AZGem Gems
November, 2009

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The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Gemstones Large and Famous


 gemstones large and famous


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 famous gems.

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 Stargemstones large and famous 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.

Banker J. P. Morgan eventually owned this impressive gem. He donated the sapphire to the New York Museum of Natural History in 1900.

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) facetedfamous gemstones gem of outstanding color and clarity. It is mounted in a brooch setting, surrounded with white diamonds.

The Logan Sapphire was  gifted to the Smithsonian from Mrs. John  Logan in 1960, 

tamous gemstones  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 Burma (Myanmar) 

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 Brunei.

One of the largest cut gem quality emeralds is named the Mackay Emerald. It weighs in at almost 158 carats.large gemstones

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.

huge gemstonesThe American Golden 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.

Note the hands in the photo to indicate scale.

The stone is in the Smithsonian, along with some huge uncut topaz crystals.

The Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba is the name given to the world's largest paraiba tourmaline by it's owner. Quotinglargest paraiba tourmaline from the recent press release...

MONTREAL — Vincent Boucher wants his Billionaire Business Inc. to become as known for coloured gemstones as has De Beers Diamond Jewellers Ltd. for clear precious stones.

The Montreal financielargest paraiba tourmaliner 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...

famous diamondsThe 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 next century.

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 in 1958.

The Golden Jubilee is the largest faceted diamond known to exist (545.67 carats). largest diamond

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 large diamonds.

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.

The Cullinan 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 Petralargest diamond Diamonds).

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, pear shape)
Cullinan II (317.40 carats,  cushion shape)
Cullinan III (94.40, pear)
Cullinan IV (63.60, cushion)
Cullinan V (18.80 triangle-pear shape)
And a number of "lesser" diamonds

 The Cullinan diamond rough actually yielded 9 larger gems, and an unknown number of small stones.

Enter any of the keyword phrases discussed above into the search box below to find related resources.




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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 1991

“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

AGTA Tucson Show


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Jewelry Dealers


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 low prices.

Be The Quality Jewelry Discounter.



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Jewelry Dealers Program

Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?sapphire ring

Do you enjoy talking with friends and co-workers?

Could you use an extra income source?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.



Carolyn Doyle

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