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: Show me the Green!

Another important fancy colored diamond has been reported as being sold. This time the very unusual color is a big issue. The sale price in excess of $3.6 million USD. The diamond is reported as being an intense fancy green. The color green for diamond is even rarer than blue which as we all know is quite rare. The stone itself weighs in at 6.13 ct. and is mounted in an 18k rose gold ring. Around the center stone was a circle of beautiful white diamonds that served well to contrast with the green color. The green stone itself is an almost square cushion cut.

The picture we’re running is not of the ring in the reporting—whose photos are copyrighted. We often like to show something as close as we can get to the item in question to spark the imagination of our audience. green diamond


John and Laura Ramsey write: Jewelry in Museums—Down-Under no Exception

Cate Blanchett Diamond Brooch closeThe Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia is hosting a showing of notable jewelry worn by their famous actors in films.

Satine necklace Nicole KidmanAmongst other items on display is the most expensive piece of jewelry ever made specifically for a movie: the “Satine” necklace worn by Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge.

Cate Blanchett Diamond BroochOther pieces include a stunning diamond brooch worn by Cate Blanchett to the Oscars, and a star-studded ring worn by world-renowned fashion designer Catherine Martin.

Having gems and jewelry on display at museums is a worldwide phenomenon. Of course if you’re visiting down under be on the lookout for displays of opal–the gem that made Australia famous. The last statement my opinion solely. But what else would a gem aficionado say?

Satine necklace close Andrew Murray Daily Mail Australia

Close-up photos of jewelry: Andrew Murray, Daily Mail Australia

John and Laura Ramsey Write: Rules, What Rules?

pink sapphire photo

When it comes to gems there are rules and there are rules. For instance an unexciting straw yellow diamond with a lot of flaws is not pretty to look at. Its value will suffer when compared with a diamond identical in all ways except for our new entrant being white, white and clean, clean. Diamonds that are clean and white will always be considered valuable—that is a rule likely to always stand.
On the other hand in colored stones the rules are not always written in stone—so to speak. Sometimes there will be a consensus as to value but many colored stones that are not necessarily the top of the value chain may just be quite beautiful—simply not as pricey. A good source of these conundra are garnets, tourmaline and sapphire. What these three types of gems have in common is that all three come in a dazzling array of colors.
A good “for instance” is the pink sapphire in the photo. It is an amazingly beautiful stone but it is not considered top color pink but really who cares? It is beautiful, just not as pricey as a similar pink sapphire in a more intense color. The truth is that many ladies would like to wear this lighter, more subtle pink with their wardrobe than some of the more exotic fuchsia and higher priced pink sapphires. On the other hand why not own all the colors?

John and Laura Ramsey write: WHAT MAKES A SAPPHIRE BEAUTIFUL???

The photo we’ve included in this posting is a good example of a really great sapphire. What makes is so beautiful and appreciated the world around? First of all there is what it is not. It is not so pale a color that we would say “who cares?” Secondly, the photo shows a stone that is not so dark that we would say “who cares?” What we are showing in the photo is a “Goldilocksgem pictures 095 (2)” sapphire that is “just right” when it comes to depth of color. Not too dark, not to light. Next we have a stone that is not hampered by a lot of eye visible inclusions. The gem in the photo is relatively “clean” and flaw free. The combination of a just right color and good clarity give us the opportunity of seeing nice reflections off of the back facets while we are looking down into the stone from the top. The gem in the photo is relatively well cut and that is another reason we’re getting some nice reflections off the back facets. Color, clarity and cut…3 out of the 4 “C’s”. The only thing left is the size (weight in carats). Well, we’ll leave that to the imagination this time….Is it 1 carat, 5 carats, 50 carats? Might as well dream………

Urgent Gem News, Urgent Gem News

Blue Moon Diamond on public display—Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Really great news for gem lovers….The recently found, cut and polished “Blue Moon Diamond” will be on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, mineralogy department. Many of the fine gems found there are in L.A. county’s Gem Vault—literally a bank-style vault with quite a few really fabulous gems on display. One of the best features for me is that 6 or so of the gems on display there are ones I cut many years ago. Kind of a rush to see them there. The Blue Moon is supposed to take residency there September 12, 2014 and is supposed to remain there for a few months. We’re going to be in the area and hope to take it in.

John and Laura Ramsey write: Karats vs. Carats

2nd get-attachment.aspxGold ingotNot too long ago we were watching a news show that used the word Karat and used it incorrectly. This got us to thinking that it might be fun to talk with our Gems at Large family about the two words—Karat and Carat. It is always fun to learn a couple new things when it is about something as fun as jewelry. Who knows? You might wind up on Jeopardy one day and need this!
The word Karat, in the United States, is used for the purity of gold. There are legal requirements for the purity of 24 Karat, 18 Karat, 14 Karat and 10 Karat gold. Each level is equivalent to a certain purity. 24 Karat gold is pure gold, 18 Karat gold is 75% gold and 25% other alloys, 14 Karat gold is 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloys while 10 Karat gold is 41.6% gold and 58.3% alloys.
The term Carat is a measure of weight. Carats refer in jewelry to the weight of gems—diamonds or colored stones that are held in the jewelry by the metal. Carats in loose, un-mounted stones are simply the weight of the stones. Here are a couple of ways to remember that a Carat is a measure of weight: 1. Lots of us know about the 4 “C’s” of diamonds—Carats, Cut, Clarity, and Color. Now we also know that this applies to loose un-mounted diamonds that have yet to be associated with gold. 2. Another way to remember that the Carat has nothing to do with gold is that many diamonds are round and are about the same size and even weight as a typical aspirin tablet—think round and round. Then think weight and weight. A one carat diamond weighs 200 milligrams and a typical aspirin tablet weighs about 230 milligrams. Round and round, weight and weight.

John and Laura Ramsey write: Dueling Tiaras

Tiara or diadem with reflection

Europe is all abuzz comparing the two young royals Princess Kate and the recently crowned queen of Spain the former Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. Queen Letizia married Felipe VI of Spain in 2004 and was a princess until June 19, 2014. On that date her spouse’s parents abdicated in favor of the younger couple. Suddenly Letizia has access to the crown jewels of Spain and has been wearing tiaras amongst other fine jewels. The Euro tabloids have fastened on the two relatively young royals and is always showing them in tiaras. While the two ladies have a 10 year difference in age they both photograph well and show jewelry to its best advantage.
Chances are the two are so far removed by geography that comparisons and competitions are the last thing on their mind. In any case the crown jewels of Great Britain are miles ahead of the crown jewels of any other country. Convenient ownership of the right colonies at the right time gave Britain the edge. From Sri Lanka came great sapphires. From South Africa came the world’s largest collection of large fine diamonds. India contributed emeralds.
According to sources some of the jewels owned by the Spanish royal family were sold while they were in exile from 1931 to 1968. Jewels have often come in handy as a form of portable wealth for many centuries.

John and Laura Ramsey write: More Record Prices—Ruby this time….

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Just recently an important Burmese ruby and diamond ring was sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong. While the diamonds surrounding the ruby were nothing to discount all accounts of the sale referred to the ruby as if it were all by itself in the ring.

Counted alone the ruby went for a per-carat record of just over USD $550,000 per-carat. At 6.04 carats the total came to almost USD $3,333,000.00.

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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