GemSelect Newsletter - Glorious Grandidierite
Often up there in lists of the top ten rarest gems in the world and described as a "gemstone collector's dream", grandidierite is a rare treasure that is hard to find even in museums. In 2015, an article in Forbes about "The Most Expensive Gemstones in the World" places grandidierite in third place, with a price tag of up to $20,000 per carat (please do not panic, our grandidierite gems are offered at fair prices!). For those who are curious about the top two on the most expensive gems list, taaffeite is second and red diamond is first. We at GemSelect are suitably excited to have recently acquired a rare parcel of grandidierite rough, which we have now processed into faceted grandidierite stones, along with some faceted AIGS-certified grandidierite gems and grandidierite cabochons. This is the first time that we have seen this rare gem type with our own eyes and we are delighted to be able to offer it for sale. Let's learn some more about this intriguing stone.
Here are some quick facts about grandidierite:
- Grandidierite is considered one of the world's rarest gems.
- Faceted grandidierite gemstones are incredibly rare - until around 14 years ago, grandidierite with sufficient transparency for facet cuts was unheard of.
- Large grandidierite gemstones are extremely scarce; faceted grandidierite stones weighing 1 carat or more are exceptionally hard to find.
- Grandidierite is not only a collector's stone, but it is also perfectly suitable for jewelry, so don't be afraid to wear it (if you can find it). With a Mohs hardness of 7 to 7.5, grandidierite is hard enough to be worn in everyday rings, but it is almost unheard of in jewelry because of its rarity.
- Grandidierite is greenish-blue, bluish-green or blue with a gleaming vitreous luster, and can have a rare and beautiful Paraiba tourmaline-like neon greenish-blue color that is also seen in blue apatite.
- It is a pleochroic gemstone, so at certain angles, grandidierite can appear different colors; typically blue, green or white.
Now, let's explore the history of this splendid stone.
The greenish-blue magnesium aluminum borosilicate known as grandidierite was discovered in Madagascar in 1902 by French mineralogist, Alfred Lacroix. Lacroix named the mineral in honor of Alfred Grandidier, a French discoverer and naturalist. Grandidier was one of the first explorers of Madagascar and visited the island in the 1860s, after which he documented his discoveries in 40 volumes. Until relatively recently, grandidierite was not seen in facetable material. However, in 2003, the first report of a transparent, faceted grandidierite gemstone from Sri Lanka excited mineral and gemstone experts, and collectors all over the world. This first transparent faceted grandidierite gem weighed a mere 0.29 carats, yet, it was an important discovery.
A few years ago, the discovery of a grandidierite deposit in Madagascar generated great interest in the colored gemstone industry. However, the rare, gem-quality material very quickly disappeared before we could get our hands on any stones. Therefore, we consider ourselves lucky to have had the opportunity to buy some grandidierite this time and expect that it may soon disappear once again. If you are interested in rare and unusual gemstone types, feast your eyes on our grandidierite collection. Please enjoy these elusive grandidierite gemstones while you can, because we do not anticipate another lucky find such as this in the foreseeable future.
Our new arrivals include a collection of rainbow moonstone cabochons in ovals and rounds ranging in size from 7 to 18 mm. Rainbow moonstone is actually a variety of labradorite (plagioclase feldspar) and true moonstone is potassium feldspar (AKA orthoclase). The highly-prized sheen, (adularescence) of rainbow moonstone led to it being called "moonstone".
Something that we have not seen for a long time is star sunstone, an aventurescent feldspar gemstone with asterism (the star effect). Sunstone is prized for its glittery aventurescence and star sunstone has this in addition to a four-rayed star. We currently have a nice selection of these sparkling star sunstone cabochons from India.
Kunzite is a pink to violet spodumene gem named after American mineralogist, George Frederick Kunz that we usually have in stock. We have recently bought some stunning kunzite specimens, along with some unusual kunzite cabochons. Kunzite stones not only possess unique and fabulous color, but can also be found in large sizes, making them perfect for pendants and cocktail rings.
The largest gem-quality black star sapphire discovered by James Kazanjian in Queensland, Australia has been fashioned into a necklace by Robert Procop and named the "Star of Jolie", after actress, Angelina Jolie. The rough sapphire weighing 1,113 carats, which was cut into an 888.88-carat pear-shaped cabochon, mounted in rose gold and surrounded by smaller black star sapphire cabochons, is up for sale for $5 million. The proceeds of the sale will go to the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict (EPCC), founded by Angelina Jolie. For those who are curious to see the enormous black star sapphire necklace, it can be viewed at Saks Fifth Avenue in Palm Desert, California and Bal Harbour, Florida, before it is exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. The second-largest gem-quality black star sapphire in the world is the Black Star of Queensland, which weighs 733 carats. The world's largest blue star sapphire is the "Star of Adam", which weighs 1,404.49 carats and was discovered in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka.
The Donnersmarck Diamonds; a pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds previously owned by famous 19th-century French courtesan, La Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck will be offered for auction at Sotheby's on 15th November. The Diamonds consist of a 102.54-carat cushion-cut stone and a pear-shaped 82.47-carat stone, and are expected to reach between 9 and 14 million USD. La Païva rose from modest Russian roots to the pinnacle of Parisian aristocracy; upon her second marriage, to Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, she became the owner of some fabulous jewels, including the Donnersmarck Diamonds. The Diamonds remained in the Donnersmarck family collection until 2007 when they were purchased separately for $4.7 and $3.3 million.
An Institute for Pearls and Gemstones has been established in Bahrain, as part of a national plan to revive the pearl industry in the Kingdom. Pearls from the Persian Gulf were an important source of income for the region for centuries, but went into decline after the 1930s.
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Happy Gem Hunting!
Your friends at GemSelect
- First Published: October-31-2017
- Last Updated: November-01-2017
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