Gemstone large and famous seem to
belong to museums rather than to potentates and movie stars... at least many do.
Famous gemstones aren't always the most
"this or that" ... but it helps.
A reader's question prompted by
recent news stories involving the purchase of the world's largest faceted
paraiba tourmaline is the genesis of this month's article. We will review this
paraiba tourmaline later in this article. But first, lets talk about a few other
The Star of Bombay (shown above) is a
famous blue star sapphire from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). It is not the world's largest at 182 carats. This star
sapphire is famous because film star Douglas Fairbanks (Sr.) purchased the stone
in a platinum ring setting and gave it to his film star wife, Mary Pickford in
the early 1920s. She died in 1979, donating it to the Smithsonian through her
estate. The Smithsonian actually received the piece in 1981.
The Star of Bombay sapphire is said to be the
inspiration for the Bombay Sapphire Gin brand name.
The largest blue star sapphire that I am
aware of is the Star
of India. It weighs in at an amazing 563 carats and appears to be
approximately the size of a golf ball. This gem also comes from Ceylon.
J. P. Morgan eventually owned this impressive gem. He donated the sapphire to the New York Museum of Natural History in
Although this gem and several others were stolen from the museum in 1954,
it was recovered, and is on display.
The Logan Sapphire is a large (422.99
carats) faceted gem of outstanding color and clarity. It is mounted in a brooch
setting, surrounded with white diamonds.
Logan Sapphire was gifted to the Smithsonian from Mrs. John Logan
The Alan Caplan Ruby (just under 16 carats) is a famous
gem, partly due to it's fine quality... and partly due to it's sale by Sotheby's of New York
in 1988 for $3,630,000.
Alan Caplan was a renowned gem dealer, who
purchased the rough ruby while on a buying trip to Burma. He had the stone cut
(faceted, cushion shape) in the USA.
This untreated gem was also known as the Mogok
Ruby, in reference to the stone's presumed origin - the Mogok Stone Tract in
The loose stone was purchased at the Sotheby auction
by a London
jeweler, who reportedly sold the stone in a ladies ring setting to the Sultan of
One of the largest cut gem quality emeralds is named the
It weighs in at almost 158 carats.
The Mackay Emerald comes from the famous Muzo
emerald mines of Colombia. The gem is mounted in a platinum Cartier Art Deco
style necklace mounting... with diamond accents, of course.
In 1931 Clarence Mackay wed Anna Case, a
former soprano with the New York Metropolitan Opera. He gave the necklace to his
bride as a wedding present.
This piece is now property of the
Smithsonian. It was donated by Mrs.
Mackay in 1984.
Topaz is renowned for it's large size. This faceted topaz weighs 22,892
carats, making this yellow topaz one of the largest faceted gems in the world.
the hands in the photo to indicate scale.
stone is in the Smithsonian, along with some huge uncut topaz crystals.
Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba is the name given to the world's largest
paraiba tourmaline by it's owner. Quoting from the recent press release...
— Vincent Boucher wants his Billionaire Business Inc. to become as known for
coloured gemstones as has De Beers Diamond Jewellers Ltd. for clear precious
The Montreal financier is off to a good start as owner of the largest cut
Paraiba tourmaline, which, at nearly 192 carats, shatters the current Guinness
World Records holder with its mass of just under 52 carats.
He expects his
tourmaline to soon be certified by Guinness and included in the 2011 edition of
the Guinness Book of World Records (the 2010 version is already out).
Although valued at
between $25 million and $125 million, what the 36-year-old company CEO called a
"perfect and flawless stone" isn't for sale — yet.
The Boucher paraiba tourmaline was certified
by Guinness as the world's largest cut paraiba tourmaline.
Diamonds are perhaps among the most famous gems...
The Hope Diamond is probably the most famous
diamond in the USA. It is a deep blue color and weighs 45.52 carats.
This famous diamond is now thought to be the re-cut French
Blue diamond owned by King Louis XIV. That famous diamond disappeared
about the time of the French Revolution.
In 1839 the Hope Diamond was documented as being in the
gem collection of Henry Phillip Hope. It went through several hands over the
In 1949 the Hope Diamond was purchased by Harry Winston
Inc. as part of an estate sale. The Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian
The Golden Jubilee is the largest faceted diamond
known to exist (545.67 carats).
In 1985 a brown diamond crystal weighing 755.5 carats was
unearthed at the Premier Mine in South Africa. This mine is famed for producing
The somewhat homely brown diamond crystal was first called
the Unnamed Brown. As you can tell by the name, it was not highly regarded at
the time. The crystal was sent to diamond cutter Gabriel Tolkowsky to test new
cutting tools and techniques developed to cut large, important diamonds.
The cutting resulted in a single, beautiful golden brown
diamond of fine cut and huge size. It was purchased by the Thai Diamond
Manufacturers Assn. and presented to the king of Thailand on the 50th
anniversary of his coronation.
Diamond is the largest gem quality diamond crystal ever discovered
(3,106 carats). It came from the Premier Mine, owned by Thomas Cullinan. (This
mine was established in 1902, and renamed the Cullinan Diamond Mine in 2003. The
mine is now operated by Petra
The rough crystal was purchased by the Transvaal Colonial
Government, and gifted to King Edward VII in 1907.
The rough crystal was cut in Amsterdam beginning in 1908.
The rough produced the
Cullinan I (530.20 carats,
Cullinan II (317.40
carats, cushion shape)
Cullinan III (94.40, pear)
Cullinan IV (63.60,
Cullinan V (18.80
And a number of
The Cullinan diamond rough actually yielded 9 larger gems,
and an unknown number of small stones.
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Gem Industry News...
Could AGTA Leave Tucson?
If Tucson officials don’t start making some progress in renovating the
Tucson Convention Center and building a convention hotel, the American Gem Trade
Association (AGTA), largest
of the annual gem and mineral shows February gem shows may leave.
Douglas Hucker, chief executive of AGTA, said his show could
relocate as early as February 201. The AGTA show has been held at the Tucson Convention Center since
“It has finally gotten to the point where it is hurting our business,”
Hucker told council members at their October 6 study session. “My members and
clients simply aren’t having the kind of experience they need to be having for
us to stay. For years, members would tell me that Tucson was their favorite show
of the year. I don’t hear that anymore.”
"Now, members are complaining that it takes 20 minutes to drive
between the convention center and a hotel where you splash some water on the
face and drive another 30 minutes up to the Foothills to go out to eat.”
Instead, Hucker said, “I would love nothing more than to get out of the
convention walk across to the hotel, buy some clients some cocktails, walk
across the plaza to a restaurant and spend $1,000 all without having to get in
my car to drive somewhere.”
In terms of attendance, Hucker said it hasn’t been terrible, down 4 to 5
percent. But he said he could be booking more booths if the proper facilities
were in place.
“A successful convention needs a nexus,” Hucker said. “That is a place
where people can do business, have a cocktail, meet up with clients and go out
for a meal without having to drive anywhere. The Hotel Arizona is not that place
nor will it ever be.”
The American Gem Trade Association was formed in
Tucson in 1981 and held its first show in Tucson the following year at the
Doubletree. The Association is now based in Dallas
Now is the time! You should be focusing on serving your customers'
holiday gift needs. You can provide quality, value, and service. An ailing economy is an opportunity for
you, the independent jewelry dealer.
People still want and need to give and receive jewelry. An ailing economy isn't a deal killer when you offer quality, service, and