Thursday, February 14, 2013

March 2013 Program

On March 16, 2013 our speaker is Bonita Chamberlain. She is returning for the third time by popular demand. The topic of the program is Legends and Lore of Gemstones and Diamonds.

Gemstones have mesmerized people for centuries. Every culture has myths and legends that have followed these gemstones until today.  Think about the image that is brought to mind when the Hope Diamond is mentioned. Many more stones have stories and legends to equal that of the Hope.
  • Offer a libation to the dead while wearing white quartz, and you give the dead the gift of happiness. 
  • Rubies will pale in the presence of poison while amber will blacken, and blue sapphires will change color to warn of an enemy's attack. 
  • White chalcedony will increase a mother's milk.
  • Citrine will increase prosperity. 
  • Opal, often connected with healing diseases of the eye, is known as the thief's stone because of its ability to sharpen the wearer's sight while dimming a pursuer's vision, thus conferring invisibility. 
  • Aquamarine is a stone of courage and a protection for sailors, though emerald is also valued by travelers for its ability to calm stormy seas. 
  • Topaz not only dispels nightmares but cures madness and cowardice. 
  • Diamonds, which have long been a symbol of purity and invincibility, guard the wearer against phantasms, sorcery, snakebite, fire and floods.
  • Turquoise not only protects you from evil but from falling from a horse.

 The beliefs about a gem’s value, influence, and innate powers are highly specific, and influenced by the time, place, and culture in which they arise. To collect the beliefs ascribed to any one stone, is often to find that someone somewhere believed it capable of just about anything.

You will be taken through the birthstone months with examples of famous pieces of jewelry, the legend, lore and myths, and healing properties of the stones. 

About the Speaker

Bonita Chamberlin has spent more than 30 years working in Afghanistan under five regimes: the monarchy, Soviet occupation, civil war, Taliban and now the Coalition Forces.

From 1976 to 1980, she interfaced with the Afghan government and multinational corporations, especially SunMaid and Lummus to facilitate business and economic development. Chamberlin designed and executed profit and income-generating projects primarily through natural resource development and agriculture.

In the mid-1980s Chamberlin was asked to return by Ahmad Shah Massoud, to assist them in mining the gemstones being uncovered by the Soviet bombs. From 1983 until 1997 she crossed the Hindu Kush Mountains with the Mujahideen dressed as an Afghan man to avoid Soviet detection. 

Under primitive conditions, she assisted the local tribesmen of Panjsher, Badakhshan, Nuristan, and Sorobi in the proper mining, marketing, and sale of the gems and minerals.

As a result of this extensive work, Bonita has walked the country, mapping it, thereby being a resource for the Department of Defense after 9/11. Her research was published in the 1995 book she co-authored, titled, Gemstones of Afghanistan, regarded as the original and most complete study of Afghanistan’s gems and minerals.

Samples of Afghan Jewelry to see from Bonita's collection follow.

Colorful stones

Earrings of Topaz

Purple lovers' pendant

Amethysts and Geodes


Aaquamarine Pendant

Citrine Pendant

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