Following the success of the award-winning 3 hour television series TREASURES OF THE EARTH, EMS Productions is producing a companion 12 half-hours exploring in greater depth how gold, diamonds, amber and pearls have captivated and shaped the world we live in.
Filmed in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, TREASURES OF THE EARTH opens a world of magic, human adventure, wealth, power and leading edge science.
1. Earth Treasures overview
As introduction, this episode explores the extraordinary role Gold, Diamonds, Amber and Pearls have played in history and examines their value now to modern science. As symbols of vanity and greed... of beauty and purity... these treasures arouse us, inspire us, and bind us to our past. Our age old love affair with them continues to fuel our passions and shape our destiny.
2. Gold — Fabric of the Future
For gold, men go down deeper into the earth than for anything else — 2 miles down, to where the pressure on the rock can make it burst in your face. Although close on 4,000 tons of gold are mined each year, the demand for the yellow metal always exceeds the supply. While most of the gold mined goes into jewellery making, it is now also increasingly valued by science. Gold’s remarkable thermal and electrical properties make it an essential component to everything from touch-tone phones to spacecraft.
3. Gold — a Glimmer of Eternity
In the words of an ancient poet: “The mind of man, is devoured by the supreme possession of gold”. No other substance has played such a dramatic role in the history of mankind. The ancient Egyptians worshipped it, while the Romans turned gold into money and plundered the ancient world for it. Today gold continues to play a central role in all major religions. We look at its spiritual role in both Roman Catholicism and Sikhism— in the treasury of the Cathedral of St Servaas in Maastricht, the Netherlands and at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
4. Gold — Conquest of the Incas
High in the Peruvian Andes, the Incas established an empire with gold at its heart. In 1533, a small band of men march into Peru under the flag of Spain and brought the empire to its knees. In a few short years a legacy of art and craftsmanship 2,000 years in the making, vanished into the melting pot. But the flood of gold into Spain also had disastrous and unforeseen consequences for Europe — ultimately destroying the Spanish economy.
5. Gold — India’s Treasured Obsession
For centuries India has been the world’s biggest user of gold, and today consumes over 800 tonnes each year. Gold here is an integral part of the social and religious fabric of society. Five million weddings take place each year in India, and the status of a family is still judged by the gold exchanged as the bride’s dowry. Gold is also used in medicine and plays a vital role as a simple and very portable form of savings. Gold in India continues to play a vital and highly visible role in all facets of day-to-day life.
6. Diamond mining and science
For all its breathtaking beauty and colourful history, a diamond is costly because it’s one of the rarest substances on Earth.Diamonds were first discovered in the rivers of India over two and a half thousand years ago. Today, around 110 million carats are mined each year worldwide.Diamonds durable properties have made them symbols of eternal love, and, vital components of leading edge science and technology.
7. Diamonds myths & history
Shrouded in superstition, mystery and intrigue, diamonds have enjoyed a romantic, and often, turbulent history. The word ‘diamond’ derives from the Greek word ‘adamas’ which means ‘unconquerable’.Many believed diamonds embodied supernatural powers that bestowed good luck and kept evil at bay.This episode features the Smithsonian’s extraordinary gem collection, tracing the stories of some of the world’s most notorious and captivating diamonds — including, the Koohinoor, the Cullinan and the Blue Hope.
8. Diamond passions
Based in Antwerp, the world’s diamond capital, master diamond cutter Gabi Tolkowsky has developed a series of innovative cuts, based on non-conventional angles, that dramatically increase the brilliance and yield of a stone. But Gabi Tolkowsky’s greatest challenge lay in the designing, cutting and polishing of the 274 carats “Centenary Diamond” — the largest top quality polished diamond outside the British Crown Jewels.
9. Amber history and art
From the very beginning amber was endowed with magical properties. Some of the earliest decorative objects ever found come from the graves of Stone Age chieftains of the Baltic — glowing golden beads, pendants more than 10,000 years old. From this time on, the craving for amber has increased, and the art of crafting it reached great heights - none so more than in the ‘Amber Room’ — the most lavish amber art work ever created.
10. Amber science
Featuring Dr David Grimaldi — member of the pioneering team at the American Museum of Natural History who first extracted DNA from an insect trapped in Amber. While Jurassic Park may never be a reality, David Grimaldi explains the valuable role amber plays in science, as a “window in time”, giving us a rare glimpse into the world of the dinosaurs.
11. Pearls - natural
For thousands of years, the finest pearls in the world came from the Persian Gulf — there life literally hung on the price of a pearl. In this episode we take a fascinating trip back in time, on board a traditional pearling dhow, in the company of old pearl divers working in the way they have done for centuries. The increasingly rare natural pearl still ranks among the costliest jewels on earth.
12. Pearls - artificial & cultivated
Queen Cleopatra, the Romans, Mary Queen of Scots and the Nizam Rulers of India all had one thing in common: a passion for pearls. For centuries men looked for the secret of how recreate artificially their beauty. Mr. Mikimoto from Japan successfully mimicked nature when in 1905, after years of trial and error, he found a way to ‘culture’ pearls.