John and Laura Ramsey write: Blue Diamonds Continue to Break Records

Group of blue topaz  with clipping path

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).

John and Laura Ramsey write: Jumping ahead to January

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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!

John and Laura Ramsey write: Tanzanite—a December Birthstone Alternative

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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.

John and Laura Ramsey write: “Peridot Gem of the Sun”

Peridot

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.

© Ramseygems.com, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from John and Laura Ramsey is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to johnandlauraramsey.com with appropriate and specific links back to this original content.

John and Laura Ramsey write: “World Record Sapphire”

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.
Group of  blue sapphire shape with clipping path

John and Laura Ramsey write: The Pink Star Diamond

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.

John and Laura Ramsey report: for “The Largest Diamonds” go to…

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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?Diamond iStock_000035752022Small

Ruby and Pink Sapphire—between the lines with John and Laura Ramsey

ruby ,Citrine

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!

Pink sapphire ring


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© Ramseygems.com, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from John and Laura Ramsey is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to johnandlauraramsey.com with appropriate and specific links back to this original content.

John and Laura Ramsey talk about Tanzanite and Tsavorite

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A couple of gems that we really love come from East Africa. Our first trip overseas together as young marrieds was to East Africa in early 1977. We were early adopters to East African gems and Tanzanite and Tsavorite were on our list even back then. We were dealing directly with miners in the region. As you can see from the photo there is a good reason the entire population of the earth immediately fell in love with these two gems.

While it is normal for Tanzanite to occur in larger sizes it is quite unusual for Tsavorite to come in larger sizes like the 6 carat gem in the photo. This is especially true for larger sizes in good colors. Some times Tsavorite is too dark or too light in the larger sizes. The piece featured is a “Goldilocks Just Right” color. If you haven’t added these two beauties to your collection you might want to save up. They’re worth it!


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© Ramseygems.com, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from John and Laura Ramsey is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to johnandlauraramsey.com with appropriate and specific links back to this original content.

John and Laura Ramsey talk about Pearl for June

Image of a white pearl in a shell on a white background.Most people are very familiar with the pearl as one the birthstones for June. Alexandrite and Moonstone are the other two gemstones. Pearl, with its variety of color and shapes, is an organic gem loved and treasured for centuries. It is said that the Romans built armies from the sale of a single pearl while poems abound about its transcendent beauty.

The pearl was selected as a birthstone for June by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Not only can you select your favorite pearl as a birthstone, you can also receive a pearl for your 3rd, 12th and 30th wedding anniversaries. The allure of pearls is far reaching.

Pearl is considered to be organic since it is formed inside mollusks such as oysters and the mussel. An irritant, perhaps a bit of sand or a stone, can get inside the shell. Nacre is then secreted around this irritant creating a lustrous substance. Layers upon layers overlap to create an iridescent luster. A pearl can take up to 8 years to be created. Principal oyster beds are in The Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean primarily along the coasts of Sri Lanka and India, as well as the Red Sea. Japanese pearls are found near the coast in salt water. Polynesia coasts and Australia produce cultured pearls.

Types of pearls are extensive ranging from the natural to cultured (when the irritant is placed by man inside the living oyster), to baroque, Biwa, blister, black, Freshwater pearls, seed and mabe pearls. China and Japan cultivate freshwater and cultured pearls. Freshwater pearls also occur in the rivers of Germany, Austria, Scotland, Ireland, France and the USA (Mississippi). Colors range from white and creams to pinks and iridescent black.


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© Ramseygems.com, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from John and Laura Ramsey is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to johnandlauraramsey.com with appropriate and specific links back to this original content.