is a $28,000-a-year bureaucrat, a hard-working mineralogist with thinning hair and false teeth. He is also the Superman of Jewels. Without fanfare, he has given the people of the United States the riches of the czars, the jewels of emperors, the conspicuous consumption of plutocrats — the finest public collection of gems in the world. Desautels is the curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collections at the Smithsonian Institution. One after another, he has added priceless and historic jewels to the immense national treasure owned by the American people, though his annual budget for jewels and minerals is only $15,000. Other economic indexes may be crawling under a duck, but in the ice department the nation's assets are going up and up and up. They include an imperial Russian wedding crown with 1,535 diamonds weighing 282 carats; Marie Antoinette's diamond earrings, 36 carats each; a silver diadem set with 950 diamonds and a 275-carat diamond necklace, both gifts from Napoleon to Marie- Louise; a 423-carat sapphire; a 38-carat emerald ring and a platinum bracelet of African diamonds and irreplaceable Burma rubies. The Smithsonian's Hall of Gems "is the greatest rock show on earth. Porter Kier, director of the Smithsonian's Museum of National History, credits it to one man — Paul Desautels. "For quality and variety," said Kier, "our collection is the best in the world. "Some collections are worth more money than ours, but Desautels has not shot for monetary values He has not even shot for a comprehensive collection — he has gone for the best ruby, the best sapphire." With only 15 grand a year to buy jewels, Desautels has devised a simple technique: He takes from the rich. He turns people on. Weathy people. "When he meets a woman with an important gem," Keir says, "she can feel his drawing it from her. She can feel that it's a tremendously important and exciting thing to give this gem to the Smithsonian. "Rich people don't make him nervous. There's only one thing on his mind. He's not thinking of Paul Desautels. He's only thinking how he has to 'get this specimen.' He rises out of himself. His eyes absolutely sparkle." And in Washington, there are the women. The rich, rich women. Marjorie Merriweather Post was a wealthy woman, a very wealthy woman. In a rich, full lifetime — she died in 1973 at the age of 86 — she had acquired four husbands, three huge estates, footmen in livery and lots and lots of jewels. Everything passes, as they say. The jewels passed to the Smithsonian. Mrs. Post and Desautels had what he calls "an open arrangement." From time to time she would send over a load of assorted priceless gems and artificats, but on some of them she kept carryout rights. "She had given us a 33-carat diamond ring," Desautels recalls. "I remember one time when she came to pick it up. She took off her glove and on her finger was a 30-carat emerald ring. It must have been worth a quarter of a million dollars. She took that one off, cropped it into her purse and I handed her the diamond ring. She put that one on, gave me a smile, and •walked out." There have been other wealthy women. Polly Guggenheim Logan owned a 423-carat sapphire, a great big rock. It is, as a matter of fact, probably the largest rich-blue sapphire in the world. Mrs, Logan was worried that it might be stolen and cut up into smaller stones, so she gave it to the Smithsonian. , Desautels produced a display for it that has impressed Mrs. Logan so much that she is thinking of borrowing the sapphire back. The darned thing never looked better, and she wants to haver her portrait painted wearing it. Some of the ladies are anonymous. Desautels protects their anonymity gallantly and fiercely. One of them gave the Smithsonian a ring set with a 38-carat emerald that experts say "must be the finest emerald on display anywhere in the world." The only thing that Desautels will say about the donor of this gem is that, she 'once wore it to lunch with Queen Elizabeth II. It was one of those days. The queen was also wearing an emerald. And hers wasn't as good. The American lady was quick of mind and anxious to avoid a crisis. She twisted her 38 carats discreetly into her palm. The platinum bracelet of African diamonds and Burmese rubies, which looks like something Grucho Marx might have ogled on Margaret Dumont's wrist, was donated by a \voman about whom Desautels will say only that she is "a wealthy, elderly East-Coaster." One day, a Hong Kong jeweler dropped in. He showed Desautels some rubies he had bought in New York. Desautels turned things around and showed the dealer some gems that were about to go on display at the Smithsonian, "First I showed him the 38- carat emerald ring. It staggered him. He thought museums were nice,, quaint places where you go to see a bunch of junk. Nice junk, but junk. "Then I showed him the platinum bracelet — 86 African diamonds, 31 Burma rubies. He had just come from the New York gem market. He knew what he had paid for his rubies. He looked at the bracelet. I think he was Pair Honeymoons On Missouri Trip GEM ADVISOR — Paul Desautels, Smithsonian curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, discusses the Hope Diamond with actress Samantha Eggar who portrayed Evalyn Walsh McLean in a television special program on the huge blue diamond's legend. On a gem budget of ¥15,000 per year, Desautels . has built the finest public collection of gems. NEW HOME (Special) Juanita Briseno Flores became the bride of Baldomero Moreno in a 6 p.m. ceremony Saturday in the New Home Baptist Church. The Rev. L.W. Cole, pastor, officiated. Parents of the couple are Mr. and Mrs. Domingo Flores and Mr. and Mrs. Eleno Moreno of Mathis. Attending the bride were Miss Betty Garcia of Smyer and Mrs. Israel Flores of Ropesville. Israel FJores of Ropesville was best man. The bride is a teacher's aide in New Home and the bridegroom is employed in Lubbock. He attended Mathis- High School: Following a wedding trip to Springfield, Mo., the couple will reside in New Home. MRS. B. MORENO THE LAST WORD "Only an Englishwoman would travel with her own lavatory paper. — Actress Sarah Miles - who always (iocs. GOOD CANNING Later season peach varielies are usually heartier . ., , , ,, c in {lavor aild betler for can ' ning, baking and freezing. SUMMER'S HERE . . . 