Also for sale at Guernsey’s: 17 emeralds from a famed Spanish shipwreck
The la Gloria, an 887 ct. “museum-quality” stone believed to be the largest rough emerald in the United States, is among the rare emeralds going up for sale by Guernsey’s at an Apr. 25 auction run in New York City.
That golf ball–size stone, along with 17 emeralds discovered from the wreck of Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, all come from the collection of noted emerald authority Marcial de Gomar.
“It’s very rare for an auction to spotlight emeralds,” says Arlan Ettinger, founder and president of Guernsey’s. “We feel this will be an extraordinary event.”
The la Gloria hails from the Muzo mine in Colombia, known for producing large emeralds. It’s sat in de Gomar’s collection for many years, and this is its first time on the market. And while the collector feels it could produce a 400 ct. polished stone, he has always believed it shouldn’t be cut.
“[There’s a] little piece of calcite on the end [that] is a tip to its provenance,” de Gomar says. “It tells you what country it comes from, what mine it comes from. All that is very significant. I wouldn’t want it to be cut. I’d like for it to be kept as is. It should be in a state museum somewhere.”
The stone is named for a now-deceased attorney that represented de Gomar in litigation over the Atocha.
The 17 gemstones from the Atocha include the Corona de Muzo (below), which features a 24.34 ct. emerald cut; the Reina del Mar, a 4.39 ct. round; and a 26.72 ct. piece of rough. All those stones are believed to have come from Muzo as well.
The Atocha sank in 1622, off the coast of Florida while bound for Spain. In the 1980s, treasure hunter Mel Fisher discovered portions of the wreckage, setting off an epic legal battle with the state of Florida.
Ettinger says most of the items will be sold without reserve (though not la Gloria). “That makes it more exciting,” he says.
The auction house is still working on an estimate for the headline stone but expects it to fetch “many millions.”
32 posts categorized "Colored Gemstones"
While we specialize in GIA graded diamonds, we also can supply some of the most beautiful colored gemstones in the country. If you are looking for that special anniversary or birthday gift, think breathtaking color and beauty for your gift.
Like flowers, colored gemstones come in every color. Both are produced in nature and evolve into something exquisite. But, unlike flowers whose beauty fades with time, the beauty of colored gemstones is everlasting.
While ruby, sapphire and emerald are the best known colored gemstones, other gemstones like Tanzanite, spinel, garnet, tourmaline, and peridot can also provide exceptional beauty.
Here are some examples of beautiful colored gemstone rings we have provided clients and our designers can provide just about any style you want.
You can contact us at 888-477-8385
Behold the World’s Largest Blue Star Sapphire
A Sri Lankan gem trader is selling the world’s largest blue star sapphire.
“We can’t put a price on something like this,” Ashan Amarasinghe, a gemologist at the GIC told Agence France-Presse. “It is so rare, and unlike other, smaller sapphires, this is not a stone that can be replaced. This is something only collectors or museums can afford.”
The BBC reports that the seller expects the stone to sell for $175 million at auction; Agence France-Presse puts the price at $300 million.
The stone was found in Sri Lanka’s central region of Ratnapura, according to reports.
“I have lived in affluence, but now I feel even more blessed,” said the owner, who asked to remain anonymous due to the value of the stone. “This [find] has not changed my lifestyle. But, I feel thrilled to be the man owning this gem. It is good for the ego.” He purchased the stone in September 2015 for an undisclosed sum.
The BBC reports that the owner has named the stone the Star of Adam, after the Muslim belief that Adam arrived in Sri Lanka after being sent away from the Garden of Eden.
Details of the auction have not yet been announced.
The auction market got a shot of adrenaline last night, as the Sotheby’s Geneva sale set a world record for any jewelry auction—and capped that with six more world records, almost all for colored stones.
The auction fetched $160.9 million, or 149.9 CHF (Swiss francs). That tops the previous record holder, the Christie’s November auction in Geneva, which fetched 147.2 million CHF. (Sotheby’s briefly claimed the title for its $199 million November 2013 sale, but that didn’t stand after an $83.1 million pink diamond sale was canceled.)
The sale gives a nice boost to the Sotheby’s jewelry sales, which were down two percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to its 10-Q.
