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GemSelect Newsletter - July 2010

In our newsletter this month:
Huge Gemstones Back to Top

Very large gemstones have long been treasured by collectors, usually for their rarity but sometimes simply for their peculiarity. Some huge gems have been well known for centuries. The 104 carat Stuart Sapphire, for example, has belonged to Scottish and British royalty since the 13th century. The 352 carat Timur Ruby (actually a red spinel), was known in India as early as the 14th century. The most famous star sapphire in the world, the 563 carat Star of India, is a relative newcomer - it was discovered a mere 300 years ago, in Sri Lanka.

So what counts as a huge gemstone? It is not simply a matter of carat weight. A huge gem must, first of all, be a gemstone - it is subject to the same standards of color, clarity, transparency and cut as gems of more modest size. A large mineral, even if it is natural corundum (aluminum oxide) by chemical composition, does not count as a gemstone if it does not meet the qualitative standards that gem traders express with the hard-to-define adjective gemmy.

In terms of carat weight, not every big gemstone is considered to be huge. For some gem varieties, large stones are common. Specimens of quartz, chalcedony and jasper, for example, are often found weighing as much as 50 carats. The same is true for malachite, fluorite, agate, hematite and amber. A huge gem for these varieties is more in the order of 70 to 100 carats or more. Even topaz is sometimes found in extraordinarily large sizes. In fact one of the largest faceted gemstones in the world is a 22,895 carat yellow topaz from Minas Gerais, Brazil. It's a popular attraction at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Different standards apply for sapphires. Though star sapphires weighing up to 20 carats are relatively common, faceted sapphires with good color and transparency weighing over 8 carats are very rare. Spinel and tsavorite garnet of this weight are even more unusual. Gems like alexandrite and demantoid garnet are so rarely found weighing over 1 carat that a 3 or 4 carat stone would count as huge.

Like most gem aficionados, we treasure the rare and unusual. So we've recently created a gallery of huge gems, where you can see a selection of about 40 different gemstone varieties of unusually large stones. They include a number of recent acquisitions, including a 575 carat malachite, a 398 carat bloodstone, a 265 carat star rose quartz, a 206 carat blue topaz and a 96 carat rhodolite garnet.

Rare and Unusual Gems Back to Top

Each month we feature a rare and unusual gem from our inventory. This month we would like to show you an amazingly large aquamarine stone from Mozambique:

Huge Natural Aquamarine
Huge Natural Aquamarine

Aquamarine belongs to the beryl family, along with emerald and morganite. But where emeralds are typically heavily included and are routinely treated with oil to fill fissures, high quality aquamarine can have wonderful clarity.

Recently we've acquired a small number of top grade aquamarines from Mozambique that combine excellent color saturation with superb clarity. The largest of these is a 40.56 carat octagonal gem. Beautifully cut with no window - always a challenge with clean lighter colored gems - it measures 22 x 17.47 x 13.86 mm. The color is simply outstanding. It is also certified by the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS). Click on the photos above to view our fine aquamarine gems.

Customer Questions Back to Top

Every month we answer questions of general interest from our customers. Please feel free to send your questions or suggestions to our support team at!

You have a number of multiple stone items, some of which I have recently purchased, and I was wondering if the measurements you provide are specific to each stone or collectively, and the same thing with the carat weight. Thank you for your time. EH, Canada.
When you buy an item from us that consists of more than 1 gemstone (a pair or lot), the carat weight listed for the item is the sum of all the pieces. However, the size in millimeters is the average size of each individual stone in the lot.
It sounds slightly complex, but this approach makes sense if you think about it. The reason is that you want to know the total carat weight of all the gems in the lot, so you can easily figure out the price per carat. And the only way to list the size is by the average size of each piece, since there is really no such thing as the size of all the stones in the lot taken together.
I have a star ruby and some star sapphires and I'd like to know how much they're worth. Can I send them to you for appraisal? How much would that cost? CB, USA.
We don't offer a gem appraisal service, sorry. You might get an idea of the value of your gemstones by comparing them to similar items on our website. Just keep in mind that we price our gems based on our costs, not on the prices of the general retail market.
If you want to find a professional appraiser, many countries have organizations that certify gem and jewelry appraisers. In the United States, for example, the American Society of Appraisers and the Appraisers Association of America are two organizations that can refer you to a qualified appraiser.

Keep up with our new arrivals before they hit the newsletter by joining our thousands of fans and followers on our social networking pages. We love interacting with our customers - you can visit us on Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest!

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Happy Gem Hunting!
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