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.