History & Info Of Gems
- Natural gems form in the Earth. Treatments after mining don’t change their status as natural gems.
- Synthetic gems are made under lab conditions that mimic natural formation processes, only greatly accelerated.
The Carmen Lúcia Ruby
On display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Carmen Lúcia Ruby ring is simply enchanting. At a large 23.1 carats, this ruby is among the finest in the world. Its fantastic, saturated red color is mostly even, and the gem shows an excellent transparency. Miners unearthed the stone in the Mogok region of Myanmar in the 1930s.
Though the details of its original purchase were lost to history, the ring has an interesting story nonetheless. A nuclear physicist by trade, Dr. Peter Buck became wealthy after he loaned a friend $1,000 to start his sandwich shop in 1965. That shop eventually became Subway, rocketing Buck’s net worth into the billions.
Buck’s wife, Carmen Lúcia Buck, was born in Brazil and later became a U.S. citizen. Her love of jewelry and her adopted country prompted Dr. Buck to donate one of her prized rings to the National Collection after her death. Naming the stone after her, he believes that her memory is best served by putting the stone on display for all the visitors to the nation’s capital.
The Logan Sapphire
One of the world’s most recognizable sapphires is the Logan Blue Sapphire. On display at the Smithsonian since 1971, this gem weighs 422.99 cts. It’s the largest set gem in the National Gem Collection and the second largest faceted sapphire in the world. With a pure medium-blue color and excellent clarity, its quality is readily apparent to all visitors.
The Logan Sapphire originated in Sri Lanka’s Ratnapura gem mining district, likely in the 1900s. Col. M. Robert Guggenheim purchased the sapphire as a gift for his wife, Rebecca Pollard Guggenheim, in 1952. After his death in 1959, she donated the gem to the Smithsonian but kept it in her possession until 1971. Upon remarrying in 1962, the gem acquired her new surname, Logan.
The Star of India
On display in the J.P. Morgan Hall of Gems in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Star of India is the largest star sapphire, but its name is misleading. This 563-ct gemstone came from Sri Lanka, not India. Although the origins of the name are lost to history, it’s possible that this gem was discovered during the period of British colonialism. The British East India company considered India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar a single colony, possibly resulting in this misnomer.
Lapidaries have expertly cut this gem to feature its sharp, 6-ray star, and the stone even has the unusual feature of displaying this asterism or star effect on both its front and back sides.
In 1964, this famous sapphire was caught up in the biggest jewel heist in American history. Robbers entered the American Museum of Natural History through a bathroom window they’d left open earlier that day. Grabbing 22 stones from the Hall of Gems, they then exited through that same window. Only the Star of India display had an alarm, but the batteries were dead. Fortunately, law enforcement identified the suspects and recovered the gems unharmed in a Miami bus station locker.
Kate Middleton’s Sapphire Engagement Ring
Heirloom engagement rings are a popular way for young couples to celebrate the old and the new. But few engagement rings are as high-profile and trend-setting as Kate Middleton’s.
The ring was originally Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring. After her untimely death, her sons were each encouraged to keep a memento. Prince William chose a gold Cartier watch, while Prince Harry picked the engagement ring. When William decided to propose to Kate Middleton, though, the brothers switched items. The 12-ct Ceylon blue sapphire was William’s way of including his mother on his wedding day.
We have replicas available in Fashion Jewelry.
Most popular are Royal Imperial Topaz, London Blue and Sky Blue.
About Black Opal - History and Introduction
Black opal is one of the many fascinating varieties of opal available today and it also happens to be one of the most popular varieties. In 2008, Australia officially recognized this and proclaimed black opal to
be the official state gemstone for New South Wales. Common opal was already the official gemstone representing all of Australia, because, amazingly, almost all of the world's supply of black opal is
mined from New South Wales and an astonishing 97% of all common opal is sourced from Australia.
Black opal is by far the most valuable and appreciated of all opal varieties, especially those
from Australia's famous Lightning Ridge.
Pearls are the only gems found within living creatures, both salt and freshwater mollusks. However, most pearls on the market today are cultivated, since they now occur extremely rarely in nature. While they require special care, pearls have an enduring appeal for jewelry, particularly as the traditional June birthstone.