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A SATISFYING EATING DIET THAT WILL PLEASE YOUR APPETITE . . . with roods you like eating. No special dry. drab diet foods. Enjoy foods you buy in any Qcocerv store, including: * Broilid Mnu ' • rjmiliU • Fiih Chicktn • Sink • Liitr M««t Ujf MONEY BACK GUARANTEE You must be 100% delisnted with results liom your fnsl package, or return the empty package to manufacturer ind your money refunded - no Questions asked. TRANSMISSION SERVICE SPECIAL 4.95 + PARTS & FLUID WITH THIS COUPON «2ouff>or» ENCLOSED IS: DChxk OCaih OMinty Onitr $3.00-42 Tablets or $5.00-105 Toblits +50" tax I handling ciwrgts en thhtr order. | ADDRESS |cmr i-t> I STATS • ZIP. WHAT EACH TABLET CONTAINS 25mg METHYLCEUULOSE A puie vegetable extract which expands and is in- landed ro we ana a leilins of beirtj fuller. 25mg PHENYLPROPANALOMINE An appetite depressant intended to help give one the leeling of a restricted appetite. P///C A WHOLE SPECTRUM rLUO QF VITAMINS Fortilied with Vitamins A, Ql, 82, 86. BI2, C. and E and Niacinamide. Ho habit loraiinj drugs! ^SKAGGS ALBERTSONS ^ DRUGS & FOODS • STORE HOURS: 9 AM 'TIL MIDNIGHT MON.THRU SAT. 9 AM'TIL 10PM SUNDAY 3249 SOfh Sf. Zip 79413 somewhat shocked. "He said: Til give you a million dollars for it. I'll send a certified check first. You can wait until it arrives before sending the bracelet.'" Paul Desautels smiled. He can't sell jewels from the Smithsonian's collection. He is prohibited from owning jewels himself. What he can do is exchange specimens for other specimens that will fill gaps in the national collection — unless the donor prohibits an exchange. Not many of them do. "Practically everything we own has no strings attached," Desautels says. "We could exchange the Hope Dimaond if we wanted to. We wouldn't — but we could." The Hope Diamond — Harry Winston's peerless gift, the world's largest blue diamond arrived just before Desautels become curator of the Gem and Mineral Collections some 16 years ago. Prior to Winston, the big blue rock had been owned by Evalyn Walsh McLean. It is supposed to have been shadowed through time by a deadly.curse. The television laddies came up with a script: "One dark night, Evalyn Walsh McLean ... slipped into a Catholic Church in Washington to have it exorcised..." "That's not the Hope Dia-. mond to me," said Paul Desautels. To Desautels, the Hope Diamond is "the sheer mathematical nicety of any atomic structure. It's important for what it is — a thing formed at great depths in the crust of the earth under conditions of very high pressure and temperature. With all our manpower and technology we can't match it." The TV laddies looked a little glassy-eyed. How the M.P. Changes Last Name WELWYN, England (WNS) — Helen Middleweek, 25, agreed to marry Martin Hayman during the recent British electiton campaign even though she was busy running for Parliament against Lord Balniel, the Conservative minister. Helene won the election and then left town for a honeymoon in the Cotswolds. Her first pronouncement after the- election and before the honeymoon: "In the future I intend to be known by my married 'name, Mrs. Helene Hayman.'" blazes would you get that on the tube? "The Legendary Curse of the Hope Diamond," a presentation of the DuPont Cavalcade of Television, was aired in March. Another thing, said Desautels. "Natural history is a science, not a lore." "You know, Paul,", the producer said, "television will make it possible for 40 million Americans to see the Smithsonian." Desautels frowned. "It grates on my nerves." Then . he smiled. "But I'm a great pragmatist," said Paul Desautels. Newlyweds Leave On Mexico Trip Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Garcia, who were married at 1 p.m. Saturday in St. Theresa's Catholic Church, are visiting Monterrey, Mexico on their wedding trip. Mr. and Mrs. Pedro Mar- 'tinez of 6401 22nd St. are parents of the bride, the former Miss Patsy Martinez. Mr. and Mrs. Leopoldo Garcia of 5702 79th St. are parents of the bridegroom. Father Patrick Maher officiated in' the double ring ceremony. Honor attendants were Miss Thelma Martinez, sister of the bride, and Robert Martinez, brother of the bride. The bride was graduated from Frenship High School and the bridegroom from Laredo High School, Both are employed by University Hospital. MRS. ANTONIO GARCIA SAY IT AGAIN The dromond ye>l» alvvoy* meant to give Mdm.'lPs h«fe. 9 Diamonds, Ukoratgold, 5375. 1 108 BROADWAY CAPROCK CENTER . TOWN & COUNTRY 'Our People Moke Us Number One EIGHT'CONVENWNTWAYSTOBUY .^, IMuitrtrtion mtarf*J. WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT MICROWAVE COOKING? NO ADMISSION CHARGE U NO RESERVATION NECESSARY ./ ife^ 1 ATTEND GENERAL ELECTRIC AND SOUTHWESTERN PUBLIC SERVICE'S MICROWAVE COOKING SCHOOL! TUESDAY NIGHT — APRIL 8TH 7:30 PM SOUTHWESTERN PUBLIC SERVICE REDDY ROOM DOWNTOWN 1120 MAIN JOY PARNRL HOME ECONOMIST FOR SOUTHWESTERN PUBLIC SERVICE CO. PARKING NORTH OF BUILDING COOK IN '/4 OF THE TIME AUCE DOHERTY WESTERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF Gf. CONSUMER'S INSTITUTE

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