John and Laura Ramsey write: Hotel designed like Amethyst Geode

Amethyst geode

 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.

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/nl-architects-amethyst-hotel

John and Laura Ramsey write: Records Keep Falling—now it is sapphire!!

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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!!!

To see a photo of the Blue Belle here is a link:  http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/jewelry/a-spectacular-sapphire-and-diamond-necklace-5844924-details.aspx

By the way— the Blue Belle is about the size of a normal door-knob!!!

All our best—J&L

John and Laura Ramsey write: Tsavorite a Wonderful Garnet

tsavorite picture

We’ve shown a lot of garnet photos over the past few weeks. One of our favorite garnets is Tsavorite which many Gems At Large aficionados know is named after Tsavo National Park in Kenya. We’ve been in Kenya buying rough Tsavorite as early as 1977—directly from the mine owners. I remember cutting some of my first experiences cutting Tsavorite go back even further to as early as 1974—not that long after its original discovery. Commercial mining of Tsavorite is reported to have begun only in 1971.
What a beautiful color of green we get to see in Tsavorite. Tsavorite is a color variety of grossular garnet—which is a calcium rich garnet. Initially gemologists assumed that the green color was caused by chromium as is the green color in Emerald and Demantoid garnet. Oops. It turned out that it is vanadium that gives Tsavorite its color.

John and Laura Ramsey write: Surprising Garnets

gem pictures 051There are still a lot of people who are surprised that garnets might come in color other than red. We’ve done our best to spread the word and have developed a lot of fans who love the varied colors available in the garnet family. The piece in the photo is a priceless mineral specimen of a Demantoid garnet. Demantoid garnet was discovered originally in Russia where some of the gems are still found. The Russian stones tend to be a very nice green similar to the color of certain Tsavorite garnets found in East Africa. Tsavorite is a color variety of grossularite garnet and the name is somewhat a marketing name.

The photo of the mineral specimen shows very nicely what a garnet crystal looks like if well-formed and not damaged while waiting in the ground for a lucky miner. The mineral specimen shown is from the Ala Valley in Italy and was the premier piece found there, The entire specimen is about 2.5 inches high and remarkable for the fact that the crystals are so perfect and nicely polished by nature. As well the piece is amazing for the fact that the garnets sit on their original matrix in which they were formed.

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: 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?