A Netherlands architectural firm has designed a hotel to look like an Amethyst Geode—very much like the one in the picture. More so than we would have believed. When we found out about this we were incredulous. How would it function, how would it look (really)?
Below we have a link to a picture of the proposed hotel. We find that it looks like a true Amethyst Geode. Further investigation into this proposal is that the hotel will function quite well as a hotel and be remarkably beautiful.
The initial proposed site for the first hotel to look like this is in China. Given the building boom in China it is not surprising that the first Amethyst Geode like hotel will be there.
Gems are very inspiring to many people all over the world.
We have been singing the praises of cushion cut gems for many years. Now is appears that the world agrees as a record price for a Sri-Lankan sapphire was set on November 11 just past.
The sale was at auction held at Christie’s Geneva jewelry auction and the stone is known as the Blue Belle of Asia. The gem in question is reported to weigh in at 392.52 carats. The sale price was in excess of $17.7 million USD.
The sapphire in the photo is a cushion cut stone and looks remarkably similar in many ways to the Blue Belle. Of note about the Blue Belle is that its origin is Sri Lanka. So far in our experience truly large sapphires that are beautiful tend to come from Sri Lanka. Why? Many other sources of sapphire can tend to make great looking stones in more normal sizes but would be much too dark in giant sizes like the Blue Belle. Many large famous sapphires in museums and crown jewel collections that are notable for their size are from Sri Lanka. One such gem is the Star of India (mined in Sri Lanka) which is part of the collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
During our trips to Sri Lanka many of the dealers would rhapsodize about fabulous outrageously large sapphires being sold from time to time and being slipped away and never seen again. I for one believe it. Not that these occurrences are common but certainly they have happened. Just imagine!!!
The uber-rich of the world have declared large fancy colored diamonds to be the darling of their attention. Just a few weeks ago the gavel descended at Sotheby’s marking yet another sale of an important blue diamond. This time the gem came from the estate of Mrs. Paul Mellon (a.k.a. “Bunny” Mellon) . At 9.75 carats the stone was not the largest fancy blue gem to be sold lately. On the other hand the color of the gem rated the term “vivid” and is quite a bright blue. The auction took place in New York. Reports of the action were that the auction of this one piece took over 20 minutes and included at least 7 bidders. The successful bid came from Hong Kong. The Asian origin of the successful bid is no surprise as a number of successful auction winners have come increasingly from that part of the world.
The final price of the blue diamond was in excess of $32 million USD or over $3.3 million per-carat. This sale blasted away old records for the sale price of a blue diamond as well as the per-carat record for the price of any diamond regardless of color (or lack thereof).
The best Rhodolite garnets are truly amazing to see. Especially in the bigger sizes. The stone in the photo is a 44+ carat amazing gem. This particular stone was mined in Sri Lanka which produces some unexpected gem varieties in its gem gravels. “Gem gravels” you say? Yes, lots of the gems found in Sri Lanka are in alluvial deposits where the stones are truly in gravel form and all rounded and stream worn.
From Sri Lanka we’ve obtained many different types of gems: Star Sapphires (both blue and pink), Rhodolite garnets, Cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, Alexandrite, Blue sapphire, Pink sapphire, “Common” chrysoberyl, Cat’s-eye alexandrite, Andalusite, Yellow sapphire, and Spessartite (garnet). Not bad for a little Island down at the tip of India.
One more thing. A couple of the meals we’ve experienced in Sri Lanka were some of the best anywhere in a long lifetime of world travel. Our first Chai tea experience was in Sri Lanka in 1981. They are ahead of their time!
Some years ago, maybe 10 or 15, a movement began to make Tanzanite a birthstone option for December babies. The other two older options while perfectly great gems had not quite captured the desire quotient of other months’ birthstones. Tanzanite has been a big hit with the public almost from the beginning. Take a look at the Tanzanite in the photo—big, great color, clean and well cut. What could be lovelier?
Note that the gem in the picture has a nicely and fully saturated color. That is a sign of a higher quality gem. It also is a stone of decent size at over 12 carats. Mmmm!
Tanzanite is a one-location gemstone being found, so far, only in one mining area in Tanzania (hence the name). As a gem, Tanzanite was discovered in 1967. I was lucky to be cutting Tanzanite early on in 1973. As of 1973 word was getting out about Tanzanite but still back in the day information was slow making its way around the world—no TV home shopping, no internet, no digital photography.
August babies have a lot better birthstone than they may have imagined. Ten cool facts that they may not know about peridot.
1. Cleopatra’s famous emeralds may have in fact been peridot.
a. The island of Zabargad in the Red Sea off of Egypt is an ancient source for peridot.
