Rock & Gem

Return to Ukraine?


Across the ages, precious stones and metals mined from Earth have been crafted into works of breathtaki­ng beauty and bitter dispute. Now, some disputed gems are about to be returned to the nation of Ukraine.

A bevy of treasures that once resided in four museums in the Ukrainian region of Crimea were gathered for a temporary display at the University of Amsterdam’s Allard Pierson Museum. The intended exhibit was titled “The Crimea—Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea.” But once the jewels reached The Netherland­s, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. Those Crimean museums, and Russia, wanted all jewels promptly returned to Crimea, but the Ukranian government disagreed. The issue was presented to a Dutch court that determined Ukraine has true ownership and “cultural heritage” of the bejeweled treasures. Case closed? Not quite. A further ruling from the Supreme Court of The Netherland­s might say otherwise, so stay tuned.

The 300 artifacts in question include 2,500-yearold gems and jewels from the Greek colony of Chersonesu­s, now Sevastopol, a gold helmet crafted by Scythians in the fourth century B.C., jeweled silver pins, a two-pound gold neck ornament from the second century A.D., scabbards and more.

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