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Virtual Discussion “Earth, Sea, Sky & the Colored Universe of Blue Gemstones”


Burma, Starry Night Sapphire

Burma, Starry Night Sapphire, sapphire (corundum), 112 carats, on loan from Benjamin Zucker, Precious Stones LLC.

“Earth, Sea, Sky & the Colored Universe of Blue Gemstones”
Explore the symbolism and appeal of the color blue in premodern Islamic and Persian cultures. This virtual discussion celebrates the magnificent Starry Night Sapphire, on view in the exhibition Between Sea and Sky: Blue and White Ceramics from Persia and Beyond. Aimée Froom, curator of Islamic art, moderates.

Live via Zoom & Facebook
Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 6 p.m.
Watch the recording

About the Speakers
Benjamin Zucker, an expert on the history of gems and jewelry, works in a family-owned business in New York City. The author of several books, he has traveled worldwide in search of precious stones and is sometimes called upon to track the provenance of unusual or rare pieces of jewelry.

John King is chief quality officer at the Gemological Institute of America. His academic work focuses on color theory as well as color naming. He has graded some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the Hope diamond at the Smithsonian Institution in 1988.

Ali Alibhai is curatorial assistant in the art of the Islamic worlds department at the MFAH. A scholar of medieval Islamic civilization, he researches and teaches about Islamic art, architecture, culture, and civilization, especially in the medieval Mediterranean. He is also a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.


Learning and Interpretation programs receive generous funding from the Jerold B. Katz Foundation; Institute of Museum and Library Services; H-E-B; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Houston Junior Woman’s Club; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; Sharon G. Dies; Susan Vaughan Foundation; and additional generous donors.