2. Zabargad Island is also known as Topazios Island and St. John’s Island.
3. Peridot comes from several sources around the world—Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar), China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and San Carlos Reservation, Globe Arizona USA!!!
4. While peridot comes from a number of sources, reliable sources producing large fine quality gems remains elusive. Want a lot of small peridot gems—no problem. Want a lot of large fine peridot gems—take a ticket and stand in line.
5. Peridot crystals from Zabargad were easy to identify as from that source in that many o them were exposed to sand storms through the ages and displayed a sand-blasted surface.
6. Great color in peridot is also the perfect spring green—green and gold slammed together.
7. Peridot comes from deep in the earth’s mantle and is brought up to the surface in volcanic activity.
8. Peridot also comes from outer space. Meteorites have been discovered with beautiful peridot inside.
9. Peridot only comes in green as opposed to many gems which come in a veritable rainbow of colors. Such versatile gems include: diamond, sapphire, garnet and of course the rainbow gem—tourmaline.
10. Peridot is one of John Ramsey’s favorite gems to cut and polish.
Fitting into the theme of world records being set for gems and jewelry the spring auction late in April by Sotheby’s saw a new per-carat record for a sapphire. The gem is recorded as being a 28+ carat Kashmir gem. According to the auction house the proceeds of the sale are going to charity. With a total price exceeding $5 million USD the per-carat price was over $180,000.
In the lore of colored gemstones Kashmir sapphire is the bench mark. The purity of the blue in Kashmir stones is indeed stunning. Traditionally the Kashmir stones are said to have slight haze but that seems to vary from piece to piece. After spending months maybe years of my life in Thailand (ruby/sapphire central for the world) and seeing gem after gem I would have to say that a fine Burmese sapphire can be every bit as lovely. Some traditionalists may want to disagree but that is just fine. To a true lover of gems they are all like a family—each member is wonderful on their own and for their own unique characteristics.
For instance, about 10 years ago or perhaps a few more there were some fabulous blue sapphires from Madagascar which were certified as untreated. Many of these gems were absolutely stunning. A great Ceylon stone is also beautiful. In fact many of the most famous sapphires are Ceylon stones residing in the important state collections of the world.
Late last year the world’s largest diamond rated by the GIA as Fancy Vivid Pink was up for auction at Sotheby’s. The piece fetched a record price in excess of $83 million but when it was all over the sale did not go through. The finished gem weighs 59.60 carats and is a little over 1″ long by about 0.80 wide. It is a beautiful oval and the color is amazing. With all the auctions going on all over the world bringing record amounts it seems that great gems are suddenly popping up to be available for the auctions.
Prior to the auction the Pink Star was shown at an exhibit at the Smithsonian named “The Splendor of Diamonds.” Along with the pink gem were some other fabulous diamonds: The Moussaieff Red Diamond, the DeBeers Millennium Star and the Heart of Eternity Diamond. What a wonderful showing of diamonds.
We’ve mentioned in the past that Saturn and Jupiter might be raining diamonds. However, for the biggest diamonds we might have to travel event further. Out of our solar system scientists believe there is a planet whose mass may be as much as 1/3 diamond. Since the planet is so much larger than earth that 1/3 would equal about 2 earth masses!!!
Want even bigger? More recently astronomers have just revealed that there is a dwarf star with the mass of our own sun which might just be one large diamond. The dwarf star has the mass of our own sun but has collapsed in on itself and in the process turned itself into a gem of a star. The weight in carats of diamond is estimated at 10 billion trillion trillion.
Astronomy has always been an interest of ours as have gems. Who knew years ago that the two would converge to give us dreams of treasure beyond all measure?
Ruby and all colors of Sapphire are simply different colors of the same mineral: Corundum. Hooray for Corundum—without you we would be missing a lot in the gem world.
Ruby is red corundum colored by chromium, and Pink Sapphire is pink corundum colored by a little less chromium than Ruby. The difference is this: Ruby has a little less than 1% chromium and Pink Sapphire generally has about 1/2 of that.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. What happens in the gems that don’t know enough to fit squarely in one camp or another? Well, some Pink Sapphires get close to red and some Rubies have apparently had a brush with Clorox and come up a little pale to be considered “red.”
Some of the best fun we’ve had was in the late 90’s when we would buy some of the more pale Burmese Rubies that were cut a little chunky on the bottom in what they call a “mixed cut.” The mixed cut would have a heavy rounded bottom in an effort to conserve color. We would buy these, cut the bottom to a “brilliant” bottom pretty much like a diamond is cut, lose a bunch of color and have the prettiest, darkest hot pink sapphires we’ve ever seen.
Sometimes things that are between the lines of common definition are the best!