Odds and ends for March 6


Smithsonian adds 77-carat brooch

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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. It goes on display today.

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 but 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.

Man, 106, gets his high school diploma

BEVERLY, Mass. (AP) — Fred Butler was married for 65 years, raised five children, served in the Army during World War II and worked for years for the local water department, but the fact he never earned a high school diploma always bothered him.

Not anymore.

The 106-year-old was awarded his honorary diploma Monday during an emotional ceremony attended by school officials, state lawmakers and Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon.

“I thank everybody who is responsible for this,” he said, wearing a mortar board hat and tassel and holding the prized document in his hands. “I certainly appreciate it.”

Butler dropped out of school before the ninth-grade to accept a full-time job at a print shop to support his mother and five younger siblings. Daughter-in-law Cathy Butler says he regretted dropping out and always emphasized the importance of education to his children and grandchildren.

Cathy Butler launched the effort to get her father-in-law his diploma as a way to raise his spirits following the death of his wife, Ruth, last year.

Fred Butler’s only concern was that he hadn’t earned it.

Scanlon put that concern to rest. “It’s a long time to wait for your diploma,” Scanlon said, “but you’ve obviously earned it very well.”

 

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