All the recent media hype over the possible discovery of Columbus’ sunken Santa Maria has renewed worldwide interest in sunken treasure.

According to several archeologists, the remains found off the north coast of Haiti is “amazingly significant.” Watch a video of the find here >

Aside from the Santa Maria, among the most sought after wrecks is that of the San Jose. A Spanish Galleon, the The San Jose was reported to have been sunk off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia by a British warship in 1708. Aboard the San Jose was a fortune in precious metals and emeralds. Most impressive here at Gems At Large is the vast fortune in emeralds. Some estimate the total fortune of gems, silver and gold at over $10 billion USD.  Now that is a fortune!

All our best—  John and Laura Ramsey

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©, 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 with appropriate and specific links back to this original content.

John and Laura Ramsey Talk About Emeralds

Columbian emeralds rawWith emerald being the birthstone for May, it is always fun to get back into thinking of emerald green and the renewal of spring.

The appreciation of emerald goes back centuries. Holy scriptures of East Indian by the Vedas wrote in Sanskrit of emeralds and their promotion of good luck and good health.

While emeralds are appreciated the world around, certain cultures prize them more than others. As spring unfolds here in the Pacific Northwest it is easy to appreciate the color green and the gem world’s best known representative of green: the emerald.

Learn all about emeralds in one of our previous blog posts >

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©, 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 with appropriate and specific links back to this original content.

A Tribute to Evelyn H. Lauder

Evelyn_LauderI wanted to write a blog post about a dear lady I was lucky enough to come to know: Evelyn Lauder, the visionary Founder and Chairman of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (established in 1993).

John and I have been proud to donate some of our gemstones in jewelry over the years to help raise money for Breast Cancer Research. That is how I met Evelyn Lauder—daughter-in-law of the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder—in my hometown of New York City. We quickly discovered we had many things in common, including a love of photography, and both of us had written several books—Evelyn’s “An Eye for Beauty” was my favorite.

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Find Everything You Want to Know about Gems and Jewelry from John and Laura Ramsey

If you’ve been searching for a place to find facts about gems and jewelry, look no further than the expertise of John and Laura Ramsey. Their many years of experience in the gem and jewelry business enable them to provide honest, reliable, easy-to-understand and interesting facts about gemstones and jewelry.

Their sole mission? Education. If you visit their main website, you’ll notice it is not a sales website—because their goal is not to conduct transactions.  Their passion is to educate as many individuals and gem collectors as possible about identifying quality gems and jewelry.

Birthstone Spotlight: December Tanzanite, Zircon, or Turquoise

tanzanite blue zircon turquoise december birthstone

Having a December birthdate I’ve always been interested in the birthstone for my month. My first experience with a birthstone came from my dad’s trip to Texas back in the way back day. He stopped in Arizona along the way and bought me a turquoise ring. Wow! That was cool. I don’t remember the year but it was a number of decades ago. I am guessing I was all of 6 years old or so. It was a cool ring in the Southwest Native American style. I began to learn about birthstones.

The tradition I was taught as a young person was that December had two birthstones: zircon and turquoise. Well that tradition has had some issues.

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Tantalizing Topaz by Laura Ramsey

Topaz 2To be born in November and to know that your birthstone is the long loved Topaz creates a certain pleasure. This special gem with its varying colors is my birthstone, so I can speak from knowledge.

As young travelers to Brazil, John and I were some of the first gem dealers to bring back Imperial Topaz in larger wholesale quantities. I remember vividly our first encounter with a large parcel of gem Imperial Topaz rough and thinking “what a marvelous, passionate color it is.”  Of course when buying gems, showing enthusiasm is not permitted (i.e., poker face!) and I remember how difficult it was to curb my enthusiasm. This is the emotion that came from seeing this rich red orange color in gloriously large natural crystals.

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Scintillating Sapphire by Laura Ramsey

sapphire jewelry

In addition to the Greek word mentioned in our last year’s blog post about sapphires, the Latin word “Saphirus” also means blue. With so many words in English having either a Greek or a Latin origin, it’s no wonder that with both Green and Latin having a sound-alike name for sapphire, that we wound up with “sapphire” in the English language.

Blue corundum called sapphire has been collected by many over the centuries. Let’s take a look at some famous ‘Saphirus’ together…

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Peridot – Its Ancient Beginnings

PeridotOften known in Hawaii as the tears of the Goddess Pele, Peridot has a noble and ancient beginning. The name Peridot is derived from the old French word “peritot”, meaning gold. So let us see how far back in time we have to travel in order to trace the beginning of this golden green gem…

It is believed that peridot, originally called “Chysolite” before the advent of scientific gemology, was mined over 3500 years ago in Egypt. The mysterious St. John’s Island (a.k.a. Zeberget) produced what the Egyptians called ‘the gem of the sun’. The island was often shrouded in fog and its location was often a mystery.

Zeberget EgyptZeberget, photo courtesy of lms_namaste on

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Birthstone Spotlight: June Alexandrite

natural_faceted_alexandriteThose born in June are lucky to have their choice of three birthstones: Alexandrite, Pearl and Moonstone. This year, we’d like to focus on Alexandrite… the most rare of all the birthstones.

For years, gemology students have been taught that Alexandrite was the rarest of all gemstones (whether or not this is the current teaching, it was taught for many years). Perhaps today, the better statement is that Alexandrite is the rarest of the birthstones. In any case Alexandrite is a very rare gem, for many of the same issues that Emerald has. Let us explain…

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John and Laura Ramsey Have the Perfect Gems and Jewelry for Collectors

John and Laura Ramsey are popular and well known names in the field of gems and jewelry. For a long time they appeared on television home shopping shows and provided the viewers of those shows a chance to get the highest quality gems and exquisite gemstone and diamond jewelry. Each and everything that they have ever offered to their viewers has been well received.

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