appetizers & recipes: diamonds and pomegranate champagne jelly
Huguette Clark, the youngest daughter of former United States Montana Senator, mining and railroad industrialist William A. Clark and his second wife, Anna Eugenia La Chapelle, was born in Paris, France on June 9, 1906. Huguette had an older sister, Louse Amelia Andree Clark, who died in 1919, as well as five half siblings from her father’s first marriage.
Huguette’s father died in 1925. It wasn’t long before the heiress began slipping away from the public eye. She was briefly married to William MacDonald Gower from 1928-1930. A photograph taken of her the day her divorce became final was the last image ever made public.
In this last public photo Huguette Clark is wearing two magnificent bracelets, which were recently shown on the Today Show. Clark died, after leading a reclusive life, on May 24, 2011 and only recently has a bank vault been opened that hadn’t according to reports, been opened for 70 years.
Among the many items discovered in the vault were signed Art Deco jewels by Cartier, Dreicer & Co., and Tiffany & Co. The pièce de résistance is a 9 carat pink diamond ring that is thought to have belonged to Huguette Clark’s mother. There is a colorless 19.86 carat diamond ring by Cartier. Two Art Deco bracelets by Cartier are seen on Clark’s wrist in her last public photo. One bracelet is comprised of all colorless diamonds while the other is a diamond and emerald piece. To wear one of these bracelets would make most of us feel like a queen, but to wear two is unimaginable.
These pieces will be auctioned at Christie’s on April 17, 2012. The pink diamond ring is reportedly worth 6-8 million dollars! The colorless, and much larger, diamond ring is estimated to be worth between 2 and 3 million dollars.
If you are unfamiliar with diamonds you might know that colored diamonds are considered more valuable than colorless. Colored or fancy-colored diamonds have been a small part of the diamond industry, but have increased in popularity over time.
To be classified as a fancy-colored diamond certain industry criteria must be met. These diamonds are graded differently than colorless diamonds. While you’ll notice that colorless diamonds decrease in value if they exhibit more color, fancy colored diamonds usually increase in value as the color deepens.
The world’s diamond trade is dominated by the De Beers controlled Central Selling Organization (CSO) which is one of the world’s most successful cartels and is responsible for maintaining stable markets and controlling prices. De Beer’s along with N.W. Ayer (a leading marketing agency in the 1930’s) created the perception that diamonds were of value as they were not a popular or valued gemstone. Colorless diamonds became valued as a result of a long term marketing campaign. And, now in the past 20-30 years fancy-colored diamonds have been making their mark, becoming more valued.
The Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia produces most of the world’s pink diamonds as well as other colored diamonds such as cognac, blue and champagne. There are still a few other mines from which pink diamonds are found. From where Huguette Clark’s pink diamond was mined is of little significance for those who can afford to bid on the stunning ring, with the Dreicer and Co. pedigree and the interesting history.
Author’s Note: For those of you who would like to comment on the ethics of diamond mining, sales, etc. we request that you please hold your thoughts for the time being. This article is not a political article. In the future we may choose to address the diamond industry. However, we are and will always be a food related blog that does like to discuss current events. We are simply making note, as did the Today Show, of a current event, the sale of heiress Huguette Clark’s bank vault contents, in particular the pink diamond ring.
Diamonds and Champagne are the hallmarks of luxury. While we cannot offer a recipe that includes diamonds, we can offer one that includes Champagne. Please go back to our post about canning to learn about preserving. However, this jelly is so delicious we don’t think it will be around for very long!
Pomegranate Champagne Jelly
This recipe is from Shae at Hitchhiking to Heaven. Please take a peek at her fantastic blog for many other tremendously yummy jam and jelly recipes that you will not want to miss once you catch the canning bug.
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cups champagne
strained juice of 1 small lemon
3 cups sugar
1 package Sure Jell Low-Sugar pectin
1. Sterilize your jars.
2. Measure out the sugar. Place 1/4 cup of sugar in a separate bowl and thoroughly mix in the pectin powder, then set aside. (“Thoroughly” is the key. If you don’t mix it well, you’ll be chasing little lumps of pectin all around your pot. Also, make sure to keep both the sugar and pectin very dry. Moisture, too, will lead to lumps.)
3. Combine the pomegranate juice, champagne, and lemon juice in a large, nonreactive pot. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, and then turn up the heat until the mixture reaches a hard boil. Add the sugar (that is, the portion without the pectin) and bring the mixture back to a hard rolling boil, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in the pectin sugar and bring the mixture back to a hard roiling boil for exactly one minute, continuing to stir slowly and gently. (The jelly will foam up at this point, but it will settle right down when it comes off the heat.)
5. Remove the jelly from the heat. If you notice any pectin lumps, very quickly pour the piping hot jelly through a fine mesh strainer. (Can you tell I had a few little lumps? I’m not sure why they were there, but I knew I didn’t want them in my jars.) Ladle or pour the jelly into your sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space.
6. Process in a water-bath canner, using the correct time for your altitude: 5 minutes for 0-1,000 feet above sea level, plus 1 minute for every additional 1,000 feet.