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Travel briefs: Smithsonian adds 77-carat brooch to gem collection

| Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Smithsonian adds 77-carat brooch to gem collection

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has an addition to its famous gem collection: It's a butterfly brooch made of 2,300 gems.

The “Royal Butterfly Brooch” was created in 2009 by Taiwanese jewelry artist Cindy Chao. She is donating the piece to the museum, making it the first Taiwanese-designed item in the National Gem Collection. The Royal Butterfly is composed of 2,328 gems, totaling 77 carats. It includes colored and color-changing sapphires and diamonds, rubies and tsavorite garnets. The centerpieces of the butterfly's wings are four large-faceted diamond slices.

Curators say it sparkles in daylight, and under ultraviolet light in the dark, it glows. Chao put its value at $680,000. The butterfly joins the Hope Diamond and Marie Antoinette earrings on display.

Details: National Museum of Natural History: www.mnh.si.edu/

National Geographic honors Kentucky Bourbon Trail

National Geographic has designated the Kentucky Bourbon Trail as one of its top 10 “Best Spring Trips.”

The Bourbon Trail attracted more than 500,000 visitors in 2012, the first time the tour has broken the half-million mark since its creation in 1999 by the Kentucky Distillers' Association. Bourbon Trail director Adam Johnson says attendance is up for early 2013.

The Bourbon Trail tour features Four Roses and Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Jim Beam in Clermont, Maker's Mark in Loretto, Town Branch in Lexington and Woodford Reserve in Versailles.

N.Y. artists' retreat is historic landmark

An artists' retreat — Yaddo in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York — has won recognition as a National Historic Landmark. The designation was made by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Artists at Yaddo have come from the fields of choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video.

The facility opened in 1900 near Saratoga's historic thoroughbred track. Artists who've spent time there have won a wide range of awards, including 66 Pulitzer Prizes, 61 National Book Awards, and 27 MacArthur Fellowships.

— Wire reports

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