The 25.59 ct. Burmese Sunrise Ruby sold for $30.3 million ($1.1 million a carat), doubling the low end of its $12 million to $18 million estimate. The stone set records for a ruby, both in total price and per-carat price; for any non-diamond jewel; and any stone by Cartier. The buyer was not named.
The blood-red stone was a favorite of Sotheby’s worldwide jewelry chairman David Bennett, who said last month: “I have remained in awe of the Sunrise Ruby since the first moment I set eyes on it. In over 40 years, I cannot recall ever having seen another Burmese ruby of this exceptional size possessing such outstanding color.”
The Sunrise sale significantly tops the ruby record set just six months ago by the 8.62 ct. Graff Ruby, which sold for $8.6 million at Christie’s Geneva in November 2014.
The Historic Pink Diamond, an 8.72 ct. fancy vivid pink, achieved $15.9 million, which fell within its $14 million to $18 million estimate, and also went to an unnamed buyer. The diamond is believed by the Gemological Institute of America to have been part of the outstanding collection of Princess Mathilde of Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s niece. It only recently resurfaced, having been kept in a bank vault since the 1940s.
The other records were set for sapphires and pearls:
- A pair of very fine Burmese sapphire and diamond ear clips with a combined weight of 32.67 cts. sold for $3.2 million, setting a world record price for a pair of Burmese sapphire earrings.
- A Kashmir sapphire and diamond brooch weighing 30.23 cts. sold for $6.1 million, setting a record for a Kashmir sapphire (the previous record was set in November).
- A rare natural pearl and diamond necklace sold for $7 million, setting a record for a two-row natural pearl necklace.
Combine a colored gemstone like the cushion shaped Tsavorite garnet with a top ring designer like Bez Ambar and you get a gorgeous and unique ring that is exceptional.
Tsavorite garnet and diamond ring with 3.69-carat cushion cut Tsavorite garnet that is lime green color, very eye clean clarity, and measuring 9.90 x 8.50 x 5.22 mm prong-set in a custom 18-karat white-gold Bez Ambar designer Bouquet-style mounting with 228 pave-set round brilliant cut diamonds (0.70 total carat weight, G color, VS2 clarity) on the six-prong wrapped head and three-row split shank (stamped “Bez Ambar 750” and “A07”) that measures 6.8 mm wide at the pave wrap, 7.4 mm wide and 1.9 mm thick at the sides, and tapers to 3.6 mm wide at the bottom.
Diamond ring with a 3.06-carat cushion-cut natural red ruby with medium-tone and strong-saturation red color, eye-clean clarity, measuring 9.09 x 8.28 x 3.91 mm with 1.09 ratio, prong-set in an 18-karat white-gold four-prong mounting (stamped “BEZ AMBAR” and “750 92325”) with knife-edge pave-set diamonds on the top and bottom sides of the ruby going half way down the split-shank and on the north and south sides of the mounting going half way around the ring for a total of 158 pave diamonds with a 0.94 total carat. In between the split shank and underneath the head are 34 Blaze® cut diamonds in two rows with 1.23 total carat weight on top of the shank that is 7.0 mm wide at the head, 6.3 mm wide at the side, and tapers to 6.0 mm wide at the bottom.
Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels” sale in Geneva November 17 was a high dollar success for colored diamonds and other colored gemstones but the highlight of the show was a green diamond ring.
Only a few natural green diamonds have been auctioned in recent decades and most of those had bluish or yellowish secondary color, which pointed to the importance of the sale of a 2.52-carat Fancy Vivid green color Cushion Modified Brilliant Cut diamond. The rare diamond was claw-set in a platinum mounting with yellow gold head.
The cushion modified brilliant cut diamond was graded Fancy Vivid Green color, VS1 clarity, depth 63.9%, table 58%, measurements 8.80 x 7.35 x 4.70 mm, ratio 1.20, Excellent polish, Very Good symmetry, Faint fluorescence, and was laser inscribed “GIA 2106213537.” While not the highest priced item at the auction, the $3.08 million sale set a world-record for price per carat for a green diamond at auction.
Other colored diamonds sales made history too. A 3.17-carat Fancy Intense blue diamond sold for $2.52 million and set a new world-record for price per carat for an Intense Blue diamond at auction. The round brilliant cut diamond was set in a simple four-prong platinum mounting. The natural Fancy Intense blue colored diamond has VVS2 clarity.
