In Part 1 of this series, I covered some of the natural history of diamonds — how they come to be, where they are found, the properties that make them unique and why, in turn, that makes them valuable to people. In this part, I’ll start to take a look at the human history of diamonds.
Amsterdam may have been an incredibly open home to Jewish people in its time, but the welcome mat only stretched so far.
I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. Thoughts and prayers.
perhaps no one pioneered the selfie quite like Rembrandt van Rijn, the most famous of the class of painters known as the “Old Masters.” Over his career from the early 1620s to his death in 1669, he is known to have created more than 90 self-portraits. These include full-size paintings, sketches, etchings and several cameo appearances in many of his famous works.
So what gives? Was Rembrandt simply smitten with himself? Or was he using himself as a character study?
When you’re writing historical fiction, details matter. It was important to know when ships bearing luxuries from overseas might be arriving back in port to Amsterdam. So off to the internet I went.
Just some fun and utterly contradictory things about life in Amsterdam during its Golden Age:
If it seems strange that a group of Jews from Portugal wound up in Amsterdam in the 1600s, it helps to understand what started in Spain a little more than a hundred years earlier. In 1478, a Dominican friar convinced Queen Isabella of Spain that Jews who had converted to Christianity were still secretly practicing their old beliefs. The queen and King Ferdinand petitioned Pope Sixtus IV to start an inquisition.