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A conscious-stricken thief in Bremen turned himself in to police recently after stealing a gold and amethyst ring from a church. The ring once belonged to a bishop in the 12th century and is considered as being of huge cultural and material value.

It may be hard to put a price on history but in 2011 a diamond and emerald tiara commissioned in the early 20th Century by German prince Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck for his second wife sold for over USD12 Million in Geneva.

Of course the bidder was buying the gemstones as much as the provenance (although it’s highly unlikely that this piece will ever be dismantled for its value in gems).

While diamonds may come second only to dogs for the title of a woman’s best friend, in Australia, the nation’s favourite gemstone is the opal. In spite of its associations with bad luck (a story many people believe was created by jealous diamond merchants), in Australia the opal is considered a symbol of the country as it gives life to the arid outback. According to legend, the colour of the opal was given to it by a rainbow as it touched the earth.

Those with an interest in gemstones and jewellery will find plenty of interest in Australia and will find the help of a German NAATI translator – priceless.