The Roxburghe Rubies, a necklace and earring set, sold for $5.77 million, five times the estimated price before the auction. The necklace contains 24 cushion shaped rubies and 24 cushion-cut diamonds and the set dates back to the late 19th century. The necklace was the property of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe and is thought to have been purchased from Garrards by the 5th Earl of Rosebery, as recorded in one of his diary entries. The necklace is accompanied by its original turquoise velvet fitted case, embellished with the monogram R under a coronet, by R&S Garrard & Co, Goldsmith and Jewellers to The Crown, as well as by the original hand-written documentation detailing the weights of the stones.
Sotheby’s recent Hong Kong auction was the site of a record-breaking diamond sale. The 6.04-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, cut in the emerald shape, sold for $7.98 million. The internally flawless sold for $1.32 million per carat, which is a new price per carat record for any gemstone ever sold. The combination of the rare blue color, the internally flawless color, and the large carat weight for a blue diamond make this an exceptional stone among world-class diamonds.
The previous owner of the diamond was a private Asian collector and the new buyer is Moussaieff Jewellers, a London based jeweler with a reputation for acquiring some of the world’s most valuable gemstones.
Blue diamonds have always captured attention because of their rarity and beauty. There are entire books written about the most famous blue diamond, the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond, displayed in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. The Hope Diamond started out as the 112.25-carat French Blue discovered in India, which was a source of blue diamonds from 1500-1700.
In recent history, South Africa has been the location of blue diamond discoveries, almost exclusively at the Premier Mine. Some other famous blue diamond sales include a 1994 Sotheby’s sale of a $9 million for a 20.17-carat blue diamond ($460,000 per carat). In 1995, a 6.70-carat blue diamond sold for $3.52 million ($525,000 per carat).
Hong Kong was an appropriate location for the record-breaking sale because diamond shoppers there are notorious for their thirst for luxury diamonds. Hong Kong is the king of glitz in Asia, especially for colored diamonds. Colored diamond sources are diminishing so the rare pinks and blues are becoming increasing popular with serious collectors in Europe, the United States, and Asia.
Black diamonds have always been a puzzle for geologists. Also known as carbonado, black diamonds are treated as something a little different from conventional diamonds.
First, black diamonds have unusual physical characteristics such as being composed of millions of diamond crystals stuck together and being porous as if formed in a gaseous froth. Traditional diamonds form as large crystals with classic crystal structure. Black diamonds look more like the obsidian (glassy black) or pumice (gray and full of holes) that result from volcanoes. The porous material is full of bubbles that appear to result from gases present when the diamonds formed. Conventional diamonds, formed deep within the earth, where the high pressure does not allow gases to exist.
Second, black diamonds are not found in conventional diamond mining locations. Black diamonds are found in Brazil and the Central African Republic but not one has been discovered in Russia, Australia, Canada, or other African countries that are the primary sources of the 600 tons of conventional diamonds that have been mined over the last century. Since conventional diamonds are formed deep in the earth’s crust, geologists have been challenged to explain why black diamond sources are so isolated and separate from conventional diamond locations. Black diamonds are found in alluvial deposits where rivers have washed the stones until they collect in low-lying pockets where they are mined today. Unlike conventional diamonds, the black variety is not found in kimberlite pipes that would indicate they were formed beneath the earth’s crust.
In recent months, a team of geologists led by Stephen Haggerty of Florida International University in Miami presented the results of a study that theorizes that black diamonds came from outer space. The team proposes that an asteroid about half mile in diameter impacted earth billions of years ago where South America and Africa were once connected land masses. Today the deposits of black diamonds are thousands of miles apart because the landmasses drifted apart.
Black diamonds are seldom used as gemstones because they are extremely hard to cut and polish. They seem to have a hardness that exceeds conventional diamonds due to the fact they do not cleave along crystal planes. As a result, regular diamond powder only cuts carbonado with extreme difficulty. This trait makes it ideal for grinding, drilling and other industrial uses but not popular for uses in the jewelry industry.
As the public learns about the possible outer space source of black diamonds, its stellar origin might increase its popularity as a gemstone. Owning a diamond from outer space might be just the marketing theme that changes how diamond shoppers perceive this unique form of diamond.